Greatest Directors of the 21st Centuryby phbasketball6 | created - 06 Dec 2011 | updated - 27 Feb 2014 | Public
Note: Yes I know the 21st Century started in 2001 but I'm including the year 2000.
This is my list of Greatest Directors from (2000-"present") therefore it is my opinion. I placed each directors films that I saw in four different categories and the ones I did not see are under Other Notable Film(s):.
The films that I believe are classics are under Greats:, while the films that I enjoyed but does not reach the highest level are under Give It a Shot:.
The next two categories are movies I did not particulary enjoy, the films under Caution: I really did not enjoy but something about the movie I either liked or respected. The last category is the films I did not like at all which are under Flops:.
✦ Indicates that the film is listed in the listed in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? 1,000 Greatest Films
✧ Indicates that the film is listed in 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Actor | Unforgiven
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...
Greats: Mystic River (2003) (2003)✧; Million Dollar Baby (2004) (2004)✖✧; Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) (2006)✧; Gran Torino (2008) (2008)
Give It a Shot: Space Cowboys (2000) (2000); Blood Work (2002) (2002); Flags of Our Fathers (2006) (2006)☒; Changeling (2008) (2008)
Caution: J. Edgar (2011) (2011)
Other Notable Film(s): Invictus (2009) (2009); Hereafter (2010) (2010)
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 ...
"I would wish for any one of my colleagues to have the experience of working with Martin Scorsese once in their lifetime." ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Greats: Gangs of New York (2002) (2002)✧; The Aviator (2004) (2004)✧; The Departed (2006) (2006)✧; Hugo (2011) (2011)✧
Give It a Shot: Shutter Island (2010) (2010); The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) (2013)
Other Notable Film(s): No Direction Home: Bob Dylan [doc] (2005); Shine a Light (2008) [doc] (2008); George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011) [doc] (2011)
Director | There Will Be Blood
Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...
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...
5. Joel Coen
Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.
Representing himself and Ethan Coen
Greats: No Country for Old Men (2007) (2007)✦✧
Give It a Shot: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) (2000)✖✧; The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) (2001)☒; True Grit (2010) (2010)✧
Caution: Intolerable Cruelty (2003) (2003); Burn After Reading (2008) (2008)
Other Notable Film(s): The Ladykillers (2004) (2004); A Serious Man (2009) (2009)✧; Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) (2013)
6. David Lynch
Writer | Twin Peaks
Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...
Writer | Dunkirk
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970, in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.
A recent great that directed Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, Following, and Insomnia.
Greats: Memento (2000) (2000)✦✧; Insomnia (2002) (2002); The Prestige (2006) (2006)
Give It a Shot: Batman Begins (2005) (2005); The Dark Knight (2008) (2008)✧; Inception (2010) (2010)✧; The Dark Knight Rises (2012) (2012)
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 ...
Writer | Caché
A true master of his craft, Michael Haneke is one of the greatest film artists working today and one who challenges his viewers each year and work goes by, with films that reflect real portions of life in realistic, disturbing and unforgettable ways. One of the most genuine filmmakers of the world ...
10. Steven Spielberg
Producer | Schindler's List
One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...
Greats: Lincoln (2012) (2012)✧
Give It a Shot: Catch Me If You Can (2002) (2002)☒; Minority Report (2002) (2002)✧; The Terminal (2004) (2004)
Caution: War of the Worlds (2005) (2005); Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) (2008); War Horse (2011) (2011)
Other Notable Film(s): Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) (2001)✦✧; Munich (2005) (2005)✧; The Adventures of Tintin (2011) (2011)
11. 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 ...
12. Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...
Greats: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (2001)✦✧; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (2002)✖✧; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (2003)✖✧
Give It a Shot: King Kong (2005) (2005)☒
Other Notable Film(s): The Lovely Bones (2009) (2009); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) (2012); The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) (2013); The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) (2014)
13. 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, ...
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...
15. Darren Aronofsky
Director | Pi
Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...
16. David Cronenberg
Director | The Fly
David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...
