The best film directors and producers

by olafbrock | created - 29 May 2015 | updated - 03 Jun 2015 | Public

1. 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 ...

2. 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 ...

3. Bryan Singer

Director | X-Men

Bryan Singer was born on September 17, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as Bryan Jay Singer. He is a producer and director, known for X-Men (2000), The Usual Suspects (1995) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

4. 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 ...

5. Alex Garland

Writer | Ex Machina

Alex Garland is an English novelist, screenwriter, film producer and director. He is best known for the films Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018).

Garland's others works as a writer includes The Beach (2000), 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007), Never Let Me Go (2011) and Dredd (2012).

He is ...

6. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Dunkirk

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.

...

7. James Gunn

Writer | Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, to Leota and James Francis Gunn. He is from a large Catholic family, with Irish and Czech ancestry. His father and his uncles were all lawyers. He has been writing and performing as long as he can remember. He began making 8mm films at the age ...

8. Tony Kaye

Director | Detachment

Tony Kaye was born in London, United Kingdom. He has made several well-known music videos, including the video for "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum, which won a Grammy Award, "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers, "What God Wants" by Roger Waters, and "Help Me" and "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by ...

9. 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.

10. 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,...

11. 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, ...

12. 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 ...

13. Sean Penn

Actor | Mystic River

Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints.

Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the ...

14. 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 ...

15. Terry Jones

Writer | Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Terry Jones was born in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. His father was a bank clerk, mother - mistress of the house. He has an older brother, Nigel Jones (1940-). He studied at St. Edmund Hall College, Oxford University. In 1965, with his friend Michael Palin, he made The Late Show (1966) for television, ...

16. 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...

17. 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, ...

18. 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...

19. 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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. Alex Proyas

Director | Dark City

Alex Proyas has moved effortlessly between helming TV commercials and music videos to feature films. Born to Greek parents in Egypt, Proyas relocated to Australia with his family when he was three years old. He began making films at age ten and went on to attend the Australian Film Television and ...

22. 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 ...

23. Mark Pellington

Director | Arlington Road

Mark Pellington was born on March 17, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Arlington Road (1999), The Mothman Prophecies (2002) and Jerry Maguire (1996). He was previously married to Jennifer Barrett Pellington.

24. Francis Lawrence

Director | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Francis Lawrence was born on March 26, 1971 in Vienna, Austria. He is a director and producer, known for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Constantine (2005) and I Am Legend (2007).

25. Frank Darabont

Writer | The Green Mile

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...

26. 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).

27. David Yates

Director | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

David Yates was born on October 8, 1963 in St. Helens, Merseyside, England. He is a director and producer, known for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and The Legend of Tarzan (2016).

28. Mike Newell

Director | Four Weddings and a Funeral

Attended Cambridge University. Three year training course at Granada Television, with intention of going into theatre. Graduated to directing TV plays, building strong reputation for work with David Hare, David Edgar, Hohn, John Osborne, Jack Rosenthal.

29. Chris Columbus

Producer | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus was first inspired to make movies after seeing "The Godfather" at age 15. After enrolling at NYU film school, he sold his first screenplay (never produced) while a sophomore there. After graduation Columbus tried to sell his fourth script, "...

30. Brad Bird

Writer | The Incredibles

Phillip Bradley "Brad" Bird is an American director, screenwriter, animator, producer and occasional voice actor, known for both animated and live-action films. Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children of Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in...

31. Joe Johnston

Director | Captain America: The First Avenger

Joe Johnston was born on May 13, 1950 in Austin, Texas, USA as Joseph Eggleston Johnston II. He is a director, known for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Rocketeer (1991).

32. James Wan

Writer | Saw

James Wan (born 26 February 1977) is an Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw (2004) and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2010)...

33. 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 ...

34. Neill Blomkamp

Director | District 9

Neill Blomkamp was born on September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a director and writer, known for District 9 (2009), Elysium (2013) and Chappie (2015). He is married to Terri Tatchell. They have one child.

35. Matthew Vaughn

Producer | Kick-Ass

Matthew Vaughn is an English film producer and director. He is known for producing such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) and for directing the crime thriller, Layer Cake (2004), the fantasy epic, Stardust (2007), the superhero comedy, Kick-Ass (2010), and the ...

36. Rupert Wyatt

Director | Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Writer, Director and Producer Rupert Wyatt was born and raised in the South of England.

He is the founding member of the film collective Picture Farm that along with its prolific Commercial output has produced numerous Documentaries and Feature Films including the multi-award winning DARK DAYS (2001...

37. Morten Tyldum

Director | Hodejegerne

Morten Tyldum was born on May 19, 1967 in Bergen, Norway. He is a director and producer, known for Headhunters (2011), The Imitation Game (2014) and Buddy (2003).

