The Greatest Living Directors And Their Greatest Worksby lucasmoorehead23 | created - 23 Mar 2017 | updated - 31 May 2017 | Public
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 ...
Masterpieces: A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Raging Bull, The Last Waltz, My Voyage To Italy, Michael Jackson: Number Ones, The Departed, George Harrison: Living In The Material World, After Hours, The King Of Comedy, Mean Streets, The Key To Reserva, Public Speaking, Hugo, Feel Like Going Home, Casino, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, A Letter To Elia, The Last Temptation of Christ.
Noteworthy: The Aviator, Italianamerican, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Age Of Innocence, The Color Of Money, Shine A Light: Rolling Stones, Silence, American Boy: A Profile Of Steven Prince, Gangs Of New York.
Director | Fitzcarraldo
Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...
Masterpieces: Stroszek, Lessons Of Darkness, Aguirre Wrath Of God, Little Dieter Needs To Fly, The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser, Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, The White Diamond, Nosferatu The Vampyre, Land Of Silence And Darkness, The Great Ecstasy Of The Sculptor Steiner, Encounters At The End Of The World, On Death Row, Wings Of Hope, Even Dwarfs Started Small, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, La Soufriere - Warten Auf Eine Unauswichliche Katastrophe, My Best Fiend, The Dark Glow Of The Mountains.
Noteworthy: Bells From The Deep, Herdsmen Of the Sun, Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, Rescue Dawn, Into The Abyss, Happy People: A Year In The Taiga, Signs Of Life, Heart Of Glass, Wheel Of Time, Ballad Of The Little Soldier, Woyzeck, Lo And Behold - Reveries Of The Connected World, Into The Inferno.
3. 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...
Masterpieces: Annie Hall, Love And Death, Zelig, Manhattan, Hannah And Her Sisters, Husbands And Wives, Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes And Misdemeanors, Sleeper, Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Midnight In Paris, Purple Rose Of Cairo, Radio Days, Take The Money And Run.
Noteworthy: Blue Jasmine, Bananas, Interiors, Match Point, Sweet And Lowdown, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, Stardust Memories.
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, ...
Masterpieces: Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Catch Me If You Can, ET, The Color Purple, Bridge Of Spies, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Lincoln, Duel, Minority Report.
Noteworthy: Munich, Columbo: Murder By The Book, Empire Of The Sun.
5. Ken Loach
Director | I, Daniel Blake
Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it's virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter's College, Oxford, he branched out into...
Masterpieces: Kes, Raining Stones, Sweet Sixteen, Cathy Come Home, I Daniel Blake, Land And Freedom, The Navigators, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, My Name Is Joe, McLibel, Riff-Raff, Family Life, Which Side Are You On.
Noteworthy: Carla's Song, Ladybird Ladybird, Hidden Agenda, The Angels' Share, Looking For Eric, A Fond Kiss.
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 ...
Masterpieces: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Castle In The Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Porco Rosso, Lupin III: Castle Of Cagliostro, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Wind Rises, Future Boy Conan, Sherlock Hound.
Noteworthy: On Your Mark.
Director | Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of ...
Masterpieces: Breathless, Vivre Sa Vie, Band Of Outsiders, Masculine Feminin, Contempt, Pierrot Le Fou, La Chinoise, Week End, Numero Deux, Alphaville, Le Petit Soldat, A Woman Is A Woman.
Noteworthy: Une Femme Mariee, Two Or Three Things I Know About Her, All The Boys Are Called Patrick, Germany Year 90 Nine Zero, Ro.Go.Pa.G., Here And Elsewhere.
8. 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 ...
Masterpieces: When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts, 4 Little Girls, Do The Right Thing, Michael Jackson - Video Greatest Hits - History #2 On Film, A Huey P. Newton Story, Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown To Off The Wall, Passing Strange, Malcolm X, Lumiere And Company, Inside Man, Bad 25.
Noteworthy: Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, 25th Hour, The Original Kings Of Comedy, She's Gotta Have It, Get On The Bus, Crooklyn.
