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Archive for the ‘100 Greatest Directors’ Category

100 Greatest Directors of All Time – #10 – 1

100 Greatest Directors of All Time #10 – #1


I find these 10 directors vision so unique that there is absolutely no other directors like them, and they are like each other in no other way.  You know a film is by one of them 10 minutes in to seeing it.  Everything I’ve ever loved about film is encased within their films.  These are the true masters of cinema 

#10 – Michelangelo Antonioni

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Antonioni is a director that I think has always been mis-interpreted.  His films can come off as extremely boring, long and self-absorbed.  The thing is he always created films that explored ideas, explored questions of human faith.  His films were about the destination of his characters.  By the end, his characters had gone through a transformation, and that was the entire point.


Key Films: L’Avventura, Blow-Up, La Notte


#9 – David Lynch

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Lynch is one of the few directors that is still challenging the notion of what film actually is.  His last film Inland Empire I honestly feel is the most important film of the past 20 years.  He embraces change in film, and is never satisfied with convention.  His films terrify me at times, confuse me at times, but always make me think.

Key Films: Inland Empire, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive


#8 – Francois Truffaut

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The master of the French New Wave style of cinema.  Truffaut began his career as a film critique and philosopher, and when he was challenged to put his money where his mouth his he more than stepped up to the challenge with the greatest film about youth to this day in The 400 Blows. His career was up and down at times, but he always knew how to make a great film.  Another director that died to young.


Key Films: The 400 Blows, Day For Night, Jules and Jim


#7 – Ingmar Bergman

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The greatest Swedish filmmaker of them all.  Bergman explored film as religion during the early part of his career trying to understand good and evil.  He then grew to be a director that tried to understand the morality of human behavior, and the relationship between men and women.  His technique was flawless.


Key Films: The Virgin Spring, Wild Strawberries, Persona


#6 – Quentin Tarantino

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I honestly believe that Tarantino is 2 or 3 films away from breaking in to the top three in this category.  There is no one like him.  No one even comes close.  He’s a student of film. He’s always been able to borrow from past forms of cinema and make it his own.  Not to mention they’re just all bad ass, and entertaining as hell.


Key Films: Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds


#5 – Andrei Tarkovsky

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Tarkovskys films changed the way I though about art, film, and the world in general.  He created his own philosophy of the world and used the big screen to express his ideals.  His films seam dreamlike in quality but they are all firmly rooted in reality.  You could watch a Tarkovsky film 10 times and come up with 10 different explanations for meaning of the picture…and that’s a good thing.  He was a man who died way too young, but accomplished so much.

Key Films: Solaris, Sacrifice, Stalker


#4 – Akira Kurosawa

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The resounding master of Asian cinema.  He reinterpreted the western through the samurai picture and filmmakers have been trying to copy him ever since.  A creator and innovator in every way.  During his long career he gave us some of the most beautiful stories and films ever.


Key Films: Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Roshoman


#3 – Federico Fellini

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Fellini’s films were my first foray in to international cinema in the mid 90’s.  His films made me want to study films of all types and cultures. They are poetic and dreamlike, and unlike any other films you’ve ever seen.  Surreal in every twist and turn.   I get swept away every time I see one of them.

Key Films: 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, La Strada


#2 – Alfred Hitchcock

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Not only was Hitchcock the master of suspense. He was pretty much the master of everything that was cinema.  He created so many types of films, tore them apart, dissected them, and then reinvented them all over again.  A pioneer, a visionary, a workhorse, and everything in between.

Key Films: Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window


#1 – Stanley Kubrick

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I’m not really sure what I can say about Kubrick.  I can’t explain him.  His films speak for themselves, and he was always able to take film to a different level.  His films are the philosophy and understanding of life.  Every single one of his films needs to be seen.

Key Films: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, Barry Lyndon, Lolita, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut, The Killing, Killers Kiss


So that is it.  This is list I came up with.  I do a lot of lists and this by far was the hardest.  I’m sure I missed some directors, or perhaps misplaced some directors, and in fact maybe I haven’t seen enough of some directors, but I’ve watched a lot of films and as of right now I stand by this list.  This list will definitely change over the years though. If I make it 10 years from now I’m sure it would be completely different.  Hope those that read enjoyed.

100 Greatest Directors of All Time – #20 -11

100 Greatest Directors of All Time #20 – #11


#20 –  Robert Altman

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Altman is one of the truly great American filmmakers.  His films celebrated the American way, and he was a director that utilized the ensemble cast better than anyone.  To this day I have a hard time comparing Altman’s films to anyone else.


