Lifetime Achievement in Directing

by clevecheng | created - 13 Jul 2014 | updated - 29 Mar 2016 | Public

Here is my system for ranking directors by lifetime achievement:

1) Rate movies I've seen on a scale of 0 to 99, with 0-9 corresponding to 1 IMDb star, 10-19 corresponding to 2 IMDb stars, and so on. The highest rating I've given to date is 95; the lowest 5.

2) Subtract 60 from every rating and throw away everything with a negative score. What remains is every movie I've rated higher than 6 stars on IMDb - over a thousand movies (out of over three thousand total).

3) Add up the scores by director.

4) Sort directors in descending order of score.

5) Remove any with only one qualifying movie.

1. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Smultronstället

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

Total: 208 27: Through a Glass Darkly 24: Fanny and Alexander 23: Scenes from a Marriage 21: Winter Light 19: Smiles of a Summer Night 18: The Virgin Spring 18: The Magician 15: Autumn Sonata 12: Cries and Whispers 09: Persona 08: Wild Strawberries 08: Sawdust and Tinsel 04: The Silence

2. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

Total: 188 34: The Shop Around the Corner 34: Trouble in Paradise 32: To Be Or Not To Be 28: Cluny Brown 21: The Merry Widow 17: Lady Windermere's Fan 13: Heaven Can Wait 06: One Hour With You 03: The Love Parade

3. Yasujirô Ozu

Director | Tôkyô monogatari

Tokyo-born Yasujiro Ozu was a movie buff from childhood, often playing hooky from school in order to see Hollywood movies in his local theatre. In 1923 he landed a job as a camera assistant at Shochiku Studios in Tokyo. Three years later, he was made an assistant director and directed his first ...

Total: 168 26: Tokyo Story 25: Late Spring 24: Early Summer 23: Tokyo Twilight 20: Good Morning 15: Early Spring 14: Floating Weeds 07: An Autumn Afternoon 05: Equinox Flower 05: Late Autumn 03: The End of Summer

4. Howard Hawks

Director | Red River

What do the classic films Scarface (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) have in...

Total: 137 27: To Have and Have Not 23: Rio Bravo 20: His Girl Friday 18: Only Angels Have Wings 11: I Was a Male War Bride 11: The Big Sleep 08: Monkey Business 07: El Dorado 06: Red River [06: Man's Favorite Sport?]

5. Christopher Nolan

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.


Total: 135 30: Memento 28: Interstellar 27: Inception 15: The Dark Knight Rises 14: The Prestige 11: Batman Begins 06: Insomnia 04: The Dark Knight

6. 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, ...

Total: 135 27: Saving Private Ryan 19: Empire of the Sun 17: Schindler's List 15: The Color Purple 12: The Terminal 11: Catch Me If You Can 11: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 09: Lincoln 07: Amistad 07: Munich 00: Raiders of the Lost Ark

7. Francis Ford Coppola

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 ...

Total: 118 33: The Godfather 32: Apocalypse Now 32: The Godfather, Part II 11: The Godfather, Part III 07: The Conversation 03: Peggy Sue Got Married

8. 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...

Total: 110 31: Roman Holiday 15: Dodsworth 15: The Heiress 13: The Best Years of Our Lives 10: The Children's Hour 09: Jezebel 08: Wuthering Heights 04: Carrie 04: Funny Girl

9. 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...

Total: 108 32: Million Dollar Baby 25: Unforgiven 18: Mystic River 07: The Outlaw Josey Wales 07: Letters from Iwo Jima 06: Gran Torino 06: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 03: Hereafter 03: Changeling 02: Invictus 00: American Sniper

10. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

Total: 107 26: Vertigo 26: To Catch a Thief 22: Notorious 17: Psycho [07: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)] 04: Saboteur 03: The 39 Steps 02: Dial M for Murder

11. Stanley Kubrick

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 ...

Total: 106 25: The Shining 21: A Clockwork Orange 14: 2001: A Space Odyssey 14: Lolita 11: Barry Lyndon 09: Eyes Wide Shut 09: Full Metal Jacket 04: Spartacus

12. Hayao Miyazaki

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 ...

Total: 105 26: Kiki's Delivery Service 26: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 19: Princess Mononoke 18: My Neighbor Totoro 11: Castle in the Sky 04: Howl's Moving Castle 01: Spirited Away

13. 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 ...

Total: 99 33: Gladiator 20: Alien 17: Kingdom of Heaven 16: Black Hawk Down 05: The Martian 03: American Gangster 03: Thelma & Louise 02: A Good Year

14. Quentin Tarantino

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...