9. Wim Wenders
Director | Der Himmel über Berlin
Wim Wenders is an Oscar-nominated German filmmaker who was born Ernst Wilhelm Wenders on August 14, 1945 in Düsseldorf, which then was located in the British Occupation Zone of what became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially as West Germany until ...
Masterpieces: Paris Texas, Alice In The Cities, Kings Of The Road, Wings Of Desire, The Salt Of The Earth, Buena Vista Social Club, Pina, Lumiere And Company, The American Friend, Until The End Of The World, Invisibles.
Noteworthy: Lisbon Story, Ten Minutes Older - The Trumpet, The Soul Of A Man, The State Of Things, Red Hot And Blue - A Tribute To Cole Porter, Cathedrals Of Culture.
10. Yimou Zhang
Director | Shi mian mai fu
Masterpieces: Raise The Red Lantern, To Live, Ju Dou, Hero, Not One Less, House Of Flying Daggers, The Road Home, The Story Of Qiu Ju, Coming Home, Lumiere And Company, Red Sorghum.
Noteworthy: Riding Alone For A Thousand Years, The Bright Red Lanterns Hung High, Shanghai Triad.
11. Mani Ratnam
Writer | Roja
The man who revolutionized Tamil-language cinema, Mani Ratnam is the biggest director in south India and one of the most respected directors in all of India. Each of his films contain its own unique style, with beautifully photographed songs and unique back-lighting. However, his films contain ...
Masterpieces: Nayakan, Anjali, Waves, Thalapathi, A Peck On The Cheek, Mouna Ragam, Bombay, Roja, Gitanjali, Aayudha Exhuthu, Guru.
Noteworthy: Dil Se.
12. Michael Apted
Director | Rome
Michael Apted was born on February 10, 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England as Michael David Apted. He is a director and producer, known for Rome (2005), Enigma (2001) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). He has been married to Paige Simpson since January 8, 2014. He was previously married to ...
Masterpieces: 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, Coal Miner's Daughter, Incident At Oglala, 49 Up, 21 Up, 56 Up, 7 Plus 7, Me & Isaac Newton.
Noteworthy: Ptang Yang Kipperbang, Always Outnumbered, Thunderheart, Sting - Bring On The Night, Gorillas In The Mist.
13. Aki Kaurismäki
Producer | Le Havre
Aki Kaurismäki did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965)) with his older brother Mika Kaurismäki, also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific ...
Masterpieces: The Drifting Clouds, The Man Without A Past, The Other Side Of Hope, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, The Bohemian Life, Le Havre, Ariel, Shadows In Paradise, The Match Factory Girl, I Hired A Contract Killer.
Noteworthy: Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, Calamari Union, Take Care Of Your Scarf Tatiana, Hamlet Goes Business, Crime And Punishment.
14. D.A. Pennebaker
Director | Dont Look Back
D.A. Pennebaker was born on July 15, 1925 in Evanston, Illinois, USA as Donn Alan Pennebaker. He is a director and cinematographer, known for Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967), The War Room (1993) and Unlocking the Cage (2016). He has been married to Chris Hegedus since April 3, 1982. They have two ...
Masterpieces: 65 Revisited, Don't Look Back: Bob Dylan, Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Depeche Mode: The Videos 86-98, Depeche Mode: 101, Shake: Otis At Monterey, The War Room, Down From The Mountain.
Noteworthy: Town Bloody Hall, Unlocking The Cage
15. Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Director | Ci ke Nie Yin Niang
Of the ten films that Hsiao-Hsien Hou directed between 1980 and 1989, seven received best film or best director awards from prestigious international films festivals in Venice, Berlin, Hawaii, and the Festival of the Three Continents in Nantes. In a 1988 worldwide critics' poll, Hou was championed ...