17. 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 ...
"I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott and certainly when I was a kid. 'Alien (1979),' 'Blade Runner (1982)' just blew me away because they created these extraordinary worlds that were just completely immersive. I was also an enormous Stanley Kubrick fan for similar reasons." ~ Christopher Nolan
Greats: Gladiator (2000) (2000)✧; Black Hawk Down (2001) (2001)☒
Give It a Shot: Matchstick Men (2003) (2003); American Gangster (2007) (2007); Body of Lies (2008) (2008)
Caution: Hannibal (2001) (2001); Prometheus (2012) (2012)
Other Notable Film(s): Kingdom of Heaven (2005) (2005); A Good Year (2006) (2006); Robin Hood (2010) (2010); The Counselor (2013) (2013); Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) (2014)
18. Lars von Trier
Writer | Dancer in the Dark
Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly ...
19. Mike Leigh
Director | Secrets & Lies
Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Secrets & Lies (1996), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.
20. Pedro Almodóvar
Writer | Hable con ella
The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study ...
21. 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 ...
Greats: Avatar (2009) (2009)✧
Director | Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to ...
Greats: Traffic (2000) (2000)✧
Give It a Shot: Ocean's Eleven (2001) (2001); Ocean's Twelve (2004) (2004); Ocean's Thirteen (2007) (2007)
Caution: Contagion (2011) (2011)
Flops: The Girlfriend Experience (2009) (2009)
Other Notable Film(s): Erin Brockovich (2000) (2000)✧; Full Frontal (2002) (2002); Solaris (2002) (2002); Bubble (2005) (2005); The Good German (2006) (2006); Che (Pt. 1, Pt. 2) (2008); The Informant! (2009) (2009); Haywire (2011) (2011); Magic Mike (2012) (2012)
23. Danny Boyle
Director | 127 Hours
24. 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).
Greats: Milk (2008)
Other Notable Film(s): Gerry (2002); Promise Land (2012)
25. Stephen Frears
Director | Dangerous Liaisons
Stephen Frears was born on June 20, 1941 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Stephen Arthur Frears. He is a director and producer, known for Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Philomena (2013) and Dirty Pretty Things (2002). He has been married to Anne Rothenstein since 1992. They have two children. ...
Other Notable Film(s): Liam (2000) (2000); Fail Safe (2000) [TV] (2000); High Fidelity (2000) (2000)✧; Dirty Pretty Things (2002) (2002); The Deal (2003) [TV] (2003); Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) (2005); The Queen (2006) (2006)✧; Chéri (2009) (2009); Tamara Drewe (2010) (2010); Lay the Favorite (2012) (2012)
Producer | The Revenant
Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director.
González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born ...
27. 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...
Give It a Shot: Small Time Crooks (2000) (2000); Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) (2008); Midnight in Paris (2011) (2011)
Caution: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) (2001)
Flops: Whatever Works (2009) (2009)
Other Notable Film(s): Match Point (2005) (2005); Scoop (2006) (2006); To Rome with Love (2012) (2012)
28. Werner Herzog
Director | Fitzcarraldo
Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...
Give It a Shot: Rescue Dawn (2006) (2006)
Other Notable Film(s): Invincible (2001) (2001); The White Diamond (2004) [doc] (2004); The Wild Blue Yonder (2005) (2005); Grizzly Man (2005) [doc] (2005)✧; Encounters at the End of the World (2007) [doc] (2007); The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009) (2009); My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) (2009); Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) [doc] (2010); Into the Abyss (2011) [doc] (2011)
29. 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 ...
30. Wes Anderson
Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...
31. 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 ...
32. Hayao Miyazaki
Director | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi
Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...
33. Yimou Zhang
Director | Ying xiong
34. 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 ...
35. Todd Field
Director | Little Children
William Todd Field was born in Pomona, California, and began acting after graduating from high school in Portland, Oregon, where he was raised. A budding jazz musician as well, he skipped college in favor of a move east to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark ...
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 ...
