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?
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  1. 1
    + 510
    - 117

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 461
    - 157

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 364
    - 151

    Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 445
    - 167

    Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 334
    - 121

    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 308
    - 124

    Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 335
    - 121

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 267
    - 124

    Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 237
    - 95

    Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 244
    - 125

    Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 218
    - 111

    The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 273
    - 184

    Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 214
    - 122

    Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 182
    - 104

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 231
    - 162

    Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 241
    - 173

    Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 154
    - 102

    Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 181
    - 104

    Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 177
    - 121

    Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 154
    - 106

    Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 168
    - 111

    Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 159
    - 117

    Platoon, Scarface, Natural Born Killers

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 143
    - 98

    The Thing, Halloween, Escape from New York

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 138
    - 98

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

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 151
    - 71

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

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 115
    - 89

    Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, The Aviator

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 145
    - 108

    Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 128
    - 99

    The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life, Badlands

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 120
    - 86

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 130
    - 131

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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 106
    - 99

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 87
    - 52

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 76
    - 77

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 100
    - 80

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

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 76
    - 82

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 85
    - 82

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 78
    - 77

    Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Spy Kids

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 70
    - 40

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 70
    - 34

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 91
    - 80

    The Graduate, Charlie Wilson's War, The Birdcage

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 58
    - 58

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

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 44
    - 20

    Black Swan, Noah, The Wrestler

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 39
    - 21

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 79
    - 88

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 57
    - 60

    Jurassic Park III, Election, Sideways

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 73
    - 61

    Adaptation, The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 77
    - 77

    The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 94
    - 97

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

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 58
    - 62

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

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 50
    - 72

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Untouchables, Hannibal, Glengarry Glen Ross

    ) open
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