Top 100 Directors (Star System)

by a_z_a_r_y_a | created - 19 Jun 2012 | updated - 9 months ago | Public

This ranking is based on a star system. Every director gets between one and four stars for each great film. The judgement of what is great is entirely based on my personal taste.

1. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

87 stars ****Vertigo ****Psycho ****Rear Window ****North by Northwest ****The Birds ***The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) ***Dial M for Murder ***Spellbound ***Strangers on a Train ***Frenzy ***Shadow of a Doubt ***Marnie ***Notorious ***Rebecca ***Family Plot ***The 39 Steps ***The Lady Vanishes ***To Catch a Thief **The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) **The Trouble with Harry **The Wrong Man **Lifeboat **Suspicion **The Manxman **Blackmail **The Lodger **Stage Fright **Torn Curtain *Rope *Secret Agent *I Confess *Saboteur *Young and Innocent *Under Capricorn *The Paradine Case *Jamaica Inn

2. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

63 stars ****Annie Hall ****Match Point ***Manhattan ***Midnight in Paris ***Crimes and Misdemeanors ***Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex ***Hannah and Her Sisters ***The Purple Rose of Cairo ***Vicky Cristina Barcelona ***Small Time Crooks ***Radio Days **Scoop **Husbands and Wives **Sleeper **Bananas **Café Society **Magic in the Moonlight **Blue Jasmine **To Rome with Love **Mighty Aphrodite **Interiors *Love and Death *The Curse of the Jade Scorpion *Anything Else *Shadows and Fog *Zelig *Another Woman *Alice *Take the Money and Run

3. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many ...

34 stars ****Sunset Blvd. ****The Apartment ****The Seven Year Itch ***Some Like It Hot ***Witness for the Prosecution ***Double Indemnity **Sabrina **Irma la Douce **A Foreign Affair *The Front Page *The Lost Weekend *The Fortune Cookie *Kiss Me, Stupid *Avanti! *Love in the Afternoon *Stalag 17

4. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

31 stars ****Modern Times ****The Great Dictator ***The Gold Rush ***Limelight ***Monsieur Verdoux ***City Lights ***The Kid **The Immigrant **The Tramp *A Countess from Hong Kong *A Dog's Life *The Circus *A King in New York

5. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Smultronstället

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

30 stars ****Persona ****Det sjunde insiglet ***Jungfrukällan ***Tystnaden ***Höstsonaten **Smultronstället **Sommaren med Monika **En lektion i kärlek **Ansiktet * Skammen *Nattvardsgästerna *Sommarlek *Sommarnattens leende *Säsom i en spiegel

6. Federico Fellini

Writer | Amarcord

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

26 stars ****8 1/2 ***Giulietta degli spiriti ***La dolce vita ***La strada **Le notti di Cabiria **Satyricon **Ginger e Fred **Il bidone *I vitelloni *Amarcord *Roma *La Città delle donne *Boccaccio '70

7. Pedro Almodóvar

Writer | Hable con ella

The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study ...

26 stars ****Tacones lejanos ***Kika ***Atame! ***Hable con ella ***La piel que habito ***Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? *La mala educación *Los abrazos rotos *Volver *Todo sobre mi madre *La Flor de mi secreto *Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios *La ley del deseo

8. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

23 stars ****The Maltese Falcon ****The Treasure of the Sierra Madre ***The Misfits **The Night of the Iguana **The Asphalt Jungle **Annie *Key Largo *The Man Who Would Be King *The African Queen *The Dead *Moby Dick *In This Our Life

9. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

23 stars ****2001: A Space Odyssey ***A Clockwork Orange ***Lolita ***Eyes Wide Shut **The Shining **Dr. Strangelove **Spartacus **The Killing *Barry Lyndon *Paths of Glory

10. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

22 stars ****Rosemary's Baby ****Repulsion ***Chinatown ***Tess **Bitter Moon **Death and the Maiden *Noz w wodzie *The Pianist *La Vénus à la fourrure *Frantic

11. Brian De Palma

Director | Dressed to Kill

Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...

22 stars ***The Untouchables ***Scarface ***Carrie ***Blow Out ***Femme Fatale **Dressed to Kill **Body Double *The Black Dahlia *The Fury *Wise Guys

12. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...

