by baydr | created - 03 May 2020 | updated - 03 May 2020 | Public

1. Andrei Tarkovsky

Writer | Solyaris

The most famous Soviet film-maker since Sergei M. Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky (the son of noted poet Arseniy Tarkovsky) studied music and Arabic in Moscow before enrolling in the Soviet film school V.G.I.K. He shot to international attention with his first feature, Ivan's Childhood (1962), which ...

"Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream." ~ Ingmar Bergman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (14)

Classics: Andrei Rublev (1966)✦; Solaris (1972)✦; The Mirror (1975)✦; Stalker (1979)✦; The Sacrifice (1986)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Killers [co-director/short] (1956); There Will Be No Leave Today [co-director] (1959); The Steamroller and the Violin (1961); Ivan's Childhood (1962)✦; Nostalghia (1983) (1983)✦; Voyage in Time [doc] (1983)

2. Robert Bresson

Writer | Journal d'un curé de campagne

Robert Bresson trained as a painter before moving into films as a screenwriter, making a short film (atypically a comedy), Public Affairs (1934) in 1934. After spending more than a year as a German POW during World War II, he made his debut with Angels of Sin (1943) in 1943. His next film, Les ...

"There's something in the way Bresson makes films which puts me in mind of a certain French tradition that comes from Racine. I don't really think that I was influenced by Bresson, but I would say that I wish I had been." ~ Louis Malle

"Bresson is to French cinema what Mozart is to German music and Dostoyevsky is to Russian literature." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

Influenced: Andrei Tarkovsky; Michael Haneke; Jim Jarmusch; Dardenne brothers; Paul Schrader; Aki Kaurismäki

TSPDT All-Time Directors (17)

Greats: A Man Escaped (1956)✦; Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)✦

Give It a Shot: Pickpocket (1959)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (1945)✦; Diary of a Country Priest (1951)✦; The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962); Mouchette (1967)✦; A Gentle Woman (1969)✖; Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)✖; Lancelot of the Lake (1974)✦; The Devil Probably (1977)✦; L'Argent (1983)✦

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 ...

“If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujirô Ozu… For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognises himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.” ~ Wim Wenders

Influenced: Wim Wenders

TSPDT All-Time Directors (12)

Greats: Tokyo Story (1953)✦

Other Notable Film(s): I Was Born. But... (1932)✦; The Only Son (1936)✖; There Was a Father (1942); Late Spring (1949)✦; Early Summer (1951)✦; Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)✖; Early Spring (1956); Tokyo Twilight (1957); Equinox Flower (1958)✖; Good Morning (1959); Floating Weeds (1959)✦; Late Autumn (1960)✖; An Autumn Afternoon (1961)✦; The End of Summer (1961)✦

4. Carl Theodor Dreyer

Writer | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc

The illegitimate son of a Danish farmer and his Swedish housekeeper, Carl Theodor Dreyer was born in Copenhagen on the 3th of February, 1889. He spent his early years in various foster homes before being adopted by the Dreyers at the age of two. Contrary to popular belief (perhaps nourished by the ...

"Carl Dreyer's art begins to unfold just at the point where most directors give up." ~ Pauline Kael

TSPDT All-Time Directors (18)

Classics: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)✦; Ordet (1955)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Parson's Widow (1920); Leaves Out of the Book of Satan (1921); Michael (1924) (1924); Master of the House (1925); Vampyr (1932) (1932)✦; Day of Wrath (1943)✦; Gertrud (1964) (1964)✦

5. Sergei M. Eisenstein

Director | Aleksandr Nevskiy

The son of an affluent architect, Eisenstein attended the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd as a young man. With the fall of the tsar in 1917, he worked as an engineer for the Red Army. In the following years, Eisenstein joined up with the Moscow Proletkult Theater as a set designer and ...

"The master of montage, Eisenstein created a series of classic Soviet films which speak of the faith, optimism, and willpower of the Russian people." ~ William R. Meyer

TSPDT All-Time Directors (25)

Greats: Battleship Potemkin (1925)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Strike (1925)✦; October (1928)✦; The General Line (1929)✖; Que Viva Mexico (1932*)✖; Alexander Nevsky (1938)✦; Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)✦; Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1958)✦

6. Vittorio De Sica

Director | Ladri di biciclette

Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...

"I believe Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica and Federico Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them." ~ Stanley Kubrick

Influenced: Satyajit Ray

TSPDT All-Time Directors (33)

Classics: Bicycle Thieves (1948)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Shoeshine (1946)✖; Miracle in Milan (1951)✦; Umberto D. (1952)✦; Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953); Two Women (1960); Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963); Marriage Italian Style (1964); The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)

7. Kenji Mizoguchi

Director | Ugetsu monogatari

Coming from a lower class family Mizoguchi entered the production company Nikkatsu as an actor specialized in female roles. Later he became an assistant director and made his first film in 1922. Although he filmed almost 90 movies in the silent era, only his last 12 productions are really known ...

"The greatest of Japanese filmmakers. Or, quite simply, one of the greatest of filmmakers." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

"If Mizoguchi captivates us, it is because he never sets out deliberately to do so and never takes sides with the spectator. He seems to be the only Japanese director who is completely Japanese and yet is also the only one that achieves a true universality, that of an individual." - Jacques Rivette

TSPDT All-Time Directors (26)

Greats: Ugetsu (1953)✦; Sansho the Bailiff (1954)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Osaka Elegy (1936); Sisters of the Gion (1936); The Straits of Love and Hate (1937)✖; The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)✦; The 47 Ronin (1941)✦; Utamaro and His Five Women (1946)✖; Women of the Night (1948); Flame of My Love (1949)✖; Miss Oyu (1951)✖; The Life of Oharu (1952)✦; A Geisha (1953)✖; The Crucified Lovers (1954)✦; The Woman in the Rumor (1954); Princess Yang Kwei-fei (1955)✖; Taira Clan Saga (1955)✖; Street of Shame (1956)✦

8. 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 ...

"To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun." ~ Akira Kurosawa

TSPDT All-Time Directors (42)

Influenced: Martin Scorsese, James Ivory, Abbas Kiarostami, Elia Kazan, François Truffaut, Carlos Saura, Isao Takahata, Danny Boyle, Wes Anderson

Greats: Pather Panchali (1955) (1955)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Aparajito (1956) (1956)✦; The Music Room (1958)✦; The World of Apu (1959)✦; The Goddess (1960); The Big City: Mahanagar (1964)✖; Charulata: The Lonely Wife (1964)✦; Days and Nights in the Forest (1970)✖; The Chess Players (1977); The Visitor (1991)

9. Luchino Visconti

Writer | Morte a Venezia

Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a writer and director, known for Death in Venice (1971), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and Le Notti Bianche (1957). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (30)

Other Notable Film(s): Ossessione (1943) (1943)✦; La Terra Trema (1948)✦; Bellissima (1951) (1951)✖; Senso (1954) (1954)✦; Le Notti Bianche (1957)✖; Rocco and His Brothers (1960)✦; The Leopard (1963)✦; Sandra (1965)✖; The Stranger (1967); The Damned (1969)✦; Death in Venice (1971)✦; Ludwig (1973) (1972)✦; Conversation Piece (1974)✖; L'innocente (1976) (1976)

10. Max Ophüls

Director | La ronde

Director Max Ophüls was born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrücken, Germany. He began his career as a stage actor and director in the golden twenties. He worked in cities such as Stuttgart, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Vienna, Frankfurt, Breslau and Berlin. In 1929 his son Marcel Ophüls was born in Frankfurt, ...

"If all the dollies and cranes in the world snap to attention when his name is mentioned, it is because he gave camera movement its finest hours in the history of cinema." ~ Andrew Sarris

Influenced: Stanley Kubrick; Vincente Minnelli

TSPDT All-Time Directors (47)

Other Notable Film(s): Liebelei (1933) (1932)✖; La Signora di Tutti (1934)✖; There's No Tomorrow (1940)✖; Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) (1948)✦; The Reckless Moment (1949) (1949)✦; Caught (1949) (1949); La Ronde (1950)✖; Le Plaisir (1952)✦; The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)✦; Lola Montès (1955) (1955)✦

11. 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 (...

