Greatest Directors (unfinished)

by Maggieee | created - 05 Nov 2012 | updated - 03 Sep 2013 | Public

Not in order!

1. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

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, ...

Jaws (1975); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Jurassic Park (1993); Schindler's List (1993); Saving Private Ryan (1998); A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001); Minority Report (2002); Catch Me If You Can (2002); The Terminal (2004); War of the Worlds (2005); Munich (2005); War Horse (2011); Lincoln (2012)

2. Christopher Nolan

Writer | The Prestige

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.

...

Batman Begins (2005); The Prestige (2006); The Dark Knight (2008); Inception (2010); The Dark Night Rises (2012)

3. 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...

Reservoir Dogs (1992); Pulp Fiction (1994); Jackie Brown (1997); Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003); Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004); Death Proof (2007); Inglourious Basterds (2009); Django Unchained (2012)

4. 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 ...

Taxi Driver (1976); Raging Bull (1980); The Color of Money (1986); Goodfellas (1990); Cape Fear (1991); The Age of Innocence (1993); Casino (1995); Kundun (1997); Gangs of New York (2002); The Aviator (2004); The Departed (2006); Shutter Island (2010); Hugo (2011)

5. 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 ...

Longford (2006); John Adams (2008); The Damned United (2009); The King's Speech (2010); Les Misérables (2012)

6. Sam Mendes

Producer | Road to Perdition

Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-...

American Beauty (1999); Road to Perdition (2002); Jarhead (2005); Revolutionary Road (2008); Away We Go (2009); Skyfall (2012)

7. 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 ...

The Terminator (1984); Aliens (1986); The Abyss (1989); Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991); True Lies (1994); Titanic (1997); Avatar (2009)

8. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Gran Torino

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...

9. Roman Polanski

Actor | 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 ...

10. 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...

11. 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, ...

12. Judd Apatow

Producer | Girls

Judd Apatow was born on December 6, 1967 in Syosset, New York, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Girls (2012), Knocked Up (2007) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005). He has been married to Leslie Mann since June 9, 1997. They have two children.

13. 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), The Legend of Tarzan (2016) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).

14. 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 ...

15. 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 ...

16. 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 ...

17. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | The Conversation

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 ...

18. 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,...

19. 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...

20. Joe Wright

Director | Pride & Prejudice

Joe Wright is an English film director. He is best known for Pride & Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2007), Anna Karenina (2012), and Darkest Hour (2017).

Wright always had an interest in the arts, especially painting. He would also make films on his Super 8 camera as well as spend time in the evenings...

21. Joel Schumacher

Director | The Phantom of the Opera

Joel Schumacher was born on August 29, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Joel T. Schumacher. He is a director and writer, known for The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Batman & Robin (1997) and Phone Booth (2002).

22. Richard Curtis

Writer | Love Actually

Richard Curtis was born on November 8, 1956 in Wellington, New Zealand as Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis. He is a writer and producer, known for Love Actually (2003), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and About Time (2013).

23. 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 ...

24. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

25. Baz Luhrmann

Writer | Moulin Rouge!

Baz's parents did Ballroom competitions, thus growing up around the very subject matter of his first three films.

26. Oliver Stone

Director | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

27. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

28. David O. Russell

Director | 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 ...

29. 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 ...

30. Guy Ritchie

Director | Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and ...

31. Gus Van Sant

Director | Elephant

Gus Van Sant was born on July 24, 1952 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Gus Greene Van Sant Junior. He is a director and producer, known for Elephant (2003), My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Drugstore Cowboy (1989).

32. 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...

33. 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, ...

34. Ben Affleck

Producer | Argo

American actor and filmmaker Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are divorced. Ben has...

35. 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), Rachel Getting Married (2008) and Philadelphia (1993). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died...

36. Lone Scherfig

Director | An Education

Writer/director Lone Scherfig graduated from The National Film School of Denmark in 1984. Her first feature film, THE BIRTHDAY TRIP (1990), was selected for Panorama in Berlin, the New Directors section at MOMA in New York and won the Grand Jury Prix in Rouen. Her next film, ON OUR OWN (1998), ...

37. 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 ...

38. Rob Marshall

Director | Chicago

Rob Marshall was born on October 17, 1960 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. He is known for his work on Chicago (2002), Into the Woods (2014) and Nine (2009).

39. Shawn Levy

Producer | Arrival

Shawn Levy was born on July 23, 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Stranger Things (2016), Real Steel (2011), and the Night at the Museum franchise. He is the founder and principal of 21 Laps Entertainment. He is married to Serena Levy and they have four ...

40. Harold Prince

West Side Story

Harold Prince was born on January 30, 1928 in New York City, New York, USA as Harold Smith Prince. He is known for his work on West Side Story (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Cabaret (1972). He has been married to Judith Chaplin since October 26, 1962. They have two children.

41. Andrew Adamson

Director | Shrek 2

Andrew Adamson was born on December 1, 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a producer and director, known for Shrek 2 (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and Shrek (2001). He has been married to Gyulnara Karaeva since January 16, 2016. He was previously ...

42. Jay Roach

Director | Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Jay Roach was born on June 14, 1957 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA as Mathew Jay Roach. He is a producer and director, known for Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Trumbo (2015) and Meet the Parents (2000). He has been married to Susanna Hoffs since April 17, 1993. They have two ...