22 stars ***Ben-Hur ***The Children's Hour ***The Heiress ***Roman Holiday ***Mrs. Miniver **The Little Foxes **How to Steal a Million *Dead End *The Best Years of Our Lives *Funny Girl

13. David Lean

Director | Lawrence of Arabia

An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...

21 stars ****Ryan's Daughter ***Doctor Zhivago ***Lawrence of Arabia ***Great Expectations ***Brief Encounter ***Oliver Twist **The Bridge on the River Kwai

14. Ken Loach

Director | I, Daniel Blake

Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it's virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter's College, Oxford, he branched out into...

20 stars ***It's a Free World ***Jimmy's Hall ***Kes ***Hidden Agenda **Family Life **Riff-raff **Ladybird Ladybird *Carla's Song *The Wind That Shakes the Barley

15. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

20 stars ***Jaws ***Jurassic Park ***The Color Purple **Schindler's List **The Sugarland Express **Raiders of the Lost Ark *Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom *Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade *Close Encounters of the Third Kind *E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial *Amistad

16. Howard Hawks

Director | Rio Bravo

What do the classic films Scarface (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) have in...

19 stars ***The Big Sleep ***His Girl Friday ***Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ***Bringing Up Baby **To Have and Have Not **Monkey Business **Scarface *I Was a Male War Bride

17. Vittorio De Sica

Director | Ladri di biciclette

Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...

19 stars ***Ladri di biciclette ***Umberto D. ***Ieri oggi domani **Il giardino dei Finzi Contini **Sciuscià *Miracolo a Milano *I Bambini ci guardano *Teresa Venerdì *Matrimonio all'italiana *Woman Times Seven *Boccaccio '70

18. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer | Faustrecht der Freiheit

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and...

18 stars ****Die Ehe der Maria Braun ***Faustrecht der Freiheit ***Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant **Angst essen Seele auf **Chinesisches roulette *Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel *Lola *Lili Marleen *Fontane Effi Briest

19. Éric Rohmer

Director | Ma nuit chez Maud

Admirers have always had difficulty explaining Éric Rohmer's "Je ne sais quoi." Part of the challenge stems from the fact that, despite his place in French Nouvelle Vague (i.e., New Wave), his work is unlike that of his colleagues. While this may be due to the auteur's unwillingness to conform, ...

18 stars ***Conte d'été ***Ma nuit chez Maude ***Le Beau Mariage **Le Genou de Claire **Pauline à la plage **La Femme de l'aviateur **Conte d'hiver *Le Signe du Lion

20. Fritz Lang

Director | M

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

18 stars ***Metropolis ***M **You Only Live Once **The Big Heat **Beyond a Reasonable Doubt **Clash by Night *Scarlet Street *Liliom *Die Nibelungen *Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

21. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer | All About Eve

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...

18 stars ***All about Eve ***Sleuth **Cleopatra **The Ghost and Mrs. Muir **Suddenly, Last Summer **Julius Caesar *Guys and Dolls *5 Fingers *The Barefoot Contessa *The Quiet American

22. Martin Scorsese

Director | Taxi Driver

Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later ...

17 stars ****The King of Comedy ****Taxi Driver ***The Age of Innocence **New York, New York *Mean Streets *Raging Bull *The Color of Money *Casino

23. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

16 stars ****Casablanca ***The Adventures of Robin Hood ***Mildred Pïerce **Angels with Dirty Faces *The Charge of the Light Brigade *The Cabin in the Cotton *20,000 Years in Sing Sing *Night and Day

24. Louis Malle

Director | Au revoir les enfants

Louis Malle, the descendant of a French nobleman who made a fortune in beet sugar during the Napoleonic Wars, created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle's family discouraged his early interest in film but, in 1950, allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies ...

16 stars ***Atlantic City ***Ascenseur pour l'échaffaud ***My Dinner with Andre ***Pretty Baby *Zazie dans le métro *Le Souffle au coeur *Les Amants *Au revoir les enfants

25. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

16 stars ***Le Dernier Métro ***La Nuit américaine ***La Mariée était en noir **L'Histoire d'Adèle H. *La Chambre verte *Tirez sur le pianiste *L'Enfant sauvage *Les quatre cents coups *Jules et Jim

26. John Ford

Director | The Quiet Man

John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...

