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Top 100 Directors


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#1 of 53 Lew Crippen

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Posted January 14 2009 - 11:23 AM

This is from the website, They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?. They have chosen the top 100 directors.

Comments on who should not be on the list—or what directors were not included who should have been. Or who is too high and who is too low.

1Orsen Welles
2Alfred Hitchock
3Federico Fellini
4John Ford
5Stanley Kubrick
6Jean Renior
7Akira Kurosawa
8Ingmar Bergman
9Francis Ford Coppola
10Jean-Luc Godard
11Charlie Chaplin
12Billy Wilder
13Luis Buñuel
14Martin Scorsese
15Howard Hawks
16Carl Dreyer
17Sergei Eisenstein
18F.W. Murnau
19Yasujiro Ozu
20Robert Bresson
21Fritz Lang
22Andrei Tarkovsky
23François Truffaut
24Kenji Mizoguchi
25David Lean
26Buster Keaton
27Michelangelo Antonioni
28Roberto Rossellini
29D.W. Griffith
30Steven Spielberg
31Max Ophüls
32Vittorio De Sica
33Luchino Visconti
34Ernst Lubitsch
35Satyajit Ray
36John Huston
37Woddy Allen
38Stanley Donen
39Jean Vigo
40Roman Polanski
41Robert Altman
42Powell & Pressburger
43Frank Capra
44Michael Curtiz
45Alain Resnais
46Sergio Leone
47Victor Fleming
48Sam Peckinpah
49Preson Sturges
50Bernardo Bertolucci
51Carol Reed
52Ridley Scott
53John Cassavetes
54Marcel Carné
55Erich von Stroheim
56George Cukor
57Rainer Werner Fassbinder
58Leo McCarey
59Vincente Minnelli
60Douglas Sirk
61Werner Herzog
62David Lynch
63Jacques Tati
64Josef von Sternberg
65Nicholas Ray
66Pier Paolo Pasolini
67Elia Kazan
68Joseph L. Mankiewicz
69Krzysztof Kieslowski
70William Wyler
71Abbas Kiarostami
72Terrance Malick
73King Vidor
74Jacques Tourneur
75Milos Forman
76Wim Wenders
77Jacques Rivette
78Chris Marker
79Eric Rohmer
80Wong Kar-Wai
81Quentin Tarantino
82David Cronenberg
83Joel & Ethan Coen
84Jean Cocteau
85Hou Hsiao-Hsien
86Clint Eastwood
87Jea-Pierre Melville
88Nicholas Roeg
89Robert Flaherty
90Alexander Dovzhenko
91Sideny Lumet
92Brian De Palma
93Jacques Demy
94Raoul Walsh
95George Lucas
96James Cameron
97Adrzej Wajda
98Otto Preminger
99Chantal Akerman
100George Stevens
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#2 of 53 Steve Christou

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Posted January 14 2009 - 12:07 PM

Thats quite a good list actually, but lets be blunt here Orson Welles is at the top really on the basis of just one movie, which isn't really fair. Hitch and Ford are more deserving of the top spot IMO they both each have at least a dozen masterpieces under their belt.

Fans of George Stevens may groan seeing George Lucas placed higher, and Dark Knight fans may not be happy Chris Nolan isn't on there somewhere. Posted Image

There was a time Senor Spielbergo would have been rated higher on such a list but he has been slipping lately, the disappointing Indiana Jones IV was a lackluster addition to his filmography.

The goofy talented Coen Bros rated higher than Clint Eastwood? I think not.

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#3 of 53 Jeff_Standley

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Posted January 14 2009 - 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Christou
Thats quite a good list actually, but lets be blunt here Orson Welles is at the top really on the basis of just one movie, which isn't really fair. Hitch and Ford are more deserving of the top spot IMO they both each have at least a dozen masterpieces under their belt.

I was going to say the same thing. He may have a few more under his belt, but Welles is definitely flying by the seat of Kane always being listed as the best movie ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Christou
Fans of George Stevens may groan seeing George Lucas placed higher, and Dark Knight fans may not be happy Chris Nolan isn't on there somewhere. Posted Image

I almost wanted to champion for Lucas to have a higher spot, but to be quite honest, and it pains me to say this being a huge Star Wars fan, but he is only on there based on what he created, and not for his directing skills.