"There is no doubting his feeling for things seen and heard; there is no question but that he is a filmmaker, and one following in the steps of Bresson. But, for me, Kieslowski frequently runs the risk of being precious, mannered, and so cold as to forbid touching." ~ David Thomson

Considered one of the greatest Polish directors.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (55)

Other Notable Film(s): The Scar (1976); Camera Buff (1979)✖; Blind Chance (1981)✖; No End (1985)✖; Dekalog (1988)✦; A Short Film About Killing (1988)✦; A Short Film About Love (1988)✖; The Double Life of Veronique (1991)✦; Three Colors: Blue (1993)✦; Three Colors: White (1994)✦; Three Colors: Red (1994)✦

12. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

"A remarkable director -- a great loss to Italian culture. It was as if he was discovering cinema from scratch." ~ Bernardo Bertolucci on Pier's death

TSPDT All-Time Directors (53)

Other Notable Film(s): Accattone! (1961)✦; Mamma Roma (1962)✦; The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)✦; The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966)✦; Oedipus Rex (1967)✦; Teorema (1968)✦; Pigpen (1969); Medea (1969) (1969); The Decameron (1971); The Canterbury Tales (1972)✖; Arabian Nights (1974)✦; Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)✦

13. Nicolas Roeg

Director | Don't Look Now

When he made his directorial debut in 1970, Nicolas Roeg was already a 23-year veteran of the British film industry, starting out in 1947 as an editing apprentice and working his way up to cinematographer twelve years later. He first came to attention as part of the second unit on David Lean's ...

Influenced: Steven Soderbergh, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, François Ozon, Danny Boyle

TSPDT All-Time Directors (85)

Greats: Don't Look Now (1973)✦; The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)✦; Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980)✦

Give It a Shot: Performance [w/Donald Cammell] (1970)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Walkabout (1971) (1971)✦; Eureka (1983) (1983); Insignificance (1985) (1985); Castaway (1986) (1986); Track 29 (1988) (1988); The Witches (1990) (1990); Cold Heaven (1991) (1991); Two Deaths (1995) (1995); Puffball (2007) (2007)

14. Josef von Sternberg

Director | The Devil Is a Woman

Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop ...

15. Jean-Pierre Melville

Actor | À bout de souffle

The name "Melville" is not immediately associated with film. It conjures up images of white whales and crackbrained captains, of naysaying notaries and soup-spilling sailors. It is the countersign to a realm of men and their deeds, both heroic and villainous. It is the American novel, with its ...

Influenced: John Woo; Aki Kaurismäki

TSPDT All-Time Directors (89)

Greats: Le Samouraï (1967)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Les Enfants Terribles (1950)✖; Bob le Flambeur (1956)✦; Two Men in Manhattan (1959); Léon Morin, Priest (1961); Le Doulos (1962); Magnet of Doom (1963); Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)✦; Army of Shadows (1969)✦; Le Cercle Rouge (1970)✦; Un Flic (1972)

16. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer | Faustrecht der Freiheit

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and...

17. Jean Vigo

Writer | Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au collège

Jean Vigo had bad health since he was a child. Son of anarchist militant Miguel Almareyda, he also never really recovered from his father's mysterious death in jail when he was 12. Abandoned by his mother, he passed from boarding school to boarding school. Aged 23, through meetings with people ...

"Truly a poet of the cinema, Vigo's early death ended what probably would have been a brilliant career. He made only four films, but they stand as a valuable body of work which reflects a profound, if cynical, humanism and a complex sense of fantasy." ~ William R. Meyer

Only director on this list that didn't reach 30 years of age.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (43)

Greats: L'Atalante (1934)✦

Other Notable Film(s): À propos de Nice (1930) [doc/short] (1930); Taris [doc/short] (1931); Zero for Conduct (1933)✦

18. Abbas Kiarostami

Writer | Copie conforme

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career ...

Cinema begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

TSPDT All-Time Directors (40) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (39)

Other Notable Film(s): Where is the Friend's Home? (1987)✦; Homework (1989)✖; Close-Up (1990)✦; Life, and Nothing More... (1992)✦; Through the Olive Trees (1994)✦; Taste of Cherry (1997)✦; The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)✦; Ten (2002)✦✧; Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)✧; Shirin (2008) (2008); Certified Copy (2010)✧; Like Someone in Love (2012) (2012)✧

19. 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 ...

20. Erich von Stroheim

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatter from Gleiwitz, Germany (now Gliwice, Poland). His family was Jewish.

After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America ...

"In my opinion, there were only two directors in Hollywood who made films without regard to box-office success: Von Stroheim and myself." ~ Fritz Lang

TSPDT All-Time Directors (81)

Other Notable Film(s): Blind Husbands (1919) (1919); Foolish Wives (1922) (1922)✦; Greed (1924) (1924)✦; The Merry Widow (1925) (1925); The Wedding March (1928) (1928)✦; Queen Kelly (1932) (1929)✖

21. 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 ...

"Wong Kar-Wai is a really great inspiration. He's always referred to as the Jimi Hendrix of filmmaking." ~ Gus Van Sant

TSPDT All-Time Directors (36) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (1)

Great: In the Mood for Love (2000)✦✧

Other Notable Film(s): As Tears Go By (1988); Days of Being Wild (1990)✦; Ashes of Time (1994)✖; Chungking Express (1994)✦; Fallen Angels (1995)✖; Happy Together (1997)✦; 2046 (2004) (2004)✦✧; My Blueberry Nights (2007) (2007); The Grandmasters (2013)✧

22. Alain Resnais

Director | Hiroshima mon amour

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 Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), Same Old Song (1997) and My American Uncle (1980). He was married to Sabine Azéma and Florence Malraux. He died on March...

"Resnais is a cubist. I mean that he is the first modern filmmaker of the sound film." ~ Eric Rohmer

TSPDT All-Time Directors (32)

Other Notable Film(s): Night and Fog [doc] (1955)✦; Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)✦; Last Year at Marienbad (1961)✦; Muriel (1963)✦; The War Is Over (1966); Je t'aime, je t'aime (1968) (1968); Stavisky... (1974) (1974)✖; Providence (1977)✦; Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)✦; Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983); Love Unto Death (1984); Mélo (1986) (1986)✖; I Want to Go Home (1989) (1989); Smoking/No Smoking (1993) (1993); Same Old Song (1997); Not on the Lips (2003); Private Fears in Public Places (2006)✧; Wild Grass (2009)✧; You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (2012)✧; Life of Riley (2014)

23. Samuel Fuller

Writer | Shock Corridor

At age 17, Samuel Fuller was the youngest reporter ever to be in charge of the events section of the New York Journal. After having participated in the European battle theater in World War II, he directed some minor action productions for which he mostly wrote the scripts himself and which he also ...

24. 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 ...

"the King of the Hollywood musicals". ~ David Quinlan

TSPDT All-Time Directors (46) [w/Gene Kelly] TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 228]

Greats: Singin' in the Rain (1952) [w/Gene Kelly] (1952)✦; Charade (1963) (1963)✖

Give It a Shot: On the Town (1949) [w/Gene Kelly] (1949)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Royal Wedding (1951) (1951); Love Is Better Than Ever (1952) (1952); Give a Girl a Break (1953) (1953); Deep in My Heart (1954) (1954); Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) (1954)✖; It's Always Fair Weather (1955) [w/Gene Kelly] (1955); Funny Face (1957) (1957)✖; The Pajama Game (1957) (1957); Kiss Them for Me (1957) (1957); Indiscreet (1958) (1958); Damn Yankees (1958) [Co-director] (1958); The Grass Is Greener (1960) (1960); Arabesque (1966) (1966); Two for the Road (1967) (1967)✖; Bedazzled (1967) (1967); The Little Prince (1974) (1974); Lucky Lady (1975) (1975); Movie Movie (1978) (1978); Saturn 3 (1980) [Co-director] (1980); Blame It on Rio (1984) (1984)

25. Wes Anderson

Director | 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 ...

"Few directors' films deserve the term "character-driven" more than Anderson's. His films are also casting-, music-, mood- and even production design-driven (he works with more or less the same key production personnel every time), but whatever powers their engines, action and plot are but trace elements in the fuel." ~ Leslie Felperin

TSPDT All-Time Directors (152) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (13)

Greats: Rushmore (1998) (1998)✦; The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (2001)✦✧; Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) (2009)✧; Moonrise Kingdom (2012) (2012)✧; The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) (2014)✧

Give It a Shot: Bottle Rocket (1996) (1996); The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) (2004)✧; The Darjeeling Limited (2007) (2007)✧; Hotel Chevalier (2007) [short] (2007)

Other Notable Film(s): Isle of Dogs (2018) (2018)

26. Douglas Sirk

Director | Schlußakkord

Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1897, in Hamburg, Germany, to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, ...