Masterpieces: A City Of Sadness, A Time To Live And A Time To Die, A Summer At Grandpa's, All The Youthful Days, The Puppetmaster, Dust In The Wind, The Sandwich Man, Flowers Of Shanghai, Café Lumiere, Goodbye South Goodbye.
Noteworthy: Three Times.
16. 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...
Masterpieces: The Outlaw Of Josey Wales, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima, High Plains Drifter, Mystic River, Pale Rider, Gran Torino, A Perfect World.
Noteworthy: Sully, Bridges Of Madison County, Bird, American Sniper, Heartbreak Ridge, Play Misty For Me.
17. Stephen Frears
Director | Dangerous Liaisons
Stephen Frears was born on June 20, 1941 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Stephen Arthur Frears. He is a director and producer, known for Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Philomena (2013) and The Queen (2006). He has been married to Anne Rothenstein since 1992. They have two children. He was ...
Masterpieces: The Snapper, The Queen, Fail Safe, High Fidelity, Philomena, Dirty Pretty Things, Prick Up Your Ears, Dangerous Liaisons, My Beautiful Laundrette.
Noteworthy: The Grifters, Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, The Hit.
18. 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 ...
Masterpieces: Yeah Right, Being John Malkovich, Her, The Work Of Director Spike Jonze, Video Days, I'm Here, Tenacious D - The Complete Masterworks, Adaptation, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak.
Noteworthy: Pavement: Slow Century, Scenes From The Suburbs.
19. Jonathan Demme
Director | The Silence of the Lambs
Jonathan Demme was born on February 22, 1944 in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA as Robert Jonathan Demme. He was a director and producer, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died...
Today I found out that he died a week ago. This is very sad news. To pay tribute I will keep him on this list for awhile so people can get an idea of what his most important works are.
8-9. Masterpieces: Stop Making Sense, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Agronomist, Swimming To Cambodia, Neil Young: Heart Of Gold, Bruce Springsteen - The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000, Neil Young Trunk Show, Justin Timberlake And The Tennessee Kids.
Noteworthy: Handle With Care, Storefront Hitchcock, Philadelphia.
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.
Masterpieces: Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Blood Simple, True Grit, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing.
Noteworthy: The Man Who Wasn't There, O Brother Where Art Thou, A Serious Man, Raising Arizona.
21. Peter Greenaway
Director | The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Peter Greenaway trained as a painter and began working as a film editor for the Central Office of Information in 1965. Shortly afterwards he started to make his own films. He has produced a wealth of short and feature-length films, but also paintings, novels and other books. He has held several ...
Masterpieces: The Draughtsman's Contract, Drowning By Numbers, The Cook The Thief His Wife And Her Lover, Inside Rooms: 26 Bathrooms - London & Oxfordshire - 1985, Lumiere And Company, Rembrandt's J'Accuse, The Belly Of An Architect, The Falls.
Noteworthy: A Zed And Two Noughts, A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation Of An Ornithologist.
22. Hirokazu Koreeda
Director | Manbiki kazoku
Born in Tokyo in 1962. Originally intended to be a novelist, but after graduating from Waseda University in 1987 went on to become an assistant director at T.V. Man Union. Snuck off set to film Lessons from a Calf (1991). His first feature, Maborosi (1995), based on a Teru Miyamoto novel and drawn ...
Masterpieces: Still Walking, Nobody Knows, Maborosi, After The Storm, After Life, I Wish, Like Father Like Son, Our Little Sister.
23. Mike Leigh
Director | Secrets & Lies
Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Secrets & Lies (1996), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.
Masterpieces: Secrets And Lies, Life Is Sweet, High Hopes, Naked, Vera Drake, Topsy-Turvy, Abigail's Party.
Noteworthy: Another Year, Mr. Turner, Career Girls, Meantime, Happy-Go-Lucky, All Or Nothing, Four Days In July, Grown Ups, Bleak Moments.
24. Pedro Almodóvar
Writer | Hable con ella
The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study ...
Masterpieces: All About My Mother, Talk To Her, Volver, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, The Law Of Desire, Bad Education, What Have I Done To Deserve This.
