Best Film Directors of all time

by lemonlime1913 | created - 02 Mar 2018 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

1. Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince

Director | Roundhay Garden Scene

Le Prince is considered the pioneer of the motion picture. His father was an intimate friend of Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), the famous pioneer of photography, who gave his son some early lessons in the art. In 1875 he saw a series of photographs taken by Eadweard Muybridge at Palo Alto, California....

2. 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, ...

3. Auguste Lumière

Producer | L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat

Although it is his brother Louis Lumière who is generally acclaimed as the "father of the cinema", Auguste Lumiere also made a major contribution towards the development of the medium, first by helping with the invention and construction of the cinematographe (the world's first camera and ...

4. Louis Lumière

Producer | La Mi-Carême, Char et batailles de confettis

Although no one will ever come up with a definitive answer as to who invented the cinema (probably because no one single person was responsible), Louis Lumière has one of the strongest claims to the title - for it was he (with his brother Auguste) who invented the cinematographe : a machine that ...

5. William S. Hart

Actor | The Money Corral

A storybook hero, the original screen cowboy, ever forthright and honest, even when (as was often the case) he played a villain, William S. Hart lived for a while in the Dakota Territory, then worked as a postal clerk in New York City. In 1888 he began to study acting. In 1899 he created the role ...

6. Lionel Belmore

Actor | Frankenstein

Lionel Belmore was born on May 12, 1867 in Wimbledon, London, England. He was an actor and director, known for Frankenstein (1931), The Vampire Bat (1933) and Bardelys the Magnificent (1926). He was married to Emmeline Florence Carder. He died on January 30, 1953 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, ...

7. Edwin S. Porter

Director | The White Pearl

In the late 1890s Porter worked as both a projectionist and mechanic, eventually becoming director and cameraman for the Edison Manufacturing Company. Influenced by both the "Brighton school" and the story films of Georges Méliès, Porter went on to make important shorts such as Life of an American ...

8. 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,...

9. D.W. Griffith

Director | The Birth of a Nation

David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob "Roaring Jake" Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War veteran. Young Griffith grew up with his father's romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually shape his movies. In 1897 ...

10. Maurice Tourneur

Director | Au nom de la loi

Screenwriter and director Maurice Tourneur was born Maurice Thomas in the Parisian suburb of Belleville on February 2, 1873, the son of a jewelry merchant. He was trained and employed as a graphic designer and a magazine illustrator as a young man. After serving in a French artillery unit in ...

11. Benjamin Christensen

Director | Hævnens Nat

Benjamin Christensen was born on September 28, 1879 in Viborg, Denmark. He was a director and writer, known for Blind Justice (1916), Häxan (1922) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929). He was married to Karen Winther, Sigrid Stahl and Ellen Arctander. He died on April 2, 1959 in Copenhagen, ...

12. Cecil B. DeMille

Producer | The Ten Commandments

His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New ...

13. Sam Wood

Director | A Night at the Opera

Following a two-year apprenticeship under Cecil B. DeMille as assistant director, Samuel Grosvenor Wood had the good fortune to have assigned to him two of the biggest stars at Paramount during their heyday: Wallace Reid (between 1919 and 1920) and Gloria Swanson (from 1921 to 1923). By the time ...

14. 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 ...

15. Henry King

Director | The Song of Bernadette

For more than three decades, Henry King was the most versatile and reliable (not to mention hard-working) contract director on the 20th Century-Fox lot. His tenure lasted from 1930 to 1961, spanning most of Hollywood's "golden" era. King was renowned as a specialist in literary adaptations (A Bell ...

16. Henry Lehrman

Producer | Why Sailors Go Wrong

Austrian-born Henry Lehrman entered the film industry in 1909 while working as a trolley conductor. Legend has it that he cornered director D.W. Griffith and claimed to be an agent for the French-based Pathe company, sent by them to work with Griffith. By the time Griffith found out that Lehrman's ...