16 stars ***The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ***The Grapes of Wrath **The Searchers **How the West Was Won *The Quiet Man *Mogambo *Tobacco Road *My Darling Clementine *Fort Apache *How Green Was My Valley

27. Vincente Minnelli

Director | An American in Paris

Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago on February 28 1903, his father Vincent was a musical conductor of the Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. Wanting to pursue an artistic career, Minelli worked in the costume department of the Chicago Theater, then on Broadway during the depression as a set ...

16 stars **The Bad and the Beautiful **An American in Paris **Father of the Bride **Lust for Life **Meet Me in St. Louis **Tea and Sympathy **Cabin in the Sky *The Band Wagon *Some Came Running

28. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

15 stars ****The Godfather ***Dracula ***The Conversation **The Godfather: Part II *Apocalypse Now *The Godfather: Part III *Peggy Sue Got Married

29. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

15 stars ***It's a Wonderful Life ***Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ***It Happened One Night **Arsenic and Old Lace **You Can't Take It with You *Mr. Deeds Goes to Town *Lost Horizon

30. Sidney Lumet

Director | 12 Angry Men

Sidney Lumet was a master of cinema, best known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York. He made over 40 movies, often complex and emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. Although ...

15 stars ***12 Angry Men ***Network ***Murder on the Orient Express **Serpico **The Verdict *The Wiz *Dog Day Afternoon

31. Robert Wise

Director | West Side Story

Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an ...

15 stars ***The Sound of Music ***West Side Story ***I Want to Live! **Audrey Rose **The Body Snatcher *The Day the Earth Stood Still *The Curse of the Cat People

32. Jean Girault

Writer | Les grandes vacances

Jean Girault was born on May 9, 1924 in Villenauxe-la-Grande, Aube, France. He was a writer and director, known for The Exchange Student (1967), The Troops of St. Tropez (1964) and Jo (1971). He died on July 24, 1982 in Paris, France.

15 stars ***Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez ***Le Gendarme se marie **Le Gendarme et les gendarmettes **L'Avare **La Soupe aux choux *Le Gendarme à New York *Le Gendarme en balade *Le Gendarme et les extra-terrestres

33. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of...

14 stars ****Pulp Fiction ***Jackie Brown ***Kill Bill: Vol. 1 **Kill Bill: Vol. 2 *Reservoir Dogs *Death Proof

34. Lars von Trier

Writer | Dancer in the Dark

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly ...

14 stars ***Dancer in the Dark ***Dogville ***Melancholia **Idioterne *Nymphomanac *Antichrist *Breaking the Waves

35. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

14 stars ***The Way We Were ***Tootsie ***Absence of Malice *Three Days of the Condor *They Shoot Horses, Don't They? *The Firm *Out of Africa *This Property Is Condemned

36. François Ozon

Director | Dans la maison

François Ozon was born on November 15, 1967 in Paris, France. He is a director and writer, known for Dans la maison (2012), 8 femmes (2002) and Young & Beautiful (2013).

14 stars ***Swimming Pool ***Jeune & jolie **8 femmes **Les Amants criminels *Une Nouvelle Amie *Sous le sable *Le Refuge *5x2

37. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and Les Girls (1957). He died on January 24, 1983 in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, California, USA.

14 stars ***Gaslight ***My Fair Lady **The Women **David Copperfield *Adam's Rib *The Philadelphia Story *Dinner at Eight *Holiday

38. Jean-Luc Godard

Director | À bout de souffle

Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of ...

14 stars ***Le Mépris ***À bout de souffle **Pierrot le Fou **Vivre sa vie *Prénom Carmen *Bande à part *Une femme est une femme *Made in U.S.A.

39. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....

13 stars ****Citizen Kane **Touch of Evil **The Lady from Shanghai **The Magnificent Ambersons **The Stranger *The Trial

40. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

13 stars ***From Here to Eternity ***The Nun's Story ***The Day of the Jackal ***High Noon *A Man for All Seasons

41. Julio Medem

Director | Lucía y el sexo

Julio Medem was born in San Sebastian in northern Spain. As a teenager Medem made short movies with a super-8 camera owned by his father. Some of those films are "El ciego" (1976), "El jueves pasado" (1977) and "Fideos" (1979.) Wanting to know more about the darkest corners of the human mind, Medem...

13 stars ****Los amantes del circulo polar ***Lucía y el sexo ***Tierra **Room in Rome *La ardilla roja

42. Mark Sandrich

Director | Shall We Dance

Directed five of the nine immortal, glorious Fred Astaire - Ginger Rogers musicals for RKO.