Key Films: MASH, Nashville, Short Cuts


#19 – Orson Welles

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I mean come on…it’s Orson Welles.  He perfected almost everything that was done up to that point…The Film Noir….The Murder Mystery.  He put the master stroke on all of them. He should also really be credited for bringing the ideals of foreign cinema to the west. To this day his film Citizen Kane is considered to be the finest picture of them all.

Key Films: Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, The Magnificent Ambersons


#18 – Vittorio De Sica

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De Sica is one of the most passionate directors in the history of cinema.  He was always able to take a simple idea and translate that into a poignant vision of the human condition.  He had a great understanding of film and even greater understanding of how to use the medium to tell a story


Key Films: The Bicycle Thief, Umberto D, Boccaccio 70 – La Riffa


#17 – Yasujiro Ozu

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Ozu was one of the first true masters of Asian cinema along with Kurosawa.  He explored the relationships between people in his films, especially the relationship between generations of families and how those relationships are defined within the limitations of the society of the times.  His films are poignant and beautiful to say the least.

Key Films: Tokyo Story, Floating Weeds, Early Summer


#16 – Sergio Leone

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I personally think that Leone is responsible for the greatest western ever with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, not to mention one of the greatest trilogy’s ever with his Dollars Trilogy.  Then the guy goes and directors what I consider to be one of the greatest gangster films ever in Once Upon a Time in America.  His films are epic, and he’s one of my favorites of all time.

Key Films – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America


#15 – Sergei Eisenstein

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Eisenstein was one of the first, if not the first, directors to understand and master film as a medium.  He created the montage.  He was a student and professor of cinema all wrapped up in to one.  He created the epic film, and created so many other styles of filmmaking that would become the basis of everything to come in the world of cinema.


Key Films: Battleship Pottemkin, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible


#14 – Martin Scorsese

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A dominant force in cinema for the past 40 years, Scorcese bleeds everything that is American about cinema.  He took the gangster picture, and New York life to another level.  His films are brutish, violent, and heartbreaking…and entertaining as hell.

Key Films: Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Departed, Taxi Driver


#13 – Jean Renoir

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Renoir is the Godfather of french cinema.  His film Rules of the Game was so far ahead of its time that it was critically and commercially panned at the time of it’s release.  Today it is revered as on of the finest films of all time.  His films were grand in vision and scope.  He was a genius of cinema


Key Films: Rules of the Game, The Grand Illusion, The Lower Depths


#12 – Fritz Lang

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A grand pioneer.  Lang was one of, if not the first director, to have a grand vision for cinema.  He understood the power of cinema, and the idea of the blockbuster.  He created some of the most expensive films at the time, but was able to create them as great works of art.  A visionary through and through.

Key Films: Metropolis, M, Dr. Mabuse


#11 – John Ford

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Ford is hands down the godfather of the western.  Without Ford the western would have never excelled and moved forward as a film genre.  His films have inspired all kinds of directors, and he directed over 140 films in his long career. A master of American cinema.

Key Films: The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach


100 Greatest Directors of All Time – #30 – 21

100 Greatest Directors of All Time – #30 – #21


#30 – Elia Kazan

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Kazan is one of the few directors that really understood how to take the stage to the screen, and he excelled at directing both throughout his career.  He directed some of the most iconic actors to ever grace the screen. A champion of enforcing method acting to understand the role.


Key Films: A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden



29.  Otto Preminger

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Preminger was another director that sharpened his skills on the stage before bringing them to the big screen, and important part of what film was to become in the later part of the 20th century.  Preminger was a director that was never afraid to tackle controversial topics as a director, (drug addiction, homosexuality, etc.) one of the first to ever do so.  He was a revolutionary director that helped progress film as a medium.


Key Films: Laura, The Man With the Golden Arm, Advise and Consent


#28 – Francis Ford Coppola

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While Coppola is most widely known for his Godfather trilogy, it is some of his smaller films that show his extreme skill and mastery over the film medium.  He continues to create films, but instead of the gigantic blockbusters he most certainly could make, he chooses to focus on a more scaled down and artistic approach, and it continues to work.

Key Films: The Godfather Trilogy, Rumble Fish, The Conversation


#27 – Frank Capra

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Capra is responsible for probably the most watched film of all time.  A classic director that used Jimmy Stewart in some of the most classic films of all time. Iconic in every way.


Key Films: It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It Happened One Night


#26 – Krystof Kieslowski

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The first time I ever saw a Kieslowski film I was riveted.  He had a way of creating a feeling of gaze and aura that surrounded his pictures.  His use of color, and music to drive a picture is like none other.  He is responsible for what I consider to be the greatest art house trilogy of all time.  A true Eastern European master of cinema whose life ended way to soon.

