Top 25 Directors

by sj0141547 | created - 03 Jan 2013 | updated - 04 May 2013 | Public

1. 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...

Fantastic, everything about his films. My favorite thing about this director is the fact that he writes his own screenplays and does a splendid job on all of them. My favorite work would have to be Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained, my least favorite is Death Proof but I still love it. A lot of violence is incorporated in his films but that's a key element to his work and partially what makes it so great.

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 ...

Few directors have had more classics than Martin Scorsese. When he directs a film you might as well name it an instant classic. My favorite work of his is either Goodfellas or the Departed. Both are fantastic. My least favorite would have to be Hugo. It was an attempt to branch out and work digitally, and though it was a great movie, it was not quite the same as his classic works. I am very excited about The Wolf of Wall Street.

3. 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...

A former employee of ILM, Fincher began directing music videos. His first directorial attempt at a feature length film was Alien3. Fincher works with a very dark sense of directing. My favorite film he has directed to date... There are so many I love: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Se7en, and Fight Club are all amazing. My least favorite work is Alien3, but it is very hard to compete with the first two. I am very much anticipating The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

4. 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 ...

Stanley Kubrick probably has more movies in the top 100 than any other single director. He is one of the few directors to experience the changes of directing for 50 years, releasing Paths of Glory in 1957 and Eyes Wide Shut shortly before his death in 1999. His films are often times slow moving, with several very long scenes and often have beautiful cinematography. My favorite films of his are A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. I really don't have a least favorite when it comes to Stanley Kubrick.

5. 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 ...

No other director owned the 70's like Coppola did. He released what many would call the greatest film of all time in 1972 with his release of The Godfather. in the 70's alone he generated three Oscar Nominations resulting in two wins. His best work would have to be The Godfather but all of it is spectacular.

6. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

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, ...

Stanley Kubrick may be the only director compares with Spielberg in versatility of direction. Doing everything from serious films such as Schindler's List and Lincoln to War of the Worlds, he has shown he can own whatever film has to offer. His best work to date is Schindler's List, which is absolutely excellent. Anything he did in the 80's or 90's is terrific as well. He has won too many Oscars to keep up with and unfortunately got screwed out of best movie for Lincoln.

7. Frank Darabont

Writer | The Walking Dead

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...

Director of what many refer to as the greatest film of all time, Frank Darabont didn't win a single Oscar for what should have been a sweep. Not only is he an excellent director but also adapt his screenplays himself, his two best being The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. No one makes classic prison films quite like Frank Darabont.

8. 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....

A director who can make a serious film but also shows the he still has a very silly side. Terry Gilliam has written and directed some of the best comedy classics such as the Mont Python collection and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and then shown he can still make a serious film with Twelve Monkeys. His best work to date is probably Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Life of Brian. Instant classics.

9. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Described by film producer Michael Deeley as "the very best eye in the business", director Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him ...

Ridley Scott has directed some of the greatest films of all time on all fronts. His greatest film in my opinion is his first real hit, Alien, that began one of the greatest sci-fi series ever. Since he has done several amazing films such as Gladiator, landing him the best picture/director awards and Hannibal, the adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel, another great movie. His most recent work, Prometheus, has proved he still has his directive strength.

10. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

Peter Jackson's CGI driven films have completely turned modern filmmaking around in the ways he is able to do entire scenes in computer generation. His Lord of the Rings trilogy was flawless, The Hobbit has proved to be good as well and everything in between has been adequate at worst. King Kong is probably his worst film, still a very good picture, District 9 is awesome. He has proved he can make a good film out of most anything he puts his hand to

11. 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 ...

Aronofsky is one of those directors who as soon as you start the movie, you know it will play tricks on your mind and mess with you. He makes some beautiful movies though, such as Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, or The Wrestler. He also directed a movie with one of the greatest actress sweeps in history, winning Natalie Portman 29 awards for her performance in Black Swan. Not bad Portman.

12. 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 ...

No director has been so influential in the science fiction genre, nor had as big a cult following in their movies as George Lucas. Beginning with American Graffiti, he showed potential. Then, in 1977 when he released Star Wars, he showed that he could do a film everyone said was impossible and still has good visual effects and cinematography to this day. Then, he helped write another classic series, Indiana Jones, which showed that though he may age, his movies and influence do not.