13 stars ****Top Hat ***The Gay Divorcee ***Shall We Dance **Carefree *Follow the Fleet

43. Aki Kaurismäki

Producer | Le Havre

Aki Kaurismäki did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965)) with his older brother Mika Kaurismäki, also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific ...

13 stars ***Tulitikkutehtaan Tyttö ***Kauas Pilvet Karkaavat ***Le Havre **Varjoja Paratiisissa **I Hired a Contract Killer

44. Elia Kazan

Director | On the Waterfront

Known for his creative stage direction, Elia Kazan was born Elias Kazantzoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He ...

13 stars ***On the Waterfront ***East of Eden ***A Streetcar Named Desire **Gentlemen's Agreement **Splendor in the Grass

45. Adrian Lyne

Director | Flashdance

Adrian Lyne (Director/Writer/Producer) is the creative force behind some of the most talked-about movies of our time, among them, "Fatal Attraction", "9 1/2 Weeks", "Flashdance", "Indecent Proposal", "Jacob's Ladder" and "Unfaithful".

Born in Peterborough, England and raised in London, Lyne attended...

13 stars ***Lolita ***Flashdance ***Fatal Attraction **Indecent Proposal *Nine 1/2 Weeks *Foxes

46. Claude Chabrol

Director | Le beau Serge

French film director considered a master in the mystery genre. He is credited with starting the "nouvelle vague" French film movement.

13 stars ***Le Boucher ***La Cérémonie **Madame Bovary **Juste avant la nuit **Une Affaire de femmes *Au coeur du mensonge

47. Ang Lee

Director | Wo hu cang long

Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ...

12 stars ****Se, Jie ***Life of Pi **Xi Yan **Yin Shi Nan Nu *Brokeback Mountain

48. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

12 stars ***Blue Velvet ***The Elephant Man ***Mulholland Dr. **Wild at Heart *Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

49. Sofia Coppola

Actress | The Godfather: Part III

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

12 stars ***The Virgin Suicides ***The Bling Ring ***Somewhere **Lost in Translation *Marie Antoinette

50. Susanne Bier

Director | Hævnen

Susanne Bier was born on April 15, 1960 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a director and writer, known for In a Better World (2010), After the Wedding (2006) and Brødre (2004). She is married to Jesper Winge Leisner. She was previously married to Philip Zandén.

12 stars ***Efter Brylluppet ***Elsker dig for evigt ***Brödre *Haevnen *Den skaldede frisör *Serena

51. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

12 stars ***Blow-Up ***L'Avventura **L'Eclisse **Il grido *La notte *Identificazione di una donna

52. Oliver Stone

Director | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

11 stars ***Natural Born Killers ***Wall Street **Talk Radio **JFK *Comandante

53. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

11 stars ***To Be Or Not to Be ***Ninotchka **The Marriage Circle *Lady Windermere's Fan *The Shop around the Corner *Heaven Can Wait

54. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

11 stars ***A Place in the Sun ***Swing Time *The Diary of Anne Frank *The More the Merrier *Annie Oakley *Woman of the Year *Giant

55. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

He studied art and literature history at the University of Heidelberg. During World War I, he was a combat pilot.

11 stars ***Sunrise **Tabu **Der letzte Mann **Nosferatu *City Girl *Faust

56. Luis Buñuel

Writer | Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the ...

11 stars ***Belle de Jour **Un Chien andalou **Le Journal d'une femme de chambre *Cet obscur objet du désir *Tristana *Los olvidados *El angel exterminador

57. Abdellatif Kechiche

Writer | La vie d'Adèle

Abdellatif Kechiche was born on December 7, 1960 in Tunis, Tunisia. He is a writer and director, known for Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013), L'esquive (2003) and The Secret of the Grain (2007).

10 stars ****La Vie d'Adèle ***La Graine et le mulet ***Vénus noire

58. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the ...

10 stars ****Gone with the Wind ***The Wizard of Oz **Tortilla Flat *Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

59. Mike Nichols

Director | The Graduate

He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. He later ...

10 stars ***The Graduate ***Working Girl ***Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? *Regarding Henry

60. Norman Jewison

Director | In the Heat of the Night

Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, ...