17. John Cromwell

Director | The Prisoner of Zenda

Actor / director John Cromwell was born December 23, 1887, in Toledo, OH. He made his Broadway debut on October 14, 1912, in Marian De Forest's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" at the Playhouse Theatre. The show was a hit, running for a total of 184 performances. Cromwell appeared ...

18. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

19. Raoul Walsh

Director | Sadie Thompson

Raoul Walsh's 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham's "Rain" renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona ...

20. Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Actor | Leap Year

Roscoe Arbuckle, one of nine children, was the baby of the family who weighed a reported 16 pounds at birth. Born in Smith Center, Kansas, on March 24, 1887, his family moved to California when he was a year old. At age eight he appeared on the stage. His first part was with the Webster-Brown Stock...

21. Jack Conway

Director | Viva Villa!

Born Hugh Ryan Conway of Irish ancestry, Jack Conway was one of a team of MGM contract directors (others included Sam Wood and Robert Z. Leonard), who forsook any pretense to a specific individual style in favor of working within the strictures set forth by studio management--as embodied by Irving ...

22. Basil Dean

Producer | Whom the Gods Love

Basil Dean first appeared as an actor on the British stage in 1906. He soon switched careers and began writing and directing plays. Turning to the film industry, he became a producer and director in 1928; many of the films he produced and directed were based on his own stage plays.

23. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

F.W. Murnau was a German film director. He was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Ibsen plays he had seen at the age of 12, and became a friend of director Max Reinhardt. During World War I he served as a company commander at the eastern front and was in the German air ...

24. 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 ...

25. Richard Boleslawski

Director | Theodora Goes Wild

Inventing a stage name "Boleslawski" (later spelled also "Boleslavsky"), young Pole Boleslaw Ryszard Srzednicki left his second home (Odessa, Russian Empire) to study theatre and train as an actor at the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre before and during WW I. He also acted in a few early Russian ...

26. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the ...

27. W.S. Van Dyke

Director | The Thin Man

For the better part of his career, Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke lived up to his sobriquet "One-Take Woody" by steadfastly adhering to his credo of shooting each scene as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over his 25-year career, he economically directed over 90 diverse entertainments, which not ...

28. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

29. 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...

30. Alfred E. Green

Director | The Jolson Story

One of the more prolific American directors, Alfred E. Green entered films in 1912 as an actor for the Selig Polyscope Co. He became an assistant to director Colin Campbell and started directing two-reelers, turning to features in 1917. His career lasted into the mid-1950s but his output was mostly...

31. Abel Gance

Writer | La dame aux camélias

Born an illegitimate son of a wealthy physician, Abel Flamant, and a working class mother, Francoise Perethon. He was raised by his mother and her boyfriend, who later became her husband, Adolphe Gance. Pressured by his parents, he began his working career as a lawyer's clerk in hopes of achieving ...

32. Clarence Brown

Director | Anna Karenina

Clarence Leon Brown was the son of Larkin Harry and Catherine Ann (Gaw) Brown of Clinton, Massachusetts. His family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1905 and from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in mechanical and electrical ...

33. Louis Delluc

Director | Fumée noire

Louis Delluc was born on October 14, 1890 in Le Buisson-de-Cadouin, Dordogne, France. He was a director and writer, known for Fumée noire (1920), The Woman from Nowhere (1922) and The Flood (1924). He was married to Ève Francis. He died on March 22, 1924 in Paris, France.

34. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

35. Archie Mayo

Director | The Petrified Forest

A stage actor, Archie Mayo went to Hollywood in 1915 and worked until his retirement in 1946. He began directing slapstick two-reelers, later making features at Warner Bros. just about the time sound was being introduced into films. He did much work for Warners, but he also made films at Goldwyn ...

36. Edmund Goulding

Director | Grand Hotel

London-born Edmund Goulding was an actor/playwright/director on the London stage, and entered the British army when WWI broke out. Mustered out of the service because of wounds suffered in battle, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1921. He obtained assignments as a screenwriter in Hollywood, wrote a ...