Director | Blindness
Fernando Meirelles was born in a middle class family in São Paulo City, Brazil.
He studied architecture at the university of São Paulo. At the same time he developed an interest in filmmaking. With a group of friends he started producing experimental videos and video art. They won a huge number of ...
38. 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 ...
39. 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 ...
40. Terrence Malick
Writer | Days of Heaven
Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.
A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...
41. 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 ...
42. Paul Greengrass
Director | United 93
Paul Greengrass started his filmmaking career with a super 8 camera he found in his art room in secondary school. Those short movies were animation horror films he made using old dolls, artist dummies, and the general art room clutter.
After studying in Cambridge University he got into Granada ...
43. Steve McQueen
Director | 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen was born on October 9, 1969 in London, England as Steve Rodney McQueen. He is a director and writer, known for 12 Years a Slave (2013), Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). He is married to Bianca Stigter. They have two children.
44. Mel Gibson
Actor | Braveheart
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...
45. Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Producer | Ci ke Nie Yin Niang
Of the ten films that Hsiao-Hsien Hou directed between 1980 and 1989, seven received best film or best director awards from prestigious international films festivals in Venice, Berlin, Hawaii, and the Festival of the Three Continents in Nantes. In a 1988 worldwide critics' poll, Hou was championed ...
46. Stephen Daldry
Director | The Reader
In 1989, Stephen Daldry worked as a freelance reader of unsolicited manuscripts for Literary Manager Nicholas Wright in the Scripts Department at the Royal National Theatre. In July of that year, he directed a Dadaist/expressionist production of "Judgement Day," a play by Odon von Horvath, at the ...
Writer | El laberinto del fauno
Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...
48. Tim Burton
Producer | Edward Scissorhands
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...
Greats: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) (2007)
Other Notable Film(s): Planet of the Apes (2001) (2001); Big Fish (2003) (2003); Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) (2005); Corpse Bride (2005) [Co-director] (2005); Alice in Wonderland (2010) (2010); Dark Shadows (2012) (2012); Frankenweenie (2012) (2012)
49. Chan-wook Park
Director | Ah-ga-ssi
Chan-wook Park was born on August 23, 1963 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and producer, known for The Handmaiden (2016), Thirst (2009) and Oldboy (2003). He is married to Eun-hee Kim. They have one child.
50. Paul Haggis
Writer | Crash
Paul Haggis established himself over twenty years with an extensive career in television, before his big break into features arrived when he became the first screenwriter to garner two Best Film Academy Awards back-to-back for his scripts: "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, ...
51. Jason Reitman
Producer | Up in the Air
Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.
52. Sam Mendes
Producer | 1917
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-...
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. ...
Give It a Shot: Bernie (2011) (2012*)
Caution: The School of Rock (2003) (2003)
Other Notable Film(s): Waking Life (2001) (2001); Tape (2001) (2001); Before Sunset (2004) (2004); Bad News Bears (2005) (2005); A Scanner Darkly (2006) (2006); Fast Food Nation (2006) (2006); Me and Orson Welles (2008) (2008)
54. 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 ...
Other Notable Film(s): Bread and Roses (2000) (2000); The Navigators (2001) (2001); Sweet Sixteen (2002) (2002); A Fond Kiss (2004) (2004); Tickets (2005) [Co-director] (2005); McLibel (2005) [doc/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)
55. 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. ...
Other Notable Film(s): Yi Yi (2000)✧
56. 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 ...
57. Jafar Panahi
Director | Taxi
Jafar Panahi (Born 11 July 1960) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved ...
58. 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). ...
59. Abbas Kiarostami
Director | 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 ...
60. James Mangold
Producer | Logan
James Mangold is an American film and television director, screenwriter and producer. Films he has directed include Girl, Interrupted (1999), Walk the Line (2005), which he also co-wrote, the 2007 remake 3:10 to Yuma (2007), The Wolverine (2013), and Logan (2017).
Mangold also wrote and directed Cop...
