USA Directors

by mrc-meneghin | created - 20 Oct 2013 | updated - 11 hours ago | Public

1. Terrence Malick

Writer | Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...

Badlands Days of Heaven The Thin Red Line The New World The Tree of Life To the Wonder Knight of Cups Voyage of Time Song to Song

2. 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 ...

Mean Streets Taxi Driver Raging Bull The Last Temptation of Christ Goodfellas Cape Fear The Age of Innocence Casino Gangs of New York The Aviator The Departed Shutter Island Hugo The Wolf of Wall Street Silence

3. Robert Altman

Director | Gosford Park

Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...

MASH McCabe & Mrs. Miller The Long Goodbye Nashville Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson 3 Women Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean Vincent & Theo The Player Short Cuts Cookie's Fortune Gosford Park A Prairie Home Companion

4. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | Punch-Drunk Love

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

Sydney Boogie Nights Magnolia Punch-Drunk Love There Will Be Blood The Master Inherent Vice Phantom Thread

5. 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 ...

Salvador Platoon Wall Street JFK Nixon Alexander World Trade Center W.

6. 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 ...

12 Angry Men The Anderson Tapes Serpico Murder on the Orient Express Dog Day Afternoon Network

7. 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...

Jeremiah Johnson Three Days of the Condor Absence of Malice Tootsie

8. 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 ...

The Godfather The Conversation The Godfather: Part II Apocalypse Now Peggy Sue Got Married The Godfather: Part III

9. Sofia Coppola

Director | Lost in Translation

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 ...

The Virgin Suicides Lost in Translation Somewhere

10. Joel Coen

Writer | Fargo

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Fargo (1996), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Blood Simple Miller's Crossing Fargo The Big Lebowski O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Ladykillers No Country for Old Men A Serious Man True Grit Inside Llewyn Davis Hail, Caesar!

11. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

Strange Days The Hurt Locker Zero Dark Thirty Detroit

12. 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, ...

Raiders of the Lost Ark E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Hook Jurassic Park Schindler's List The Lost World: Jurassic Park Saving Private Ryan Artificial Intelligence: AI Minority Report War of the Worlds Munich Lincoln Bridge of Spies The BFG

13. 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...

Bananas Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask Annie Hall Interiors Manhattan Stardust Memories A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Zelig Broadway Danny Rose The Purple Rose of Cairo Hannah and Her Sisters Radio Days Crimes and Misdemenours Deconstructing Harry Match Point Whatever Works Midnight in Paris Blue Jasmine Magic in the Moonlight Café Society

14. 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 ...

The Killing Paths of Glory Spartacus Lolita Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 2001: A Space Odyssey A Clockwork Orange Barry Lyndon

15. 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, ...

Stagecoach Young Mr. Lincoln The Grapes of Wrath My Darling Clementine The Searchers The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

16. 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...

High Noon A Man for all Seasons

17. 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...

Bringing Up Baby To Have and Have not The Big Sleep Red River Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

18. Spike Jonze

Producer | Her

Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under the ...

Her

19. David Fincher

Director | Se7en

David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials...

Se7en Fight Club Zodiac The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Social Network Gone Girl

20. Steven Soderbergh

Director | Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to ...

Sex, Lies, and Videotape King of the Hill Erin Brockovich Ocean's Eleven Ocean's Twelve Ocean's Thirteen Che: Part One Che: Part Two Contagion

21. David O. Russell

Writer | Three Kings

David Owen Russell is an American film writer, director, and producer, known for a cinema of intense, tragi-comedic characters whose love of life can surpass dark circumstances faced in very specific worlds. His films address such themes as mental illness as stigma or hope; invention of self and ...

Silver Linings Playbook American Hustle

22. Jonathan Dayton

Director | Little Miss Sunshine

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have built an impressive body of work by perpetually seeking innovative projects in a variety of mediums.

After introducing bands such as R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers on their ground-breaking MTV show The Cutting Edge (1992), Jonathan and Valerie continued to ...

