35 Best Film Directors Of All Time

35 Best Film Directors Of All Time

The function of a film directors is first of all to place his vision on a cinematographic work. Like a painter who uses a brush, the filmmaker uses the camera to give light to the scenarios, performances and production behind a great work.

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Many of the best directors in the world have influenced generations of artists with their memorable films and unique cinematic vision. Some of them have influenced the entire cinema of their country.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

One of the most influential film directors in the history of cinema, Spielberg began his career as a filmmaker at 13 years old, when he won a short film competition. Since then, he has produced and directed numerous modern classics and received the Oscar for Best Director twice. His partnership with composer John Williams is also one of the keys to the success of his films, which generally feature an epic soundtrack. The director’s versatility is also one of his main characteristics of merit, making films of war, children and terror.

Main films: ET – The Extraterrestrial (1982), Schindler’s List (1993), Jurassic Park (1990), Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Jean Luc Godard

Film director:    Jean Luc Godard
Film director: Jean Luc Godard

The biggest name in French cinema, Jean Luc Godard revolutionized cinema in the years 60 with a movement that became known as Nouvelle Vague. This “new wave” of cinema presented routine themes with photographic realism, performances that were sometimes improvised and on a low budget. His influence in contemporary cinema is undeniable, with Godard being a reference for several directors who are starting their careers.

Main films: Hounded (1958), Bande à Part (1964), The Eleven Hour Demon (1963).

In over a century of film, there have been countless great filmmakers but these are the very best movie directors of all time. ∏ Visit Site

Stanley Kubrick

Film director:    Stanley Kubrick

A Kubrick’s versatility in telling stories of diverse genres has become the biggest trait of his career. The space epic film 2001: A Space Odyssey revolutionized special effects issues for contemporary cinema and intimate films like De Olhos Bem Fecclos and Lolita highlighted their power in directing

Main films: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Clockwork Orange (1971), The illuminated (1980).

François Truffaut

Film director:   François Truffaut

Another very influential name for the French Nouvelle Vague, Truffaut began his career as a film critic in the magazine Cahier du Cinéma. After that, he began to make his own films, which told elaborate stories of the life of young French people. His influence as an accountant is still revered today by young film directors, such as Canadian Xavier Dolan and his countryman, Christophe Honoré.

Main films: The Misunderstood (1959), The American Night (1973), A Woman for Two (1962).

Wong Kar-Wai

Film director: Wong Kar-Wai
film directors Wong Kar-Wai

Watching a Kar-Wai film is like watching a painting in motion. With a particular and aesthetically mesmerizing vision, the Chinese director is part of the so-called Second New Wave of Hong Kong cinema. In his films, the director presents complex characters, passionate and involved in moral issues, such as betrayal and the difficulty of relationships.

Main films: Amores Expressos (1994), Love for the Skin (2000), Happy together (1997).

Agnès Varda


Belgian director Agnès Varda is known for her experiments and small revolutions that have influenced countless directors since his debut as a filmmaker. She was awarded an honorary Oscar for her work as a whole, which stands out for its innovative stories and focus on women’s issues.

Main films: Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), The renegades (1985), Visages, villages (2017).

Spike Lee


One of the leading names in American black cinema, Spike Lee is also a renowned professor and documentary filmmaker. His films present the complexity of stories related to black lives in the United States. In 2016 won an honorary Oscar for all of his work and on 2019 won the category of best script adapted by the film Infiltrado na Klan.

Main films: Malcolm X (1993), Do the right thing (1989), Infiltrated in the Klan (2018).

Francis Ford Coppola


Several film classics were directed by the Italian-American director, producer and screenwriter Ford Coppola. Among them are the trilogy of The Godfather and the war movie Apocalypse Now. Coppola is from a family of artists, he is the son of the Italian composer Carmine Coppola and father of the also director and screenwriter Sofia Coppola.

Main films: The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1976), The Conversation (1974).

Andrei Tarkovski


The stories Russian director Andrei Tarkovski’s peculiar and inaccurate footage turned him into a true legend for the evolution of the language of world cinema. His films with long filming, without cuts and little action, make the analysis of introspection take over the viewer. Tarkovski was also an influential film theorist and won numerous awards throughout his life.

Main films: Solaris (1972), O Mirror (1975), Nostalgia (1980).

Pedro Almodóvar


One of the greatest Spanish directors of all time, Almodóvar is known for the aesthetics of his films and complex, sometimes bizarre stories. The director was responsible for the rise of many Spanish actors to international stardom, such as Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. His films go through the genres of comedy, suspense and drama.

Main films: All About My Mother (1999), Bad Education (2004), Women on the verge of a Nervous Attack (1988).