Writer | El secreto de sus ojos
Juan José Campanella was born on July 19, 1959 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a writer and actor, known for The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), The Man of Your Dreams (2011) and El mismo amor, la misma lluvia (1999).
62. Edward Zwick
Producer | Thirtysomething
Edward Zwick is well-known for his heroic movies that include Glory (1989), and the breathtaking works of art that include Legends of the Fall (1994). Zwick has also been known for his thoughtfulness as a director, and for his record of working with television series and other films as a producer.
63. Julian Schnabel
Director | Le scaphandre et le papillon
Julian Schnabel was born on October 26, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
64. Edgar Wright
Director | Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg...
65. George Clooney
Actor | Michael Clayton
George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and television host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney ...
66. Lasse Hallström
Director | What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Lasse Hallström was born on June 2, 1946 in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden as Lars Hallström. He is a director and writer, known for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Chocolat (2000) and My Life as a Dog (1985). He has been married to Lena Olin since March 18, 1994. They have one child. He was...
67. Peter Weir
Peter Weir was born on August 21, 1944 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Peter Lindsay Weir. He is a director and writer, known for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), The Way Back (2010) and Witness (1985). He has been married to Wendy Stites since 1966. They have two ...
Other Notable Film(s): Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) (2003); The Way Back (2010) (2010)
Writer | The Others
Is the son of a Spanish mother and a Chilean father. His family moved back to Spain when he was 1 year old, and he grew up and studied in Madrid. He wrote, produced and directed his first short film La cabeza at the age of 19, and he was 23 when he directed his feature debut Thesis (1996). His film ...
Writer | Valhalla Rising
Writer, director, and producer Nicolas Winding Refn was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970, to Anders Refn, a film director and editor, and Vibeke Winding (née Tuxen), a cinematographer. Just before he turned 11, in 1981, he moved to New York with his parents, where he lived out his teen years. ...
70. Marc Forster
Producer | World War Z
Marc Forster is a German-born filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the films Monster's Ball (2001), Finding Neverland (2004), Stay (2005), Stranger than Fiction (2006), The Kite Runner (2007), Quantum of Solace (2008), and World War Z (2013).
His breakthrough film was Monster's...
Greats: Monster's Ball (2001) (2001)
Caution: Stranger Than Fiction (2006) (2006)
Other Notable Film(s): Everything Put Together (2000) (2000); Finding Neverland (2004) (2004); Stay (2005) (2005); The Kite Runner (2007) (2007); Quantum of Solace (2008) (2008); Machine Gun Preacher (2011) (2011); World War Z (2013) (2013)
71. 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 ...
72. Lee Unkrich
Editor | Coco
Lee Unkrich is an Academy Award-winning director at Pixar Animation Studios. He most recently directed Disney.Pixar's critically-acclaimed "Coco", which received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Song.
As the director of Disney.Pixar's "Toy Story 3," Lee was also awarded an ...
Director | Un long dimanche de fiançailles
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/...
74. 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.
75. Robert Altman
Director | Gosford Park
Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...
Writer | The Talented Mr. Ripley
Anthony Minghella was the son of immigrants from Italy, who own an ice-cream factory on the Isle of Wight, where Anthony was born on January 6, 1954. He and his two siblings, Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella, grew up there, a popular British holiday spot. After graduating from the University of...
77. Takashi Miike
Director | Koroshiya 1
Takashi Miike was born in the small town of Yao on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan. His main interest growing up was motorbikes, and for a while he harbored ambitions to race professionally. At the age of 18 he went to study at the film school in Yokohama founded by renowned director Shôhei Imamura, ...
78. Taylor Hackford
Producer | Ray
Taylor Hackford was born on December 31, 1944 in Santa Barbara, California, USA as Taylor Edwin Hackford. He is a producer and director, known for Ray (2004), Blood In, Blood Out (1993) and Dolores Claiborne (1995). He has been married to Helen Mirren since December 31, 1997. He was previously ...