"Yes, actually ever since I saw his films and tried to write about them, Sirk's been in everything I've done. Not Sirk himself, but what I've learned from his work." ~ R.W. Fassbinder

"Whereas with Sirk, everything is always filmed. No matter what the script, he's always a real director." ~ Jacques Rivette

Influenced: John Waters

TSPDT All-Time Directors (83)

Greats: Imitation of Life (1959) (1959)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Lured (1947) (1947); Sleep, My Love (1948) (1948); Sleep, My Love (1948) (1948); Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) (1952); All I Desire (1953) (1953); Magnificent Obsession (1954) (1954); All That Heaven Allows (1955) (1955)✦; Written on the Wind (1956) (1956)✦; There's Always Tomorrow (1955) (1956)✖; The Tarnished Angels (1957) (1957)✦; A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958) (1958)✖

27. Jacques Tati

Writer | Playtime

The comic genius Jacques Tati was born Taticheff, descended from a noble Russian family. His grandfather, Count Dimitri, had been a general in the Imperial Army and had served as military attaché to the Russian Embassy in Paris. His father, Emmanuel Taticheff, was a well-to-do picture framer who ...

"He is one of the handful of film artists - the others would include Griffith, Eisenstein, Murnau, Bresson - who can be said to have transformed the medium at its most basic level, to have found a new way of seeing... Five films in 25 years is not an impressive record in a medium where stature is often measured by prolificity, but Playtime alone is a lifetime's achievement - a film that liberates and revitalizes the act of looking at the world." ~ Dave Kehr

TSPDT All-Time Directors (57)

Caution: Playtime (1967) (1967)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Jour de fête (1949) (1949); Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)✦; Mon Oncle (1958)✦; Trafic (1971) (1971); Parade (1974) [TV] (1974)✖

28. René Clair

Writer | Le silence est d'or

René Clair was born on November 11, 1898 in Paris, France as René-Lucien Chomette. He was a writer and director, known for Man About Town (1947), Beauties of the Night (1952) and The Grand Maneuver (1955). He was married to Bronia Clair. He died on March 15, 1981 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, ...

"A real master: he invented his own Paris, which is better than recording it." ~ Orson Welles

TSPDT All-Time Directors (207)

Greats: Le Million (1931)✦; And Then There Were None (1945) (1945)

Other Notable Film(s): Paris qui dort (1923)✖; Entr'acte (1924) (1924)✖; The Italian Straw Hat (1928)✖; Under the Roofs of Paris (1930)✖; À Nous la Liberté (1931)✖; The Ghost Goes West (1935); The Flame of New Orleans (1941) (1941); I Married a Witch (1942) (1942); It Happened Tomorrow (1944) (1944); Beauty and the Devil (1950); The Grand Maneuver (1955); The Gates of Paris (1957)

29. Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Producer | Cike 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (50) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (31)

Other Notable Film(s): All the Youthful Days (1983); A Summer at Grandpa's (1984); A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1986)✦; Dust in the Wind (1987)✦; A City of Sadness (1989)✦; The Puppetmaster (1993)✦; Good Men, Good Women (1995); Goodbye, South, Goodbye (1996)✖; Flowers of Shanghai (1998)✦; Millennium Mambo (2001)✧; Café Lumière (2003)✧; Three Times (2005)✧; Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)✧; The Assassin (2015)✧

30. Yimou Zhang

Director | Ying xiong

Yimou Zhang was born on November 14, 1951 in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. He is a director and producer, known for Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). He has been married to Ting Chen since December 2011. They have three children. He was previously married ...

"Zhang Yimou tried to use martial arts to talk about Chinese culture, Chinese people. What do they think, what do they want and what do they hope." ~ Jet Li

TSPDT All-Time Directors (120)

Other Notable Film(s): Red Sorghum (1987)✦; Ju Dou (1990) (1990)✦; Raise the Red Lantern (1991)✦; The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)✖; To Live (1994)✦; Shanghai Triad (1995); Keep Cool (1997); Not One Less (1999); Happy Times (2000); The Road Home (2000); Hero (2002)✧; House of Flying Daggers (2004)✧; Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005); Curse of the Golden Flower (2006); A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009); Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010); The Flowers of War (2011); Coming Home (2014); The Great Wall (2016) (2016)

31. Éric Rohmer

Director | Ma nuit chez Maud

Admirers have always had difficulty explaining Éric Rohmer's "Je ne sais quoi." Part of the challenge stems from the fact that, despite his place in French Nouvelle Vague (i.e., New Wave), his work is unlike that of his colleagues. While this may be due to the auteur's unwillingness to conform, ...

32. Edward Yang

Writer | Yi yi

Born on November 6, 1947 in Shanghai, China, Edward Yang has become one of the most talented international filmmakers of his generation. Along with Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang, Yang ranks among the leading artists of the Taiwanese New Wave, and one of the world's most brilliant auteurs. ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (64)

Other Notable Film(s): That Day, on the Beach (1983); Taipei Story (1985)✦; The Terrorizers (1986); A Brighter Summer Day (1991)✦; A Confucian Confusion (1994); Mahjong (1996); Yi Yi (2000)✦✧

33. 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.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (113) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (97)

Give It a Shot: Dead Man (1995) (1995)✦; Broken Flowers (2005) (2005)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Permanent Vacation (1980) (1980); Stranger Than Paradise (1984) (1984)✦; Down by Law (1986) (1986)✦; Mystery Train (1989) (1989); Night on Earth (1991) (1991); Year of the Horse (1997) [doc] (1997); Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) (1999); Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) (2003); The Limits of Control (2009) (2009)✧; Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) (2013)✧; Paterson (2016) (2016); Gimme Danger (2016) (2016); The Dead Don't Die (2019)

34. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (47)

Greats: Election (1999) (1999)✖; About Schmidt (2002) (2002)✧; Sideways (2004) (2004)✦✧; The Descendants (2011) (2011)✧; Nebraska (2013) (2013)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Citizen Ruth (1996) (1996); Downsizing (2017) (2017)

35. Jean Cocteau

Writer | La belle et la bête

Jean Cocteau was one of the most multi-talented artists of the 20th century. In addition to being a director, he was a poet, novelist, painter, playwright, set designer, and actor. He began writing at 10 and was a published poet by age 16. He collaborated with the "Russian Ballet" company of Sergei...

Cocteau is someone who has made such a profound impression on me that there's no doubt he's influenced every one of my films." ~ Jacques Rivette

Influenced: Jacques Rivette

TSPDT All-Time Directors (132)

Other Notable Film(s): The Blood of a Poet (1932)✦; Beauty and the Beast (1946)✦; Les parents terribles (1948) (1948); Orpheus (1950)✦; Testament of Orpheus (1960)✖

36. Andrzej Wajda

Director | Katyn

Andrzej Wajda is an Academy Award-wining director. He is the most prominent filmmaker in Poland known for The Promised Land (1975), Man of Iron (1981), and Katyn (2007).

He was Born on March 6, 1926, in Suwalki, Poland. His mother, Aniela Wajda, was a teacher at a Ukrainian school. His father, Jakub...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (131)

Greats: Katyn (2007) (2007)

Other Notable Film(s): A Generation (1955)✖; Kanal (1957) (1957)✖; Ashes and Diamonds (1958)✦; Speed (1959); Landscape After Battle (1970); The Promised Land (1975); Man of Marble (1977)✖; Panny z Wilka (1979) (1979); The Conductor (1980); Man of Iron (1981); Danton (1983) (1983); Korczak (1990) (1990); Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania (1999); The Revenge (2002); Tatarak (2009) (2009); Walesa: Man of Hope (2013)

37. 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 ...