10 stars ***Agnes of God ***In the Heat of the Night **Fiddler on the Roof *Jesus Christ Superstar *Moonstruck

61. Gérard Oury

Writer | Le corniaud

Gérard Oury was born on April 29, 1919 in Paris, France as Max-Gérard Houry. He was an actor and writer, known for The Sucker (1965), Ace of Aces (1982) and The Mad Adventures of 'Rabbi' Jacob (1973). He was married to Michèle Morgan. He died on July 19, 2006 in Saint-Tropez, Var, France.

10 stars ****La Grande Vadrouille ***Le Corniaud **Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob *La Folie des grandeurs

62. Luchino Visconti

Director | Le notti bianche

Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a director and writer, known for Le Notti Bianche (1957), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and Death in Venice (1971). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

10 stars ***Morte a Venezia ***Bellissima *Senso *Ossessione *Il Gattopardo *Le Notti bianche

63. Otto Preminger

Director | Anatomy of a Murder

Otto Ludwig Preminger was born in Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary. His father was a prosecutor, and Otto originally intended to follow his father into a law career; however, he fell in love with the theater and became a stage director. He directed his first film in 1931, and came to the US in ...

10 stars ***The Human Factor ***Bonjour Tristesse *The Fan *River of No Return *Anatomy of a Murder *Angel Face

64. Rob Reiner

Actor | All in the Family

Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner (née Lebost) and Emmy-Winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner.

Robert as a child often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show which Carl Reiner created and also ...

10 stars ***When Harry Met Sally... **Stand by Me **The Princess Bride **Rumor Has It *This Is Spinal Tap

65. Paul Verhoeven

Director | Zwartboek

Paul Verhoeven graduated from the University of Leiden, with a degree in math and physics. He entered the Royal Netherlands Navy, where he began his film career by making documentaries for the Navy and later for TV. In 1969, he directed the popular Dutch TV series, Floris (1969), about a medieval ...

10 stars ***Basic Instinct **Zwartboek **Showgirls *Soldaat van Oranje *Keetje Tippel *Starship Troopers

66. Herbert Ross

Director | The Turning Point

Herbert Ross was born on May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Herbert David Ross. He is known for his work on The Turning Point (1977), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and The Goodbye Girl (1977). He was married to Lee Radziwill and Nora Kaye. He died on October 9, 2001 in New York ...

10 stars ***Steel Magnolias **Play It Again, Sam **The Sunshine Boys *Footloose *The Owl and the Pussycat *Protocol

67. James Parrott

Director | Pardon Us

Hal Roach hired him in the early 20's as a comedian called Paul Parrott but his talent was as a film director. He was also a good writer turning out many scripts for Laurel and Hardy and directed 22 of their films, more than any other of their directors. His first film with them was the 1927 silent...

10 stars ***Pardon Us **The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case **The Music Box *Night Owls *Below Zero *The Chimp

68. James Ivory

Writer | Call Me by Your Name

The main part of his few movies were filmed in the quarter of a century in which he worked closely together with the Indian producer Ismail Merchant and the German writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. His first films are all set in India and are very much influenced by the style of Satyajit Ray and Jean ...

9 stars ****The Remains of the Day **A Room with a View **Howards End *The Golden Bowl

69. Milos Forman

Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...

9 stars ****One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest ***Amadeus **The People vs. Larry Flint

70. Stephen Frears

Director | Dangerous Liaisons

Stephen Frears was born on June 20, 1941 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Stephen Arthur Frears. He is a director and producer, known for Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Philomena (2013) and The Queen (2006). He has been married to Anne Rothenstein since 1992. They have two children. He was ...

9 stars ***Dangerous Liaisons ***Tamara Drewe **High Fidelity *Chéri

71. Alan Parker

Director | Evita

Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam as his ...

9 stars ***Fame ***The Commitments **Mississippi Burning *Bugsy Malone

72. Stanley Donen

Director | Charade

Since he was a child, Stanley Donen attended dance classes and debuted on Broadway at age 17. With the help of the producer Arthur Freed and the actor Gene Kelly he got the chance to direct the musicals On the Town (1949), Singin' in the Rain (1952), and Love Is Better Than Ever (1952) which ...

9 stars ***Singin' in the Rain ***Charade **Funny Face *Bedazzled

73. Guy Hamilton

Director | Live and Let Die

Typically British stiff-upper-lip war dramas and action adventure laced with moments of sophisticated comedy were Guy Hamilton's trademark. The son of a British diplomat, he spent most of his youth with his family in France, seemingly destined to be groomed for a career in the diplomatic service. ...