Noteworthy: Matador, Live Flesh, Labyrinth Of Passion, The Skin I Live In, The Flower Of My Secrets, Broken Embraces, Julieta.
25. John Sayles
Writer | Lone Star
A bright child, John Sayles began reading novels before age 9. A Williams grad in 1972, he shunned a corporate career to work various blue-collar jobs, moving to east Boston to take a factory job. He wrote stories and submitted them to various magazines, and the Atlantic Monthly gave him the idea ...
Masterpieces: Matewan, The Secret Of The Roan Inish, Passion Fish, Men With Guns, Bruce Springsteen: The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000, City Of Hope, Lone Star.
Noteworthy: Eight Men Out, The Brother From Another Planet, Baby It's You.
26. Errol Morris
His documentaries helped spur a rebirth of non-fiction film in the 80s & garnered wide critical success. But until 2003's "The Fog of War," Morris was shunned by the Academy Awards.
Morris' first two films won much acclaim (Gates of Heaven (1978) and Vernon, Florida (1981)). In the second movie, ...
Masterpieces: The Fog Of War, The Thin Blue Line, Mr. Death: The Rise And Fall Or Fred Leuchter, Gates Of Heaven, Vernon Florida, Fast Cheap And Out Of Control, A Brief History Of Time.
Noteworthy: Tabloid, The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography, Standard Operating Procedure,
27. Kevin Macdonald
Director | The Last King of Scotland
7-2. Masterpieces: One Day In September, Touching The Void, Marley, Sky Ladder: The Art Of Cai Guo-Qiang, The Last King Of Scotland, My Enemy's Enemy, Oasis.
28. Jafar Panahi
Director | Taxi
Jafar Panahi (Born 11 July 1960) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved ...
Masterpieces: The Mirror, Taxi, The Circle, This Is Not A Film, The White Balloon, Offside, Crimson Gold.
Noteworthy: Closed Curtain.
Director | The Last Picture Show
Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a rich Austrian Jewish family. Peter ...
7-1. Masterpieces: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down A Dream, The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, Whats Up Doc, Mask, Targets, Directed By John Ford.
30. 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 ...
Masterpieces: The Pianist, Chinatown, Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, Knife In The Water, The Tenant.
Noteworthy: Cul-De-Sac, Tess, Tragedy of Macbeth, Death And The Maiden, The Ghost Writer, Venus In Fur.
31. 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 ...
6-7. He has not directed a movie in 18 years and is currently 93 years old, most likely will not direct again. But he is still alive, god bless him. So I have to stay true to this list and keep him on it!
Masterpieces: Singin' In The Rain, Charade, On The Town, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, It's Always Fair Weather, Two For The Road.
Noteworthy: Funny Face, Indiscreet, The Grass Is Greener, Royal Wedding, Bedazzled.
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. ...
Masterpieces: Boyhood, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Before Sunrise, Dazed And Confused, Waking Life.
Noteworthy: The School Of Rock, Everybody Wants Some, Bernie, Slacker.
Writer | Inception
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.
Masterpieces: The Dark Knight, Memento, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Quay, Batman Begins.
Noteworthy: The Prestige, Insomnia, Interstellar.
34. 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 ...
Masterpieces: The Elephant Man, The Straight Story, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead, Lumiere And Company.
Noteworthy: The Short Films Of David Lynch.
35. 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...
Masterpieces: The Truman Show, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Dead Poets Society, The Last Wave, Witness, Master And Commander.
Noteworthy: Fearless, Gallipoli, The Year Of Living Dangerously.
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...
Masterpieces: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Django Unchained, Kill Bill: Volume Two, Inglourious Basterds, Grindhouse.
Noteworthy: Kill Bill, Jackie Brown, Sin City.
37. Ang Lee
Director | Wo hu cang long
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ...
Masterpieces: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense And Sensibility, Wedding Banquet, Brokeback Mountain, Life Of Pi.