Little Miss Sunshine

23. Robert Zemeckis

Writer | Back to the Future

A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone (1984), 1941 (1979)) and special effect ...

Forrest Gump Cast Away Flight

24. 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...

Pulp Fiction Jackie Brown Kill Bill Vol. 1 Kill Bill Vol. 2 Inglorious Basterds Django Unchained The Hateful Eight

25. 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....

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Brazil The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

26. Bryan Singer

Director | X-Men

Bryan Singer was born on September 17, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as Bryan Jay Singer. He is a producer and director, known for X-Men (2000), The Usual Suspects (1995) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

The Usual Suspects

27. Travis Mathews

Director | Discreet

Since 2000, Travis Mathews has been working as a director, screenwriter, editor and producer. Most recently, Mathews collaborated with James Franco to make the docufiction, Interior. Leather Bar. Of the film, The New York Times said it was "one of the sharpest, best surprises" of the 2013 Sundance ...

I Want Your Love

28. Wes Anderson

Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...

Bottle Rocket Rushmore The Royal Tenenbaums The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou The Darjeeling Limited Fantastic Mr. Fox Moonrise Kingdom The Grand Budapest Hotel

29. Benh Zeitlin

Director | Beasts of the Southern Wild

Born in New York City and raised in Sunnyside, Queens and then Westchester County, Benh Zeitlin began his career as a film-maker at the tender age of 6 years when he and a friend made a Batman movie. He continued making films as a child before attending Wesleyan University, where he majored in film...

Beasts of the Southern Wilds

30. Alexander Payne

Director | Nebraska

Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older ...

About Schmidt Sideways The Descendants Nebraska Downsizing

31. Ben Affleck

Producer | Argo

American actor and filmmaker Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are divorced. Ben has...

Gone Baby Gone The Town Argo

32. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

Requiem for a Dream The Wrestler mother!

33. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

High Plains Drifter The Outlaw Josey Wales Unforgiven Gran Torino

34. Josh Trank

Writer | Fantastic Four

Josh Trank was born on February 19, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Joshua Benjamin Trank. He is a writer and director, known for Fantastic Four (2015), Chronicle (2012) and Fonzo.

Chronicle

35. Sam Peckinpah

Writer | Straw Dogs

"If they move", commands stern-eyed William Holden, "kill 'em". So begins The Wild Bunch (1969), Sam Peckinpah's bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. "Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western, Peckinpah explodes the bottle", observed critic Pauline Kael. That ...

The Wild Bunch Straw Dogs

36. 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.

The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger The Women The Philadelphia Story Bhowani Junction My Fair Lady

37. 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...

The Crowd

38. Lewis Milestone

Director | All Quiet on the Western Front

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early ...

Of Mice and Men

39. 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,...

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre The Asphalt Jungle Fat City The Man Who Would Be King

40. Walter Hill

Writer | 48 Hrs.

Hill was born in Long Beach, California and educated at Mexico City College and Michigan State University. He worked in oil drilling and construction in the 60s before becoming a 2nd assistant director in 1967. He has written and co-written screenplays, including several uncredited works. He has ...

The Warriors

41. 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 ...

Scarface The Untuchables Casualties of War

42. Debra Granik

Director | Winter's Bone

Debra Granik was born on February 6, 1963 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Winter's Bone (2010), Down to the Bone (2004) and Leave No Trace (2018).

Winter's Bone

43. 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 ...

A Room with a View Maurice Howards End The Remains of the Day The City of Your Final Destination

44. Gus Van Sant

Director | Elephant

Gus Van Sant was born on July 24, 1952 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Gus Greene Van Sant Junior. He is a director and producer, known for Elephant (2003), My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Drugstore Cowboy (1989).

Milk

45. 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 ...

All about Eve

46. George Clooney

Actor | Up in the Air

George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and television host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney ...

Good Night and Good Luck The Ides of March

47. Todd Field

Director | Little Children

William Todd Field was born in Pomona, California, and began acting after graduating from high school in Portland, Oregon, where he was raised. A budding jazz musician as well, he skipped college in favor of a move east to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark ...