9 stars ***Goldfinger ***The Man with the Golden Gun **Live and Let Die *The Mirror Crack'd

74. Arthur Hiller

Director | Love Story

Arthur Hiller was born on November 22, 1923 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was a director and actor, known for Love Story (1970), The Hospital (1971) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). He was married to Gwen Hiller. He died on August 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

9 stars ***The Out-of-Towners **Penelope **The In-Laws **Love Story

75. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was born on December 9, 1929 in New York City, New York, USA as John Nicholas Cassavetes. He was an actor and director, known for Love Streams (1984), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Husbands (1970). He was married to Gena Rowlands. He died on February 3, 1989 in Los Angeles, California,...

9 stars ***Opening Night **Shadows **A Woman under the Influence *Faces *Minnie and Moskowitz

76. Stanley Kramer

Producer | Judgment at Nuremberg

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Abramson. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and On the Beach (1959). He was married to ...

9 stars ***It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World **The Defiant Ones **Judgment at Nuremberg *Guess Who's Coming to Diner *Inherit the Wind

77. Michael Powell

Director | A Matter of Life and Death

The son of Thomas William Powell and Mabel (nee Corbett). Michael Powell was always a self-confessed movie addict. He was brought up partly in Canterbury ("The Garden of England") and partly in the south of France (where his parents ran a hotel). Educated at Kings School, Canterbury and Dulwich ...

9 stars ***The Red Shoes **A Canterbury Tale *Black Narcissus *A Matter of Life and Death *The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp *Peeping Tom

78. Cecil B. DeMille

Producer | The Ten Commandments

His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New ...

9 stars **Samson and Delilah **The Greatest Show on Earth **The Ten Commandments (1923) **The Ten Commandments (1956) *Adam's Rib

79. Maurice Pialat

Director | Sous le soleil de Satan

Maurice Pialat was born on August 31, 1925 in Cunlhat, Puy-de-Dôme, France. He was a director and writer, known for Under the Sun of Satan (1987), À nos amours (1983) and L'Enfance Nue (1968). He was married to Sylvie Pialat. He died on January 11, 2003 in Paris, France.

9 stars **À nos amours **Loulou **Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble **Police *Sous le soleil de Satan

80. Leo McCarey

Director | Going My Way

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for Going My Way (1944), An Affair to Remember (1957) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

9 stars **An Affair to Remember **Going My Way **Duck Soup *The Bells of St. Mary's *The Awful Truth *Liberty

81. Claude Berri

Writer | Jean de Florette

Claude Berri was born on July 1, 1934 in Paris, France as Claude Berel Langmann. He was a producer and actor, known for Jean de Florette (1986), The Two of Us (1967) and Germinal (1993). He was married to Anne-Marie Rassam and Sylvie Gautrelet. He died on January 12, 2009 in Paris.

8 stars ****Jean de Florette ****Manon des Sources

82. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Writer | Trois couleurs: Bleu

Krzysztof Kieslowski graduated from Lódz Film School in 1969, and became a documentary, TV and feature film director and scriptwriter. Before making his first film for TV, Przejscie podziemne (1974) (The Underground Passage), he made a number of short documentaries. His next TV title, Personel (...

8 stars ***La Double Vie de Véronique ***Trois couleurs: rouge **Trois couleurs: bleu

83. Mike Leigh

Director | Secrets & Lies

Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Secrets & Lies (1996), Another Year (2010) and Happy-Go-Lucky (2008). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.

8 stars ***Secrets & Lies ***Vera Drake **All or Nothing

84. John Badham

Director | WarGames

English-born "Army brat" John Badham is the son of English actress Mary Hewitt and the stepson of an American Army general. Raised in Alabama and schooled at Yale, he cut his teeth producing and directing for TV before making his feature debut with The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor ...

8 stars ***Saturday Night Fever ***Point of No Return *Wargames *Bird on a Wire

85. King Vidor

Director | The Big Parade

King Vidor was born on February 8, 1894 in Galveston, Texas, USA as King Wallis Vidor. He was a director and writer, known for The Big Parade (1925), Hallelujah (1929) and War and Peace (1956). He was married to Vidor, Elizabeth Hill, Eleanor Boardman and Florence Vidor. He died on November 1, 1982...