Noteworthy: The Ice Storm, Pushing Hands.
38. Ron Howard
Actor | Arrested Development
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995) to the hit comedies Parenthood (1989) and Splash (1984), he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films.
Masterpieces: Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week-The Touring Years, Rush, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man.
39. 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 ...
Masterpieces: Blade Runner, Alien, The Martian, The Duellists, Thelma & Louise, American Gangster.
Noteworthy: Black Hawk Down, Gladiator.
40. Brian De Palma
Director | Dressed to Kill
Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...
Masterpieces: Carlito's Way, Phantom Of The Paradise, The Untouchables, Blow Out, Carrie, Scarface.
Noteworthy: Casualties Of War, Dressed To Kill.
41. Milos Forman
Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...
Masterpieces: Amadeus, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Taking Off, Loves Of A Blonde, The Firemen's Ball, Hair.
Noteworthy: The People Vs. Larry Flynt.
42. 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...
Masterpieces: The Social Network, Gone Girl, Fight Club, Seven, The Girl With Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac.
Noteworthy: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
43. Emir Kusturica
Director | Underground
A Serbian film director. Born in 1954 in Sarajevo. Graduated in film directing at the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague in 1978. During his studies, he was awarded several times for his short movies including Guernica (1978), which took first prize at the Student's Film ...
Masterpieces: Time Of The Gypsies, When Father Was Away On Business, Underground, Do You Remember Dolly Bell, Black Cat White Cat, Arizona Dream.
Noteworthy: Life Is A Miracle.
44. Asghar Farhadi
Writer | Darbareye Elly
Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Iran. He became interested in cinema in his teenage years and started his filmmaking education by joining the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan in 1986 where he made 8mm and 16mm short films. He received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran's School of...
6-1. Masterpieces: A Separation, About Elly, The Salesman, Fireworks Wednesday, The Past, Beautiful City.
Director | Un dimanche à la campagne
Bertrand Tavernier was a law student that preferred write film criticisms. He also wrote a few books about American movies. Then his first film won a few awards in France and abroad and established his reputation.
Masterpieces: Round Midnight, A Sunday In The Country, The Clockmaker Of St. Paul, Coup De Torchon, Life And Nothing But.
Noteworthy: Daddy Nostalgia, L.627, It All Starts Today, Captain Conan, Safe Conduct.
46. Jim Jarmusch
Director | Broken Flowers
Moved to New York City at the age of seventeen from Akron, Ohio. Graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English, class of '75. Without any prior film experience, he was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts, New York.
Masterpieces: Down By Law, Stranger Than Paradise, Mystery Train, Paterson, Night On Earth.
Noteworthy: Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, Only Lovers Left Alive, Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai, Broken Flowers, Gimme Danger.
47. Norman Jewison
Director | In the Heat of the Night
Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, ...
Masterpieces: In The Heat Of The Night, Fiddler On The Roof, Moonstruck, A Soldier's Story, The Hurricane.
Noteworthy: The Cincinnati Kid, 40 Pounds Of Trouble, And Justice For All, The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming, The Thrill Of It All.
48. Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...
Masterpieces: Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Forgotten Silver, Heavenly Creatures.
Noteworthy: Dead Alive, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
49. Barry Levinson
Director | Rain Man
Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...
Masterpieces: Diner, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Rain Man, You Don't Know Jack.
Noteworthy: Avalon, Liberty Heights, Wag The Dog.
50. 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...
Masterpieces: The Heart Of The World, Cowards Bend The Knee Or The Blue Hands, Brand Upon The Brain, My Winnipeg, My Dad Is 100 Years Old.
Noteworthy: Careful, Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary, The Saddest Music In The World.
51. Danny Boyle
Director | 127 Hours
Masterpieces: National Theatre Live: Frankenstein, Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later.
Noteworthy: Steve Jobs, Millions, T2 Trainspotting.
