1000 the Best Directorsby panerai | created - 07 Nov 2016 | updated - 07 Nov 2016 | Public
101. Cameron Crowe
Writer | Almost Famous
Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.
Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...
102. Dennis Dugan
Actor | Happy Gilmore
Dennis Dugan was born on September 5, 1946 in Wheaton, Illinois, USA as Dennis Barton Dugan. He is an actor and director, known for Happy Gilmore (1996), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Big Daddy (1999). He is married to Sharon Dugan. He was previously married to Joyce Van Patten.
103. Uwe Boll
Producer | Postal
As a child, he produced a number of short films on Super 8 and video before beginning his studies as a film director in Munich and Vienna. He also studied literature and economics in Cologne and Siegen. Uwe graduated from university in 1995 with a doctorate in literature. From 1995-2000, he was a ...
104. Lee Tamahori
Director | Once Were Warriors
Beginning as a commercial artist and photographer, he joined the New Zealand film industry in the late 1970s as a boom operator. He became an assistant director a decade later. Making international award-winning commercials for 10 years, he has also directed several TV series. His first feature ...
105. John Hamburg
Producer | Why Him?
John Hamburg was born on May 26, 1970 in New York City, New York, USA as John Liman Hamburg. He is a producer and director, known for Why Him? (2016), Little Fockers (2010) and I Love You, Man (2009). He has been married to Christina Kirk since September 24, 2005.
106. Mira Nair
Director | Monsoon Wedding
Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret. Her debut feature film, Salaam ...
107. Nick Cassavetes
Actor | Face/Off
Nick Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of actress Gena Rowlands and Greek-American actor and film director John Cassavetes. As a child, he appeared in two of his father's films: Husbands (1970) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). After spending so much of his youth surrounded by the...
108. Milos Forman
Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...
109. 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 ...
110. Joe Roth
Producer | The Great Debaters
Joe Roth was born on June 13, 1948 in New York City, New York, USA as Joseph Emanuel Roth. He is a producer and director, known for The Great Debaters (2007), Maleficent (2014) and Tears of the Sun (2003). He has been married to Irene Oh since April 8, 2006. He was previously married to Donna Roth.
111. 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-...
112. Paul Schrader
Writer | First Reformed
Although his name is often linked to that of the "movie brat" generation (Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, etc.) Paul Schrader's background couldn't have been more different than theirs. His strict Calvinist parents refused to allow him to see a...
113. George Lucas
Writer | Star Wars
George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...
114. Tony Kaye
Director | Detachment
Tony Kaye was born in London, United Kingdom. He has made several well-known music videos, including the video for "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum, which won a Grammy Award, "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers, "What God Wants" by Roger Waters, and "Help Me" and "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by ...
115. David O. Russell
Writer | 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 ...
117. Mary Harron
Director | American Psycho
Mary Harron (born January 12, 1953) is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. She gained recognition for her role in writing and directing several independent films, including I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), American Psycho (2000), and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). She co-wrote American Psycho and ...
119. John Landis
Director | The Blues Brothers
John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes (1970). Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "...
120. Anthony Waller
Director | An American Werewolf in Paris
British citizen, Anthony Waller, was born in October 1959 in Beirut, Lebanon to English parents. He grew up both in the Middle East and England. As an 11 year-old, Anthony started experimenting with Super-8 film. While still in his early teens, three of his animated films were finalists in two ...
121. 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...
123. Harold Ramis
Writer | Ghostbusters
Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" ...
124. Norman Jewison
Director | In the Heat of the Night
Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, ...
125. Adam McKay
Producer | The Other Guys
Adam McKay (born April 17, 1968) is an American screenwriter, director, comedian, and actor. McKay has a comedy partnership with Will Ferrell, with whom he co-wrote the films Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys. Ferrell and McKay also founded their comedy website Funny or Die through ...
126. Marcos Efron
Director | The Pink Chateau
Marcos Efron was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and raised in Houston, Texas. After earning a business degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Marcos worked as an investment banker in New York and Miami but eventually chose to tackle more creative endeavors. Starting his career as an ...
129. Alan Parker
Director | Evita
Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam as his ...
131. 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...
132. Andy Tennant
Director | Fool's Gold
Andy Tennant was born on June 15, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Andrew Tennant. He is a producer and director, known for Fool's Gold (2008), Hitch (2005) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002). He has been married to Sharon Johnson since February 13, 1993. They have four children.
133. Justin Lin
Producer | Furious 6
Justin Lin is a Taiwanese-American film director whose films have grossed $2 billion worldwide. He is best known for his work on Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious 3-6 and Star Trek Beyond. He is also known for his work on television shows like Community and the second season of True ...
134. Maurice Phillips
Director | The American Way
Maurice Phillips was born on March 25, 1948 in Hackney, London, England as Maurice David Phillips. He was a director and actor, known for The American Way (1986), Poirot (1989) and Afterlife (2005). He died on June 2, 2012 in New York City, New York, USA.
136. 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. ...