Total: 97 34: Pulp Fiction 23: Django Unchained 16: Inglourious Basterds 16: The Hateful Eight 07: Reservoir Dogs 01: Kill Bill Vol. 1

15. Satyajit Ray

Writer | Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta on May 2, 1921. His father, Late Sukumar Ray was an eminent poet and writer in the history of Bengali literature. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics from Calcutta University, he attended Tagore's Viswa-Bharati University. His first movie ...

Total: 97 25: Apur Sansar 24: Pather Panchali 22: Aparajito 15: Charulata 11: Mahanagar

16. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S....

Total: 93 28: The Lady Eve 26: The Palm Beach Story 25: Sullivan's Travels 14: The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

17. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer | All About Eve

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...

Total: 92 25: All About Eve 22: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir 21: A Letter to Three Wives 16: People Will Talk 06: Guys and Dolls 02: No Way Out

18. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and Les Girls (1957). He died on January 24, 1983 in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Total: 87 28: The Philadelphia Story 21: A Star Is Born 16: Holiday 11: My Fair Lady 08: Little Women 03: Gaslight

19. Ethan Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two ...

Total: 87 21: True Grit 18: Raising Arizona 15: O Brother, Where Art Thou? 10: Fargo 08: Intolerable Cruelty [05: No Country For Old Men] 04: Inside Llewyn Davis 03: Blood Simple 03: Miller's Crossing

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.

Total: 87 21: True Grit 18: Raising Arizona 15: O Brother, Where Art Thou? 10: Fargo 08: Intolerable Cruelty [05: No Country For Old Men] 04: Inside Llewyn Davis 03: Blood Simple 03: Miller's Crossing

21. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

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/...

Total: 83 35: Amelie 25: The City of Lost Children 18: Delicatessen 05: A Very Long Engagement

22. 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 ...

Total: 83 20: Monty Python and the Holy Grail 19: Brazil 16: Tideland 12: Twelve Monkeys 08: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [06: The Fisher King] 02: The Zero Theorem

23. Lana Wachowski

Writer | The Matrix

Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly Wachowski, (also known as 'The Wachowskis') are the duo behind ground-breaking movies such as The Matrix (1999) and Cloud Atlas (2012). Born to mother Lynne, a nurse, and father Ron, a businessman of Polish descent, Wachowski grew up in Chicago and formed a tight...

Total: 82 33: The Matrix 23: Speed Racer 15: The Matrix Reloaded 10: Cloud Atlas 01: Bound

24. Lilly Wachowski

Writer | The Matrix

Director, writer and producer Lilly Wachowski was born in 1967 in Chicago as Andrew Wachowski, the son of Lynne, a nurse and painter and Ron, a businessman. Lilly was educated at Kellogg Elementary School in Chicago, before moving on to Whitney Young High School. After graduating from high school, ...

Total: 82 33: The Matrix 23: Speed Racer 15: The Matrix Reloaded 10: Cloud Atlas 01: Bound

25. 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 ...

Total: 79 22: Sleepy Hollow 15: Mars Attacks! 14: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 13: Edward Scissorhands 10: Big Fish 05: Big Eyes

26. Paul Thomas Anderson

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...

Total: 74 22: Inherent Vice 16: Boogie Nights 12: The Master 11: There Will Be Blood 08: Punch-Drunk Love [05: Magnolia]

27. 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....

Total: 73 25: When Harry Met Sally... 17: Stand By Me 14: This Is Spinal Tap 10: Misery 06: The Princess Bride

28. Doug Liman

Producer | Edge of Tomorrow

Doug Liman was born on July 24, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Swingers (1996) and Fair Game (2010).

Total: 72 24: Swingers 22: The Bourne Identity 16: Edge of Tomorrow 06: Mr. and Mrs. Smith 04: Go

29. 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 ...

Total: 69 21: The Apartment 19: Sabrina 12: Sunset Blvd. [08: Witness for the Prosecution] [05: Irma La Douce] 04: Love in the Afternoon

30. Edward Zwick

Producer | Thirtysomething

Edward Zwick is well-known for his heroic movies that include Glory (1989), and the breathtaking works of art that include Legends of the Fall (1994). Zwick has also been known for his thoughtfulness as a director, and for his record of working with television series and other films as a producer.


Total: 66 17: Glory 13: Love & Other Drugs 13: Legends of the Fall 11: Blood Diamond 08: The Last Samurai 04: Defiance

31. 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 ...

Total: 64 30: It's a Wonderful Life 26: It Happened One Night 08: Platinum Blonde

32. 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...

Total: 64 30: Fight Club 14: Gone Girl 13: Se7en 05: Panic Room 02: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

33. 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 ...