In the Bedroom

48. Bennett Miller

Director | Foxcatcher

Bennett Miller is an American film director, best known for Capote (2005), Moneyball (2011), and Foxcatcher (2014). He began his film career directing the 1998 documentary The Cruise.

In 2006 Miller directed the Bob Dylan music video "When the Deal Goes Down" starring Scarlett Johansson.

Miller has ...

Capote Moneyball Foxcatcher

49. Michael Cimino

Writer | The Deer Hunter

Michael Cimino studied architecture and dramatic arts; later he filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts until the actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). But his biggest success was The Deer...

The Deer Hunter Gates of Heaven

50. 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 ...

Double Indemnity The Lost Weekend Sunset Blvd The Seven Year Itch Some Like It Hot The Apartment One, Two, Three

51. Richard Linklater

Director | Waking Life

Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. ...

Slacker Dazed and Confused Before Sunrise Before Sunset A Scanner Darkly Before Midnight Boyhood Everybody Wants Some!!

52. John Krokidas

Director | Kill Your Darlings

John received his B.A. in Theater and American Studies from Yale University, where he studied acting and graduated with a Distinction in the Major before attending New York University's Graduate Film Program.

He wrote and directed two short films while at NYU. His first, "Shame No More" played at ...

Kill Your Darlings

53. Lilly Wachowski

Writer | The Matrix

Director, writer and producer Lilly Wachowski was born in 1967 in Chicago as Andrew Wachowski, the son of Lynne, a nurse and painter and Ron, a businessman. Lilly was educated at Kellogg Elementary School in Chicago, before moving on to Whitney Young High School. After graduating from high school, ...

The Matrix Cloud Atlas

54. Cary Joji Fukunaga

Producer | Beasts of No Nation

Cary Joji Fukunaga was born on July 10, 1977 in Oakland, California, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Beasts of No Nation (2015), Sin Nombre (2009) and True Detective (2014).

Jane Eyre Beasts of no Nation

55. Alan J. Pakula

Producer | Sophie's Choice

Alan J. Pakula was born on April 7, 1928 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Alan Jay Pakula. He was a producer and director, known for Sophie's Choice (1982), All the President's Men (1976) and Presumed Innocent (1990). He was married to Hannah Pakula and Hope Lange. He died on November ...

All the President's Men

56. Curtis Hanson

Director | L.A. Confidential

After small films like The Bedroom Window (1987) and Sweet Kill (1972), Curtis Hanson went on to direct major features including The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), The River Wild (1994) and the Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential (1997). Setting his sights on another city, Hanson was ...

L.A. Confidential

57. William Friedkin

Director | The French Connection

Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...

The French Connection Killer Joe

58. Craig Zobel

Producer | Compliance

Craig Zobel is a producer and director, known for Compliance (2012), Great World of Sound (2007) and Z for Zachariah (2015).

Compliance

59. Robert Redford

Actor | All Is Lost

Charles Robert Redford, Jr. was born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Martha (Hart), from Texas, and Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, who was originally from Connecticut. He is of English, Scottish, Cornish, and Irish ancestry. Robert's mother died in 1955,...

Ordinary People

60. Jim Jarmusch

Director | Broken Flowers

Moved to New York City at the age of seventeen from Akron, Ohio. Graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English, class of '75. Without any prior film experience, he was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts, New York.

Only Lovers Left Alive

61. Ben Lewin

Writer | The Sessions

Ben Lewin's career as a writer and director is spread across three continents and includes award-winning documentaries, feature films, TV movies, mini-series and episodic programs. Born in Poland in 1946, he migrated to Australia with his family in 1949. As a young man, Lewin showed great passion ...

The Sessions

62. Cameron Crowe

Writer | Almost Famous

Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.

Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...

Almost Famous

63. George Roy Hill

Director | The Sting

George Roy Hill was never able to 'hit it off' with the critics despite the fact that 2 of his films - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and The Sting (1973) - had remained among the top 10 box office hits by 1976. His work was frequently derided as 'impersonal' or lacking in stylistic ...

