The Greatest Living Directors People In Film
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The Greatest Living Directors

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?

  • 34 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 636
    - 150

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 552
    - 212


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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 415
    - 162


    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 555
    - 214


    Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 387
    - 164


    Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 433
    - 202


    Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 447
    - 168


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 347
    - 158


    Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 299
    - 135


    Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 306
    - 159


    Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 263
    - 148


    The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 288
    - 199


    Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 329
    - 231


    Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 255
    - 157


    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 230
    - 146


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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 288
    - 211


    Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 246
    - 130

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

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 194
    - 132


    Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 190
    - 135


    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 180
    - 117


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

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 202
    - 136


    Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 174
    - 124


    The Thing, Halloween, Escape from New York

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 205
    - 147


    Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 189
    - 146


    Platoon, Scarface, Natural Born Killers

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 184
    - 96

    ranked low on reranks
    Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hulk

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 154
    - 122


    The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 173
    - 141


    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 139
    - 112


    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 147
    - 111


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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 159
    - 159


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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 120
    - 68

    ranked low on reranks
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 124
    - 125


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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 89
    - 75

    added by PeteBoyle
    The Fly, A History of Violence, Videodrome

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 102
    - 101


    Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Spy Kids

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 76
    - 43

    ranked low on reranks
    Black Swan, Noah, The Wrestler

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 108
    - 98

    often listed
    Good Will Hunting, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Milk

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 95
    - 96


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

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 72
    - 25

    ranked low on reranks & added by StacyWolfe
    The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 117
    - 101


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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 88
    - 54

    ranked low on reranks
    Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 95
    - 93


    The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 110
    - 95


    The Graduate, Charlie Wilson's War, The Birdcage

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 88
    - 59


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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 55
    - 36

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 94
    - 101


    Sling Blade, Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 88
    - 103

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

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 68
    - 29

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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 93
    - 77

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Adaptation, The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 68
    - 79

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jurassic Park III, Election, Sideways

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 54
    - 21

    ranked low on reranks
    Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    ) open
173 +

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