Total: 63 31: Mulholland Dr. 15: Blue Velvet 13: The Straight Story 04: The Elephant Man

34. 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.

Total: 63 30: Secrets & Lies 16: Happy-Go-Lucky 09: Vera Drake 07: Naked 01: Mr. Turner

35. 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...

Total: 63 18: The Fly 15: Naked Lunch 14: Eastern Promises 08: A History of Violence 06: eXistenZ 02: A Dangerous Method

36. 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 ...

Total: 61 16: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 12: Gangs of New York 10: The Departed 07: Goodfellas 06: Casino 06: Bringing Out the Dead 04: The Wolf of Wall Street

37. David Lean

Director | Lawrence of Arabia

An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...

Total: 61 15: Lawrence of Arabia 12: Great Expectations 11: Brief Encounter 10: The Bridge on the River Kwai 07: Hobson's Choice 06: A Passage to India

38. 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 ...

Total: 60 23: All About My Mother 22: Talk To Her 07: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! [07: The Skin I Live In] 01: Bad Education

39. David O. Russell

Writer | American Hustle

David Owen Russell is an American film writer, director, and producer, known for a cinema of intense, tragi-comedic characters whose love of life can surpass dark circumstances faced in very specific worlds. His films address such themes as mental illness as stigma or hope; invention of self and ...

Total: 60 21: Silver Linings Playbook 18: American Hustle 14: I Heart Huckabees 05: The Fighter 02: Three Kings

40. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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,...

Total: 60 15: The Two Towers 12: The Lovely Bones 12: The Return of the King 11: Heavenly Creatures 10: The Fellowship of the Ring

41. 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 ...

Total: 58 16: The Grand Budapest Hotel 14: Moonrise Kingdom 14: Rushmore 10: The Royal Tenenbaums 04: Bottle Rocket

42. 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...

Total: 57 30: A Separation 27: The Past

43. 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, ...

Total: 55 27: How Green Was My Valley 17: The Searchers 05: My Darling Clementine 03: Fort Apache 02: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 01: The Quiet Man

44. Terrence Malick

Writer | Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...

Total: 55 19: Days of Heaven 18: The Thin Red Line 11: Badlands 07: The New World

45. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

Total: 54 27: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 20: Once Upon a Time in the West 07: Once Upon a Time in America

46. 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 ...

Total: 53 20: Aliens 20: The Abyss 05: The Terminator 04: Avatar 03: True Lies 01: Terminator 2: Judgment Day 00: Titanic

47. Martin Ritt

Director | Hud

Martin Ritt, one of the best and most sensitive American filmmakers of all time, was a director, actor and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. His films reflect, like almost none other, a profound and intimate humane vision of his characters.

He originally ...

Total: 53 18: The Long, Hot Summer 09: Murphy's Romance 08: Hud [07: Norma Rae] 06: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold 05: The Black Orchid

48. James Mangold

Producer | Logan

James Mangold is an American film and television director, screenwriter and producer. Films he has directed include Girl, Interrupted (1999), Walk the Line (2005), which he also co-wrote, the 2007 remake 3:10 to Yuma (2007), The Wolverine (2013), and Logan (2017).

Mangold also wrote and directed Cop...

Total: 52 24: 3:10 to Yuma 20: Walk the Line 05: Girl, Interrupted 03: Knight and Day 00: Cop Land

49. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of TV producer parents. Abrams planned on going to dental school, but decided to study film at Sarah Lawrence College. At 15, he wrote the music for Don Dohler's Nightbeast (1982). In his senior year, he and Jill ...

Total: 52 24: Star Trek 19: Star Trek Into Darkness 09: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 00: Super 8

50. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Writer | Trois couleurs: Bleu

Krzysztof Kieslowski graduated from Lódz Film School in 1969, and became a documentary, TV and feature film director and scriptwriter. Before making his first film for TV, Przejscie podziemne (1974) (The Underground Passage), he made a number of short documentaries. His next TV title, Personnel (...

Total: 52 15: Three Colors: Blue 15: The Double Life of Veronique 14: Three Colors: Red 08: Three Colors: White

51. Luc Besson

Writer | The Fifth Element

Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997), as an adolescent bored in ...

Total: 50 29: Leon 12: The Fifth Element 09: La Femme Nikita

52. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Ran

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

Total: 50 24: Seven Samurai 11: High and Low 11: Dersu Uzala 04: No Regrets for Our Youth

53. 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 ...

Total: 49 19: The Bourne Supremacy 15: The Bourne Ultimatum 15: Captain Phillips

54. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

Total: 49 19: The Fountain 15: Black Swan 07: The Wrestler [05: Requiem for a Dream] 03: Noah

55. Cameron Crowe

Writer | Almost Famous

Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.

Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...

Total: 47 29: Jerry Maguire 14: Almost Famous 04: Elizabethtown

56. Robert Wise

Director | West Side Story

Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an ...

Total: 47 21: West Side Story 17: The Sound of Music 06: Two for the Seesaw 03: The Sand Pebbles

57. Richard Linklater

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. ...

Total: 47 17: Before Midnight 17: Before Sunset 09: Dazed and Confused 04: Before Sunrise

58. 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 ...

Total: 46 29: Contact 10: Flight 07: Back to the Future 00: Forrest Gump

59. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

Total: 46 22: Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison 20: The Night of the Iguana 04: Key Largo

60. 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 ...

Total: 46 20: Y Tu Mama Tambien 17: Gravity [09: Children of Men]

61. Steven Soderbergh

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 ...

Total: 46 19: Ocean's Thirteen 12: Ocean's Twelve 08: Ocean's Eleven 07: Out of Sight

62. George Miller

Producer | Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller is an Australian film director, screenwriter, producer, and former medical doctor. He is best known for his Mad Max franchise, with Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) being hailed as amongst the greatest action films of all time. Aside from the Mad Max ...

Total: 45 27: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 18: Mad Max: Fury Road

63. Peter Bogdanovich

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 ...

Total: 44 26: Paper Moon 18: The Last Picture Show

64. Lasse Hallström

Director | What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Lasse Hallström was born on June 2, 1946 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden as Lars Hallström. He is a director and writer, known for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Chocolat (2000) and The Cider House Rules (1999). He has been married to Lena Olin since March 18, 1994. They have one child. ...

Total: 44 22: The Cider House Rules 10: My Life as a Dog 10: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen 02: The Shipping News

65. Jason Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.

Total: 43 18: Up in the Air 17: Thank You For Smoking 07: Young Adult 01: Juno

66. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

Total: 42 35: Casablanca 07: Captain Blood

67. Vincente Minnelli

Director | An American in Paris

Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago on February 28 1903, his father Vincent was a musical conductor of the Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. Wanting to pursue an artistic career, Minelli worked in the costume department of the Chicago Theater, then on Broadway during the depression as a set ...

Total: 42 31: Gigi 09: The Bad and the Beautiful 02: Cabin in the Sky

68. 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 ...

Total: 42 23: Paris, Texas 19: Wings of Desire

69. M. Night Shyamalan

Producer | Lady in the Water

Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots.

He is the son of Jayalakshmi, a Tamil ...

Total: 42 15: The Village 15: Signs 12: The Sixth Sense

70. 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 ...

Total: 42 15: Sideways 14: Election 12: The Descendants 01: Nebraska

71. Baz Luhrmann

Writer | Moulin Rouge!

Baz Luhrmann is an Australian writer, director, and producer with projects spanning film, television, opera, theatre, music, and recording industries. He is regarded by many as a contemporary example of an auteur for his distinctly recognizable style and deep involvement in the writing, directing, ...

Total: 41 31: Strictly Ballroom 05: Moulin Rouge! 03: The Great Gatsby 02: Australia

72. Martin Campbell

Director | Casino Royale

Martin Campbell knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. When he directed The Mask of Zorro (1998), the movie earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and launched the international careers of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Next, when he helmed ...

Total: 41 28: Casino Royale 13: The Mask of Zorro

73. Federico Fellini

Writer | Amarcord

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

Total: 41 24: La Strada 17: The Nights of Cabiria

74. 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 ...

Total: 41 21: Chungking Express 10: 2046 08: In the Mood For Love 02: Happy Together

75. Paul Haggis

Writer | Crash

Paul Haggis established himself over twenty years with an extensive career in television, before his big break into features arrived when he became the first screenwriter to garner two Best Film Academy Awards back-to-back for his scripts: "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, ...

Total: 41 20: Crash 11: Third Person 06: In the Valley of Elah 04: The Next Three Days

76. Michel Gondry

Director | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

He grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band ...

Total: 40 31: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 09: The Science of Sleep

77. Duncan Jones

Director | Moon

Duncan Jones was born on May 30, 1971 in Bromley, Kent, England as Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. He is a director and writer, known for Moon (2009), Source Code (2011) and Mute (2018). He has been married to Rodene Ronquillo since November 6, 2012. They have two children.

Total: 40 23: Moon 17: Source Code

78. Lars von Trier

Writer | Dancer in the Dark

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly ...

Total: 40 23: Breaking the Waves 09: Dancer in the Dark 08: Melancholia

79. 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 ...

