Greatest Film Directors of All Time

The Contenders: Page 2

21 David Lean

Every film he made came from a book which was considered impossible to adapt and he didn't just successfully do it, but ended up turning them into the greatest movies of all time. People not voting for him would either have a bad taste or don't know a thing about him, that's it. Plain and simple

2 of his films are in my top 15: Lawrence of Arabia (the greatest epic ever made) and The Bridge on The River Kwai (which arguably has the greatest ending of any film). His filmography is epic in every sense of the word.

For one man, to have directed so many classics (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, A Passage to India, Brief Encounter, Hobson's Choice, Blithe Spirit, Ryan's Daughter, etc.) is almost unbelievable. Not to mention, all the others, he'd worked on as an editor.

22 David Lynch David Lynch

I've heard he was originally hired to be the director of star wars episode 6 return of the Jedi, but he refused because he stated that Lucas should direct the film himself as the movie should reflect his own vision, not lynch's take on it.

Most creative director ever and you don't put him on the list? - Ioramus

One of the most brilliant directors alive. "Eraserhead" is a masterpiece - an union of creativity and excellent directing (with the most sharply beautiful sound design in the history of cinematic expression).

Brilliant director. His only bad film is Dune. All his other films are amazing.

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23 Sergio Leone

Good bad ugly - best movie ever. Once upon a time in West - best Western ever. Once upon a time in America one of the best gangster movies ever. For a few dollars more - best spaghetti western ever. A fistful of dollars - creator of spaghetti western genre

A genius. He only did one bad film. Most the directors ranked above him can't make that claim. It's such a shame he died when he did. Two days before signing the contract to direct his WWII epic. One of cinema's greatest losses.

'Once upon a time in the West' is arguably the best Western of all time. It's the ultimate Western, because it perfectly captures the end of an era.

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24 David Fincher

This is so not the truth, david fincher is far better than peter jackson and mikhael... He's work in movies like zodiac and seven and many more movies... Would totally prove this wrong... He should at least be the tenth... He deserves it... I love fincher for the way he makes the movie, and the way he presents it... I love him for the works HE HAS DONE AND THE LEGENDARY REMARKS THAT THEY ARE AND no one CAN REPLACE IT...!

A young gifted and talented director. One of the greatest upcoming geniuses, who will change the modern motion pictures future.

I've heard he was originally going to be the director of star wars episode 6 return of the Jedi, but he refused because he stated that Lucas should direct the film himself as the movie would reflect his own vision, not lynch's take on it.

Far too underrated

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25 Federico Fellini

A flash of geniality in the european sky! - Ribaldo67

How the hell is he so low - NickFellini

26 Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson is a strange cookie. His films always involve strange camera maneuvers, eccentric colour choices, made-up worlds and symmetrical shots with such perfectionism that you leave the cinema wondering if he's borderline autistic. His films are full of hilarious but subtle humour and are always a pleasure to watch. He gets my vote for being brave and bold enough to create his own cinema style and not just conform to the usual Hollywood rubbish. He's indeed a very intelligent man and his films will always be Jewels.

Wes' style is very niche, and the problem with this format is that no one can give their number 2, 3, etc. If they could, Wes would be way higher on this list. Unfortunately, he isn't anybody's favorite director. Just showing him some love, as he definitely deserves it.

He's way better than that fool Tim Burton. His movies are so smart and well written. He is definitely one of the best contemporary directors.

You can tell that a film is a Wes Anderson one just by looking at it.

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27 Andrey Tarkovskiy

Films wouldn't be the same without tarkovsky, the style, the cinematography, the message in his films are way ahead than others directors. Spielberg, cameron, scott, lucas, etc are just candy sellers, Tarkovsky is art.
I understand why there is people who don't like him, but you can't say that he is not one of the most important film maker in history.

Tarkovsky is one of the ten samurais of the world cinema. He is probably the greatest discoverer of reality through the prism of mix of intuition, intellect and vision.

The greatest film maker ever.. The man who showed the world the purpose of cinema as an art form..

Number 1 Director of all time because other directors are just movie sellers for money but Tarkovsky is an Art.

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28 Henry Selick

Number one for technology at the time and screenplay.

29 Terry Gilliam

Superb films from a brilliant mind. Thank you terry old chap.

