Directors and Their Movies

by mike-greenberg8 | created - 30 May 2017 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

This is a list of my favorite directors (not entirely in order/subject to change) and their films. In the notes for each director, I've split their feature films into two separate groups - those I've seen and those currently on my watchlist. For those that I have seen, I've attempted to assign them a rank respective only to that director's other works. My intention is to continuously revise this list as I discover new directors and films, or re-watch old favorites with a new perspective.

1. Denis Villeneuve

Director | Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve is a French Canadian film director and writer. He was born in 1967, in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada. He started his career as a filmmaker at the National Film Board of Canada. He is best known for his feature films Arrival (2016), Sicario (2015), Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), ...

1. Arrival (2016) 10/10 2. Enemy (2013) 10/10 3. Sicario (2015) 10/10 4. Incendies (2010) 10/10 5. Prisoners (2013) 9/10 6. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) 8/10

To Watch: Polytechnique (2009) _________________________ Maelstrom (2000) August 32nd on Earth (1998)

2. 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.

...

1. Interstellar (2014) 10/10 1. The Prestige (2006) 10/10 3. Inception (2010) 10/10 4. Memento (2000) 10/10 5. The Dark Knight (2008) 9/10 6. Batman Begins (2005) [rewatch] 7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) [rewatch]

To Watch: Dunkirk (2017) Following (1998)

3. 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 ...

1. The Godfather (1972) 10/10 1. Apocalypse Now (1979) 10/10 3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) 10/10 4. The Rainmaker (1997) 9/10 5. The Godfather: Part III (1990) [rewatch] 6. The Outsiders (1983) [rewatch]

To Watch: Tetro (2009) Youth Without Youth (2007) Jack (1996) Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) Gardens of Stone (1987) Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) The Cotton Club (1984) Rumble Fish (1983) One from the Heart (1981) The Conversation (1974) The Rain People (1969) Finian's Rainbow (1968) You're a Big Boy Now (1966) Dementia 13 (1963)

4. 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, ...

1. Schindler's List (1993) [rewatch] 2. Saving Private Ryan (1998) [rewatch] 3. Munich (2005) 10/10 4. Lincoln (2012) 9/10 5. Catch Me If You Can (2002) 8/10 6. Jurassic Park (1993) [rewatch] 7. Minority Report (2002) 8/10 8. The Post (2017) 8/10 9. Bridge of Spies (2015) 8/10 10. The Terminal (2004) [rewatch] 11. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) [rewatch] 12. War of the Worlds (2005) [rewatch] 13. Ready Player One (2018) 7/10

To Watch: The BFG (2016) War Horse (2011) The Adventures of Tintin (2011) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Amistad (1997) Hook (1991) Always (1989) Empire of the Sun (1987) The Color Purple (1985) 1941 (1979) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) The Sugarland Express (1974) Firelight (1964)

5. 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...

1. Pulp Fiction (1994) 10/10 2. Django Unchained (2012) 9/10 3. Reservoir Dogs (1992) [rewatch] 4. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 9/10 5. The Hateful Eight (2015) 9/10 6. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) 9/10 7. Sin City (2005) 8/10 8. Inglourious Basterds (2009) 7/10

To Watch: Death Proof (2007) Jackie Brown (1997) Four Rooms (1995) _________________________ My Best Friend's Birthday (1987)

6. Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Producer | The Revenant

Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director.

González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born ...

1. The Revenant (2015) 10/10 2. 21 Grams (2003) 10/10 3. Amores Perros (2000) 8/10 4. Babel (2006) 8/10 5. Birdman (2014) 9/10 6. Biutiful (2010) 7/10

7. 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 ...

1. The Departed (2006) 9/10 2. Goodfellas (1990) 8/10 3. Shutter Island (2010) 9/10 4. Casino (1995) 9/10 5. Taxi Driver (1976) 9/10 6. Hugo (2011) 8/10 7. Gangs of New York (2002) [rewatch] 8. The Aviator (2004) [rewatch] 9. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) 6/10

To Watch: The Irishman (2018) Silence (2017) Bringing out The Dead (1999) Kundun (1997) The Age of Innocence (1993) Cape Fear (1991) Raging Bull (1980) The Last Waltz (1978) _________________________ The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) The Color of Money (1986) After Hours (1985) The King of Comedy (1982) New York, New York (1977) Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) Mean Streets (1973) Boxcar Bertha (1972) Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967)

8. 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 ...

1. Gladiator (2000) 10/10 2. Blade Runner (1982) 8/10 3. Black Hawk Down (2001) [rewatch] 4. The Martian (2015) 8/10 5. All the Money in the World (2017) 8/10 6. Kingdom of Heaven (2005) 7/10 7. American Gangster (2007) [rewatch] 8. Prometheus (2012) 7/10

To Watch: Battle of Britain (announced) Alien: Covenant (2017) Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) The Counsellor (2013) Robin Hood (2010) Body of Lies (2008) A Good Year (2006) Matchstick Men (2003) Hannibal (2001) G.I. Jane (1997) White Squall (1996) 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) Thelma & Louise (1991) Black Rain (1989) Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) Legend (1985) Alien (1979) The Duellists (1977)

9. 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 ...

1. Requiem for a Dream (2000) 10/10 2. The Wrestler (2008) 9/10 3. Black Swan (2010) 9/10 4. The Fountain (2006) 8/10 5. Pi (1998) 9/10 6. Noah (2014) 7/10

To Watch: Mother! (2017)

10. 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...

