List: The Best Directors

Two weeks ago, I started publishing posts related to the 80th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America. First, I posted a copy of their list of the 80 best directed films of the last 80 years, giving my feedback regarding the list and my rating for the direction of each film on it. Last week, I posted my own choices for the 80 best directed films of the last 80 years. This week is a list of the best directors of all time, and I will conclude next week with a year-by-year look at the DGA’s picks for the best directed movie of each year and my own choice for that year.

Now, here are the best directors of all time based on the movies I have seen. Obviously, that involves limitations, so the list will surely change as I see more films by those generally thought of as the greats: especially Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Sergei Eisenstein, and Jean Renoir among many others.

10. Joel Coen (1954-)


Best movies: Blood Simple (1984); Barton Fink (1991); Fargo (1996); True Grit (2010); Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

9. Steven Spielberg (1946-)

The 79th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Best movies: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)The Color Purple (1985); Schindler’s List (1993); Minority Report (2002); Bridge of Spies (2015)

8. Stanley Donen (1924-)


Best movies: On the Town (1949); Singin’ in the Rain (1952); Indiscreet (1958); The Grass Is Greener (1960); Charade (1963)

7. George Cukor (1899-1993)


Best movies: Holiday (1938); The Women (1939); Gaslight (1944); Adam’s Rib (1949); A Star Is Born (1954)

6. Woody Allen (1935-)


Best movies: Annie Hall (1977); Zelig (1983); Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989); Everyone Says I Love You (1996); Midnight in Paris (2011)

5. Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)


Best movies: The Killing (1956); Paths of Glory (1957); Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Barry Lyndon(1975)

4. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993)


Best movies: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947); A Letter to Three Wives (1949); All about Eve (1950)No Way Out (1950); Guys and Dolls (1955)

3. William Wyler (1902-1981)


Best movies: Withering Heights (1939); Mrs. Miniver (1942); The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); Ben-Hur (1959); The Children’s Hour (1961)

2. Billy Wilder (1906-2002)


Best movies: Double Indemnity (1944); The Lost Weekend (1945); Sunset Blvd. (1950)Stalag 17 (1953); Some Like It Hot (1959); The Apartment (1960)

1. Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)


Best movies: Rebecca (1940); Saboteur (1942) Shadow of a Doubt (1943); Lifeboat (1944); Spellbound (1945) Notorious (1946); Rope (1948); Strangers on a Train (1951); Vertigo (1958);  Psycho (1960)




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