Kathryn Bigelow


The only director to receive the Oscar for best director, Kathryn Bigelow has films that mainly explore war scenarios and the life of the military. The director’s filming style stands out for masterfully using the classic Hollywood filming technique and experimenting to create a unique vision of the subjects she addresses.

Main films: War on Terror (2008), The darkest hour (2012), The Weight of Water (2000).

Orson Welles


Regarded by the British Film Institute as the greatest film director of all time, Orson Welles was actually a master of communication. In a radio broadcast, he narrated pages from the science fiction book “War of the Worlds” and terrified the population, who believed that an alien invasion was really taking over the country. His most successful film, Citizen Kane is also considered one of the best works in the history of cinema.

Main films: Citizen Kane (1941), The Lady of Shanghai ( ), Superb (1940).

Sofia Coppola


Getting into the intimate psychological of complex characters is the main feature of Sofia Coppola’s films. The director and screenwriter comes from a family with a legacy in the cinema and her debut film The Virgin Suicides made her recognized worldwide. With Encounters and Mismatches, Coppola received the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Main films: Meetings and Mismatches (2003), Marie Antoinette (2006), The Virgin Suicides (1999).

Martin Scorsese


Along with filmmakers like Brian de Palma, George Lucas and Coppola, Scorsese was part of a generation of directors of the years 70 known as “movie brats”, which revolutionized cinema in the years 70 in Hollywood. His best-known works address issues such as crime, the mafia and gangsters.

Main films: Taxi Drive r (1976), Indomitable Bull (1980), The Good Companions (1990

Akira Kurosawa


Considered one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema and by far the most important in Japan, Akira Kurosawa directed 30 films throughout his life. Born in 1910, his life and his films were marked by the war and the ancestral histories of Japan.

Main films: The Seven Samurai ( ), Rashomon (1950), Yojimbo, the guard -back (1961) .

Ingmar Bergman


Issues such as mortality, loneliness, human condition and faith have been explored tirelessly by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman throughout his career. His films even had a great influence on psychology. The director also worked in the theater, directing more than 170 pieces and won four Oscar awards throughout his life.

Main films: The Seventh Seal (1956), Persona (1966), Wild Strawberries (1957).

Kléber Mendonça Filho


With a realistic view of Brazil contemporary, the Recife director Kléber Mendonça Filho has in recent years become the greatest exponent of national cinema for the world. His films address political issues, such as the disparity in power and social injustices from a critical perspective. His films were included in New York Times lists as the best of the year, and in 2019 won the Jury Prize at the prestigious Cannes festival with Bacurau.

Main films: Aquarius (2016), Bacurau (2019), The sound around (2013

Federico Fellini


One of the most influential directors of all time, the Italian Federico Fellini explored fantasy, desire and memory in his films with a personal view of the society of his time. He has won four Oscars for best foreign film in his life and is cited by several contemporary directors as the biggest influence on their careers.

Main films: The Sweet Life (1960), Cabirian Nights (1957), Eight and a half (1963).

Jean Renoir


Jean Renoir’s poetic cinema is a reflection of his own life story. Son of the impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the filmmaker grew up surrounded by the works of his father and was a great influence for what would be known as the French cinema movement Nouvelle Vague in the years of 1960.

Main films: The Great Illusion (1937), The rule about the game (1939), Seed of Hatred (1945).

Luis Buñuel


Surrealist director Luis Buñuel was a great friend of the painter Salvador Dalí. Together, they produced one of the most important works in silent cinema, Um Cão Andaluz. Throughout his career, he made films that explored the human condition under a surreal lens, which raised numerous theories for the symbolisms inserted in their stories.

Main films: The Exterminating Angel (1960), Beauty in the Afternoon (1967), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972).

George Cukor


One of the greatest directors of classic cinema, George Cukor directed the main stars of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood. With a unique sensitivity for filming both the genre of drama and comedy, he has become one of the most successful directors among the years 30 and 60, performing more than 60 productions throughout his career.

Main films: My Beautiful Lady (1964), Nuptials of Scandal (1940), a Star is Born (1954).

Zhang Yimou


One of the leading names in contemporary Chinese cinema, Zhang Yimou is known today for his exuberant, strong-colored films and choreography in fight scenes that look more like a great ballet. Its historical tragedies involving samurai, impossible loves and Chinese dynasties are a delight for the eyes.

Main films: Hero (2002), The Flying Daggers Clan (2004), The Curse of the Golden Flower (2006).

Bong Joon-ho


The South Korean director was discovered by many people after Parasite became the first non-English-language film to receive the Oscar for best film at 2020. However, over two decades, his career was marked by other excellent films that were already flirting with international recognition. Not for nothing, the director has become the leading name in contemporary world cinema.

Main films: Parasite (2019), The Host (2006), Okja (2017).