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid The Sting

64. Peter Bogdanovich

Director | The Last Picture Show

Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a rich Austrian Jewish family. Peter ...

The Last Picture Show Paper Moon

65. 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 ...

Blue Velvet Wild at Heart The Straight Story Mulholland Drive

66. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

Do the Right Thing Mo' Better Blues Malcolm X He Got Game The 25th Hour Chi-raq

67. Jason Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.

Up in the Air

68. Ryan Coogler

Director | Creed

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California, USA as Ryan Kyle Coogler. He is a director and writer, known for Creed (2015), Fruitvale Station (2013) and Black Panther (2018).

Fruitvale Station Creed

69. Michael Mann

Producer | The Insider

A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...

The Last of the Mohicans Heat Insider

70. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

Star Wars Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

71. Dan Gilroy

Writer | Nightcrawler

Dan Gilroy was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Frank D. Gilroy, and sculptor and writer Ruth Dorothy. His brother Tony Gilroy is a screenwriter and director; and his fraternal twin brother, John Gilroy, is a film editor. Through his father, he is of ...

Nightcrawler

72. Todd Haynes

Director | Far from Heaven

Todd Haynes was always interested in art, and made amateur movies and painted while he was still a child. He attended Brown university and majored in art and semiotics. After he graduated he moved to New York City and made the controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988). ...

Velvet Goldmine Far From Heaven Mildred Pierce Carol Wonderstruck

73. Douglas Sirk

Director | Schlußakkord

Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1897, in Hamburg, Germany, to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, ...

All I Desire Magnificent Obsession All That Heaven Allows Written on the Wind Imitation of Life

74. Paul Feig

Producer | Freaks and Geeks

Paul Feig was born on September 17, 1962 in Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Freaks and Geeks (1999), The Heat (2013) and Spy (2015). He has been married to Laurie Karon since September 23, 1994.

Bridesmaids The Heat Spy

75. Martin Ritt

Director | Hud

Martin Ritt, one of the best and most sensitive American filmmakers of all time, was a director, actor and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. His films reflect, like almost none other, a profound and intimate humane vision of his characters.

He originally ...

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

76. Harold Ramis

Writer | Ghost Busters

Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" ...

Groundhog Day Analyze This

77. Seth MacFarlane

Writer | Family Guy

Seth Woodbury MacFarlane was born in the small New England town of Kent, Connecticut, where he lived with his mother, Ann Perry (Sager), an admissions office worker, his father, Ronald Milton MacFarlane, a prep school teacher, and his sister, Rachael MacFarlane, now a voice actress and singer. He ...

Ted

78. 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...

The Adventures of Robin Hood Casablanca

79. John Frankenheimer

Director | The Manchurian Candidate

Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he ...

The Manchurian Candidate Seven Days in May

80. Alex Ross Perry

Writer | Listen Up Philip

Alex Ross Perry is a writer and actor, known for Listen Up Philip (2014), Impolex (2009) and The Color Wheel (2011).

Listen to Me Philip Queen of Earth

81. Noah Baumbach

Writer | The Squid and the Whale

Born in Brooklyn in 1969 Noah Baumbach is the son of two film critics, Georgia Brown and Jonathan Baumbach (also a writer). His studies at Vassar College were the subject of his first film (made as he was 26 years old), Kicking and Screaming (1995). His second major picture, made ten years later, ...

The Squid and the Whale Frances Ha While We're Young

82. Ramin Bahrani

Director | 99 Homes

Ramin Bahrani was born on March 20, 1975 in North Carolina, USA. He is a director and writer, known for 99 Homes (2014), Man Push Cart (2005) and Chop Shop (2007).

At Any Price 99 Homes

83. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of TV producer parents. Abrams planned on going to dental school, but decided to study film at Sarah Lawrence College. At 15, he wrote the music for Don Dohler's Nightbeast (1982). In his senior year, he and Jill ...

