The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List People In Film

The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

39k votes 2.9k voters 131k views 228 items tags f p @

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?
List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 48 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1,048
    - 258
    Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 913
    - 383
    Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 699
    - 276
    Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

    ;
  4. 4
    + 923
    - 388
    Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

    ;
  5. 5
    + 644
    - 278
    Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

    ;
  6. 6
    + 597
    - 246
    David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ;
  7. 7
    + 670
    - 344
    Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

    ;
  8. 8
    + 759
    - 304


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

    ;
  9. 9
    + 535
    - 229


    Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

    ;
  10. 10
    + 481
    - 265
    David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

    ;
  11. 11
    + 434
    - 237
    Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

    ;
  12. 12
    + 480
    - 341
    James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

    ;
  13. 13
    + 422
    - 263


    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

    ;
  14. 14
    + 445
    - 324
    Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

    ;
  15. 15
    + 516
    - 380
    Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

    ;
  16. 16
    + 423
    - 213
    Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 378
    - 262


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 329
    - 190
    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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 343
    - 229


    Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

    ;
  20. 20
    + 296
    - 206
    Brian De Palma is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

    ;
  21. 21
    + 334
    - 235
    Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

    ;
  22. 22
    + 211
    - 91

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

    ;
  23. 23
    + 304
    - 219
    Steven Soderbergh is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

    ;
  24. 24
    + 287
    - 184


    Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, Crouching Tiger

    ;
  25. 25
    + 279
    - 196
    John Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

    ;
  26. 26
    + 295
    - 236
    Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Platoon, Scarface, JFK

    ;
  27. 27
    + 289
    - 255
    George Lucas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 300
    - 253


    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

    ;
  29. 29
    + 182
    - 108


    Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire

    ;
  30. 30
    + 225
    - 138


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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 231
    - 180
    Terrence Malick is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

    ;
  32. 32
    + 177
    - 70

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 146
    - 66


    Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

    ;
  34. 34
    + 169
    - 100


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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 235
    - 187


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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 173
    - 126
    Mike Nichols is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    The Graduate, The Birdcage, Working Girl

    ;
  37. 37
    + 212
    - 168
    Michael Mann is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

    ;
  38. 38
    + 170
    - 52

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 175
    - 145
    Richard Linklater is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 158
    - 119

    added by PeteBoyle
    The Fly, The Dead Zone, Videodrome

    ;
  41. 41
    + 192
    - 189
    Sam Raimi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 149
    - 127
    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.

    ;
  43. 43
    + 125
    - 73

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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 171
    - 141
    Gus Van Sant is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 126
    - 79

    added by looksharp
    Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

    ;
  46. 46
    + 173
    - 145
    George A. Romero is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List


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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 120
    - 71

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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 154
    - 147
    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
    + 99
    - 29

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 134
    - 143
    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

    ;
229 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >