Best Directors from Around the Worldby kinoholik | created - 07 Sep 2017 | updated - 28 Sep 2017 | Public
1. 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....
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 ...
Writer | The Great Dictator
Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...
4. Billy Wilder
Writer | The Apartment
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...
5. Frank Capra
Director | It's a Wonderful Life
One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...
6. Woody Allen
Writer | Manhattan
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
7. Elia Kazan
Director | On the Waterfront
Known for his creative stage direction, Elia Kazan was born Elias Kazantzoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He ...
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...
Director | Gosford Park
Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...
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 ...
11. D.W. Griffith
Director | The Birth of a Nation
David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob "Roaring Jake" Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War veteran. Young Griffith grew up with his father's romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually shape his movies. In 1897 ...
12. John Ford
Director | The Quiet Man
John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...
13. 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 ...
14. Bob Fosse
Director | Cabaret
Bob Fosse was born on June 23, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Robert Louis Fosse. He is known for his work on Cabaret (1972), Lenny (1974) and All That Jazz (1979). He was married to Gwen Verdon, Joan McCracken and Mary Ann Niles. He died on September 23, 1987 in Washington, District of Columbia...
15. 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 ...
16. William Wyler
Director | The Best Years of Our Lives
William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the...
17. King Vidor
Director | Hallelujah
King Vidor was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter of Hungarian descent. He was born in Galveston, Texas to lumberman Charles Shelton Vidor and his wife Kate Wallis. King's paternal grandfather Károly (Charles) Vidor had fled Hungary as a refugee following the failed ...
18. 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, ...
19. Stanley Donen
Director | Charade
Inspired by Fred Astaire's dancing in Flying Down to Rio (1933), Stanley Donen (pronounced 'Dawn-en') attended dance classes from the age of ten. He later recalled that the only thing he wanted to be was a tap dancer.
He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Helen Pauline (Cohen) and Mordecai ...
20. 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), A Serious Man (2009) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.
21. Xavier Dolan
Actor | Tom à la ferme
Xavier Dolan was born on March 20, 1989 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as Xavier Dolan-Tadros. He is an actor and writer, known for Tom at the Farm (2013), I Killed My Mother (2009) and Heartbeats (2010).
22. 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...
23. Denys Arcand
Writer | Les invasions barbares
One of Québec's most politically aware filmmakers, Denys Arcand studied history at Université de Montréal, where he co-directed Alone or with Others (1962) with Denis Héroux and co-written with Stéphane Venne. He joined the National Film Board (NFB) in 1963, where his feature-length documentary on ...
24. 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), ...
25. Guy Maddin
Director | The Saddest Music in the World
Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Herdis Maddin (a hair-dresser) and Charles "Chas" Maddin (grain clerk and general manager of the Maroons, a Winnipeg hockey team). Maddin studied economics at the University of Winnipeg, working as a bank manager, house painter, and photographic...
26. Atom Egoyan
Director | The Sweet Hereafter
Born in Egypt to Armenian parents, he was raised in Western Canada. Both his parents were painters, and he planned to be a playwright, but after making a short film, he became hooked on telling stories visually. Returned to ethnic "homeland" when he filmed Calendar (1993) in Armenia. Won attention ...
28. Sarah Polley
Actress | The Sweet Hereafter
Sarah Polley is an actress and director renowned in her native Canada for her political activism. Blessed with an extremely expressive face that enables directors to minimize dialog due to her uncanny ability to suggest a character's thoughts, Polley has become a favorite of critics for her ...
29. Allan King
Director | Dying at Grace
Allan King was born on February 6, 1930 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was a director and producer, known for Dying at Grace (2003), Warrendale (1967) and Avonlea (1990). He was married to Colleen Murphy. He died on June 15, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
30. Deepa Mehta
Director | Fire
Deepa Mehta is a transnational artist and a screenwriter, director, and producer whose work has been called "courageous", "provocative" and "breathtaking". Her visually lush and emotionally resonating films have played at every major international film festival; receiving numerous awards and ...
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 ...
Writer | La montaña sagrada
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in Iquique, Chile on February 17, 1929. In 1942 he moved to Santiago where he attended university, was a circus clown and a puppeteer. In 1955 he went to Paris and studied mime with Marcel Marceau. He worked with Maurice Chevalier there and made a short film, La cravate...
33. 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 ...
Writer | El laberinto del fauno
Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...
36. Arturo Ripstein
Director | Profundo carmesí
Arturo Ripstein began his career as assistant director (unbilled) of Luis Buñuel in Ángel exterminador, El (1962). His father, Alfredo Ripstein, Jr. produced his first film, a western written by Gabriel García Márquez titled Tiempo de morir (1965). Ripstein filmography is very praised in Mexico and...
37. Emilio Fernández
Writer | La perla
Emilio "El Indio" FernÃ¡ndez Romo is the most famous person in the history of Mexican movies. For an era he symbolized Mexico due to his violent machismo, rooted in the Revolution of 1910-17, and because of his staunch commitment to Mexican cultural nationalism. Sired by an ethnic Caucasian father ...