"I think Ken Loach is an extraordinary filmmaker. It is so effortless what he does. The effortlessness with which he can get some stuff is just extraordinary. You may not like his concerns as a filmmaker, that they are political or whatever, and you may actually think that the films should be more exciting, they should have more dramatic climaxes, but he is extraordinary." ~ Danny Boyle

TSPDT All-Time Directors (114)

Other Notable Film(s): Up the Junction [TV] (1965)✖; Poor Cow (1967) (1967); Kes (1969) (1969)✦; Family Life (1971) (1971); Hidden Agenda (1990) (1990); Riff-Raff (1991) (1991)✖; Raining Stones (1993) (1993)✖; Ladybird Ladybird (1994) (1994); Land and Freedom (1995) (1995); Carla's Song (1996) (1996); My Name Is Joe (1998) (1998); Bread and Roses (2000) (2000)☒; The Navigators (2001) (2001); Sweet Sixteen (2002) (2002)✧; Ae Fond Kiss... (2004) (2004); Tickets (2005) [Co-director] (2005); The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) (2006)✧; It's a Free World... (2007) (2007); Looking for Eric (2009) (2009); Route Irish (2010) (2010); The Angels' Share (2012) (2012); Jimmy's Hall (2014) (2014); I, Daniel Blake (2016) (2016)

38. Nagisa Ôshima

Director | Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Nagisa Oshima's career extends from the initiation of the "Nuberu bagu" (New Wave) movement in Japanese cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to the contemporary use of cinema and television to express paradoxes in modern society. After an early involvement with the student protest movement in ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (150)

Other Notable Film(s): Cruel Story of Youth (1960); The Sun's Burial (1960); Pleasures of the Flesh (1965); Hakuchû no tôrima (1966) (1966); A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs (1967); Death by Hanging (1968); Sinner in Paradise (1968); Boy (1969)✖; The Ceremony (1971)✖; In the Realm of the Senses (1976)✦; Empire of Passion (1978); Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) (1983); Taboo (1999)

39. Marcel Carné

Director | Thérèse Raquin

Marcel Carné, the son of a cabinet maker, entered the movies as the assistant of Jacques Feyder. At the age of 25 he directed his first movie Jenny (1936). Colaborating with the writer Jacques Prévert, the decorator Alexandre Trauner, the musician and composer Maurice Jaubert and the actor Jean ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (76)

Greats: Children of Paradise (1945)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Drole de Drame (1937); Port of Shadows (1938)✦; Hôtel du Nord (1938) (1938)✖; Le Jour se Leve (1939)✦; The Devil's Envoys (1942)✖; Gates of the Night (1946); The Adultress (1953)

40. Jules Dassin

Director | Du rififi chez les hommes

Jules Dassin was an Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter and actor best known for his films Rififi (1955), Never on Sunday (1960), and Topkapi (1964).

He was born Julius Samuel Dassin on 18 December 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He was one of eight children of Russian-Jewish ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-)

Greats: The Naked City (1948) (1948)

Other Notable Film(s): Reunion in France (1942) (1942); The Canterville Ghost (1944) (1944); Brute Force (1947) (1947); Thieves' Highway (1949) (1949); Night and the City (1950) (1950)✖; Rififi (1955)✦; He Who Must Die (1957); The Law (1959); Never on Sunday (1960); Phaedra (1962) (1962); Topkapi (1964); 10:30 P.M. Summer (1966) (1966); A Dream of Passion (1978); Circle of Two (1980) (1981)

41. Robert Siodmak

Director | Nachts wenn der Teufel kam

The director Robert Siodmak (which he insisted, be pronounced 'See-odd-mack') was a masterful film maker who successfully blended the techniques of German Expressionism with contemporary styles of American film, particularly film noir, in the process creating a handful of moody, sometimes chilling,...

"He manipulated Hollywood's fantasy apparatus with taste and intelligence. ~ Andrew Sarris

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-)

Other Notable Film(s): People on Sunday [Co-director] (1930)✖; Son of Dracula (1943) (1943); Christmas Holiday (1944) (1944); The Suspect (1944) (1944); Phantom Lady (1944) (1944); The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945) (1945); The Spiral Staircase (1946) (1945); The Killers (1946) (1946)✖; The Dark Mirror (1946) (1946); Cry of the City (1948) (1948); Criss Cross (1949) (1949); The Crimson Pirate (1952) (1952); The Devil Strikes at Night (1957)

42. Joseph Losey

Director | The Servant

Belonging to an important family clan in Wisconsin, Joseph Losey studied philosophy but was always interested in theater and thus worked together with Bertolt Brecht. After directing some shorts for MGM, he made his first important film, The Boy with Green Hair (1948), for RKO. While he was filming ...

43. Jean-Pierre Dardenne

Producer | Deux jours, une nuit

After studying drama in the arts institute, Jean Pierre Dardenne and his brother Luc made some videos about the rough life in blue-collar small towns in the Wallonie. After their meeting with filmmaker Armad Gatti and cinematographer Ned Burgess, they decided to enter in the movie business.

In 1978 ...

Representing the Dardenne brothers

TSPDT All-Time Directors (182) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (35)

Greats: The Kid with a Bike (2011)✧

Other Notable Film(s): La Promesse (1996); Rosetta (1999)✦; The Son (2002)✦✧; The Child (2005)✧; Lorna's Silence (2008)✧; Two Days, One Night (2014)✧; The Unknown Girl (2016)

44. Theodoros Angelopoulos

Director | Topio stin omihli

Theo Angelopoulos began to study law in Athens but broke up his studies to go to the Sorbonne in Paris in order to study literature. When he had finished his studies, he wanted to attend the School of Cinema at Paris but decided instead to go back to Greece. There he worked as a journalist and ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (103)

Other Notable Film(s): Reconstruction (1970); Days of 36 (1972); The Travelling Players (1975)✦; The Hunters (1977); Alexander the Great (1980); Voyage to Cythera (1984); The Beekeeper (1986); Landscape in the Mist (1988)✦; The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991)✖; Ulysses' Gaze (1995)✖; Eternity and a Day (1998)✖; Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004)☒; The Dust of Time (2008)

45. Jane Campion

Writer | The Piano

Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (112)

Greats: The Piano (1993) (1993)✦

Other Notable Film(s): A Girl's Own Story (1984) [short] (1983)✖; Sweetie (1989) (1989)✖; An Angel at My Table (1990) (1990)✦; The Portrait of a Lady (1996) (1996); Holy Smoke (1999) (1999); In the Cut (2003) (2003)✧; Bright Star (2009) (2009)✧

46. 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 Satantango (1994). He is married to Ágnes Hranitzky.

Influenced: Gus Van Sant

TSPDT All-Time Directors (84) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (24)

Other Notable Film(s): Damnation (1988); Satantango (1994)✦; Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)✦✧; The Man from London (2007); The Turin Horse (2011)✦✧

47. George A. Romero

Writer | Land of the Dead

George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; by all indications, though, he was very successful. The director of the groundbreaking "Living Dead" films was born February 4, 1940 ,in New York City to Ann (Dvorsky) and Jorge Romero. His father was born in Spain and raised in Cuba, and...

"There were zombie films prior to George, but he pretty much invented the cannibalistic aspect. What we now think of as zombies really are Romero zombies." ~ Edgar Wright

TSPDT All-Time Directors (115)

Greats: Night of the Living Dead (1968) (1968)✦; Dawn of the Dead (1978) (1978)✦; Day of the Dead (1985) (1985)✖

Caution: The Crazies (1973) (1973); Creepshow (1982) (1982); Land of the Dead (2005) (2005)✧

Other Notable Film(s): There's Always Vanilla (1971) (1971); Hungry Wives (1972) (1972); Martin (1977) (1976); Knightriders (1981) (1981); Monkey Shines (1988) (1988); The Dark Half (1993) (1993); Bruiser (2000) (2000); Diary of the Dead (2007) (2007); Survival of the Dead (2009) (2009)

48. Lindsay Anderson

Director | If....

Lindsay Anderson was born on April 17, 1923 in Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, British India as Lindsay Gordon Anderson. He was a director and actor, known for If.... (1968), Britannia Hospital (1982) and This Sporting Life (1963). He died on August 30, 1994 in Saint-Saud-Lacoussière, Dordogne, ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (204)

Other Notable Film(s): This Sporting Life (1963) (1963); If.... (1968) (1968)✦; O Lucky Man! (1973) (1973)✦; In Celebration (1975) (1975); Britannia Hospital (1982) (1982); The Whales of August (1987) (1987)

49. Jacques Rivette

Director | La Belle Noiseuse

Although François Truffaut has written that the New Wave began "thanks to Rivette," the films of this masterful French director are not well known. Rivette, like his "Cahiers du Cinéma" colleagues Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer, did graduate to filmmaking but, like Rohmer...