37. Edward F. Cline

Director | The Boat

Edward "Eddie" Cline began his career in the film business as one of the Keystone Kops. The former vaudevillian appeared sporadically in films as an actor until 1922, but became increasingly active behind the camera as a gagman and scenario writer for Mack Sennett. From 1916 he worked on a steady ...

38. George Marshall

Director | How the West Was Won

George Marshall was a versatile American director who came to Hollywood to visit his mother and "have a bit of fun". Expelled from Chicago University in 1912, he was an unsettled young man, drifting from job to job, variously employed as a mechanic, newspaper reporter and lumberjack with a logging ...

39. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

40. Mabel Normand

Actress | Mickey

Mabel Normand was one of the comedy greats of early film. In an era when women are deemed 'not funny enough' it seems film history has forgotten her contributions. Her films debuted the Keystone Cops, Charlie Chaplin's tramp and the pie in the face gag. She co-starred with both Chaplin and Roscoe "...

41. Harold Lloyd

Actor | Safety Last!

Born in Buchard, Nebraska, USA to Elizabeth Fraser and 'J. Darcie 'Foxy' Lloyd' who fought constantly and soon divorced (at the time a rare event), Harold Clayton Lloyd was nominally educated in Denver and San Diego high schools and received his stage training at the School of Dramatic Art (San ...

42. William Dieterle

Actor | Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

Born in Ludwigshafen, Germany, Wilhelm Dieterle was the youngest of nine children of parents Jacob and Berthe Dieterle. They lived in poverty, and when he was old enough to work, young Wilhelm earned money as a carpenter and a scrap dealer. He dreamed of better things, though, and theater caught ...

43. John Brahm

Director | The Twilight Zone

The son of comedian and theatre director Ludwig Brahm, Hans followed in his father's footsteps and began his career on the stages of Vienna, Berlin and Paris. Again, like his father, he graduated to directing and had his first fling with the film business as a dialogue director for a Franco/German ...

44. Alexander Korda

Director | The Private Life of Don Juan

One of a large group of Hungarian refugees who found refuge in England in the 1930s, Sir Alexander Korda was the first British film producer to receive a knighthood. He was a major, if controversial, figure and acted as a guiding force behind the British film industry of the 1930s and continued to ...

45. Alexander Hall

Director | Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Making his stage debut in 1898 at age four, Alexander Hall entered films in 1914 as an actor. Leaving the film industry to serve in the American army in World War I, he returned from military service in 1917 and re-entered the business, but this time as an editor and assistant director. He made his...

46. John Ford

Director | The Quiet Man

John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...

47. King Vidor

Director | The Crowd

King Vidor was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter of Hungarian descent. He was born in Galveston, Texas to lumberman Charles Shelton Vidor and his wife Kate Wallis. King's paternal grandfather Károly (Charles) Vidor had fled Hungary as a refugee following the failed ...

48. Frank Borzage

Director | No Greater Glory

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

49. 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 ...

50. Tay Garnett

Director | China Seas

Following his service as a naval aviator in WW I, Tay Garnett entered films in 1920 as a screenwriter. After a stint as a gag writer for Mack Sennett and Hal Roach he joined Pathe, then the distributor for both competing comedy producers, and in 1928 began directing for that company. Garnett ...

51. Clyde Bruckman

Writer | The General

Had been out of work and was pretty much broke when he killed himself. He borrowed Buster Keaton's gun and after eating a meal that he could not pay for, shot himself. There are two stories; One says it was in the restroom of the cafe on Santa Monica Blvd, and the other story states he did it in ...

52. Jean Renoir

Writer | La règle du jeu

Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he ...