From 'Time Bandits' to 'Brazil' to 'Baron Munchausen', 'The Fisher King', '12 Monkeys' to 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and 'The Brothers Grimm', he created intelligent, visually stunning, inspiring and creative masterpieces. Shame, he never finished 'The Man who killed Don Quixote' this story would have been perfect for him.

30 Satyajit Ray

Mr Ray at no 19 and Mr Spielberg at number 1, even better from Kurosawa. really funny. how the greatest cinematic genius is disrespected by this kind of ranking. Mr spielberg took the complete script of E T... from Ray's story The Alien which he had written to make a film with Colombia Pictures. please don't make this kind of ranking..

The site does not know what kind of director he was. He can never be in no. 52. How can maker of Jurassic PArk topple him. People doesn't watch his films. His films speak the file of commoners. He is the best director of all time. Satyajit is great.

Spielberg is good but Satyajit Ray is the best

What?...Satyajit Ray in the hell guys...he was the one of the greatest director that world has witnessed.Please do watch his films.

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31 Mani Ratnam

one of finest indian director -

He can narrate any complicated story with ease and beautiful frames and wonderful technical aesthetics.

Just copied from others movie and showcased big budget movie - gdchetan

One of the most talented Indian directer

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32 Hayao Miyazaki Hayao Miyazaki Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist.

Everything about the way this man portrays his art is awe inspiring his obscure but interesting choice of camera angles his deep and simplistic philosophical themes all the way down to his storytelling which does not adhere to the common plot structure even his animation alone should win him the number 1 spot on this list he does not need special effects nor does he need a big budget just a piece of paper a pencil and the sheer magnitude of his imagination

What a great animator! His Ghibli films are all top-notch and bring out the inner kid in everyone. Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind... Even if you don't like foreign films, his animations are worth seeing!

33 Walt Disney Walt Disney Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. V 1 Comment
34 Clint Eastwood Clint Eastwood Clinton "Clint" Eastwood Jr. is an American actor, film director, producer, musician, and political figure.

An expert, so real. This is why he is the best, because his view of the world is real, its true. Its because he's a conservative. You see, liberals don't get it. Look at the Newsroom by Aaron Sorkin, it's a pretty (if not smug and sanctimonious) view of how the would SHOULD be. But Eastwood produces films which depict how the world IS: dark, dirty, vicious, cruel, but also nuanced, subtle, and capable of redemption.

flags of ou fathers and letters from iwo jima! WOO - doodie-dude25

Everything he makes is perfection. A truly talented man.

Both a good actor and director. - zxm

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35 Wes Craven

He is the director of lots of slasher and horror movies. the only movie directed by him that is not a horror movie is music of the heart starring Meryl Streep

Nightmare On Elm Street. Hello? Now what movie was better than that?

36 Kasinathuni Viswanath

A legendary director who took telugu film and culture on to a global level. One of the best directors known for the classical touch in his films.

A great classical cinema director in Telugu and Tamil film industry!

Why are there no girls on the list?

37 Paul Thomas Anderson

33 shocking. This man boasts an impeccable and awesomely eclectic track record. From the exuberance of Boogie sweep to the Broad sweeping drama of There will be blood. This man is a genius and he always collaborates with the best actors and draws the very best out of them. For me the best living director.

One of the best directors making movies now. Every movie is a classic. From Hard Eight to Inherent Vice, its amazing to see how he has evolved

There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights are masterpieces. A modern day Kubrick.

38 S. Shankar

He is the best director the film Industry has seen... His thoughts his imagination has no ends... His thoughts through social awareness is awesome... Hats off to him... I bow my head to him...

Top director in India... Can expect a lot from him..

He's an master piece

He introduced hollywood standards to Indian film industry.

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39 Mikhail Kalatozov
40 Darren Aronofsky

Watch Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Black Swan, and honestly tell me Aronofsky is not a top 10 director! His thought-provoking, brilliantly-shot masterpieces are complemented by some of the greatest scores by the underrated Clint Mansell. Although a young director now, expect him to be listed in the ranks of Scorsese and Tarantino as his repertoire grows.

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List StatsUpdated 26 May 2017

12,000 votes
265 listings
10 years, 134 days old

Top Remixes (92)

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3. George Lucas
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3. Francis Ford Coppola

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