"the only filmmaker of the ex-New Wave—along with Godard—who keeps making truly personal work on the level of film, while his colleagues from the early days have long rejoined the ranks of the qualité française [mainstream French films]" ~ Raphaël Bassan

TSPDT All-Time Directors (91)

Other Notable Film(s): Paris Belongs to Us (1961); The Nun (1966); L'Amour fou (1969)✖; Out 1, noli me tangere (1971) (1971)✦; Out 1: Spectre (1972) (1974)✖; Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)✦; Noroît (1976) (1976); Duelle (1976)✖; Le pont du Nord (1981) (1981); Merry-Go-Round (1980) (1981); Love on the Ground (1984); Wuthering Heights (1985); The Gang of Four (1989); La Belle noiseuse (1991)✦; Jeanne la Pucelle I (1994); Jeanne la Pucelle II (1994); Up, Down, Fragile (1995); Secret Defense (1998); Va Savoir (Who Knows?) (2001)✧; The Story of Marie and Julien (2003); The Duchess of Langeais (2007)✧; Around a Small Mountain (2009)

50. Mikio Naruse

Director | Ukigumo

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 819-826. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.

"Naruse's Method consists of staging one very brief shot after another; but when we look at them placed end-to-end in the finished film, they give the impression of one long single take. The fluidity is so perfect that the cuts are invisible . . . A flow of shots that looks calm and ordinary at first glance reveals itself to be like a deep river with a quiet surface disguising a fast-raging current." ~ Akira Kurosawa

TSPDT All-Time Directors (119)

Other Notable Film(s): Meshi (1951) (1951); The Thunder of the Mountain (1954); Late Chrysanthemums (1954)✖; Floating Clouds (1955)✦; Nagareru (1956) (1956); When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)✦

51. Jacques Demy

Director | Les parapluies de Cherbourg

Jacques Demy was born on June 5, 1931 in Pontchâteau, Loire-Atlantique, France. He was married to Agnès Varda. He died on October 27, 1990 in Paris, France.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (105)

Other Notable Film(s): Lola (1961) (1961)✦; Bay of Angels (1963)✖; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)✦; The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)✦; Model Shop (1969) (1969); Donkey Skin (1970); The Pied Piper (1972) (1972); A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973); Lady Oscar (1979) (1979); A Room in Town (1982)

52. Sergei Parajanov

Director | Tini zabutykh predkiv

One of the 20th century's greatest masters of cinema Sergei Parajanov was born in Georgia to Armenian parents and it was always unlikely that his work would conform to the strict socialist realism that Soviet authorities preferred. After studying film and music, Parajanov became an assistant ...

"Always with huge gratitude and pleasure I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov which I love very much. His way of thinking, his paradoxical, poetical . . . ability to love the beauty and the ability to be absolutely free within his own vision. ~ Andrei Tarkovsky

TSPDT All-Time Directors (156)

Other Notable Film(s): Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965)✦; The Color of Pomegranates (1968)✦; The Legend of Suram Fortress [Co-director] (1986); Ashik Kerib [Co-director] (1988)

53. 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. ...

Influenced: Kevin Smith

TSPDT All-Time Directors (126) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (6)

Greats: Before Sunrise (1995) (1995)✦; Before Sunset (2004) (2004)✦✧; Boyhood (2014) (2014)✧

Give It a Shot: Slacker (1990) (1991); Dazed and Confused (1993) (1993)✦; Bernie (2011) (2012*)✧

Caution: The School of Rock (2003) (2003)✧

Other Notable Film(s): SubUrbia (1996) (1996); The Newton Boys (1998) (1998); Waking Life (2001) (2001)✖✧; Tape (2001) (2001); Bad News Bears (2005) (2005); A Scanner Darkly (2006) (2006)✧; Fast Food Nation (2006) (2006); Me and Orson Welles (2008) (2008); Before Midnight (2013) (2013)✧; Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) (2015); Last Flag Flying (2017) (2017); Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) (2018)

54. 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 ...

"This is a very tricky career to judge, for A Little Princess was as good and intriguing as Great Expectations was portentous and hollow. How can this be? How can the former stir up immense atmosphere, while the latter (a sitting duck) has none? Love in the Time of Hysteria was a very promising comedy about confusion over AIDS, and Y Tu Mamá También deserves its high crowd-pleasing reputation." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (210) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (11)

Greats: Y Tu Mamá También (2001)✦✧; Children of Men (2006)✦✧; Roma (2018) (2018)✧

Give It a Shot: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)✧; Gravity (2013) (2013)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Love in the Time of Hysteria (1991); A Little Princess (1995); Great Expectations (1998) (1998)

55. Gillo Pontecorvo

Director | La battaglia di Algeri

Gillo Pontecorvo was an Italian filmmaker. He is best known for his 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, widely viewed as one of the finest films of its genre: realistic though fictionalized documentary. Its portrayal of the Algerian resistance during the Algerian War uses the neorealist style ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (104)

Other Notable Film(s): The Wild Blue Road [Co-director] (1957); Kapò (1960) (1960); The Battle of Algiers (1966)✦; Burn! (1969)

56. Claire Denis

Director | High Life

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for High Life (2018), Beau travail (1999) and 35 Shots of Rum (2008).

"So its clear, I think, how far certain running ideas in French cinema - evident in the thirties and hurried forward in the New Wave - are still being pursued. Claire Denis reminds one not just of the wonder of French cinema, but of its sense of history." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (90) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (22)

Other Notable Film(s): Chocolate (1988); No Fear, No Die (1990); I Can't Sleep (1994); Nenette and Boni (1996); Beau Travail (1999)✦; Trouble Every Day (2001) (2001); Friday Night (2002)✧; The Intruder (2004)✦✧; 35 Shots of Rum (2008)✧; White Material (2009) (2009)✧; Bastards (2013)✧; Let the Sun Shine In (2017)

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.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (97) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (48)

Other Notable Film(s): La Pointe-Courte (1955) (1955); Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)✦; Le Bonheur (1965)✦; Vagabond (1985)✦; Jacquot (1991); The Gleaners & I [doc] (2000)✦✧; The Beaches of Agnès [doc] (2008)✧; Faces Places [co-director] (2017)

58. Errol Morris

Director | The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

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, ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (162)

Greats: The Thin Blue Line (1988) [doc] (1988)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Gates of Heaven (1978) (1978); Vernon, Florida (1981) (1981); The Dark Wind (1991) (1991); A Brief History of Time (1991) (1991); Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997) (1997); Mr. Death [doc] (1999); The Fog of War [doc] (2003)✧; Standard Operating Procedure (2008) [doc] (2008)☒; Tabloid (2010) [doc] (2010); The Unknown Known (2013) [doc] (2013); The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography (2016) [doc] (2016)

59. Terence Davies

Director | Distant Voices, Still Lives

Terence Davies was born on November 10, 1945 in Liverpool, England. He is a director and writer, known for Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The House of Mirth (2000) and A Quiet Passion (2016).

"[Mike] Leigh is arguably Britain’s greatest director, but for pure film making, Davies is in another class." ~ J. Hoberman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (158) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (80)

Give It a Shot: The Deep Blue Sea (2011) (2011)✧

Other Notable Film(s): The Terence Davies Trilogy (1983) (1983); Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) (1988)✦; The Long Day Closes (1992) (1992)✦; The Neon Bible (1995) (1995); The House of Mirth (2000) (2000)✧; Of Time and the City (2008) [doc] (2008)✧; Sunset Song (2015) (2015); A Quiet Passion (2016) (2016)

60. Chris Marker

Writer | Twelve Monkeys

Chris Marker was born on July 29, 1921 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France as Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve. He was a director and writer, known for 12 Monkeys (1995), Sans Soleil (1983) and Third Side of the Coin (1960). He died on July 29, 2012 in Paris, France.

"Marker is unclassifiable because he is unique...The French Cinema has its dramatists and its poets, its technicians, and its autobiographers, but only has one true essayist: Chris Marker." ~ Roy Armes

TSPDT All-Time Directors (61)

Greats: La Jetée (1962)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Letter from Siberia (1957)✖; Grin Without a Cat (1977)✦; San Soleil (1983)✦; The Last Bolshevik (1993)✦

61. Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Director | Komödianten

Georg Wilhelm Pabst is considered by many to be the greatest director of German cinema, in his era. He was especially appreciated by actors and actresses for the humane way in which he treated them. This was in contrast to some of his contemporaries, such as Arnold Fanck, who have been ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (190)

Other Notable Film(s): The Joyless Street (1925); The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927); Pandora's Box (1929)✦; Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)✖; White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929); Westfront 1918: Vier von der Infanterie (1930) (1930); The 3 Penny Opera (1931)✖; Comradeship (1931)✖

62. 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 ...