53. Henri Diamant-Berger

Director | Les trois mousquetaires

Henri Diamant-Berger was born on June 9, 1895 in Paris, France. He was a director and writer, known for Three Musketeers (1932), Amazing Monsieur Fabre (1951) and Arsene Lupin, Detective (1937). He died on May 7, 1972 in Paris.

54. Lewis Milestone

Director | All Quiet on the Western Front

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early ...

55. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

56. William A. Wellman

Director | A Star Is Born

William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his larger-than-life personality and lifestyle.

A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th...

57. Ray Enright

Director | Tomorrow at Seven

Ray Enright, born in Anderson, Indiana, came to Los Angeles with his family at the age of five. He attended Los Angeles High School and in 1913 started motion picture work as an assistant cutter at the Mack Sennett studio. He served in World War I as a member of the Signal Corps. After the war he ...

58. Howard Hawks

Director | Red River

What do the classic films Scarface (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) have in...

59. Walter Lang

Director | The King and I

Walter Lang entered the film industry in New York when he got a job as a clerk in the office of a film production company. He worked his way up to assistant director, and directed his first film in 1926. By the time sound arrived Lang was already a well-regarded director, but he left the business ...

60. André Hunebelle

Director | Le capitan

André Hunebelle (b. 1896) was an odd-job man ,always seeing which way the wind would blow when he made his movies;hence his eclecticism ,so to speak:comedies,swashbucklers (genre in which his gave his most pleasant works ),spy thrillers ,spoofs ....

His comedies (his dominant genre in the fifties) ...

61. Leo McCarey

Director | An Affair to Remember

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

62. Alberto Cavalcanti

Director | O Canto do Mar

Born in Brazil in 1897, Alberto Cavalcanti began his film career in France in 1920, working as writer, art director and director. He directed the avant-garde documentary Nothing But Time (1926) ("Nothing but Time"), a portrait of the lives of Parisian workers in a single day. He moved to England in...

63. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

64. Henry Hathaway

Director | True Grit

Henry Hathaway, son of a stage actress and manager, started his career as a child actor in westerns directed by Allan Dwan. His movie career was interrupted by World War I. After his discharge he briefly tried a career in finance but returned to Hollywood to work as an assistant director under such...

65. 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), The Grand Maneuver (1955) and Beauties of the Night (1952). He was married to Bronia Clair. He died on March 15, 1981 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, ...

66. Curtis Bernhardt

Director | Kisses for My President

If Curtis Bernhardt is a relative unknown, it's because he didn't direct his first Hollywood feature until 1940 at the age of 41. Bernhardt worked for years in Germany until his Jewish heritage made living there impossible by 1933-- he was arrested by the Gestapo and made a harrowing underground ...

67. 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). ...

68. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and A Star Is Born (1954). He died on January 24, 1983 in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, California, ...

69. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

70. Luis Buñuel

Writer | Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the ...

71. Jean Negulesco

Director | Boy on a Dolphin

Jean Negulesco made his reputation as a director of both polished, popular entertainments as well as critically acclaimed dramatic pictures in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Craiova, Romania, he left home at age 12, ending up in Paris. He earned some money washing dishes, which paid for his art ...

72. Charles Vidor

Director | Gilda

Hungarian-born Karoly Vidor spent the First World War as a lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian infantry. Following the armistice, he made his way to Berlin and worked for the German film company Ufa, as editor and assistant director. In 1924, he emigrated to the U.S. and, for several years, earned ...

73. 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,...

74. Mervyn LeRoy

Director | Gypsy

The great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 was a tragedy for Mervyn LeRoy. While he and his father managed to survive, they lost everything they had. To make money, LeRoy sold newspapers and entered talent contests as a singer. When he entered vaudeville, his act was "LeRoy and Cooper--Two...

75. Gustav Machatý

Director | Ekstase

Gustav Machatý was born on May 9, 1901 in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic). His first experience with the motion picture industry was playing piano at movie theaters, accompanying silent pictures. In 1917, he made his debut as an actor.

In the early 1920s, he emigrated to ...

