The Greatest Living Directors People In Film

The Greatest Living Directors

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66,584 views 111 items 9,361 votes 723 voters 39 followers 27reranks
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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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 323
    Down 60

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Martin Scorsese

    Casino, The Key to Reserva, Untitled The Departed 2 Sequel More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 306
    Down 82
    Munich, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ... More
    94
  3. 3
    Up 241
    Down 82

    ranked low on reranks
    Clint Eastwood

    Mystic River, Heartbreak Ridge, Play Misty for Me More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 282
    Down 105
    Love Birds in Bondage, Django Unchained, Four Rooms More
    89
  5. 5
    Up 209
    Down 70
    Youth Without Youth, One from the Heart, Gardens of Stone More
    87
  6. 6
    Up 192
    Down 74

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Joel Coen

    The Hudsucker Proxy, Burn After Reading, True Grit More
    86
  7. 7
    Up 183
    Down 59
    Cinema 16: British Short Films, Batman Begins, Following More
    81
  8. 8
    Up 134
    Down 39
    The Counselor, A Good Year, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers ... More
    76
  9. 9
    Up 152
    Down 74
    Torso, The Beat of the Live Drum, The Game More
    75
  10. 10
    Up 125
    Down 60

    often listed
    Ron Howard

    Splash, Far and Away, Presidential Reunion More
    74
  11. 11
    Up 183
    Down 117

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Woody Allen

    Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hollywood Ending More
    72
  12. 12
    Up 132
    Down 63
    The Dirk Diggler Story, Magnolia, Inherent Vice More
    70
  13. 13
    Up 148
    Down 72

    ranked low on reranks
    David Lynch

    Lumière and Company, The Short Films of David Lynch, The French as ... More
    69
  14. 14
    Up 159
    Down 110

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Tim Burton

    Planet of the Apes, The Match Girl, Dark Shadows More
    69
  15. 15
    Up 97
    Down 43

    ranked low on reranks
    Peter Jackson

    The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the ... More
    69
  16. 16
    Up 137
    Down 106

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    James Cameron

    The Abyss, Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day More
    66
  17. 17
    Up 112
    Down 63

    ranked low on reranks
    Steven Soderbergh

    Magic Mike, Ocean's Eleven, Schizopolis More
    65
  18. 18
    Up 97
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian De Palma

    The Fury, Obsession, Murder a la Mod More
    65
  19. 19
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    Down 71
    Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Twelve Chairs, History of the World, Part I ... More
    64
  20. 20
    Up 99
    Down 59
    Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek Into Darkness, Super 8 More
    64
  21. 21
    Up 117
    Down 58
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling ... More
    63
  22. 22
    Up 86
    Down 58

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Roman Polański

    Tess, Two Men and a Wardrobe, Afternoon of a Champion More
    62
  23. 23
    Up 97
    Down 59
    Dark Star, Starman, Dark Star: Hyperdrive Edition: Theatrical Cut More
    62
  24. 24
    Up 87
    Down 56
    Back to the Future Part III, Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York, Flight ... More
    60
  25. 25
    Up 73
    Down 46
    Collateral, The Keep, The Jericho Mile More
    60
  26. 26
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    Down 74
    U Turn, Born on the Fourth of July, Castro in Winter More
    59
  27. 27
    Up 82
    Down 61
    The Tree of Life, Untitled Terrence Malick project, The New World More
    58
  28. 28
    Up 70
    Down 50
    Stand by Me, Misery, Rumor Has It… More
    57
  29. 29
    Up 78
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    often listed &controversial
    George Lucas

    THX 1138, 1:42:08, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith More
    57
  30. 30
    Up 61
    Down 46

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Mike Nichols

    What Planet Are You From?, Primary Colors, Postcards from the Edge More
    56
  31. 31
    Up 74
    Down 54
    Clockwork, Evil Dead II, Oz: The Great and Powerful More
    56
  32. 32
    Up 58
    Down 34
    Life of Pi, Lust, Caution, The Ice Storm More
    56
  33. 33
    Up 59
    Down 47
    Promised Land, 8, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues More
    54
  34. 34
    Up 70
    Down 52

    ranked low on reranks
    George A. Romero

    The Crazies, O. J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose, Season of the Witch More
    54
  35. 35
    Up 55
    Down 44
    HIStory on Film, Volume II, The Kentucky Fried Movie, Coming to America ... More
    54
  36. 36
    Up 48
    Down 44

    often listed
    William Friedkin

    Jade, Bug, Good Times More
    52
  37. 37
    Up 36
    Down 28
    Semafor: Greatest Hits 2, Loves of a Blonde, The Firemen's Ball More
    51
  38. 38
    Up 28
    Down 23

    ranked high on reranks
    David Cronenberg

    From the Drain, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch More
    50
    added by: PeteBoyle
  39. 39
    Up 61
    Down 56

    ranked low on reranks
    Sofia Coppola

    The Bling Ring, The Virgin Suicides, Lick the Star More
    50
  40. 40
    Up 45
    Down 48

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Richard Linklater

    Before Midnight, tape, Live from Shiva's Dance Floor More
    50
  41. 41
    Up 43
    Down 54

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jim Jarmusch

    Broken Flowers, Stranger Than Paradise, Storytelling Giant More
    49
  42. 42
    Up 45
    Down 40

    ranked low on reranks
    Joss Whedon

    Goners, The Avengers, Serenity More
    49
  43. 43
    Up 33
    Down 33

    ranked high on reranks
    Guy Ritchie

    Swept Away, Suspect, Revolver More
    49
    added by: SiddhantAhuja
  44. 44
    Up 53
    Down 52

    ranked low on reranks
    Christopher Guest

    For Your Consideration, The Thick Of It, The Big Picture More
    48
  45. 45
    Up 32
    Down 39

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Mamet

    The Winslow Boy, Lost Masterpieces of Pornography, Things Change More
    47
  46. 46
    Up 17
    Down 12
    United 93, Resurrected, Bloody Sunday More
    47
    added by: wiabux
  47. 47
    Up 25
    Down 18

    ranked low on reranks
    Peter Weir

    The Way Back, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society More
    47
  48. 48
    Up 33
    Down 26

    ranked low on reranks
    Jonathan Demme

    Wholphin: Issue 10, The Truth About Charlie, New Order: Substance More
    46
  49. 49
    Up 30
    Down 30
    Three Kings, Nailed, American Hustle More
    46
  50. 50
    Up 33
    Down 38

    often listed
    Jason Reitman

    In God We Trust, Juno, Up in the Air More
    46
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