"Kaurismäki's ironic sense of humour lends his best work a wacky, off-the-wall quality. Forming a production company in 1981 with brother Mika (who has also directed several films), he quickly made a name for himself with witty, irreverent, almost comic-strip-style adventures, comedies and melodramas, plus one or two revisionist versions of famous dramas (Crime and Punishment, Hamlet Goes Business), which paid a little, if not much more attention to the story." ~ David Quinlan

TSPDT All-Time Directors (214) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (89)

Other Notable Film(s): Crimes and Punishment (1983); Calamari Union (1985) (1985); Shadows in Paradise (1986); Hamlet Goes Business (1987); Ariel (1988) (1988); Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989); The Match Factory Girl (1990)✦; I Hired a Contract Killer (1990); The Bohemian Life (1992); Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994); Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1994) (1994); Total Balalaika Show (1994) [doc] (1994); Drifting Clouds (1996); Juha (1999) (1999); The Man Without a Past (2002)✧; Lights in the Dusk (2006); Le Havre (2011) (2011)✧; The Other Side of Hope (2017)

63. Frank Borzage

Director | Bad Girl

Frank Borzage was born on April 23, 1894 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. He was an actor and director, known for Bad Girl (1931), 7th Heaven (1927) and No Greater Glory (1934). He was married to Juanita Scott, Edna Skelton and Rena Rogers. He died on June 19, 1962 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

64. Claude Chabrol

Director | La cérémonie

Claude Chabrol was born on June 24, 1930 in Paris, France. He was a director and writer, known for La Cérémonie (1995), Le Beau Serge (1958) and Story of Women (1988). He was married to Aurore Chabrol, Stéphane Audran and Agnès Goute. He died on September 12, 2010 in Paris.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (212)

Other Notable Film(s): Le Beau Serge (1958); Leda (1959); The Cousins (1959); The Good Time Girls (1960); Who's Got the Black Box? (1967); Les Biches (1968); This Man Must Die (1969); The Unfaithful Wife (1969)✖; The Breach (1970); Le Boucher (1970)✖; Just Before Nightfall (1971); Ten Days Wonder (1971)✖; High Heels (1972); Wedding in Blood (1973); The Nada Gang (1974); Pleasure Party (1975); Dirty Hands (1975); Alice or the Last Escapade (1977); Blood Relatives (1978); Violette (1978); The Horse of Pride (1980); The Hatter's Ghost (1982); The Blood of Others (1984); Chicken with Vinegar (1985); Inspecteur Lavardin (1986) (1986); Masques (1987) (1987); The Cry of the Owl (1987); Story of Women (1988); Quiet Days in Clichy (1990); Dr. M (1990) (1990); Madame Bovary (1991) (1991); Betty (1992) (1992); The Eye of Vichy (1993); Hell (1994); La Cérémonie (1995); The Swindle (1997); The Color of Lies (1999); Merci Pour le Chocolat (2000)☒; The Flower of Evil (2003); The Bridesmaid (2004); Comedy of Power (2006); The Girl Cut in Two (2007); Inspector Bellamy (2009)

65. Jacques Becker

Writer | Le trou

His interest in films was stimulated by a meeting with King Vidor, who offered him employment in the US as actor and assistant director. However, he remained in France and became assistant to Jean Renoir, a friend of the family, during that director's peak period (1932-39). In 1934 he ventured ...

"Becker was interested in what the cinema could do just as he was interested in what men and women do. Never searching for the extraordinary, he would go to endless lengths to bring out not some abstract rhythm in the lives of people (as René Clair) did but the true style and rhythm of their sensibilities." ~ Dudley Andrew

"Becker was a humane, observant, and inventive director who seemed willed into films by his apprenticeship with Jean Renoir...He lacked the master's innate passion for cinema, and he never properly discovered either a style or a subject matter in which he could immerse himself." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (221)

Other Notable Film(s): Casque d'Or (1952)✦; Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)✦; Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1954); Modigliani of Montparnasse (1958); Le Trou (1960)✦

66. Dziga Vertov

Director | Chelovek s kino-apparatom

Dziga Vertov was born on January 2, 1896 in Bialystok, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire as Denis Abramovich Kaufman. He was a director and writer, known for Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Three Songs About Lenin (1934) and The Sixth Part of the World (1926). He was married to Elizaveta Svilova. ...

"There are Russian films that we will never see, and nobody made (or supervised) as many of them as Dziga Vertov. For that reason alone, we should be cautious about defining him. Nevertheless, he seems not only the director most engaged with the Constructivist enthusiasm to make a new art for a newly conscious people, but also the most appealing. The Man with a Movie Camera is more touching, more historically informative and comic than any Russian film of the period...Like Godard, Vertov had an instinctive love of cinema and a relentless need to intellectualize and politicize his enthusiasm." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (58)

Greats: Man with a Movie Camera (1929)✦

Other Notable Film(s): One-Sixth of the World (1926); Enthusiasm (1931); Three Songs of Lenin (1934)

67. Rouben Mamoulian

Director | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Rouben Mamoulian was born on October 8, 1897 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Rouben Zachary Mamoulian. He was a director and writer, known for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Applause (1929) and The Gay Desperado (1936). He was married to Azadia Newman. He died on December 4, 1987 in Woodland Hills, ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 249]

Greats: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) (1931)

Other Notable Film(s): Applause (1929) (1929); City Streets (1931) (1931); Love Me Tonight (1932) (1932)✦; The Song of Songs (1933) (1933); Queen Christina (1933) (1933); We Live Again (1934) (1934); Becky Sharp (1935) (1935); The Gay Desperado (1936) (1936); Golden Boy (1939) (1939); The Mark of Zorro (1940) (1940); Blood and Sand (1941) (1941); Silk Stockings (1957) (1957)

68. René Clément

Director | Jeux interdits

René Clément was one of the leading French directors of the post-World War II era. He directed what are regarded as some of the greatest films of the time, such as The Battle of the Rails (1946), Forbidden Games (1952) and The Day and the Hour (1963). He was later almost forgotten as a director. He...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 245]

Greats: Forbidden Games (1951)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Soigne ton gauche (1936) (1936); The Walls of Malapaga (1949); Gervaise (1956) (1956); Purple Noon (1960)✖; Joy House (1964); Is Paris Buring? (1966)

69. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (186) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (50)

Greats: The Hurt Locker (2008) (2009)✧; Zero Dark Thirty (2012) (2012)✧

Give It a Shot: Near Dark (1987) (1987)✦; Point Break (1991) (1991)

Caution: Strange Days (1995) (1995)

Other Notable Film(s): The Loveless (1981) [Co-director] (1982); Blue Steel (1990) (1989); The Weight of Water (2000) (2000); K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) (2002); Detroit (2017) (2017)

70. Aleksandr Sokurov

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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (139) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (41)

Caution: Russian Ark (2002)✦✧

Other Notable Film(s): The Days of Eclipse (1988)✖; Mother and Son (1997)✦; Elegy of a Voyage (2001); Father and Son (2003)☒; The Sun (2005)✧; Alexandra (2007)✧; Faust (2011) (2011)

71. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 234]

Give It a Shot: Eight Men Out (1988) (1988); Lone Star (1996) (1996)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979) (1979); Lianna (1983) (1983); Baby It's You (1983) (1983); The Brother from Another Planet (1984) (1984); Matewan (1987) (1987)✖; City of Hope (1991) (1991); Passion Fish (1992) (1992); The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) (1994); Men with Guns (1997) (1997); Limbo (1999) (1999); Sunshine State (2002) (2002)☒; Casa de los babys (2003) (2002); Silver City (2004) (2004); Honeydripper (2007) (2007); Amigo (2010) (2010); Go for Sisters (2013) (2013)

72. Georges Méliès

Director | À la conquête du pôle

Georges Méliès was a French illusionist and film director famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema.

Méliès was an especially prolific innovator in the use of special effects, popularizing such techniques as substitution splices, multiple exposures, ...

"I owe him everything." ~ D.W. Griffith

One of the first directors that is an innovator in film-making.

