IMDb Polls

Poll: Director Trademarks

These talented auteurs all exhibit a near instantly recognizable style in their films - so recognizable in fact, that it doesn't take their viewers long to know whose film they are watching upon beginning. This could mean recurring themes, special effects or a general tone with which we've come to associate these directors.

Rather than asking which director is your favorite, which of these director's trademarks do you find MOST RECOGNIZABLE?

Source: http://www.cinelinx.com/topics/director-trademarks.html

After voting, you may discuss the poll here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!
     

    Keir Dullea in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    STANLEY KUBRICK

    Character isolation, long shots, introductory voice over, satire/black humour, bathroom scenes, POV shots, classical music.

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    Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)

    ALFRED HITCHCOCK

    Cameo appearance, suspenseful music, dark atmosphere, leading blonde, mistaken identity, ordinary people entangled in event.

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    Gerard Butler in 300 (2006)

    ZACH SNYDER

    Timeline ramping, action zooms, over the top violence, foreshadowing, slow-mo face punches, particles, a montage introduction.

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    Henry Thomas and Pat Welsh in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    STEVEN SPIELBERG

    Epic John Williams score, glowing lights in dark scenes, parent issues, reflection shots, that bewildered 'Spielberg' face.

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    Owen Wilson, Larry Pine, and Tony Revolori in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

    WES ANDERSON

    Symmetrical framing, vibrant/bright colors, wide angle shots, slow motion, trio of siblings, fast-paced comedy marked by seriousness.

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    Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice (1988)

    TIM BURTON

    Gothic visuals, dark tone, flashback storytelling, blend of fantasy and horror elements, eccentric/misunderstood outcasts.

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    Woody Allen in Annie Hall (1977)

    WOODY ALLEN

    The anti-nihilistic, romantically self-destructive male protagonist (usually played by himself), set in NYC, bathos, heavy use of dialogue, traditional jazz soundtrack, a spring-autumn romance.

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    Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, Edward Binns, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec, Jack Warden, and Robert Webber in 12 Angry Men (1957)

    SIDNEY LUMET

    Set in one location, the little guy who summons the courage to challenge the system, social justice, unobtrusive camera.

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    Laura Harring and Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr. (2001)

    DAVID LYNCH

    Use of dreams/imagery, surreal visuals, deformity, moving object close ups, fade transitions, ambient noises, dark passages.

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    Tokyo Story (1953)

    YASUJIRŌ OZU

    Static shots, views at objects as a transition between scenes, family dramas, recurring teakettle, camera point of view at low height.

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    Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense (1999)

    M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN

    Cameo appearance, Pennsylvania setting, color symbolism, poor looking CGI, twist ending.

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    Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in The Seventh Seal (1957)

    INGMAR BERGMAN

    Black-and-white, characters filmed in shadows, pillow shots, brainstorming over life, god and mortality, closeups on clocks.

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    Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

    WERNER HERZOG

    Protagonists who are social outsiders and/or descent into madness, voice-over narration, distortion or rejection of reality, struggles against indifferent nature, hypnosis.

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    Takeshi Kitano in Sonatine (1993)

    TAKESHI KITANO

    Kitano himself as a stoic protagonist, very long scenes without action, Joe Hisaishi scores, peaceful beach scenes, quick outbursts of violence.

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    Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington in Avatar (2009)

    JAMES CAMERON

    Pioneering visual effects, strong female leads, machines vs. humans, camera monitoring the situation, the phrase "Lets go!"

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    Frances McDormand in Fargo (1996)

    THE COEN BROTHERS

    A crime gone wrong, black comedy, screaming characters, foolish characters, car tension, rustic with yellow tones.

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    Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver (2017)

    EDGAR WRIGHT

    Quick action montage, stylistic visuals, bar/pub plot element, fence jump fail, repeated dialog.

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    Seven Samurai (1954)

    AKIRA KUROSAWA

    Master-deciple relationship, heavy rain, heroic champion, nature vs. human nature, non-linear storytelling, landscape shots.

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    Alexis Rhee in Blade Runner (1982)

    RIDLEY SCOTT

    Strong female characters, sweeping landscapes or backdrops, bright lights through steam or fog, sketch master, plodding plots.

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    Thomas Mitchell in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

    FRANK CAPRA

    Jimmy the Raven, montage of newspaper headlines, story of a simple man who tries to fight corruption of a society.

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    Hugo Weaving in Transformers (2007)

    MICHAEL BAY

    EXPLOSIONS, military/navy, American flag, product placement, slow motion 360 degrees shots, helicopters at sunrise.

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    Jonathan Pryce and Michael Palin in Brazil (1985)

    TERRY GILLIAM

    The double-whammy twist at the end, surreal visuals, the wide angle lens, admiration for history, medieval backdrops, same first/last shot.

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    Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth in Rush (2013)

    RON HOWARD

    Man and machine theme, multiple genres, retelling historic events, water everywhere, casts within family.

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    Anton Yelchin in Star Trek (2009)

    J.J. ABRAMS

    Lens flares, sparks, the death of a parent, children driving cars, paying homage to past films/plot elements.

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    Keanu Reeves as Thomas

    THE WACHOWSKIS

    Creative transitions, martial arts, male/female dynamic duo, slow motion shots, gravity defying stunts.

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    Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

    DANNY BOYLE

    Voiceovers, focuses on the passage of time, subtle blends of reality and imagination, bright color palette, camera in impossible places.

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    Brad Pitt, Jason Flemyng, Michael Hughes, and Liam McMahon in Snatch (2000)

    GUY RITCHIE

    High octane action, quick jump cut sequences, circular and interconnected plots, colorful characters, filtered overlays.

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    Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

    SERGIO LEONE

    Extreme close-ups or long shots, Ennio Morricone music, cynical antiheroes, very long scenes without action then very quick action scenes.

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    Doug Jones in Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

    GUILLERMO DEL TORO

    Detailed creature costumes and makeup, Catholicism and related religious imagery, amber hue, intricate clockwork or insect imagery.

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    Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999)

    DAVID FINCHER

    Dark/neo-noir style of lighting, tracking shots that go through walls/objects, voiceover/narration, single frame insertion.

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    Al Pacino in Scarface (1983)

    BRIAN DE PALMA

    Long tracking shots, variations of Hitchcock movies, split screens, 360-degree camera pan, over-the-top acting, graphic violence.

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    Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

    JOHN CASSAVATES

    Improvised dialogue, intimate portrayals of existential crises, pivotal scenes shot in stairs, harrowing hand-held directing.

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    Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (1990)

    MARTIN SCORSESE

    Profane language, tracking shots, rapid editing, domestic violence, voice over/narration, set in New York City.

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    Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Rosanna Arquette, Eric Stoltz, and Bronagh Gallagher in Pulp Fiction (1994)

    QUENTIN TARANTINO

    Pop culture references, excessive/graphic violence, foot fetish, scenes of 10 mins plus of dialogue, eclectic soundtrack.

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    Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception (2010)

    CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

    Non-linear storytelling, mind-bending visuals, epic Hans Zimmer score, hero turned anti-hero, compression of time, emotional monologues.