38. 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 ...

39. Stephen Daldry

Director | The Reader

In 1989, Stephen Daldry worked as a freelance reader of unsolicited manuscripts for Literary Manager Nicholas Wright in the Scripts Department at the Royal National Theatre. In July of that year, he directed a Dadaist/expressionist production of "Judgement Day," a play by Odon von Horvath, at the ...

40. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

41. David Ayer

Writer | End of Watch

David Ayer is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. David Ayer was born in Champaign, Illinois and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Bethesda, Maryland, where he was kicked out of his house by his parents as a teenager. Ayer then lived with his cousin in Los Angeles, ...

42. Scott Frank

Writer | Logan

Scott Frank was born on March 10, 1960 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Logan (2017), Out of Sight (1998) and The Lookout (2007).

43. Antoine Fuqua

Producer | The Magnificent Seven

Antoine Fuqua is an American film director, known for his work in the film Training Day as well as The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer.

He has directed music videos for such artists as Arrested Development, Prince, ...

44. Rian Johnson

Director | Brick

Rian Johnson was born in Maryland and at a young age, he moved to San Clemente, California, where he was raised. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His first feature film Brick (2005) was released in 2005 and was ...

45. 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 ...

46. Neil Burger

Director | Divergent

Neil Burger was born in 1963 in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Divergent (2014), The Illusionist (2006) and The Upside (2017). He has been married to Diana Kellogg since June 30, 1997.

47. Tony Gilroy

Writer | Michael Clayton

Tony Gilroy was born in Manhattan, New York, New York, USA; and raised in upstate New York. His father, Frank D. Gilroy, was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director, and screenwriter. Tony has penned many films, including The Devil's Advocate (1997) and The Cutting Edge (1992).

48. 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...

49. 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 ...

50. 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.

...

51. 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 ...

52. Mel Gibson

Actor | Braveheart

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...

53. 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 ...

54. Tony Scott

Producer | Domino

Tony Scott was a British-born film director and producer. He was the youngest of three brothers, one of whom is fellow film director Ridley Scott. He was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England to parents Jean and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. As a result of his father's career in the British...

55. 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 ...

56. Iain Softley

Director | Backbeat

Softley was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing, London, and Queens' College, Cambridge University, where he was a member of the college's dramatic society, the BATS, and directed a number of highly-praised theatrical productions. He worked for Granada TV and the BBC before becoming a director...

57. Robert Luketic

Director | The Ugly Truth

Robert Luketic was born on November 1, 1973 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He is a director and writer, known for The Ugly Truth (2009), Killers (2010) and 21 (2008).

58. Oliver Hirschbiegel

Director | Das Experiment

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1957. In his teens he left high school and worked as a cooker in a boat.

Then he studied painting and graphism in the Academy of arts in Hamburg where he also started experimenting with video and photography. Those experimental movies attracted the attention of some ...

59. Michael Bay

Producer | Armageddon

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and Divinyls. His work won...

60. Roland Emmerich

Writer | Independence Day

Roland Emmerich is a German film director and producer of blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Godzilla (1998), Independence Day (1996) and The Patriot (2000). Before fame, he originally wanted to be a production designer, but decided to be a director, after watching the original ...

61. 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...

62. 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,...

63. Joon-ho Bong

Writer | Okja

Joon-ho Bong was born on September 14, 1969 in Daegu, South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for Okja (2017), Snowpiercer (2013) and Memories of Murder (2003).

64. Kevin Hooks

Actor | Innerspace

Kevin Hooks was born on September 19, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Innerspace (1987), Last Resort (2012) and Passenger 57 (1992). He is married to Cheryl. They have two children. He was previously married to Regina Hooks.

65. Brad Turner

Director | 24

Brad Turner is a director and producer, known for 24 (2001), Human Cargo (2004) and Homeland (2011).

66. 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.

Howard ...

67. 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 ...

68. 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 ...

69. 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 ...

70. 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 ...

71. 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 ...

72. Robert Schwentke

Director | RED

Robert Schwentke was born in 1968 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is a director and writer, known for RED (2010), The Captain (2017) and R.I.P.D. (2013).

73. 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...

74. 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, ...

75. Scott Derrickson

Writer | Sinister

Scott Derrickson was born on July 16, 1966 in Denver, Colorado, USA. He is a writer and director, known for Sinister (2012), Doctor Strange (2016) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).

76. James Watkins

Writer | Eden Lake

James Watkins was born in 1978 in the UK. He is a writer and director, known for Eden Lake (2008), The Take (2016) and The Woman in Black (2012).



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