Nolan is great but he has a few more to notches to gain before he is among those listed.
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#4 of 53 Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 14 2009 - 12:41 PM

Some thoughts. I don't have the requisite viewography to make broad sweeping statements about the list, though I agree with Steve that it seems to be a pretty good one. I agree that Welles is a bit too high.

Here are my major gripes and cheers:

1) Gripe: No Michael Mann? I find that very hard to believe. His technical and narrative skill are incredible, far better than many on that list. He only has a few WOW movies, but his overall filmography is extremely strong. Not only should be be on the list, he should be in the 50's or 40's. This is my biggest issue with the list.

2) Cheers: I like where Scorcese and Spielberg are. I am happy they got high recognition for their achievements. I also like that Jim Cameron made the list. He's in the right place (though I'd give him the nod over GL, but I do understand why GL is ranked higher). But I am happy he is on the list at all.

3) Gripe: There are 71 better directors than Malick Posted Image Hardly. That said, putting him on the list for only 4 films is pretty incredible, but he should be quite a bit higher. Still, I'm happy he made the list.

4) Cheers: Dreyer at 16. I'd argue he should be a bit higher, but why quibble. And Sir Ridley at 52. Probably just right, though if Kingdom of Heaven had hit theaters in it's intended form, he might jump a few spots!

Decent list, with the exception of forgetting Michael Mann. Spike Lee should have gotten some notice as well. Can't win them all.
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#5 of 53 Jeff_Standley

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Posted January 14 2009 - 12:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
Decent list, with the exception of forgetting Michael Mann. Spike Lee should have gotten some notice as well. Can't win them all.

Man I forgot about Spike Lee, great addition somewhere on that list. I could easily see him in the latter half for sure.
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#6 of 53 JonZ

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Posted January 14 2009 - 01:29 PM

IMHO, the director of masterpieces like Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, Jaws and Raiders Of the Lost Ark should be rated way higher.

#7 of 53 Holadem

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Posted January 14 2009 - 01:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonZ
IMHO, the director of masterpieces like Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, Jaws and Raiders Of the Lost Ark should be rated way higher.
Yup. And I agree with Steve as well re: Welles.

Guys like Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Spielberg and others with several masterpieces to their names are more deserving of topping this list than the guy who directed Citizen Kane.

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#8 of 53 Robert Crawford

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Posted January 14 2009 - 02:29 PM

As others have stated, Welles has no business being number one based on his limited amount of directed films.

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#9 of 53 Michael Elliott

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Posted January 14 2009 - 04:56 PM

I think this list would depend on what you're really looking for. If Welles made the greatest film ever made then perhaps he should be called the greatest director for doing so. If the number of films matter then someone like Kubrick might have to fall because he simply didn't make that many. Perhaps the greatest director should go to someone ground breaking like a Porter or Griffith. Should a "great" director have a limited amount of bad films? If so then someone like DePalma might be in trouble as he has quite a few bad ones.

I don't want to cross the GRAN TORINO thread with this one but I'd say after Eastwood dies he'll get more credit due to the film over the past fifteen-years. A lot of the director's on this list are dead so fans have been able to go back and really revisit their work. The same will happen with Eastwood one day.

I don't like Godard so I don't think he should be so high but I have no problem with him being on the list.

I think Curtiz should get more credit but it appears people still look at him as a hack director who would take whatever the studio threw at him. This might be true but look at the quality of the stuff given to him.

#10 of 53 DavidJ

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Posted January 14 2009 - 05:44 PM

As much as I love Kane and admire what Welles and the others who worked on the film accomplished, I agree with all who've said that he doesn't belong at the top of the list.

That is a pretty impressive list of some very talented and successful people. I'd order my list a bit differently of course. Bergman would be even higher than eight for one thing, but it is hard to say that any of those above him save for Welles don't deserve their ranking. Then again the whole idea of ranking them to begin with is ludicrous, but it is fun to discuss.

Quote:
The goofy talented Coen Bros rated higher than Clint Eastwood? I think not.

As much as I enjoy the Coen brothers, I've got to agree with you Steve.

#11 of 53 Kirk Tsai

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Posted January 14 2009 - 05:59 PM

Ignoring those who don't yet have a good chunk of films (they do have Tarantino on the list though), here are the guys I missed the most. Look at those films they made!