1. Fight Club (1999) 10/10 2. Se7en (1995) 9/10 3. Gone Girl (2014) 8/10 4. Zodiac (2007) 8/10 5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) [rewatch] 6. The Social Netowrk (2010) [rewatch] 7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) [rewatch]

To Watch: World War Z 2 (rumored) Panic Room (2002) The Game (1997) Alien 3 (1992)

11. Alfonso Cuarón

Writer | Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. He didn't receive his first camera until his twelfth birthday, and then ...

1. Children of Men (2006) 10/10 2. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) 9/10 3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 8/10 3. Gravity (2013) [rewatch]

To Watch: Roma (2018) Great Expectations (1998) A Little Princess (1995)

12. 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 ...

1. Full Metal Jacket (1987) 9/10 2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [rewatch] 3. Dr. Strangelove (1964) 8/10 4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) 8/10

To Watch: The Shining (1980) Barry Lyndon (1975) A Clockwork Orange (1971) Lolita (1962) Spartacus (1960) Paths of Glory (1957) The Killing (1956) _________________________ Killer's Kiss (1955) Fear and Desire (1953)

13. Hayao Miyazaki

Director | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...

1. Spirited Away (2001) 10/10 2. Princess Mononoke (1997) 10/10 3. Howl's Moving Castle (2004) 8/10

To Watch: The Wind Rises (2013) Ponyo (2008) Porco Rosso (1992) Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Castle in the Sky (1986)

14. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

1. A History of Violence (2005) 10/10 2. Eastern Promises (2007) 9/10 3. Spider (2002) 7/10

To Watch: Maps to the Stars (2014) Cosmopolis (2012) A Dangerous Method (2011) eXistenZ (1999) Crash (1996) M. Butterfly (1993) Naked Lunch (1991) Dead Ringers (1988) The Fly (1986) The Dead Zone (1983) Videodrome (1983) Scanners (1981) The Brood (1979) Fast Company (1979) Rabid (1977)

15. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

1. Trainspotting (1996) 10/10 2. Steve Jobs (2015) 8/10 3. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) [rewatch] 4. 127 Hours (2010) [rewatch] 5. T2 Trainspotting (2017) 7/10 6. 28 Days Later (2002) [rewatch] 7. The Beach (2000) 6/10

To Watch: Bond 25 (2019) Trance (2013) Sunshine (2007) Millions (2004) A Life Less Ordinary (1997) Shallow Grave (1994)

16. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

17. 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. ...

1. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) 9/10 2. Dazed and Confused (1993) [rewatch] 3. School of Rock (2003) [rewatch] 4. Boyhood (2014) 7/10

To Watch: Before Midnight (2013) Bernie (2011) Me and Orson Welles (2008) A Scanner Darkly (2006) Fast Food Nation (2006) Bad News Bears (2005) Before Sunset (2004) Tape (2001) Waking Life (2001) The Newton Boys (1998) SubUrbia (1996) Before Sunrise (1995) Slacker (1991)

18. Bernardo Bertolucci

Writer | The Last Emperor

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director whose films were known for their colorful visual style, was born in Parma, Italy. He attended Rome University and became famous as a poet. He served as assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini in the film Accattone (1961) and directed La Commare Secca (...

1. The Last Emperor (1987) 8/10 2. The Dreamers (2003) 7/10

19. 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 ...

1. The Terminator (1984) [rewatch] 2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) [rewatch] 3. Avatar (2009) [rewatch] 4. Titanic (1997) [rewatch]

To Watch: Avatar (2020) The Informationist (announced) True Lies (1994) The Abyss (1989) Aliens (1986)

20. Sam Mendes

Producer | Road to Perdition

Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-...

1. American Beauty (1999) 10/10 2. Road to Perdition (2002) [rewatch] 3. Skyfall (2012) [rewatch] 4. Spectre (2015) 7/10 5. Jarhead (2005) [rewatch]

To Watch: The Voyeur's Motel (announced) Away We Go (2009) Revolutionary Road (2008)

21. 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...

1. There Will Be Blood (2007) 9/10 2. Boogie Nights (1997) 8/10 3. The Master (2012) 7/10

To Watch Phantom Thread (2017) Inherent Vice (2014) Punch Drunk Love (2002) Magnolia (1999) Hard Eight (1996)

22. Ethan Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two ...

No Country for Old Men (2009) 9/10 Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) 8/10 Burn After Reading (2008) 8/10

To Watch: Hail, Caesar! (2016) ...

23. Guy Ritchie

Director | Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and ...

1. Snatch (2000) 9/10 2. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) 9/10 3. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) 7/10

To Watch: Sherlock Holmes 3 (rumored) Aladdin (pre-production) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Sherlock Holmes (2009) RocknRolla (2008) Revolver (2005) Swept Away (2002)

24. 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 ...

1. Mulholland Drive (2001) 8/10

25. 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 ...

26. 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...

27. Werner Herzog

Director | Fitzcarraldo

Director. Writer. Producer. Has studied history, literature and theatre, but hasn't finished it. Founded his own production company in 1963. Has staged several operas, besides others in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has won numerous national and international awards for...

28. 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 ...

29. Kevin Smith

Producer | Clerks

Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank but grew up in Highlands, New Jersey, the son of Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry.

His ...

30. 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 ...

31. Luc Besson

Writer | Le cinquième élément

Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997), as an adolescent bored in ...

1. Leon: The Professional (1994) 9/10 2. The Fifth Element (1997) [rewatch]

To Watch: Lucy (2014)

32. 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).

1. Good Will Hunting (2000) 9/10

To Watch: Milk (2008) Paranoid Park (2007) Last Days (2005) Elephant (2003) Finding Forrester (2000)

33. 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,...

34. 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 ...

35. 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 ...

36. 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 ...

37. 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 ...

38. 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 ...

39. 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...

40. 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....

41. Oliver Stone

Producer | 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 ...



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