Influenced: Kenneth Anger

TSPDT All-Time Directors (217)

Other Notable Film(s): Bluebeard (1901); Le Voyage dans la lune (1902)✦; Le voyage à travers l'impossible (1904) (1904); Tunneling the Channel [short] (1907)✖

73. Giuseppe Tornatore

Writer | La migliore offerta

Giuseppe Tornatore was born on May 27, 1956 in Bagheria, Sicily, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for The Best Offer (2013), The Legend of 1900 (1998) and Cinema Paradiso (1988).

TSPDT All-Time Directors (--)

Greats: Cinema Paradiso (1988)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Professor (1986); Everybody's Fine (1990); A Pure Formality (1994); The Star Maker (1995); The Legend of 1900 (1998); Malèna (2000); The Unknown Woman (2006); Baarìa (2009) (2009); The Best Offer (2013); Correspondence (2016)

74. Robert J. Flaherty

Director | Louisiana Story

Robert J. Flaherty was born on February 16, 1884 in Iron Mountain, Michigan, USA as Robert Joseph Flaherty. He was a director and writer, known for Louisiana Story (1948), Man of Aran (1934) and Elephant Boy (1937). He was married to Frances H. Flaherty. He died on July 23, 1951 in Brattleboro, ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (118)

Other Notable Film(s): Nanook of the North (1922) [doc] (1922)✦; Moana (1926) [doc] (1926)✖; Man of Aran (1934) [doc] (1934)✦; Elephant Boy (1937) (1937); Louisiana Story (1948) (1948)✦

75. Stan Brakhage

Director | The Loom

Stan Brakhage was born on January 14, 1933 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as Robert Sanders. He was a director and cinematographer, known for The Loom (1986), Persian Series (2001) and The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000). He was married to Marilyn Jull and Jane Brakhage. He died on March 9,...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (140)

Other Notable Film(s): Desistfilm (1977) (1954); Centuries of June (1955) [Co-director] (1955)✖; Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959) (1959); Cat's Cradle (1959) (1959); Window Water Baby Moving (1959) (1962); Mothlight (1963) (1963)✦; The Art of Vision (1965) (1964)✖; Dog Star Man [Prelude: Pt. 1: Pt. II Pt. III: Pt. IV] (1964)✦; Eye Myth (1977) (1967); Scenes from Under Childhood (1967)✖; The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971) (1971)✦; The Text of Light (1974) (1974)✖; Arabic Series (1981); Passage Through: A Ritual (1990) (1990); I... (1995) (1995)

76. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (169)

Other Notable Film(s): Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981)✖; When Father Was Away on Business (1985); Time of the Gypsies (1988)✦; Arizona Dream (1992); Underground (1995)✦; Black Cat, White Cat (1998); Life is a Miracle (2004)☒; Promise Me This (2007)

77. Charles Laughton

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Charles Laughton was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, to Eliza (Conlon) and Robert Laughton, hotel keepers of Irish and English descent, respectively. He was educated at Stonyhurst (a highly esteemed Jesuit college in England) and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (received gold medal). ...

In 1955, he directed possibly the finest debut film ever achieved within the Hollywood system, the James Agee-scripted Night of the Hunter. Alas, although critically well-received and widely, if belatedly, viewed as the masterpiece it is, it was commercially unsuccessful and proved to be Laughton's only film as a director." ~ Mario Reading

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-)

Greats: The Night of the Hunter (1955) (1955)✦

78. Edgar G. Ulmer

Director | The Naked Dawn

Edgar G. Ulmer was born on September 17, 1904 in Olmütz, Moravia, Austria-Hungary as Edgar George Ulmer. He was a director and writer, known for The Naked Dawn (1955), The Black Cat (1934) and Isle of Forgotten Sins (1943). He was married to Shirley Ulmer and Joan Warner. He died on September 30, ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (232)

Other Notable Film(s): People on Sunday [Co-director] (1930)✖; The Black Cat (1934) (1934)✖; Bluebeard (1944) (1944); Detour (1945) (1945)✦; The Strange Woman (1946) (1946); The Man from Planet X (1951) (1951); The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) (1960)

79. David Hand

Director | Bambi

David Hand was born on January 23, 1900 in Plainfield, New Jersey, USA as David Dodd Hand. He is known for his work on Bambi (1942), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Cat's Nine Lives (1926). He died on October 11, 1986 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (200)

Greats: Bambi (1942) [Co-director] (1942)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Three Orphan Kittens (1935) (1935); Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) [Co-director] (1937)✦

80. Dusan Makavejev

Director | W.R. - Misterije organizma

Dusan Makavejev is the premier figure in Yugoslavian film history; his films are deeply rooted in his nation's painful postwar experiences and draw on important Yugoslavian cinematic and cultural models. Makavejev's work has violated many political and sexual taboos and invited censorship in dozens...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 246]

Other Notable Film(s): Man Is Not a Bird (1965); Innocence Unprotected (1968); WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)✦; Sweet Movie (1974)✖; Montenegro (1981); The Coca-Cola Kid (1985) (1985); Manifesto (1988) (1988); Gorilla Bathes at Noon (1993) (1993)

81. Budd Boetticher

Director | Bullfighter and the Lady

Brilliant, distinguished American director, particularly of Westerns, whose simple, bleak style disguises a complex artistic temperament. The son of a wealthy hardware retailer, Boetticher attended Culver Military Academy and Ohio State University, where he excelled in football and boxing.


82. Masaki Kobayashi

Director | Seppuku

Masaki Kobayashi was born on February 14, 1916 in Hokkaido, Japan. He was a director and writer, known for Hara-Kiri (1962), Samurai Rebellion (1967) and The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959). He died on October 4, 1996 in Tokyo, Japan.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 249]

Other Notable Film(s): The Human Condition I (1959); The Human Condition II (1959); The Human Condition III (1961); Harakiri (1962)✦; Kwaidan (1964)✦; Samurai Rebellion (1967)

83. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (-)

Greats: Silver Linings Playbook (2012) (2012)✧; American Hustle (2013) (2013)✧

Give It a Shot: Flirting with Disaster (1996) (1996); Three Kings (1999) (1999)✖; The Fighter (2010) (2010)✧

Caution: Joy (2015) (2015)

Other Notable Film(s): Spanking the Monkey (1994) (1994); I Heart Huckabees (2004) (2004)✧; Accidental Love (2015) (2015)

84. Jerry Lewis

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Jerry Lewis (born March 16, 1926) was an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 244]

Greats: The Nutty Professor (1963) (1963)✖

Give It a Shot: The Bellboy (1960) (1960)✖; The Ladies Man (1961) (1961)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Errand Boy (1961) (1961); The Patsy (1964) (1964); The Family Jewels (1965) (1965); Three on a Couch (1966) (1966); The Big Mouth (1967) (1967); One More Time (1970) (1970); Which Way to the Front? (1970) (1970); Hardly Working (1980) (1980); Cracking Up (1983)

85. Víctor Erice

Director | El sur

Víctor Erice was born on June 30, 1940 in Karrantza, Vizcaya, País Vasco, Spain as Víctor Erice Aras. He is a director and writer, known for El Sur (1983), The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) and The Quince Tree Sun (1992).

TSPDT All-Time Directors (87)

Other Notable Film(s): The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)✦; El Sur (1983)✦; Quince Tree of the Sun [doc] (1992)✦

86. Ming-liang Tsai

Director | Dong

Born in Kuching, Malaysia, he graduated from the Drama and Cinema Department of the Chinese Cultural University of Taiwan and worked as a theatrical producer and TV director. His second feature film, Vive L'Amour (1994), won the Golden Lion (best picture) at the 1994 Venice Film Festival. His ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (146) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (36)

Other Notable Film(s): Rebels of the Neon God (1993); Vive L'Amour (1994)✦; The River (1997)✦; The Hole (1998); What Time Is It Over There? (2001)✧; Good Bye, Dragon Inn (2003)✦✧; The Wayward Cloud (2005)✧; I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006)✧; Face (2009); Stray Dogs (2013)✧; Journey to the West (2014)

87. Dario Argento

Writer | Profondo rosso

Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...