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

84. 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 ...

It Happened One Night You Can't Take It with You Mr. Smith Goes to Whashington It's a Wonderful Life

85. Marielle Heller

Director | The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Marielle Heller is a writer, director and actor. She was selected as a 2012 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and 2012 Sundance Directing Fellow, and was honored with the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship, and The Maryland Film Festival Fellowship. Her writing credits include pilots for ABC and ...

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

86. Whit Stillman

Director | Metropolitan

Whit Stillman was born in 1952 and raised in Cornwall in upstate New York, the son of a impoverished débutante from Philadelphia and a Democratic politician from Washington D.C. Stillman graduated from Harvard in 1973 and started out as a journalist in Manhattan, New York City.

In 1980 he met and ...

Metropolitan Barcelona The Last Days of Disco Damsels in Distress Love and Friendship

87. Michael Almereyda

Director | Marjorie Prime

Michael Almereyda was born on April 7, 1959 in Overland Park, Kansas, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Marjorie Prime (2017), Experimenter (2015) and Nadja (1994).

Experimenter

88. 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....

Citizen Kane The Lady from Shanghai Macbeth

89. Tom McCarthy

Producer | Win Win

Tom McCarthy is an American film director, screenwriter, and actor. He is best known for direct and write The Station Agent (2003), The Visitor (2007), Win Win (2011), and Spotlight (2015), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Director.

McCarthy...

Spotlight

90. Adam McKay

Writer | The Big Short

Adam McKay (born April 17, 1968) is an American screenwriter, director, comedian, and actor. McKay has a comedy partnership with Will Ferrell, with whom he co-wrote the films Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys. Ferrell and McKay also founded their comedy website Funny or Die through ...

The Big Short

91. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Anomalisa

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

Synecdoke New York Anomalisa

92. Bob Fosse

Director | Cabaret

Bob Fosse was born on June 23, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Robert Louis Fosse. He is known for his work on Cabaret (1972), All That Jazz (1979) and Lenny (1974). He was married to Gwen Verdon, Joan McCracken and Mary Ann Niles. He died on September 23, 1987 in Washington, District of Columbia...

Cabaret All That Jazz

93. Roger Allers

Director | The Lion King

Roger Allers was born on June 29, 1949 in Rye, New York, USA. He is known for his work on The Lion King (1994), Aladdin (1992) and Beauty and the Beast (1991).

The Lion King The Prophet

94. 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 ...

Funny Face

95. Arthur Penn

Director | Bonnie and Clyde

Arthur Penn was born on September 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He was a director and producer, known for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Little Big Man (1970) and The Miracle Worker (1962). He was married to Peggy Maurer. He died on September 28, 2010 in Manhattan, New York City, New York,...

Bonnie and Clyde Little Big Man

96. Tony Gilroy

Writer | Michael Clayton

Tony Gilroy was born in Manhattan, New York, New York, USA; and raised in upstate New York. His father, Frank D. Gilroy, was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director, and screenwriter. Tony has penned many films, including The Devil's Advocate (1997) and The Cutting Edge (1992).

Michael Clayton

97. Kelly Reichardt

Director | Wendy and Lucy

Kelly Reichardt was born and raised in Miami-Dade Country, Florida, to a family of police officers. She had an interest in photography from a very young age. She started by using her father's camera, which he used for photographing crime scenes. She went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in ...

Wendy and Lucy Meek's Cutoff Certain Women

98. Hal Ashby

Director | Harold and Maude

Hal Ashby was born the fourth and youngest child in a Mormon household in Ogden, Utah, on September 2, 1929. His father was a dairy farmer. After a rough childhood that included the divorce of his parents, his father's suicide, his dropping out of high school, getting married and divorced all ...

Being There

99. Mel Gibson

Actor | Braveheart

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...

Braveheart Apocalypto

100. Courtney Hunt

Director | Frozen River

Courtney Hunt was born in 1964 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Frozen River (2008), The Whole Truth (2016) and Fear the Walking Dead (2015).

Frozen River