Almodovar: Talk to Me, Live Flesh, Mother, Bad Education

Lee: DTRT, Malcolm X, 25th Hour, Bamboozled (yes, I'm serious)

Zhang: Ju Dou, Red Lantern, To Live, Hero, Qui Ju

Miyazaki: Totoro, Nausicaa, Mononoke, Spirited Away

Dassin: Rififi, Naked City, Thieves' Highway, Night and the City
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#12 of 53 Jose Martinez

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Posted January 14 2009 - 08:40 PM

I have to agree with Orson Welles being number one. Just watch the beginning of Touch of Evil and you'll be convinced how much of a pioneer he was.
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#13 of 53 mattCR

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Posted January 15 2009 - 01:21 AM

This is not a joke, but Roger Corman should be considered. I can see him maybe not making the list, but his influences on those who are on this list is incredible.

No, he has no masterpieces. However, Corman changed the way film production was done in Hollywood and provided far more actors there start then almost anyone else.

In regards to the list itself, I agree, I personally would put Hitchcock #1, as almost no one else had as long or as open a career that provided so many completely different visual styles. I mean, the stylistic differences between "Vertigo" and "The Birds", the comedic timing and layout of "The Trouble With Harry".. I mean, you have several absolute masterpieces, but also films that changed how other people made films. I consider that very important in assessing this list.

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#14 of 53 Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 15 2009 - 01:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk Tsai
Chuck, if you like Mann's crime films, you should check out Dassin's
Thanks, Kirk, I will. I love all of Mann's films, and The Insider alone merits consideration onto this list Posted Image And that is no crime film per se.

Hitchcock would also be my first choice, and I think he's a very strong #1. And I don't know the metrics used to determine inclusion onto the list (influence, skill, genre-crossing, number of films, career longevity, etc), but I agree with matt that Corman should certainly be considered if influence is an important factor.
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#15 of 53 Russell G

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Posted January 15 2009 - 02:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattCR
This is not a joke, but Roger Corman should be considered. I can see him maybe not making the list, but his influences on those who are on this list is incredible.

I was going to say the same thing. I'd add Jerry Lewis too. No joke, he changed the way films were shot, they're still using his video monitors to see whats being filmed in camera on sets today.

George Stevens should be way up on that list. Hitchcock should be number one. Welles can sit somewhere in the top ten, provided Chaplin gets bumped up too.
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#16 of 53 Steve Christou

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Posted January 15 2009 - 03:07 AM

I'm pleased to see the great Hungarian director Michael Curtiz hasn't been forgotten and is reasonably high on the list. Curtiz rarely gets a mention when 'great' directors are discussed, despite directing some of the greatest and most beloved movies of Hollywoods Golden Age.

As far as influential directors are concerned, Hitchcock has no peer. No other director comes close.

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#17 of 53 Lew Crippen

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Posted January 15 2009 - 03:47 AM

I think that Hitchcock’s place on this list and in this discussion only points out how incredibly wrong the Academy was for so very many years.

Being a big Spike Lee fan, I was a bit disappointed in his absence and overall I believe a few more Asian directors deserve inclusion (but I’m not sure who to drop off the list).
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#18 of 53 Robert Crawford

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Posted January 15 2009 - 03:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Christou
I'm pleased to see the great Hungarian director Michael Curtiz hasn't been forgotten and is reasonably high on the list. Curtiz rarely gets a mention when 'great' directors are discussed, despite directing some of the greatest and most beloved movies of Hollywoods Golden Age.

As far as influential directors are concerned, Hitchcock has no peer. No other director comes close.
I wouldn't go that far since Ford, Wyler and Hawks just to name a few directed films across almost every film genre.

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#19 of 53 Robert Crawford

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Posted January 15 2009 - 04:00 AM

One more thing, Curtiz doesn't get enough credit and people need to checkout his body of work because in my opinion, I think he's one of the top 15-20 directors in the history of motion pictures. The sheer number of quality films he directed is matched by no one in my estimation.

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#20 of 53 Steve Christou

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Posted January 15 2009 - 04:07 AM

Looking at the list again I found one anomaly, if that is the right word, the name Robert Flaherty I had to look him up in IMDB to find out why he is listed above Sidney Lumet, James Cameron and George Stevens. It seems he's famous for directing the first commercially successful feature length documentary Nanook of the North in 1922 and that seems to be the sole reason he is 89th on the list. I would have booted him off and added James Whale to the list instead.

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