39. Ismael Rodríguez
Ismael Rodríguez was born on October 19, 1917 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico as Ismael Rodríguez Ruelas. He was a writer and director, known for Ánimas Trujano (El hombre importante) (1961), Tizoc (Amor indio) (1957) and Los tres García (1947). He died on August 7, 2004 in ...
40. Luis Alcoriza
Writer | Lo que importa es vivir
Luis Alcoriza was born on September 5, 1918 in Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain as Luis Alcoriza de la Vega. He was a writer and director, known for Lo que importa es vivir (1987), Tlayucan (1962) and National Mechanics (1972). He was married to Janet Alcoriza. He died on December 3, 1992 in Cuernavaca,...
Director | Fresa y chocolate
Cuba's greatest and best-known director, Tomas Gutierrez Alea fell in love with cinema at an early age, began as a documentarian much influenced by Italian neorealism and came into his own as an artist during Fidel Castro's regime. Over the years he has evinced a fondness for both historical and ...
42. Humberto Solás
Director | Barrio Cuba
One of the great filmmakers of revolutionary Cuba, Humberto Solás entered the film industry as a teenager, and made his first short at 18. After taking a film course at Centro Sperimentale de Cinema in Rome, he made a big impression with his 1966 medium-lenght fiction "Manuela", the first of many ...
44. Jayro Bustamante
Writer | Ixcanul
45. Lorenzo Vigas
Producer | Desde allá
Lorenzo Vigas was born in Mérida, Venezuela in 1967. He graduated in Molecular Biology from the University of Tampa, Florida. In 1995 he moved to New York City to study film at NYU. In 1998 he returned to Venezuela to direct the documentary series "Expedition". From 1999 to 2001 he worked with ...
46. Sergio Cabrera
Director | La estrategia del caracol
Son of Spanish exiliated actors, lives in Colombia till 10 years before moving with his parents to China, where he attends secondary school. He fights for four years in the EPL (EjErcito Popular de LiberaciOn). Studies Filmmaking in "London Politechnic School". He has worked as director (six long ...
47. Claudia Llosa
Director | La teta asustada
50. Glauber Rocha
Director | A Idade da Terra
He studied Law. He also directed theatre pieces, wrote movie criticisms and took part in the creation and development of the 'cinema novo' movement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, becoming its theoretical leader and first embassador in Europe. After "Barravento (1962)", a trilogy of films and "Antonio ...
51. Walter Salles
Director | Central do Brasil
Walter Salles was born on April 12, 1956 in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as Walther Moreira Salles Jr. He is a director and producer, known for Central Station (1998), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and Foreign Land (1995). He is married to Maria Klabin. They have one child.
Director | Blindness
Fernando Meirelles was born in a middle class family in São Paulo City, Brazil.
He studied architecture at the university of São Paulo. At the same time he developed an interest in filmmaking. With a group of friends he started producing experimental videos. They won a huge number of awards in ...
Director | Memórias do Cárcere
Nelson Pereira dos Santos was born on October 22, 1928 in São Paulo, Brazil. He was a director and writer, known for Memórias do Cárcere (1984), O Amuleto de Ogum (1974) and Tenda dos Milagres (1977). He was married to Ivelise Ferreira. He died on April 21, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, ...
54. Hector Babenco
Director | Carandiru
Hector Babenco was born on February 7, 1946 in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina as Héctor Eduardo Babenco. He was a director and writer, known for Carandiru (2003), Pixote (1981) and Lucio Flavio (1977). He was married to Bárbara Paz, Raquel Arnaud and Xuxa Lopes. He died on July 13, 2016 in ...
55. Bruno Barreto
Director | Flores Raras
Bruno Barreto was born on March 16, 1955 in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as Bruno Villela Barreto Borges. He is a director and producer, known for Reaching for the Moon (2013), Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976) and Four Days in September (1997). He was previously married to Amy Irving.
56. Ruy Guerra
Director | Estorvo
Ruy Guerra left his studies in Portugal for to go to the School of Cinema in Paris. After having worked as assistant for various French directors he moved to Brasil and participated with his first two films in the birth of the "Cinema Novo": "Os Cafajestes (1962)" and "Os Fuzis (1964)" which won ...
58. Cao Hamburger
Cao Hamburger was born in Sao Paulo. His second feature film, "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation", competed in the 2007 Berlin Film Festival and is the recipient of the Rio International Film Festival Audience Award and the Sao Paulo Association of Art Critics Award for Best Screenplay. His ...
Director | Casa de Areia
Andrucha Waddington is one of the most important directors of Brazilian contemporary cinema and television. He was also one of the creative directors of Rio 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony along with Fernando Meirelles e Daniela Thomas.
His several film credits include the Berlin, Toronto and ...
60. Pablo Larraín
Producer | El Club
Born in Santiago in 1976, Pablo Larraín is, along with Sebastián Lelio, Chile's greatest movie director as well as a major producer (through his Fabula company). Not for the weak-hearted, his films are straightforward, generally aggressive and interspersed with violence. They paint a hard-hitting ...