Total: 40 22: Les Miserables 18: The King's Speech

80. 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 ...

Total: 40 16: The Remains of the Day 11: Howards End 09: Mr. and Mrs. Bridge 04: A Room with a View

81. 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), ...

Total: 40 14: Incendies 14: Prisoners 12: Sicario

82. Robert Mulligan

Director | To Kill a Mockingbird

Robert Mulligan was born on August 23, 1925 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Robert Patrick Mulligan Jr. He was a director and producer, known for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Summer of '42 (1971) and The Other (1972). He was married to Sandy Mulligan and Jane Lee Sutherland. He died ...

Total: 39 29: To Kill a Mockingbird 10: The Man in the Moon

83. Leo McCarey

Director | An Affair to Remember

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

Total: 39 19: The Awful Truth 13: Make Way for Tomorrow 07: The Bells of St. Mary's

84. 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, ...

Total: 39 13: Sense and Sensibility 10: Brokeback Mountain 09: Ride with the Devil [04: Lust, Caution] 03: The Ice Storm

85. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

Total: 38 19: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? 08: Tootsie [06: Absence of Malice] 03: Jeremiah Johnson 02: The Interpreter

86. Alejandro G. Iñárritu

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 ...

Total: 38 16: The Revenant 10: 21 Grams 05: Babel 05: Birdman 02: Amores Perros

87. Jim Sheridan

Producer | In America

Jim Sheridan is a master story-teller, and an acclaimed film director of few films, but good films nevertheless.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1949, Sheridan moved to America in 1982, meeting a man who invited him to run the Irish Arts Center. He found a place to live in Hell's Kitchen, New York City,...

Total: 37 22: In America 09: In the Name of the Father 06: My Left Foot

88. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

Total: 37 16: The More the Merrier [05: Giant] 07: A Place in the Sun 05: Swing Time 03: Gunga Din 01: The Diary of Anne Frank

89. Peter Weir

Director | Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

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...

Total: 37 14: Fearless 13: Master and Commander 08: Gallipoli 02: The Way Back 00: The Truman Show

90. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

Total: 36 21: Elmer Gantry 15: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

91. 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 ...

Total: 35 30: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 05: Splendor in the Grass

92. Isao Takahata

Director | Hotaru no haka

Isao Takahata was born on October 29, 1935 in Ise, Mie, Japan. He was a director and writer, known for Grave of the Fireflies (1988), The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013) and Only Yesterday (1991). He died on April 5, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.

Total: 35 29: Grave of the Fireflies [06: Only Yesterday]

93. Joss Whedon

Writer | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon is the middle of five brothers - his younger brothers are Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon. Both his father, Tom Whedon and his grandfather, John Whedon were successful television writers. Joss' mother, Lee Stearns, was a history teacher and she also wrote novels as Lee Whedon. Whedon was ...

Total: 35 28: Serenity 07: Much Ado About Nothing

94. Alain Resnais

Director | On connaît la chanson

Alain Resnais was born on June 3, 1922 in Vannes, Morbihan, France as Alain Pierre Marie Jean Georges Resnais. He was a director and editor, known for Same Old Song (1997), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and My American Uncle (1980). He was married to Sabine Azéma and Florence Malraux. He died on March...

Total: 35 23: Hiroshima Mon Amour 12: Last Year at Marienbad

95. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the ...

Total: 35 21: Gone with the Wind 14: The Wizard of Oz

96. Hans Petter Moland

Director | Kraftidioten

Hans Petter Moland was born on October 17, 1955 in Oslo, Norway. He is a director and writer, known for Kraftidioten (2014), Aberdeen (2000) and Out Stealing Horses (2019).

Total: 34 22: Aberdeen 12: The Beautiful Country

97. Tom Tykwer

Composer | Lola rennt

Director, writer, producer and composer Tom Tykwer was born in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany. He showed an interest in film-making from childhood, making super 8 films from the age of 11. Among his first jobs was working at a local art-house cinema. Tykwer eventually relocated to Berlin, first working...

Total: 34 22: Run Lola Run 11: Cloud Atlas 01: The Princess and the Warrior

98. 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 ...

Total: 34 18: Singin' in the Rain 16: The Grass Is Greener

99. Robert Benton

Writer | Kramer vs. Kramer

Robert Benton was born on September 29, 1932 in Waxahachie, Texas, USA as Robert Douglas Benton. He is a writer and director, known for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Superman (1978).

Total: 34 15: Kramer vs. Kramer 13: Nobody's Fool 04: The Human Stain 02: Bad Company

100. 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...

Total: 33 28: The Silence of the Lambs 05: Rachel Getting Married

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