32,446 votes 2,411 voters 123,053 views 213 items tags f p @

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?

The Greatest Living Directors People In Film
  • 43 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options
B Comments
& Embed
2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 877
    - 211

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 763
    - 295


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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 567
    - 240


    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

    ;
  4. 4
    + 766
    - 300


    Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

    ;
  5. 5
    + 538
    - 212


    Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

    ;
  6. 6
    + 499
    - 196


    Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ;
  7. 7
    + 566
    - 286


    Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

    ;
  8. 8
    + 633
    - 245


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

    ;
  9. 9
    + 438
    - 189


    Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

    ;
  10. 10
    + 420
    - 215


    Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

    ;
  11. 11
    + 364
    - 197


    The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

    ;
  12. 12
    + 406
    - 282


    Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

    ;
  13. 13
    + 365
    - 215


    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

    ;
  14. 14
    + 433
    - 307


    Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

    ;
  15. 15
    + 378
    - 273


    Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

    ;
  16. 16
    + 351
    - 176

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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 271
    - 154


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 318
    - 218


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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 279
    - 176


    Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

    ;
  20. 20
    + 274
    - 188


    Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

    ;
  21. 21
    + 246
    - 175


    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

    ;
  22. 22
    + 265
    - 183


    Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

    ;
  23. 23
    + 234
    - 166


    Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

    ;
  24. 24
    + 248
    - 143


    Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, Crouching Tiger

    ;
  25. 25
    + 181
    - 93


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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 248
    - 194


    Platoon, Scarface, JFK

    ;
  27. 27
    + 241
    - 196


    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

    ;
  28. 28
    + 198
    - 147


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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 201
    - 153


    The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

    ;
  30. 30
    + 231
    - 216

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 145
    - 82


    Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire

    ;
  32. 32
    + 145
    - 46

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 187
    - 146

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

    ;
  34. 34
    + 139
    - 82


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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 99
    - 12

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 134
    - 48

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 174
    - 161


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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 151
    - 127


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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 136
    - 99

    added by PeteBoyle
    The Fly, The Dead Zone, Videodrome

    ;
  40. 40
    + 128
    - 112


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

    ;
  41. 41
    + 141
    - 113


    The Graduate, The Birdcage, Working Girl

    ;
  42. 42
    + 110
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks
    Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

    ;
  43. 43
    + 98
    - 58

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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 119
    - 66

    ranked low on reranks
    Black Swan, Noah, The Wrestler

    ;
  45. 45
    + 152
    - 131


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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 88
    - 39

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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 144
    - 122


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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 130
    - 104


    Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Three Kings

    ;
  49. 49
    + 133
    - 126


    The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods

    ;
  50. 50
    + 118
    - 127


    Spider-Man 2, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House

    ;
214 +

Something missing? Add it!

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