Vincente Minnelli


One of the biggest influences for musical cinema, Vincente Minnelli directed some of the main films that would shape the genre. He directed his wife Judy Garland in the film Now We Will Be Happy at 1944 and together they had a daughter, Liza Minnelli, who would continue her parents’ legacy by becoming one of the leading figures in musical cinema of all time.

Main films: Gigi (1958), Paris Symphony (1951), Ziegfeld Follies (1946).

Lars von Trier


Controversial is usually an adjective linked to the Danish director Lars Von Trier. His films reveal the agony of the human condition and explore the psychological limits of complex characters in suffocating and sometimes surreal scenarios.

Main films : Dancing in the Dark (2000), Dogville (2001), Antichrist (2009).

Gus Van Sant


Considered one of the biggest names in the so-called author Queer Cinema for exploring themes such as homosexuality from the beginning of his career, Gus Van Sant is one of the greatest American directors and screenwriters in both independent and contemporary cinema. In 2008, directed the acclaimed film about the life story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected in the United States.

Main films: Elephant (2003), Call Boys (1991), Milk – The Voice of Equality (2008).

Billy Wilder


One of the most successful directors of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, Billy Wilder has worked on more than 60 movies over your life, being named 21 times to Oscar awards for script, direction and best film. He worked with some of the greatest names of his time, the work on Twilight of the Gods being best known, where he resumed the career of silent film actress Gloria Swanson.

Main films: Twilight of the Gods (1946), Sabrina (1954), If My Apartment Could Talk (1960).

Walter Salles


The most critically acclaimed Brazilian director, Walter Salles was mentioned as one of the greatest film directors in the world in 2003 by j British ornal The Guardian. His film Central do Brasil earned two Oscar nominations, being a major milestone for Brazilian cinema. Salles has also worked on foreign films that have earned him even more international recognition.

Main films: Central do Brasil (1998), April Shattered (2001) , Motorcycle Diaries (2004).

Pier Paolo Pasolini


Complex and symbolic works have transformed Pasolini into one of the most acclaimed and revered directors of cinema of all time. His films addressed issues such as sexuality, politics and mythology, while making a critique of Italian society in a unique way. All of this also turned him into a controversial figure of his time.

Main films: Theorem (1968), The Second Gospel Mateus (1964), Salò or the 120 days of Sodom (1975).

Charles Chaplin


Considered one of the “fathers of cinema” together with directors like DW Griffith and Georges Méliès, Chaplin was one of the greatest comedians of all time. His iconic character, called O Vagabundo no Brasil, influenced the comedy in cinema for years to come. Even after the rise of spoken cinema in the studios, Chaplin continued in the formula of silent cinema and produced great classic works, such as Lights in the City and Modern Times.

Main films: The Great Dictator (1937), The boy (1921), Modern times (1936).

Juan José Campanella


One of the biggest names of contemporary Argentine cinema, Campanella won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2010 for the acclaimed The Secret of His Eyes. He is also a renowned international television director and has directed the greatest actors in Argentina throughout his career.

Main films: The Secret of Your Eyes (2009), The Son of the Bride (2001), Clube da Lua (2004).

Satyajit Ray


The cinema of India, called Bollywood and established in the Mumbai city, is one of the biggest cinematographic centers in the world. The history of Indian cinema is as vast as that of Hollywood and several directors have been part of its history. Satyajit Ray is considered to be the biggest one. Versatility and imagination defined Ray’s cinema, which directed films that influenced the entire Indian film industry.

Main films: The Song of the Road (1955), The invincible (1956), The World of Apu (1955).

Alfred Hitchcock


Highest reference of horror and suspense cinema of all time, Hitchcock began his career in Britain on 640 with several successful films that would establish the format of the suspended genre and. When he moved to the United States, he established himself as one of the biggest and most profitable film directors of his time, directing Hollywood stars like Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and James Stewart. The filmmaker was voted the second best film director of all time by the British Film Institute, second only to Orson Welles.

Main films: Psychosis (1960), Indiscreet Window (1954), A Falling Body (1958), The birds (1963).

Quentin Tarantino


O Tarantino’s acclaimed cinema of violence, massacre and revenge is the result of his own obsession with art. His references, which he is not at all afraid to copy, go through eastern and classic Hollywood cinema. Tarantino has become one of the most cultured filmmakers of recent years and has won twice the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Main films: Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill Vol. I and II (2003 and 2004), Django Unchained (2012) and Once upon a time in Hollywood (2019).

Woody Allen


Director and screenwriter Woody Allen has become one of the greatest references in American comedy over the years 60 and 70. Since then, he has directed, written and acted in many of his films, with emphasis on those that presented the intellectual and neurotic character he developed as a persona. In more recent years, Allen has also produced some drama films that surprised audiences by directing actors.

Main films: Neurotic Groom, Nervous Bride (1977 ), Manhattan (1979), End Point – Match Point (2005).