79. Ki-duk Kim
Writer | Bin-jip
He studied fine arts in Paris in 1990-1992. In 1993 he won the award for Best Screenplay from the Educational Institute of Screenwriting with "A Painter and A Criminal Condemned to Death". After two more screenplay awards, he made his directorial debut with Crocodile (1996). Then he went on to ...
80. Bong Joon Ho
Writer | Okja
81. Tomas Alfredson
Director | Låt den rätte komma in
Tomas Alfredson was born on April 1, 1965 in Lidingö, Stockholms län, Sweden. He is known for his work on Let the Right One In (2008), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Four Shades of Brown (2004). He was previously married to Cissi Elwin.
Writer | The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius was born and raised in Paris, France. His grandparents were originally from Lithuania, but relocated to France in the 1920s. Hazanavicius attended art school, and moved on to work as a director for commercials and television projects. In 1999, he wrote and directed his first ...
83. Noah Baumbach
Writer | Marriage Story
Born in Brooklyn in 1969 Noah Baumbach is the son of two film critics, Georgia Brown and Jonathan Baumbach (also a writer). His studies at Vassar College were the subject of his first film (made as he was 26 years old), Kicking and Screaming (1995). His second major picture, made ten years later, ...
84. Jacques Audiard
Writer | De rouille et d'os
Born in Paris, France, in 1952. Jacques Audiard's family has always been involved in movie business. His father, Michel, was a popular screenwriter and director and his uncle a producer. But in his teens he refused that world and wanted to be a teacher. He studied literature and philosophy at the ...
Director | Das Leben der Anderen
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born on May 2, 1973 in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany as Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck. He is a director and writer, known for The Lives of Others (2006), The Tourist (2010) and Never Look Away (2018). He is married to ...
86. Michel Gondry
Director | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
He grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band ...
87. Brad Anderson
Director | Session 9
88. Andrew Stanton
Writer | WALL·E
Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton was raised in Rockport, Massachusetts. He was educated at The California Institute of the Arts (or "CalArts") in Los Angeles, where he studied character animation. After graduation, Stanton began working as a writer on the TV series Mighty Mouse: The New ...
89. Roger Donaldson
Director | The World's Fastest Indian
Roger Donaldson was born on November 15, 1945 in Ballarat, Australia. He is a director and producer, known for The World's Fastest Indian (2005), Species (1995) and Cocktail (1988). He is married to Marliese Schneider. He was previously married to Susan Hockley.
90. Jee-woon Kim
Director | Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom
91. 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...
92. 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 ...
93. 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.
94. Ron Howard
Actor | Arrested Development
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995) to the hit comedies Parenthood (1989) and Splash (1984), he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films.
Greats: A Beautiful Mind (2001) (2001)
Caution: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) (2000); Frost/Nixon (2008) (2008); The Dilemma (2011) (2011)
Other Notable Film(s): The Missing (2003) (2003); Cinderella Man (2005) (2005); The Da Vinci Code (2006) (2006); Angels & Demons (2009) (2009); Rush (2013)
95. 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...
96. Ed Harris
Actor | The Truman Show
By transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned a reputation as one of the most talented actors of our time.
Ed Harris was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Margaret (Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, a bookstore worker who also sang professionally. ...
97. Derek Cianfrance
Director | Blue Valentine
Derek Cianfrance began making movies at age 13. He later attended The University of Colorado where he studied under avant-garde film legends Stan Brakhage and Phil Solomon. His first three films, 'Five O'clock Shadow', 'Raw Footage', and Brother Tied (1998), won consecutive Goldfarb Awards for best...
98. Martin McDonagh
Writer | In Bruges
Martin McDonagh was born on March 26, 1970 in Camberwell, London, England. He is a writer and director, known for In Bruges (2008), Seven Psychopaths (2012) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
99. 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 ...
100. Walter Salles
Director | Central do Brasil
Walter Salles was born on April 12, 1956 in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as Walther Moreira Salles Jr. He is a director and producer, known for Central Station (1998), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and Foreign Land (1995). He is married to Maria Klabin. They have one child.