13. 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 Blood Simple (1984). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Because it would be unfair to put them both on this list, I'll give Ethan Coen an honorable mention, since they go hand in hand. The Coen Brothers have released some fantastic movies, my favorite being The Big Lebowski or No Country For Old Men. The Coen Brothers write their own films and do a damn good job at it.

14. 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...

One of the few directors with an award in his name for his contributions to film, Clint Eastwood has made some of the most renowned film of all time, his greatest being The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. another classic Eastwood film is Mystic River, followed closely by Gran Torino. If it's done by Clint Eastwood, chances are it's a great film.

15. 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 ...

Possibly one of the greatest horror film directors of all time. In his genre, no one has more classics or tops Alfred Hitchcock. The 39 Steps: classic. Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, North by Northwest, all classics. Alfred Hitchcock i truly untouchable when it comes to film.

16. Jonathan Demme

Director | The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme was born on February 22, 1944 in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA as Robert Jonathan Demme. He was a director and producer, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died...

Really only one film landed Jonathan Demme on this list and it is probably my favorite film of all time, Silence of the Lambs. His directing and everything else to do with this film is flawless. It shows that if you have one perfect film, you can be a film legend, as well as sweep the 5 major categories of the Oscars.

17. 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 ...

Every other film Forman does wins an Oscar or two and he has done his fair share. He two best films undoubtedly are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus. These two are some of the greatest films ever.

18. 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, ...

Ang Lee was not off to a good start when he made Hulk, but in more recent days, he has shown his potential and I have a feeling his best film is still yet to come. In 7 years he won the best director award twice, which in today's cinema, is a difficult feat. Brokeback Mountain showed he was not afraid to go against the grain and make a controversial film and Life of Pi showed the real beauty in his films.

19. Robert Rodriguez

Producer | El mariachi

Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent.

Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York (1981), none ...

A director who does it all himself ll the wa down to the special effects, Robert Rodriguez is one of those directors who doesn't mind to make a stupid movie, a bad movie, a weird movie, he makes movies for himself. This doesn't mean, however, that he can't make a great movie. Sin City is one of the greatest films ever made and is a classic already. There was a period when he made some bad movies in the days of Spy Kids and Sharkboy and Lavagirl, then there's From Dusk Till Dawn and Planet Terror, which are both awesome.

20. 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....

Beginning his fame by sending half of America into chaos with the Narration of War of the Worlds over the radio, Orson Welles went on to create what many say is the best film ever, Citizen Kane. Absolutely wonderful.

21. Tony Kaye

Director | Detachment

Tony Kaye was born in London, United Kingdom. He has made several well-known music videos, including the video for "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum, which won a Grammy Award, "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers, "What God Wants" by Roger Waters, and "Help Me" and "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by ...

Really only one film to date, but what an impression it has made. American History X is one of my favorite films ever made and a true classic. God knows it would have won several Oscars were the Academy Awards not so pretentious and afraid of giving an Oscar to Neo-Nazi exploitation film. Tony Kaye was not afraid to do the film, which really says something considering he's been bashed repeatedly for it.

22. Roman Polanski

Director | 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 ...

Growing up in war-torn Poland during WWII was a huge influence on Roman Polanski. Showing a lot of versatility, he has directed some acclaimed films such as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and greatest of all, The Pianist.

23. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

No one does films with budgets quite like James Cameron does. Avatar: amazing, a visual feast. Aliens: lived up to the original very well. James Cameron has shown that he really is one of the greats of our time.

24. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Dunkirk

Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.


Christopher Nolan appeals to a very specific group, which is not quite my cup of tea. His movies to me are typically very overrated but some are still good. I was not a fan of the Batman series but that does not mean he didn't do a good job in directing, that was excellent. The Prestige and Memento are his best in my opinion, Inception was way overrated but a well written film.

25. Troy Duffy

Writer | The Boondock Saints

Troy Duffy was born on June 8, 1971 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is a writer and director, known for The Boondock Saints (1999), The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) and The Blood Spoon Council. He has been married to Angela Green since October 2006.

Troy Duffy has made one of the best films of all time, The Boondock Saints. When it comes to mob/assassin movies, few contend with The Boondock Saints. A classic immediately after its release.

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