"The mechanics of fear, nothing else, are what concerns Argento, and the stories, which seem to make less and less sense as the films become more recent, are strictly of secondary concern in his frighteningly successful efforts to grind an audience into its seat... Argento has proved so good at this modern extension of the Val Lewton philosophy that one regrets the excess of bloodshed in his later films." ~ David Quinlan

TSPDT All-Time Directors (196)

Give It a Shot: Suspiria (1977) (1977)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970); The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971); Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971); Deep Red (1975)✖; Inferno (1980) (1980)✖; Tenebre (1982) (1982); Phenomena (1985) (1985); Opera (1987) (1987); Trauma (1993) (1993); The Stendhal Syndrome (1996); Il fantasma dell'opera (1998) (1998); Sleepless (2001); The Card Player (2004); Mother of Tears (2007); Giallo (2009) (2005); Dracula 3D (2012) (2012)

88. Monte Hellman

Director | Iguana

Monte Hellman was born on July 12, 1929, in New York City, where his parents were visiting, but he grew up in Los Angeles. He studied drama at Stanford University--on an NBC scholarship--and film at UCLA. After a few years directing in summer theater, Hellman hooked up with legendary "B" movie ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (243)

Other Notable Film(s): Ride in the Whirlwind (1966) (1965); The Shooting (1966) (1966); Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) (1971)✦; Cockfighter (1974) (1974); Road to Nowhere (2010) (2010)✧

89. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Director | Loong Boonmee raleuk chat

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970, Bangkok) grew up in Khon Kaen, a city in the north east of Thailand. He has a degree in Architecture from Khon Kaen University and a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been making films and videos since the ...

"Glancing over his sizeable back catalogue, which consists of myriad shorts, installations, music videos and conceptual doodles, it’s clear the director has a voracious appetite for image making and is willingly flexible when it comes to working with varying media and budgets." ~ David Jenkins

TSPDT All-Time Directors (102) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (5)

Other Notable Film(s): Mysterious Object at Noon (2000)✧; Blissfully Yours (2002)✦✧; Tropical Malady (2004)✦✧; Syndromes and a Century (2006)✦✧; Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)✦✧; Mekong Hotel (2012) (2012); Cemetery of Splendor (2015)

90. Victor Sjöström

Actor | Smultronstället

Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (191)

Other Notable Film(s): A Man There Was (1917); You and I (1918); The Phantom Carriage (1920)✖; He Who Gets Slapped (1924)✖; The Scarlet Letter (1926) (1926); The Wind (1928) (1928)✦

91. Guru Dutt

Actor | Pyaasa

Considered to be a man ahead of his time, Guru Dutt was one of the greatest icons of commercial Indian cinema. Although he made less than ten films, they are believed to be the best to come from Bollywood's Golden Age, known both for their ability to reach out to the common man and for their ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (--)

Other Notable Film(s): Pyaasa (1957) (1957)✦; Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) (1959)✦

92. Bennett Miller

Director | Foxcatcher

Bennett Miller is an American film director, best known for Capote (2005), Moneyball (2011), and Foxcatcher (2014). He began his film career directing the 1998 documentary The Cruise.

In 2006 Miller directed the Bob Dylan music video "When the Deal Goes Down" starring Scarlett Johansson.

Miller has ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (-)

Greats: Capote (2005) (2005)✧; Moneyball (2011) (2011)✧; Foxcatcher (2014) (2014)✧

Other Notable Film(s): The Cruise (1998) [doc] (1998)

93. Joseph H. Lewis

Director | Gun Crazy

The term "style over content" fits director Joseph H. Lewis like a glove. His ability to elevate basically mundane and mediocre low-budget material to sublime cinematic art has gained him a substantial cult following among movie buffs. The Bonnie & Clyde look-alike Gun Crazy (1950), shot in 30 days...

"There is no point in overpraising Lewis. The limitations of the B picture lean on all his films. But the plunder he came away with is astonishing and - here is the rub - more durable than the output of many better-known directors...Joseph Lewis never had the chance to discover whether he was an "artist," but - like Edgar Ulmer and Budd Boetticher - he has made better films than Fred Zinnemann, John Frankenheimer, or John Schlesinger." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) [formerly 248]

Greats: The Big Combo (1955) (1955)

Other Notable Film(s): Boys of the City (1940) (1940); That Gang of Mine (1940) (1940); Pride of the Bowery (1940) (1940); Invisible Ghost (1941) (1941); Minstrel Man (1944) (1944); My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) (1945); The Undercover Man (1949) (1949); Gun Crazy (1950)✦; A Lawless Street (1955) (1955); 7th Cavalry (1956) (1956); Terror in a Texas Town (1958) (1958)

94. Georges Franju

Director | Les yeux sans visage

Georges Franju is a figure of immense importance in the history of French cinema, not primarily for his films (exceptional though many of these are) but for being the co-founder, with Henri Langlois, of the Cinematheque Française in 1937--France's most famous and important film archive.

He worked ...

"Franju's career falls clearly into two parts, marked by the format of the films: the early period of documentary shorts, and a subsequent period of fictional features. The parts are connected by many links of theme, imagery attitude, and iconography." ~ Robin Wood

TSPDT All-Time Directors (179)

Other Notable Film(s): Le Sang des bêtes (1949)✦; Hotel des Invalides (1952)✖; Head Against the Wall (1959); Eyes without a Face (1959)✦; Therese (1962); Judex (1963)✖

95. Louis Feuillade

Director | Les vampires

A prolific director--over 700 films, most of them short- or medium-length--Louis Feuillade began his career with Gaumont where, as well as directing his own features, he was appointed artistic director in charge of production in 1907. His work was largely comprised of film series; his first series,...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (227)

Other Notable Film(s): Fantomas (1913)✖; Les vampires (1915) (1915)✦; Judex (1916) (1916)✖; The Minh (1918)✖

96. 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 ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (69)

Greats: Being John Malkovich (1999)✖; Adaptation. (2002)✧; Her (2013)

Other Notable Film(s): Where the Wild Things Are (2009) (2009)✧

97. Todd Haynes

Director | Far from Heaven

Todd Haynes was always interested in art, and made amateur movies and painted while he was still a child. He attended Brown university and majored in art and semiotics. After he graduated he moved to New York City and made the controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988). ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (166) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (32)

Greats: Far from Heaven (2002) (2002)✧; Carol (2015) (2015)✧

Caution: I'm Not There (2007) (2007)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988) (1987)✖; Poison (1991) (1991)✖; Dottie Gets Spanked (1993) [short] (1993); Safe (1995) (1995)✦; Velvet Goldmine (1998) (1998); Mildred Pierce (2011) [TV series] (2011); Wonderstruck (2017) (2017)

98. Charles Burnett

Director | Killer of Sheep

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on April 13, 1944, Charles Burnett moved with his family to the Watts area of Los Angeles at an early age. He describes the community of having a robust mythical connection with the South as a result of having so many Southern transplants, an atmosphere which has ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (220)

Other Notable Film(s): Killer of Sheep (1978) (1979)✦; To Sleep with Anger (1990) (1990)✖; The Glass Shield (1994) (1994)

99. Jean-Marie Straub

Director | Klassenverhältnisse

Jean-Marie Straub was born on January 8, 1933 in Metz, Moselle, Lorraine, France. He is a director and editor, known for Class Relations (1984), The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968) and Sicily! (1999). He was previously married to Danièle Huillet.

Representing Danièle Huillet and himself

TSPDT All-Time Directors (117)

Other Notable Film(s): Not Reconciled (1965)✦; The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach [Co-director] (1968)✦; From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979)✦; Too Early, Too Late (1981)✦; Class Relations (1984); Sicilia! (1999)✦; A Visit to the Louvre (2004)☒

100. Takeshi Kitano

Actor | Zatôichi

Takeshi Kitano originally studied to become an engineer, but was thrown out of school for rebellious behavior. He learned comedy, singing and dancing from famed comedian Senzaburô Fukami. Working as a lift boy on a nightclub with such features as comic sketches and striptease dancing, Kitano saw ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (234)

Other Notable Film(s): Violent Cop (1989); Boiling Point (1990); A Scene at the Sea (1991); Sonatine (1993) (1993)✦; Getting Any? (1994); Kids Return (1996); Fireworks (1997)✦; Kikujiro (1999); Brother (2000) (2000)☒; Dolls (2002) (2002)☒; Zatoichi (2003)☒; Takeshis' (2005) (2005); Achilles and the Tortoise (2008); Outrage (2010); Beyond Outrage (2012); Outrage Coda (2017) (2017)

Recently Viewed