52. Mamoru Oshii
Director | Innocence
Mamoru Oshii is a Japanese filmmaker, television director and screenwriter. Famous for his philosophy-oriented storytelling, Oshii has directed a number of popular anime, including Urusei Yatsura (1981-1984), Angel's Egg (1985), Patlabor: The Movie (1989), Ghost in the Shell (1995), and Ghost in ...
Masterpieces: Ghost In The Shell 2.0, Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, Ghost In The Shell, Angel's Egg, Patlabor 2.
Noteworthy: Patlabor, Urusei Yatsura: Only You.
53. Nikita Mikhalkov
Actor | 12
Nikita Mikhalkov is the son of the famous communist poet Sergey Mikhalkov, who wrote the lyrics of the Soviet national anthem and had strong connections to the Communist Party. Nikita Mikhalkov's mother, Natalya Petrovna Konchalovskaya, was also a poet and daughter of famous painter Pyotr Petrovich...
54. 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 ...
Masterpieces: Aliens, The Terminator, Terminator 2, James Cameron's Expedition: Bismarck, Avatar.
Noteworthy: The Abyss, Titanic.
55. John Woo
Director | Ying hung boon sik
Born in southern China, John Woo grew up in Hong Kong, where he began his film career as an assistant director in 1969, working for Shaw Brothers Studios. He directed his first feature in 1973 and has been a prolific director ever since, working in a wide variety of genres before A Better Tomorrow ...
Director | Missing
Costa-Gavras was born on February 12, 1933 in Loutra-Iraias, Greece as Konstantinos Gavras. He is a director and writer, known for Missing (1982), Z (1969) and Amen. (2002). He has been married to Michèle Ray-Gavras since 1968. They have two children.
57. Agnès Varda
Director | Sans toit ni loi
Agnès Varda was born on May 30, 1928 in Brussels, Belgium as Arlette Varda. She was a director and writer, known for Vagabond (1985), Faces Places (2017) and Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962). She was married to Jacques Demy. She died on March 29, 2019 in Paris, France.
58. Rob Reiner
Actor | All in the Family
Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner (née Lebost) and Emmy-winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner.
As a child, he often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which he created and also starred in....
Masterpieces: Stand By Me, This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, Misery, When Harry Met Sally.
Noteworthy: The Sure Thing, A Few Good Men, The American President.
59. Kar-Wai Wong
Writer | Yi dai zong shi
Wong Kar-wai (born 17 July 1956) is a Hong Kong Second Wave filmmaker, internationally renowned as an auteur for his visually unique, highly stylised, emotionally resonant work, including Ah fei zing zyun (1990), Dung che sai duk (1994), Chung Hing sam lam (1994), Do lok tin si (1995), Chun gwong ...
60. Chris Hegedus
Director | Startup.com
Chris Hegedus was born in 1952 as Christine Louise Hegedus. She is a director and editor, known for Startup.com (2001), Unlocking the Cage (2016) and The War Room (1993). She has been married to D.A. Pennebaker since April 3, 1982. They have two children.
61. Terry Gilliam
Writer | Brazil
Terry Gilliam was born near Medicine Lake, Minnesota. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of MAD magazine. In his early twenties he was often stopped by the police who suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising. In ...
Masterpieces: Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Brazil, The Crimson Permanent Assurance, The Meaning Of Life, Twelve Monkeys.
Noteworthy: Time Bandits, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King.
62. 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 ...
Masterpieces: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums.
Noteworthy: Bottle Rocket.
63. Fatih Akin
Director | Gegen die Wand
Fatih Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg of Turkish parentage. He began studying Visual Communications at Hamburg's College of Fine Arts in 1994. His collaboration with Wueste Film also dates from this time. In 1995, he wrote and directed his first short feature, "Sensin - You're The One!" ("Sensin -...
64. Béla Tarr
Producer | Werckmeister harmóniák
Béla Tarr was born on July 21, 1955 in Pécs, Hungary. He is a producer and director, known for Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), The Turin Horse (2011) and Damnation (1988). He is married to Ágnes Hranitzky.
