Top 30 Directors

by evanvanveen | created - 08 Dec 2014 | updated - 14 Nov 2017 | Public

1. John Waters

Writer | Pecker

Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was not like other children; he was obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his weird counter-culture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-'60s; he screened these in rented Baltimore ...

Pink Flamingos

2. Wes Anderson

Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

3. Takashi Miike

Director | Koroshiya 1

Takashi Miike was born in the small town of Yao on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan. His main interest growing up was motorbikes, and for a while he harbored ambitions to race professionally. At the age of 18 he went to study at the film school in Yokohama founded by renowned director Shôhei Imamura, ...

Audition

4. Taika Waititi

Actor | What We Do in the Shadows

Taika Waititi, also known as Taika Cohen, hails from the Raukokore region of the East Coast of New Zealand, and is the son of Robin (Cohen), a teacher, and Taika Waiti, an artist and farmer. His father is Maori (Te-Whanau-a-Apanui), and his mother is of Ashkenazi Jewish, Irish, Scottish, and ...

Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

5. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Wild at Heart

6. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

Frankenweenie, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks, Batman Returns

7. 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. ...

Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some, Boyhood, Bernie, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset

8. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

A Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

9. Hayao Miyazaki

Director | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...

Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Laputa

10. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

Brain Dead, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit 1 and 3, Meet the Feebles

11. Jim Hosking

Director | The Greasy Strangler

Jim Hosking is a British film director, His short film Renegades premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, directed the segment "G is for Grandad" for the film ABCs of Death 2 in 2014, and his first feature film The Greasy Strangler premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2016.

The Greasy Strangler

12. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Director | Un long dimanche de fiançailles

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/...

The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, Amelie, Mic Macs

13. Edgar Wright

Director | Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg...

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End

14. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy 2

15. Bong Joon Ho

Writer | Okja

Bong Joon Ho was born on September 14, 1969 in Daegu, South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for Okja (2017), Parasite (2019) and Snowpiercer (2013).

Mother, Okja

16. Henry Selick

Director | Coraline

Henry Selick is a film director, specializing in films with stop-motion animation. He has formal training as an animator.

Selick was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, son of Charles H. Selick and Melanie Molan. He was mostly raised Rumson, New Jersey. As a child, Selick took up drawing as a hobby. He ...

Coraline

17. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, True Grit, Intolerable Cruelty

18. Ethan Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two ...

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19. Stephen Chow

Actor | Kung fu

Stephen Chow was the only boy of his family, and has grown up as a Bruce Lee fan and a martial arts addict. His career started on TV, where he presented a children show ( "430 Space Shuttle" (1983)) and started becoming popular. He got some supporting roles, after that, and won the Taiwanese Golden...

Shaolin Soccer, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

20. Richard Lowenstein

Director | He Died with a Felafel in His Hand

Richard Lowenstein was born on March 1, 1959 in Melbourne, Australia. He is a director and producer, known for He Died with a Felafel in His Hand (2001), Strikebound (1984) and Mystify: Michael Hutchence (2019).

He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, Dogs in Space

21. Nick Park

Writer | The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Nick Park was born on December 6, 1958 in Preston, Lancashire, England as Nicholas Wulstan Park. He is a writer and producer, known for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Chicken Run (2000) and A Grand Day Out (1989).

Chicken Run, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

22. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Trainspotting, T2: Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours

23. Jim Jarmusch

Director | Broken Flowers

Moved to New York City at the age of seventeen from Akron, Ohio. Graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English, class of '75. Without any prior film experience, he was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts, New York.

Dead Man, Paterson

24. Jeremy Saulnier

Cinematographer | Blue Ruin

Jeremy Saulnier has slyly defined a unique cinematic aesthetic that complements his idiosyncratic narrative premises. His sophomore feature, Blue Ruin (2013) a quirky, crime drama set in a pretty, but grimier part of suburban America was a festival darling and supplanted his name within the ...

Green Room

25. Alexander Payne

Director | Nebraska

Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older ...

Election, Nebraska, Sideways

26. 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 ...

Three Kings, Silver Linings Playbook

27. Kevin Smith

Producer | Clerks

Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank but grew up in Highlands, New Jersey, the son of Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry.

His ...

Clerks, Dogma

28. Banksy

Director | Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy is known for his work on Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) and History of the Wall (2017).

Exit Through the Gift Shop

29. Richard Ayoade

Writer | Submarine

Richard Ellef Ayoade was born in Hammersmith, and grew up in Suffolk, in England, the son of a Norwegian mother, Dagny Amalie (Baassuik), and a Nigerian father, Layide Ade Laditi Ayoade. He studied Law at Cambridge university, and followed in the footsteps of British Comedy legends like Monty ...

Submarine

30. Jared Hess

Writer | Napoleon Dynamite

Jared Hess was born on July 18, 1979 in Glendale, Arizona, USA as Jared Lawrence Hess. He is a writer and director, known for Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Gentlemen Broncos (2009) and Nacho Libre (2006). He is married to Jerusha Hess. They have one child.

Napoleon Dynamite, Gentlemen Broncos



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