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300 Greatest Movie Directors

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Criteria: These directors are ranked according to how much they influenced the way in which films are directed and to the acclaim they received specifically for their directing. Also considered, albeit to a lesser degree, are the popularity, influence and acclaim of their directorial output.

Disclaimer: This list is strongly influenced by the Western canon of films. This means that in the broader scope of a global cinema certain regions may be underrepresented, among them Russia, India, China, Africa and Latin America.

Last Updated: 2018-03-25
300 Greatest Movie Directors text title image
  1. Alfred Hitchcock
  2. John Ford
  3. Charles Chaplin
  4. Akira Kurosawa
  5. D. W. Griffith
  6. Jean Renoir
  7. Sergei M. Eisenstein
  8. Orson Welles
  9. Stanley Kubrick
10. Georges Méliès
11. Luis Buñuel
12. Fritz Lang
13. Jean-Luc Godard
14. Federico Fellini
15. F. W. Murnau
16. Ingmar Bergman
17. Carl Theodor Dreyer
18. Howard Hawks
19. Yasujirō Ozu
20. Robert Bresson
21. François Truffaut
22. Martin Scorsese
23. Cecil B. DeMille
24. Satyajit Ray
25. Andrei Tarkovsky
26. Ernst Lubitsch
27. Steven Spielberg
28. Michelangelo Antonioni
29. John Cassavetes
30. Billy Wilder
31. Buster Keaton
32. Erich von Stroheim
33. Roberto Rossellini
34. Kenji Mizoguchi
35. Woody Allen
36. Robert Altman
37. David Lean
38. Abbas Kiarostami
39. Dziga Vertov
40. Frank Capra
41. Roman Polański
42. Luchino Visconti
43. David Lynch
44. Jean Vigo
45. Stanley Donen (& Gene Kelly)
46. Hayao Miyazaki
47. Werner Herzog
48. Michael Powell (& Emeric Pressburger)
49. Quentin Tarantino
50. Joel & Ethan Coen
51. Francis Ford Coppola
52. Robert J. Flaherty
53. James Cameron
54. Spike Lee
55. Raoul Walsh
56. Bernardo Bertolucci
57. Sergio Leone
58. Ridley Scott
59. Vittorio De Sica
60. Douglas Sirk
61. Victor Sjöström
62. Alexander Dovzhenko
63. Paul Thomas Anderson
64. Mario Bava
65. Nicholas Ray
66. Sam Peckinpah
67. John Carpenter
68. Wong Kar-Wai
69. Josef von Sternberg
70. Rainer Werner Fassbinder
71. Jean-Pierre Melville
72. Max Ophüls
73. Wes Anderson
74. Sidney Lumet
75. George A. Romero
76. Maurice Tourneur
77. Busby Berkeley
78. David Cronenberg
79. Jean Cocteau
80. John Huston
81. Samuel Fuller
82. Krzysztof Kieślowski
83. Louis Feuillade
84. Terrence Malick
85. Edwin S. Porter
86. Chantal Akerman
87. Alain Resnais
88. Michael Curtiz
89. Claude Chabrol
90. Maya Deren
91. Chuck Jones
92. Wim Wenders
93. Pier Paolo Pasolini
94. Stan Brakhage
95. Lars von Trier
96. Jacques Tati
97. Richard Linklater
98. Preston Sturges
99. Jim Jarmusch
100. Christopher Nolan