65. 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,...
Masterpieces: The Insider, Heat, The Last Of The Mohicans, Thief, Manhunter.
Noteworthy: Collateral, The Jericho Mile.
66. Nick Park
Writer | The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Nick Park was born on December 6, 1958 in Preston, Lancashire, England as Nicholas Wulstan Park. He is a writer and producer, known for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Chicken Run (2000) and A Grand Day Out (1989).
Masterpieces: The Phantom Of The Opera At The Royal Albert Hall, Les Miserables In Concert: The 25th Anniversary, The Mighty Boosh Live, Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai, Cat Stevens: Majikat.
Noteworthy: Shaolin: Wheel Of Life.
68. Julien Temple
Director | Earth Girls Are Easy
Julien Temple was born on November 26, 1953 in London, England. He is a director and writer, known for Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), Vigo: A Passion for Life (1998) and The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (2015).
69. Majid Majidi
Director | Bacheha-Ye aseman
Majid Majidi was born on April 17, 1959 in Tehran, Iran to a middle class family. He started acting in amateur theater groups at the age of fourteen. After receiving his high school diploma, he started studying art at the Institute of Dramatic Art in Tehran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, ...
70. William Friedkin
Director | To Live and Die in L.A.
Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...
71. 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 ...
5-1. Masterpieces: Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Little Princess, Children Of Men, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban.
72. Steve James
Director | The Interrupters
Steve James was born in Hampton, Virginia, USA. He is a director and producer, known for The Interrupters (2011), Hoop Dreams (1994) and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016). He is married to Judy James.
73. Paul Greengrass
Director | United 93
Paul Greengrass started his filmmaking career with a super 8 camera he found in his art room in secondary school. Those short movies were animation horror films he made using old dolls, artist dummies, and the general art room clutter.
After studying in Cambridge University he got into Granada ...
5-0. Masterpieces: The Bourne Ultimatum, Bloody Sunday, Captain Phillips, United 93, The Bourne Supremacy.
74. Tim Burton
Producer | Edward Scissorhands
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...
Masterpieces: Vincent, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd.
Noteworthy: Corpse Bride, The World Of Stainboy, Beetlejuice, Big Fish, Batman, Frankenweenie (2012).
Stunts | Yip Man
Born in Hong Kong, Sammo Hung's acting career began while he was training in acrobatics, martial arts and dance as a child at the China Drama Academy, and he received acclaim for his performance with a troupe called "The Seven Little Fortunes." He made his feature film debut as an actor at the age ...
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 ...
Director | Russkiy kovcheg
He was born with a disability because of an anatomic defect of his leg, in 1951 in Podorvikha village in Siberian Russia. His father was a Red Army veteran of WW2. One of most important contemporary filmmakers, Sokurov worked extensively in television and later graduated from the prestigious film ...
78. Johnnie To
Producer | Cheung foh
With over thirty directing and producing credits to his name, Johnnie To enjoyed international breakthroughs with Election (2005), Triad Election (2006) (aka "Triad Election") and Exiled (2006); those films enjoyed multiple international film festival appearances and were separately sold to more ...
79. 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 ...
Masterpieces: Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Cast Away.
Noteworthy: The Walk, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Flight, Romancing The Stone.
80. Alan Parker
Director | Evita
Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam as his ...
Masterpieces: Midnight Express, The Commitments, Birdy, Mississippi Burning.
Noteworthy: Pink Floyd - The Wall, Shoot The Moon, Angel Heart, Bugsy Malone.
81. Alex Gibney
Producer | Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Alex Gibney was born on October 23, 1953 in New York City, New York, USA as Philip Alexander Gibney. He is a producer and director, known for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015). He has been married...
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 ...
Director | Die Blechtrommel
Has studied economy and political sciences as well as at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographique (IDHEC) in Paris, France. Worked as an assistant director with Louis Malle, Jean-Pierre Melville and Alain Resnais. Founded his own production company Bioskop Film together with Reinhard Hauff ...