8 stars ***Solomon and Sheba **Duel in the Sun **War and Peace *The Fountainhead

86. Charles Vidor

Director | Gilda

Hungarian-born Karoly Vidor spent the First World War as a lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian infantry. Following the armistice, he made his way to Berlin and worked for the German film company Ufa, as editor and assistant director. In 1924, he emigrated to the U.S. and, for several years, earned ...

8 stars ***Gilda **A Farewell to Arms **Rhapsody *Cover Girl

87. Emeric Pressburger

Writer | One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

Educated at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart, Emeric Pressburger worked as a journalist in Hungary and Germany and an author and scriptwriter in Berlin and Paris. He was a Hungarian Jew, chased around Europe (he worked on films for UFA in Berlin and Paris) before World War II, finally ...

8 stars ***The Red Shoes **A Canterbury Tale *Black Narcissus *A Matter of Life and Death *The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

88. Terence Young

Director | Dr. No

Born in Shanghai and Cambridge-educated, Terence Young began in the industry as a scriptwriter. In the 1940s he worked on a variety of subjects, including the hugely popular wartime romance Suicide Squadron (1941), set to Richard Addinsell's rousing "Warsaw Concerto". His original story was devised...

8 stars ***Dr. No **Wait Until Dark *Thunderball *From Russia with Love *Triple Cross

89. Blake Edwards

Writer | Peter Gunn

Blake Edwards' stepfather's father J. Gordon Edwards was a silent screen director, and his stepfather Jack McEdward was a stage director and movie production manager. Blake acted in a number films, beginning with Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942) and wrote a number of others, beginning with ...

8 stars ***Breakfast at Tiffany's **Days of Wine and Roses *The Pink Panther *The Great Race *The Party

90. Richard Fleischer

Director | Soylent Green

Richard Fleischer was born on December 8, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He was a director and producer, known for Soylent Green (1973), The Vikings (1958) and Red Sonja (1985). He was married to Mary Dickson. He died on March 25, 2006 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, ...

8 stars ***Soylent Green **10 Rillington Place *20,000 Leagues Under the Sea *Fantastic Voyage *Barabbas

91. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

8 stars ***Seven Chances **The General *Sherlock Jr. *The Navigator *The Saphead

92. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

8 stars **In Cold Blod **Elmer Gantry *Cat on a Hot Tin Roof *Blackboard Jungle *The Last Time I Saw Paris *$

93. Alejandro Amenábar

Writer | The Others

Is the son of a Spanish mother and a Chilean father. His family moved back to Spain when he was 1 year old, and he grew up and studied in Madrid. He wrote, produced and directed his first short film La cabeza at the age of 19, and he was 23 when he directed his feature debut Tesis (1996). His film ...

7 stars ****The Others ***Abre los ojos

94. Terry Gilliam

Writer | Brazil

Terry Gilliam was born in Minnesota near Medicine Lake. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of Mad magazine. In his early 20's he was often stopped by the police who often suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising....

7 stars ***The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus ***Monty Python and the Holy Grail *Time Bandits

95. Jane Campion

Writer | The Piano

Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early...

7 stars ***The Portrait of a Lady **The Piano *An Angel at My Table *Holy Smoke!

96. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S....

7 stars ***Sullivan's Travels **The Lady Eve **The Palm Beach Story

97. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Ran

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

7 stars ***Ikiru **Rashômon *Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) *Nora inu (Stray Dog)

98. Sergei M. Eisenstein

Director | Aleksandr Nevskiy

The son of an affluent architect, Eisenstein attended the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd as a young man. With the fall of the tsar in 1917, he worked as an engineer for the Red Army. In the following years, Eisenstein joined up with the Moscow Proletkult Theater as a set designer and ...

7 stars ***Bronenosts Potemkin **Stachka *Ivan Grozny *Aleksandr Nevsky

99. Nicholas Ray

Director | Rebel Without a Cause

Nicholas Ray was born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle in 1911, in small-town Galesville, Wisconsin, to Lena (Toppen) and Raymond Joseph Kienzle, a contractor and builder. He was of German and Norwegian descent. Ray's early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the ...

7 stars ***Rebel without a Cause **Bigger than Life *Johnny Guitar *They Live by Night

100. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

7 stars **Il Decameron **Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma *I raconti di Canterbury *Il fiore delle mille e una notte *Medea