61. Raoul Ruiz
Director | Les trois couronnes du matelot
Chilean director Raúl, or Raoul, Ruiz (1941-2011) was one of the most exciting and innovative filmmakers to emerge from 1960s World Cinema, providing more intellectual fun and artistic experimentation, shot for shot, than any filmmaker since Jean-Luc Godard. A guerrilla who uncompromisingly ...
62. Sebastián Lelio
Director | Una Mujer Fantástica
Born in 1974, Sebastián Lelio is one of the leading figures (along with Pablo Larraín, Andrés Wood and a few others) of the post-dictatorship Chilean cinema. After graduating from the "Escuela de Cine de Chile" in Santiago, Lelio started by making shorts (he made five from 1995 to 2003, as well as ...
65. Jorge Sanjinés
Director | Yawar Mallku
Sanjines made his first feature film, And So It Is (1966), under the auspices of the Bolivian Film Institute, of which he was named director in 1965. A landmark in the history of Bolivian cinema, Ukamau is a sympathetic depiction of the social problems of the Andean peasantry shot exclusively in ...
Writer | El secreto de sus ojos
Juan José Campanella was born on July 19, 1959 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a writer and actor, known for The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), The Man of Your Dreams (2011) and El mismo amor, la misma lluvia (1999).
68. Pablo Trapero
Director | El Clan
Pablo Trapero was born in San justo, Argentina in 1971. In 1999 he directed his first feature, Mundo Grua, which won the Critics Prize at Venice. In 2002, he opened his production company, Matanza Cine, that produces films for fellow filmmakers, as well as his own. His second feature, El Bonaerense...
Director | Los siete locos
After ten years as assistant director to his father 'Leopoldo Torre Rios' he co-directed two films with him. His first personal work was "Graciela (1956)", an adoption from the novel 'Nada' of 'Carmen Laforet' which was made out of reach of the censorship of 'General Perón'. Later on Torre Nilsson ...
76. Youssef Chahine
Director | Iskanderija... lih?
Youssef Chahine (born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1926) started studying in a friars' school, and then turned to English College until the High School Certificate. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Pasadena Play House, taking courses on film ...
78. Mohamed Diab
Writer | Eshtebak
Mohamed Diab is an award-winning writer and director, who's work is often centered on pressing issues concerning Egyptian society.
He's known for his directorial debut film Cairo 678 (Les Femmes du bus 678), which was released a month before the Egyptian revolution and was deemed by the New York ...
Writer | La vie d'Adèle
Abdellatif Kechiche was born on December 7, 1960 in Tunis, Tunisia. He is a writer and director, known for Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013), Games of Love and Chance (2003) and The Secret of the Grain (2007).
Director | Rih al awras
Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina was born on February 26, 1934 in M'sila, Algeria. He is a director and writer, known for The Winds of the Aures (1966), Chronicle of the Years of Fire (1975) and Sandstorm (1982).
88. Nabil Ayouch
Producer | Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue
Nabil Ayouch was born April 1st 1969 in Paris. He works and lives in Casablanca. In 1997, Nabil Ayouch directed his first feature film, MEKTOUB which, like ALI ZAOUA (2000) represented Morocco at the Oscars. Next came UNE MINUTE DE SOLEIL EN MOINS (2003) and WHATEVER LOLA WANTS (2008), produced by ...
Director | Timbuktu
90. Souleymane Cissé
Director | Yeelen
Director | Daratt
92. Haile Gerima
Director | Teza
Halie Gerima arrived in the United States from his native Gondar, Ethiopia, to study acting and directing at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Illinois. He later transferred to the Theater Department at UCLA where he completed the Master's Program in Film. Afterward, he relocated to Washington, DC, ...
93. Ousmane Sembene
Director | Moolaadé
The first film director from an African country to achieve international recognition, Ousmane Sembene remains the major figure in the rise of an independent post-colonial African cinema. Sembene's roots were not, as might be expected, in the educated élite. After working as a mechanic and ...
Director | Yaaba
Idrissa Ouedraogo was born on January 21, 1954 in Banfora, Upper Volta. He was a director and writer, known for Yaaba (1989), The Law (1990) and Samba Traoré (1992). He died on February 18, 2018 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
95. Gaston Kaboré
Director | Zan Boko
Kabore started out as a history student at the Centre d'Etudes Superieures d'Histoire d'Ouagadougou and continued his studies in Paris where he received an MA. During his studies he became interested in how Africa was portrayed abroad, which then led him, in 1974, to study cinematography at the ...
96. Gavin Hood
Director | Tsotsi
Gavin Hood was born on May 12, 1963 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an actor and producer, known for Tsotsi (2005), A Reasonable Man (1999) and Eye in the Sky (2015). He was previously married to Janine Eser.
100. Peter Weir
Peter Weir was born on August 21, 1944 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Peter Lindsay Weir. He is a director and writer, known for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Witness (1985) and The Truman Show (1998). He has been married to Wendy Stites since 1966. They have two...