Alfred Hitchcock movie director
Alfred Hitchcock
John Ford movie director
John Ford
Charles Chaplin movie director and actor
Charles Chaplin
Akira Kurosawa movie director
Akira Kurosawa
D.W. Griffith movie director
D. W. Griffith
Jean Renoir movie director
Jean Renoir
Sergei M. Eisenstein director
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Orson Welles movie director and actor
Orson Welles
Stanley Kubrick movie director
Stanley Kubrick
Georges Méliès movie director
Georges Méliès
Luis Buñuel movie director
Luis Buñuel
Fritz Lang director
Fritz Lang
101. Abel Gance
102. Pedro Almodóvar
103. Roger Corman
104. Lois Weber
105. Louis Malle
106. George Cukor
107. William Wyler
108. Hou Hsiao-Hsien
109. Vsevolod Pudovkin
110. Elia Kazan
111. King Vidor
112. Dario Argento
113. Cecil Hepworth
114. Winsor McCay
115. Andrzej Wajda
116. Zhang Yimou
117. Louis & Auguste Lumière
118. James Whale
119. Clint Eastwood
120. Todd Haynes
121. Chris Marker
122. Agnès Varda
123. Vincente Minnelli
124. Tod Browning
125. William K.L. Dickson
126. Robert Wise
127. Anthony Mann
128. David Fincher
129. Michael Haneke
130. J. Stuart Blackton
131. Kenneth Anger
132. Mike Leigh
133. Claire Denis
134. Frank Borzage
135. G. W. Pabst
136. Miloš Forman
137. Brian De Palma
138. Fred Niblo
139. Mike Nichols
140. Arthur Penn
141. John Frankenheimer
142. René Clair
143. Gus Van Sant
144. George Miller
145. Danny Boyle
146. Marcel Carné
147. Don Siegel
148. Leni Riefenstahl
149. Sidney Olcott
150. Walt Disney/Ub Iwerks
151. Charles Burnett
152. Jack Arnold
153. Jacques Rivette
154. John Woo
155. Tim Burton
156. Chen Kaige
157. Otto Preminger
158. Ken Loach
159. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
160. John Lasseter
161. Gordon Parks
162. Tex Avery
163. Béla Tarr
164. Terry Gilliam
165. Ang Lee
166. Steven Soderbergh
167. Fred Zinnemann
168. Mack Sennett
169. Theodoros Angelopoulos
170. Éric Rohmer
171. Mauritz Stiller
172. Nagisa Ōshima
173. Jean Rouch
174. Jia Zhangke
175. John Hughes
176. Peter Weir
177. William Friedkin
178. Robert Zemeckis
179. Alfonso Cuarón
180. Carol Reed
181. Jacques Demy
182. Leo McCarey
183. Peter Jackson
184. D. A. Pennebaker
185. Sam Raimi
186. George Lucas
187. George Stevens
188. Ousmane Sembène
189. Mel Brooks
190. Rouben Mamoulian
191. Kathryn Bigelow
192. Robert Aldrich
193. Errol Morris
194. Michael Mann
195. Ishirō Honda
196. Boris Barnet
197. Paul Verhoeven
198. Nicolas Roeg
199. Henri-Georges Clouzot
200. John Waters
201. William A. Wellman
202. Lindsay Anderson
203. Oliver Stone
204. Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey
205. Richard Lester
206. Alejandro Jodorowsky
207. William Castle
208. Edward Yang
209. Ida Lupino
210. Jacques Becker
211. Jane Campion
212. Stephen Frears
213. Alejandro González Iñárritu
214. Mario Monicelli
215. Sergei Parajanov
216. Rob Reiner
217. Paul Greengrass
218. Takeshi Kitano
219. Alice Guy-Blaché
220. Henry King
221. Glauber Rocha
222. Ken Russell
223. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
224. Budd Boetticher
225. Albert & David Maysles
226. Jules Dassin
227. John Landis
228. John Boorman
229. Aki Kaurismäki
230. Kevin Smith
231. Mervyn LeRoy
232. Oscar Micheaux
233. Hal Ashby
234. John Sayles
235. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
236. Robert Siodmak
237. Richard Donner
238. Anthony Asquith
239. Mikio Naruse
240. Lev Kuleshov
241. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
242. Peter Bogdanovich
243. Ralph Bakshi
244. Tsai Ming-Liang
245. Joseph Losey
246. John Schlesinger
247. Peter Watkins
248. Darren Aronofsky
249. Wes Craven
250. Allan Dwan
251. Alexander Sokurov
252. Georges Franju
253. Russ Meyer
254. Walter Hill
255. Joris Ivens
256. Jan Švankmajer
257. Alexander Mackendrick
258. Frederick Wiseman
259. Yevgeni Bauer
260. Robert Rodríguez
261. Pedro Costa
262. Alexander Payne
263. Mohsen Makhmalbaf
264. Julien Duvivier
265. Manoel de Oliveira
266. Yuriy Norshteyn
267. Dorothy Arzner
268. Blake Edwards
269. Olivier Assayas
270. Sydney Pollack
271. Raj Kapoor
272. Luis García Berlanga
273. Edgar G. Ulmer
274. Emir Kusturica
275. Guillermo del Toro
276. Costa-Gavras
277. Guy Maddin
278. Morris Engel
279. Jerry Lewis
280. Alan J. Pakula
281. Sadao Yamanaka
282. Herschell Gordon Lewis
283. Dave Fleischer
284. James Ivory
285. Jonathan Demme
286. Terence Davies
287. Kon Ichikawa
288. Bong Joon-Ho
289. Peter Greenaway
290. Victor Fleming
291. David O. Russell
292. Bob Clampett
293. Clarence Brown
294. Jacques Tourneur
295. Claude Lanzmann
296. Michael Cimino
297. Sofia Coppola
298. Lasse Hallström
299. Miklós Jancsó
300. Henry Hathaway
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
Luc Besson
Walerian Borowczyk
Chang Cheh
Benjamin Christensen
Alfred Clark
Jack Clayton
Edward F. Cline
Émile Cohl
Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack
Joe Dante
William Dieterle
Guru Dutt
Roland Emmerich
Jean Epstein
Víctor Erice
Jean Eustache
Terence Fisher
William Haggar
Hal Hartley
George Roy Hill
Ron Howard
King Hu
Shōhei Imamura
Rex Ingram
Derek Jarman
Norman Jewison
Spike Jonze
Fyodor Khitruk
Masaki Kobayashi
Harmony Korine
Grigori Kozintsev (& Leonid Trauberg)
Stanley Kramer
Louis Le Prince
Joseph H. Lewis
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Jonas Mekas
George Melford
Takashi Miike
Nikita Mikhalkov
Lewis Milestone
Michael Moore
Eadweard Muybridge
Laurence Olivier
Park Chan-Wook
Robert W. Paul
Wolfgang Petersen
Maurice Pialat
Lotte Reiniger
Karel Reisz
Tony Richardson
Carlos Saura
Volker Schlöndorff
Tony Scott
George Albert Smith/James Williamson
Todd Solondz
Jean-Marie Straub (& Danièle Huillet)
Seijun Suzuki
Isao Takahata
Frank Tashlin
Roger Vadim
Denis Villeneuve
Lana & Lilly Wachowski
Paul Wegener
Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Sam Wood
Zucker, Abrahams & Zucker





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