137. 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 ...
139. Michael Bay
Producer | Armageddon
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and Divinyls. His work won...
140. Nimród Antal
Director | Kontroll
Antal was born in Los Angeles, California of Hungarian ancestry. He moved to Hungary in 1991 to study at the Hungarian Film Academy. After graduating, he went on to work in the film and television industry. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Los Angeles to pursue success in Hollywood.
He is ...
141. Frank Coraci
Director | The Wedding Singer
Frank Coraci is an American film Director, Writer and Actor best know for his work with Adam Sandler.
Coraci was born in Shirley, New York on Long Island. Coraci graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in Film. He has directed a number of ...
142. Edward Burns
Actor | Saving Private Ryan
Edward Fitzgerald Burns was born January 29, 1968 in Woodside, Queens, New York. He is the second of three children of Molly (McKenna), who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration at Kennedy Airport, and Edward J. Burns, a police sergeant and active spokesperson for the New York Police Dept....
143. James L. Brooks
Writer | Broadcast News
James L. Brooks was born on May 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as James Lawrence Brooks. He is a writer and producer, known for Broadcast News (1987), As Good as It Gets (1997) and Terms of Endearment (1983). He was previously married to Holly Holmberg Brooks and Marianne Catherine Morrissey.
144. Allison Burnett
Writer | Autumn in New York
Allison was born in Ithaca, New York, and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He later moved to Evanston, Illinois, where he attended Evanston Township High School and graduated from Northwestern University. He later studied playwriting as a fellow of The Juilliard School. His debut novel, ...
145. Robert Duvall
Actor | The Apostle
Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a ...
147. Irwin Winkler
Producer | Life as a House
Irwin Winkler's career as a producer, director and writer encompasses popular and influential movies that have impacted contemporary culture. With a passion for big, bold, meaningful stories, his films include an array of true screen classics, garnering among them 12 Academy Awards and 52 Oscar ...
148. 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...
149. Baz Luhrmann
Writer | Moulin Rouge!
Baz Luhrmann is an Australian writer, director, and producer with projects spanning film, television, opera, theatre, music, and recording industries. He is regarded by many as a contemporary example of an auteur for his distinctly recognizable style and deep involvement in the writing, directing, ...
150. Sheldon Lettich
Writer | Max
Sheldon Lettich was born in New York City, but moved to California at a young age and grew up in the Los Angeles area. After graduation from high school he spent nearly four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a radio operator in South Vietnam with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, and later with ...
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 ...
153. John Singleton
Writer | Boyz n the Hood
Son of Danny Singleton, a mortgage broker, and Sheila Ward, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and raised in separate households by his unmarried parents, John Singleton attended the Film Writing Program at USC, after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three ...
155. Abel Ferrara
Director | Bad Lieutenant
Born in the Bronx, Ferrara started making amateur films on Super 8 in his teens before making his debut with violent exploitation films such as 'Driller Killer' and 'Ms.45'. Good reviews for the latter helped create his cult reputation, leading to larger budgets, studio funding and 'name' actors (...
156. Gilbert Cates
Producer | I Never Sang for My Father
Gilbert Cates was born on June 6, 1934 in New York City, New York, USA as Gilbert Lewis Katz. He was a producer and director, known for I Never Sang for My Father (1970), Absolute Strangers (1991) and Dragonfly (1976). He was married to Dr. Judith Reichman and Jane Betty Dubin. He died on October ...
157. Jonathan Kaplan
Director | The Accused
Jonathan Kaplan was born in Paris, France, to film composer Sol Kaplan and actress Frances Heflin (the sister of actor Van Heflin and a regular on ABC's soap opera All My Children (1970). He started his career as a child actor in the Broadway production of "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs," ...
158. Curtis Hanson
Director | L.A. Confidential
After small films like The Bedroom Window (1987) and Sweet Kill (1972), Curtis Hanson went on to direct major features including The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), The River Wild (1994) and the Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential (1997). Setting his sights on another city, Hanson was ...
159. Werner Herzog
Director | Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes
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...
160. Nicholas Stoller
Producer | The Muppets
Nicholas Stoller is an English-American screenwriter and director. He is known best for directing the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and writing/directing its 2010 spin-off/sequel, Get Him to the Greek. He also wrote The Muppets and directed the Seth Rogen comedy, Neighbors. He is a ...
162. David E. Talbert
Writer | Almost Christmas
Talbert, a top-grossing playwright with a string of blockbuster national tours under his belt, made his feature directorial debut with the Sony Pictures comedy First Sunday, starring Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, and Katt Williams -- opening as America's #1 Comedy. Talbert's second film, Fox ...
163. Barry Levinson
Director | Rain Man
Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...
164. David Hogan
Assistant_director | Batman Forever
Was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and studied art at The Art Academy, and then Memphis State University. Before beginning his career in music videos, film and commercials; he opened a commercial art studio in Memphis at age 22, where he designed album covers for the legendary Stax Records.