76. 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 ...

77. Robert Bresson

Writer | Au hasard Balthazar

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 ...

78. 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, ...

79. Anatole Litvak

Director | The Snake Pit

The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand. In 1915, he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager, he witnessed the 1917 ...

80. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the...

81. Vincente Minnelli

Director | An American in Paris

Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago on February 28 1903, his father Vincent was a musical conductor of the Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. Wanting to pursue an artistic career, Minelli worked in the costume department of the Chicago Theater, then on Broadway during the depression as a set ...

82. Jacques Tourneur

Director | Out of the Past

Born in Paris in 1904, Tourneur went to Hollywood with his father, director Maurice Tourneur around 1913. He started out as a script clerk and editor for his father, then graduated to such jobs as directing shorts (often with the pseudonym Jack Turner), both in France and America. He was hired to ...

83. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

84. Bernard Vorhaus

Assistant_director | Roman Holiday

Born in New York, director Bernard Vorhaus made his name in England during the 1930s and later became a victim of the Hollywood blacklist. His most well-known film was The Last Journey (1936), but his quirky thriller about phony spiritualists, The Amazing Mr. X (1948), has a loyal following. A ...

85. Henry Koster

Director | Harvey

Henry Koster was born Herman Kosterlitz in Berlin, Germany, on May 1, 1905. His maternal grandfather was a famous operatic tenor Julius Salomon (who died of tuberculosis in the 1880s). His father was a salesman of ladies unmentionables who left the family while Henry was at a young age, leaving him...

86. Otto Preminger

Director | Anatomy of a Murder

Otto Ludwig Preminger was born in Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary. His father was a prosecutor, and Otto originally intended to follow his father into a law career; however, he fell in love with the theater in his 20's and became one of the most imaginative stage producers and directors. He was ...

87. Howard Hughes

Producer | The Outlaw

Billionaire businessman, film producer, film director, and aviator, born in Humble, Texas just north of Houston. He studied at two prestigious institutions of higher learning: Rice University in Houston and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Inherited his father's machine ...

88. Roberto Rossellini

Writer | Paisà

The master filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, as one of the creators of neo-realism, is one of the most influential directors of all time. His neo-realist films influenced France's nouvelle vague movement in the 1950s and '60s that changed the face of international cinema. He also influenced American ...

89. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

90. Vincent Sherman

Director | Affair in Trinidad

Vincent Sherman was born on July 16, 1906 in Vienna, Georgia, USA as Abraham Orovitz. He was a director and actor, known for Affair in Trinidad (1952), All Through the Night (1942) and Adventures of Don Juan (1948). He was married to Hedda Comoro. He died on June 18, 2006 in Woodland Hills, Los ...

91. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

92. 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 ...

93. 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 ...

94. Luchino Visconti

Writer | Rocco e i suoi fratelli

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 Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Death in Venice (1971) and Le Notti Bianche (1957). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

95. Carol Reed

Director | The Third Man

Carol Reed was the second son of stage actor, dramatics teacher and impresario founder of the Royal School of Dramatic Arts Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Reed was one of Tree's six illegitimate children with Beatrice Mae Pinney, who Tree established in a second household apart from his married life. ...

96. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

97. Laurence Olivier

Actor | Sleuth

Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927. Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High ...

98. Maurice Cloche

Director | Monsieur Vincent

Maurice Cloche was born on June 17, 1907 in Commercy, Meuse, France. He was a director and writer, known for Monsieur Vincent (1947), Cage of Girls (1949) and Born of Unknown Father (1950). He died on March 20, 1990 in Bordeaux, Gironde, France.

99. 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 ...

100. Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer | Le salaire de la peur

Beginning his film career as a screenwriter, Henri-Georges Clouzot switched over to directing and in 1943 had the distinction of having his film Le Corbeau (1943) banned by both the German forces occupying France and the Free French forces fighting them, but for different reasons. He shot to ...



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