Top Ten German Film Directors

The Top Ten
1 Fritz Lang

Director of some of the most important German Expressionist films of all time, including "M", "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" and "Metropolis", much of Lang's visual style, which relied upon heavy shadow and innovative angles over the more absurd distortion of his contemporaries, would provide the basis for the distinctive film noir style in Hollywood. He would later would flee to America from the Nazi's, and make the seminal American noir films "The Big Heat" and "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt".

The author of the superb futuristic movie that try's to mediate the differences between man, Metropolis (1927) and M (1931)

2 Werner Herzog

Perhaps the most well known internationally, of the German New Wave directors, Herzog has one of the most eclectic filmography's of any director, ranging from drama to documentary. His early film "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" is considered one of the greatest films ever made, and was the first of many collaborations with actor Klaus Kinski, which would include "Fitzcaralldo", "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (a remake of Murnau's horror classic) and "Cobra Verde". Other equally lauded works from this early period include "The Enigma of Kasper Hauser". He would begin to focus on documentary work with films like "Grizzly Man", "Cave of Forgotten Dreams", "My Best Fiend" and "Encounters at the End of the World". During the 2000s he would find a return to form with fiction as well, making films like "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" starring Nicholas Cage, "My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done" starring Michael Shannon and produced by David Lynch, and "Rescue Dawn" starring Christian Bale. He is currently working on the upcoming "Queen of the Desert" starring James Franco and Nicole Kidman.

3 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbiner is one of the key pillars of the German New Wave movement of the post war generation, and he made over a film a year for much of his busy, illustrious career. His best known works include "Despair", "Fear Eats the Soul", "Chinese Roulette", and "The Marriage of Maria Braun". Fassbinder is equally known for his highly maverick style of filmmaking as well as his aggressively libertine and wild lifestyle which would lead to his unfortunate demise at age 37.

4 Wolfgang Petersen

Peterson is best known for his work on the film "Das Boot" as well as the German-produced, English language fantasy "The NeverEnding Story", two films which for a moment made him the German equivalent to Steven Spielberg. He would later move to Hollywood and work on films such as "In The Line of Fire", "Troy", "Air Force One" and "The Perfect Storm".

5 Roland Emmerich

This is absolute nonsense. Emmerich IS German, but cannot really be considered a part of German cinema as he works exclusively via Hollywood. Beyond this he has yet to make one film that has been viewed with any sort of artistic merit. Germany is responsible for some of the most important films of all time including "Metropolis" (Fritz Lang), "Olympia" (Riefenstahl), "Wings of Desire" (Wim Wenders), and "Aquirre: The Wrath of God" (Werner Herzog), and it's transplants like Wilder, Land, Murnau, Twyker, etc. are the result of war or international acclaim, unlike Emmerich who did not get brought to America as a result of artistic achievement or political necessity.

Whoever votes for him should be ashamed.

6 Tom Twyker

Director of "Run Lola Run", "Cloud Atlas", "The International" and "Perfume Story of a Murderer", famous for his technical innovation and rapid, innovative editing style which challenges standard linear continuity of Hollywood storytelling.

7 Fatih Akin

Akin is best known for the acclaimed "Soul Kitchen", as well as a variety of other lesser known comedies and work on the ensemble short film collection "New York: I Love You"

Akin is one of best present director in giving comedy movies with some message

8 Wim Wenders
9 F.W. Murnau

Murnau began his career in Germany as one of the premier directors of the silent film era, making films such as "Nosferatu" which would be the first horror film, vampire film, and film to feature Dracula as a main character, "Faust" starring Emil Jannings as the devil, and "Tartuffe", all of which are shining examples of the German Expressionist film aesthetic that he helped pioneer, and would be one of the dominant early film movements alongside French Impressionism and Soviet Montage. Murnau, like many premier German directors, would later flee to Hollywood, where he would make "Sunrise: A Tale of Two Humans" which was recently ranked the 5th best film of all time in the most recent Sight and Sound poll. His film "4 Girls" is regarded as one of his best films, but has unfortunately been lost, however there is hope for a restoration as films such as Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" have also been considered lost for a time.

10 Leni Riefenstahl

Riefenstahl is best known for her work making propaganda for the Nazi's, most famously "Triumph of the Will" which painted Hitler as a messianic figure. However her follow up, "Olympia" which focused on the 1936 Berlin Olympics shows a dedication to authenticity and beauty that transcends it's Nazi roots, as the film spends much of it's time glorifying Jesse Owens and his gold medal race. In spite of her protesting any true Nazi affinity (Riefenstahl was reportedly angry at her work being used as propaganda, and claims to have been on bad terms with Goebbels), her third film Tiefland would not see release until ten years after it's completion. Her final film would be released in 2002, a documentary titled "Underwater Impressions" which was filmed over 30 years and was released just after her 100th birthday.

The Contenders
11 Douglas Sirk
12 Volker Schlöndorff
13 Robert Wein
14 Doris Doerrie
15 Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck
16 Oliver Hirschgbiegel

Hirschgbiegel's best known work is the film "Downfall" which detailed the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. Other work includes the 2007 American Box Office Bomb "The Invasion" and the independent Princess Diana bio-pic "Diana".

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