The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List People In Film

The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

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List Criteria: The best directors currently living.

List of the best living filmmakers (though not necessarily still actively making films.) When discussing the finest directors of all time, a few names immediately pop to mind. John Ford. John Huston. Frank Capra. But adding in the condition that they must still be living adds a level of difficulty.

Sure, you still have a few luminaries who are with us and clearly are contenders for the title - Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg. These guys are no slouches. But it starts to make the list a bit more challenging to compile, particularly when you consider the vast array of genres and styles in which these directors are working. Can John Lasseter's work in animation be directly compared to Sofia Coppola's atmospheric character studies? Can John Carpenter's '80s horror classics comfortably sit side-by-side with Wes Anderson's twee indie adventures? These are the kinds of tough calls Ranker listers are just going to have to make.

One final element to consider would be consistency. Terrence Malick has made far fewer films than most of the entrants on this list, but most (if not all) have been of a remarkably high level of quality. Does that earn him a spot above, say, Clint Eastwood, who has worked a lot but with a somewhat more spotty record? Tough choices... but isn't that what ranking is all about?
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  1. 1
    + 1,042
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    Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Martin Scorsese Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Departed

  2. 2
    + 904
    - 377
    Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Steven Spielberg E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Schindler's List

  3. 3
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    - 272
    Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

  4. 4
    + 915
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    Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Quentin Tarantino Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

  5. 5
    + 635
    - 274
    Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Joel Coen Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

  6. 6
    + 591
    - 240
    David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    David Fincher Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  7. 7
    + 663
    - 337
    Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Clint Eastwood Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

  8. 8
    + 754
    - 297
    Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

  9. 9
    + 529
    - 226
    Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Ridley Scott Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

  10. 10
    + 475
    - 262
    David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    David Lynch Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

  11. 11
    + 427
    - 233
    Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Paul Thomas Anderson The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

  12. 12
    + 473
    - 336
    James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    James Cameron Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

  13. 13
    + 418
    - 258


    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

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  14. 14
    + 442
    - 319
    Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Tim Burton Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

  15. 15
    + 508
    - 377
    Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Woody Allen Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

  16. 16
    + 418
    - 211
    Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    ranked low on reranks
    Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

  17. 17
    + 373
    - 260
    Peter Jackson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Peter Jackson The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the ...

  18. 18
    + 325
    - 187
    Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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  19. 19
    + 339
    - 227
    Roman Polanski is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Roman Polanski Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

  20. 20
    + 295
    - 203
    Brian De Palma is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

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  21. 21
    + 330
    - 233
    Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

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  22. 22
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    - 89

    added by StacyWolfe
    The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

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  23. 23
    + 302
    - 216
    Steven Soderbergh is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Steven Soderbergh Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

  24. 24
    + 284
    - 182
    Ang Lee is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Ang Lee Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, Crouching Tiger

  25. 25
    + 276
    - 193
    John Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    John Carpenter Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

  26. 26
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    Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Platoon, Scarface, JFK

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  27. 27
    + 288
    - 253
    George Lucas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    George Lucas Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and ...

  28. 28
    + 295
    - 250


    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

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  29. 29
    + 179
    - 107


    Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire

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  30. 30
    + 222
    - 138
    Miloš Forman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Miloš Forman One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, Hair

  31. 31
    + 230
    - 179
    Terrence Malick is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Terrence Malick The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

  32. 32
    + 175
    - 69
    Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    ranked low on reranks & added by beernbugs
    Terry Gilliam Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Fear and Loathing in Las ...

  33. 33
    + 143
    - 65


    Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

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  34. 34
    + 167
    - 100


    Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander: The Far Side of ...

    ;
  35. 35
    + 233
    - 187


    The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me

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  36. 36
    + 172
    - 126
    Mike Nichols is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Graduate, The Birdcage, Working Girl

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  37. 37
    + 211
    - 167
    Michael Mann is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

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  38. 38
    + 168
    - 51
    Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    ranked low on reranks
    Stanley Kubrick The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey

  39. 39
    + 174
    - 145
    Richard Linklater is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Richard Linklater Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Beavis and Butt-head Do America

  40. 40
    + 192
    - 187
    Sam Raimi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

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  41. 41
    + 157
    - 118

    added by PeteBoyle
    The Fly, The Dead Zone, Videodrome

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  42. 42
    + 149
    - 126
    William Friedkin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Exorcist, The French Connection, To Live and Die in L.A.

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  43. 43
    + 124
    - 73

    added by laaaarrge
    The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, King Kong

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  44. 44
    + 170
    - 141
    Gus Van Sant is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Milk

  45. 45
    + 173
    - 144
    George A. Romero is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead

    ;
  46. 46
    + 122
    - 79

    added by looksharp
    Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

    ;
  47. 47
    + 117
    - 71
    Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    added by AlanSmithee
    Spike Jonze The Wolf of Wall Street, Being John Malkovich, Moneyball

  48. 48
    + 153
    - 146
    Joss Whedon is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods

    ;
  49. 49
    + 98
    - 28
    Alfonso Cuarón is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    ranked low on reranks & added by AlanSmithee
    Alfonso Cuarón Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Pan's Labyrinth, Gravity

  50. 50
    + 133
    - 142
    John Landis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Spider-Man 2, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House

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