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?

  • 33 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 606
    - 141

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 530
    - 201

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 398
    - 151

    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 531
    - 203

    Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 367
    - 150

    Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 416
    - 191

    Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 414
    - 157

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 329
    - 150

    Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 285
    - 123

    Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 292
    - 152

    Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 251
    - 140

    The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 314
    - 219

    Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 245
    - 149

    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 267
    - 190

    Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 216
    - 136

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 278
    - 199

    Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 226
    - 125

    Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 181
    - 126

    Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 181
    - 129

    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 166
    - 117

    The Thing, Halloween, Escape from New York

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 193
    - 130

    Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 195
    - 143

    Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 169
    - 112

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

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 182
    - 140

    Platoon, Scarface, Natural Born Killers

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 174
    - 90

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

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 132
    - 107

    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 162
    - 135

    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 146
    - 118

    The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 137
    - 104

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 147
    - 152

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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 120
    - 119

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 107
    - 64

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 78
    - 71

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 66
    - 36

    ranked low on reranks Black Swan, Noah, The Wrestler

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 89
    - 92

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 99
    - 94

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 94
    - 93

    Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Spy Kids

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 109
    - 97

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 83
    - 99

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 103
    - 91

    The Graduate, Charlie Wilson's War, The Birdcage

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 82
    - 55

    ranked low on reranks Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander: The Far Side of ...

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 87
    - 101

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Sling Blade, Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 60
    - 23

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 88
    - 88

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 80
    - 49

    Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 62
    - 26

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

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 49
    - 32

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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 65
    - 73

    Jurassic Park III, Election, Sideways

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 66
    - 76

    added by MarkJStout Do the Right Thing, Love & Basketball, Malcolm X

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 107
    - 109

    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom ...

    ) open
162 +

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