84. Hark Tsui
Producer | Wong Fei Hung
Tsui Hark recently became the fourth Chinese film director to join the board of judges for the 57th Cannes Film Festival in the feature films category this year.
An internationally acclaimed visionary director, Hark started making experimental movies with 8mm film when he was only 13. After ...
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...
Masterpieces: There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Junun.
Noteworthy: Hard Eight, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master.
Director | Pokot
Agnieszka Holland was born 28 of November 1948 in Warsaw but went to Czechoslovakia to study film directing at FAMU in Prague. She began her film career working in Poland with Krzysztof Zanussi as assistant director, and Andrzej Wajda as her mentor. She wrote several scripts with Wajda before ...
87. Richard Lester
Director | A Hard Day's Night
Richard Lester was one of the most influential directors of the 1960s, and continued his career into the 1970s and early '80s. He is best remembered for the two films he helmed starring The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night (1964) (1964) and Help! (1965) (1965), the frenetic cutting style of which was ...
88. Tom Hooper
Director | The Danish Girl
Tom Hooper was educated at one of England's most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces (1992), which ...
89. Jirí Menzel
Director | Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále
Jirí Menzel was born on February 23, 1938 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is an actor and director, known for I Served the King of England (2006), Closely Watched Trains (1966) and Larks on a String (1990). He has been married to Olga Menzelová-Kelymanová since 2004.
90. Sam Raimi
Director | Spider-Man
Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead (1981). From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making ...
Masterpieces: Evil Dead II, Spider-Man 2, A Simple Plan, The Evil Dead.
Noteworthy: Drag Me To Hell, Spider-Man.
91. Alexander Payne
Director | Nebraska
Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older ...
Masterpieces: Sideways, Nebraska, Election, The Descendants.
Noteworthy: About Schmidt, Paris Je T'Aime.
92. 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), ...
4-3. Masterpieces: Incendies, Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners.
93. Kenneth Branagh
Actor | Henry V
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter, and Frances (Harper), both born in 1930. He has two siblings, William Branagh, Jr. (born 1955) and Joyce Branagh (born 1970). When he was nine, his family ...
94. Philip Kaufman
Writer | The Right Stuff
Director and screenwriter Philip Kaufman was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Chicago and later Harvard Law School. He won the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique at Cannes in 1965 for his film Goldstein (1964). He was the screenwriter for The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and was to ...
Masterpieces: The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Wanderers, The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
Noteworthy: The White Dawn, Quills.
Director | Un long dimanche de fiançailles
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/...
Masterpieces: Amelie, Things I Like Things I Don't Like, Delicatessen, The City Of Lost Children.
Noteworthy: A Very Long Engagement.
96. James Ivory
Writer | Call Me by Your Name
The main part of his few movies were filmed in the quarter of a century in which he worked closely together with the Indian producer Ismail Merchant and the German writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. His first films are all set in India and are very much influenced by the style of Satyajit Ray and Jean ...
97. Rolf de Heer
Producer | Bad Boy Bubby
Director | Romeo and Juliet
Franco Zeffirelli was born on February 12, 1923 in Florence, Tuscany, Italy as Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli. He is known for his work on Romeo and Juliet (1968), La traviata (1982) and The Taming of the Shrew (1967). He died on June 15, 2019 in Rome, Italy.
99. Joon-ho Bong
Writer | Okja
4-2. Masterpieces: Memories Of Murder, Mother, Snowpiercer, The Host.
100. Bahman Ghobadi
Director | Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand
Bahman Ghobadi was born in 1969 in Baneh, in the province of Iranian Kurdistan, near the Iran-Iraq border. Shortly after graduating from the National Audiovisual School, he made his first short, immediately acclaimed by the local critics. One of these short films, "Life in Fog" (1999) is even ...
Masterpieces: Turtles Can Fly, Marooned In Iraq, A Time For Drunken Horses, Half Moon.
Noteworthy: No One Knows About Persian Cats.