166. John McTiernan
Director | Die Hard
John McTiernan was born on January 8, 1951 in Albany, New York, USA as John Campbell McTiernan Jr. He is a director and producer, known for Die Hard (1988), Predator (1987) and Last Action Hero (1993). He has been married to Gail Sistrunk since 2012. He was previously married to Kate Harrington, ...
167. Paul Verhoeven
Director | Zwartboek
Paul Verhoeven graduated from the University of Leiden, with a degree in math and physics. He entered the Royal Netherlands Navy, where he began his film career by making documentaries for the Navy and later for TV. In 1969, he directed the popular Dutch TV series, Floris (1969), about a medieval ...
168. Christopher Nolan
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.
169. Roger Christian
Set_decorator | Star Wars
Academy Award winner Roger Christian has had an extensive film career. He won an Academy Award for set decoration on director George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), which began a long collaboration between the filmmakers. Christian subsequently worked with Lucas on Star Wars: ...
170. Garry Marshall
Actor | Never Been Kissed
Garry Marshall was born on November 13, 1934 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Garry Kent Maschiarelli. He was a writer and producer, known for Never Been Kissed (1999), A League of Their Own (1992) and Pretty Woman (1990). He was married to Barbara Marshall. He died on July 19, 2016 in...
171. Mel Brooks
Actor | Spaceballs
Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...
172. Mel Smith
Actor | The Princess Bride
His father, Ken was born in Co Durham, he married Vera and together took over her family's greengrocery shop in Quick Road, Chiswick, London. He convinced her that the way forward was to convert the shop into a bookmakers and before long they'd moved to a semi detached house. Mel was born in 1964 ...
175. Richard Linklater
Director | Waking Life
Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. ...
176. Chris Evans
Actor | The Avengers
Christopher Robert Evans began his acting career in typical fashion: performing in school productions and community theatre.
He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Lisa (Capuano), who worked at the Concord Youth Theatre, and G. Robert Evans III, a dentist. His uncle is congressman Mike ...
178. 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 ...
179. Spike Lee
Director | Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...
181. Gurinder Chadha
Writer | Bend It Like Beckham
Gurinder Chadha was born in Kenya, and grew up in Southall, London, England. She began her career as a news reporter with BBC Radio, directed several award winning documentaries for the BBC, and began an alliance with the British Film Institute (BFI) and Channel Four. In 2001, Chadha set up her own...
184. Nora Ephron
Writer | Julie & Julia
Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood (1983), ...
185. Timothy Woodward Jr.
Director | The Final Wish
Timothy Woodward Jr. was born October 15, 1983 in Georgetown, SC. His love for film began early when he saw his first theatrical film. Woodward began his career acting in television series, but in recent years has moved primarily behind the camera. He cut his directing teeth on music videos and ...
186. Irwin Allen
Producer | The Towering Inferno
A graduate of New York's Columbia School of Journalism, Irwin Allen was a magazine editor, the producer/director of a radio show and the owner of an advertising agency before entering film production in the 1950s. His documentary, The Sea Around Us (1953), won an Academy Award. A successful TV ...
189. Raja Gosnell
Director | Big Momma's House
Raja Gosnell started his film career as an assistant editor in the late 1970s. His first credit as a film's main editor was the romantic comedy "The Lonely Guy" (1984), for director Arthur Hiller. During the 1980s, Gosnell served as editor in films directed by Tom Laughlin, David Worth, Bob Dahlin,...
192. Tamra Davis
Director | Crossroads
Began her career directing music videos for acts like Tone Loc, Depeche Mode, NWA and Sonic Youth and made her first feature in 92 with Guncrazy starring Drew Barrymore. Ms Barrymore received a Golden Globe Nomination. She then went on to direct feature films starring Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Dave...
194. Jez Butterworth
Writer | Edge of Tomorrow
His feature film directorial debut Mojo (1997) starred Ian Hart, Ewen Bremner, Aidan Gillen and Harold Pinter and was officially selected for the 1998 Venice Film Festival. The film was based on his multi award winning stage play of the same name which opened at the Royal Court Theatre in 1995 and ...
195. Richard Brooks
Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.
He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...
197. Craig Brewer
Director | Hustle & Flow
Father, Walter D. Brewer worked in a number of high-level corporate positions for Matson Navigation Company, culminating in the position of director of corporate development from 1990-1998, when he died. His work caused the family to move from Vallejo, California (where Craig attended elementary ...
198. 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 ...
199. Ted Post
Director | Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Ted Post first began thinking about a career in show business in 1938, when he was working as a weekend usher at the Loew's Pitkin Theater in Brooklyn, New York, and getting so caught up in the movies that he would sometimes forget to escort the patrons to their seats. He received some acting ...
200. Bob Rafelson
Producer | Five Easy Pieces
Bob Rafelson is an American film director, writer and producer. He is regarded as one of the founders of the New Hollywood movement in the 1970s. Among his best-known films are Five Easy Pieces (1970), The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981).
He was also one of ...