Key Films: The Three Colors Trilogy, The Decologue, The Double Life of Veronique


#25 – Clint Eastwood

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Eastwood is easily the greatest Director/Actor to ever walk the face of the earth, and one of the greatest Americans to ever live.  He is the epitome of the American dream. Everything this guy touches is gold.  An amazing director, and human being all around.

Key Films: Unforgiven, Mystic River, Gran Torino


#24 – The Coen Brothers

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Seriously, I mean…it’s the Coen Brothers.  These guys have one of the most unique visions of cinema of any directors ever.  You know a Coen Brothers film when you see one, and time after time, they crank out some of the most entertaining and strangely bizarre films you will ever see.

Key Films: Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Blood Simple


#23 – Steven Spielberg

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The king of the big screen. Spielberg established the blockbuster and changed the course of cinema forever, essential making it once again a big time business.  He is responsible for some of the most iconic characters and films of all time, and at the same time he has been able to create some of the most artistic and beautiful films as well.  He is able to entertain in many different ways.

Key Films: Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, E.T., etc., etc., etc.,


#22 – Woody Allen

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I had to look at this stat twice when I first saw it, but Allen has directed a picture a year every, sometimes twice a year, since 1982.  Before that he almost missed a few years that a picture wasn’t released, a workhorse in every single way.  His dialogue driven films are unlike any other directors.  When he’s off…well let’s just say he’s off, but when he’s on he’s like no other.


Key Films: Annie Hall, Radio Days, Manhattan, Match Point


#21 – Billy Wilder

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It took me a while as a film critic before I really got in to Billy Wilder, but once I did I started to kick myself for missing out on him for so long.  He’s the king of film noir.  His films focused on film plot and narrative and were systematic in their nature.  Every time one of his films comes on TV I get sucked back in.  If you haven’t seen them…do it now!

Key Films: Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot, The Lost Weekend


100 Greatest Directors of All Time – #40 – 31

100 Greatest Directors #40-#31



40.  James Cameron
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In innovator of film, Cameron has pushed the envelope when it comes to the technical aspects of filmmaking.  He has changed the way we watch films, and what is capable of the medium as a whole, not to mention he makes some pretty badass movies.
Key Films: Aliens, Terminator 2, Avatar, Titanic




#39 – William Wyler

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Classic, classic, classic film director that was responsible for some of the most beloved films in early American cinema.  He was multi-nominated Oscar winner.  A tremendous career.

Key Films: Ben-Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives, Roman Holiday


#38 – Roman Polanski

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Even at his worst, Polanski is still highly entertaining, and when he is at his best he’s like no other director out there.  A giant of cinema that can create the thriller, the horror picture, or subtle drama.  Multi-talented.

Key Films: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Pianist


#37 – F.W. Murnau

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Murnau was a master of silent cinema. He was instrumental in shaping cinema as a whole, and his contributions to the screen are still felt today.  His films have been recreated for decades but never truly duplicated.


Key Films: Nosferatu, Sunrise, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


#36 – Michael Mann

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Mann has a style of filmmaking that strives to recreate the immediacy of an event.  He has a gritty, shaky style of filmmaking that brings realism to the screen.  Epic, realistic master of film.

Key Films: Heat, Last of the Mohicans, Manhunter


#35 – Jean Luc Godard

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Godard is one of the masters of the French New Wave.  His films are highly intellectual in nature, and he has constantly defied the Hollywood system of film-making.  If anything, Godard has always created cinema as he sees it without convention.


Key Films: Breathless, Band of Outsiders, Contempt


#34 – David Fincher

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Fincher is one of the top filmmakers out there today.  He is one of my favorite directors, and I get excited every time I hear of him making a new film.  His films have a look that none other can copy.  You know when you are seeing a Fincher film.

Key Films: Fight Club, The Social Network, Seven


#33 – Sam Peckinpah

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Peckinpah is responsible for one of the greatest westerns ever with The Wild Bunch.  He was a controversial filmmaker that was not afraid to create extremely violent, stylistic films, but at the heart of it he created some truly unique films.


Key Films: The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia


#32 – Wong Kar Wai

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Kar-Wai is the one of the ultimate masters of Asian cinema.  His cinema-verite style of non-linear filmmaking has created some of the most beautiful and touching films of the past 20 years.  He is a filmmaking that must be watched.


Key Films: 2046, Chunking Express, In the Mood For Love


#31 – Christopher Nolan

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Nolan is easily one of the top active filmmakers out there today.  He was already on this list, and when Inception came out it catapulted him that much higher.  It is one of the best films of the past 20 years, if not of all time.  He has the unique ability to entertain you and create a work of art within a blockbuster film.


Key Films: Inception, The Dark Knight, Memento