The Greatest Directors in Movie History People In Film

The Greatest Directors in Movie History

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List of the greatest directors in movie history, who are most deserving of Academy Awards and critical recognition. (The list includes directors who really did win major awards, those who continue to have the potential to win Oscars and filmmakers who were overlooked by the Academy during their lifetimes.) The skill set of a high-level director is massive - everything from working with and managing large teams to a strong aesthetic and artistic sensibility to the ability to sell ideas to studio executives and potential collaborators. Though many have mastered the actual work of getting films made, only a rare few have managed to create truly memorable, important motion pictures that will stand the test of time.

Often, the greatest of these filmmakers will go unrecognized by the Motion Picture Academy, particularly during the most active, vital period of their careers. Alfred Hitchcock famously never took home a statue for Best Director, despite being perhaps the MOST iconic of all film directors, and certainly one of the most significant contributors to contemporary film language and genre. Martin Scorsese eventually did take home Best Director for his work on "The Departed," but this film came long after the movies for which Scorsese will likely be best remembered - "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and so on.

This list disregards the quibbles over who has won in the past or will win in the future, and instead focuses purely on the quality of the filmmaking and the importance of the films themselves. Vote for your favorite directors, and if some of your choices haven't yet made the list, make your own version of the list and add them on there!

List Criteria: Most important, culturally significant filmmakers of all time who deserve award recognition.

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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 &most listed
    Stanley Kubrick

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, ... More
    100
  2. 2
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    The Skin Game, Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock: More Than Just a Profile More
    98
  3. 3
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    Casino, The Key to Reserva, Untitled The Departed 2 Sequel More
    94
  4. 4
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    Munich, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ... More
    85
  5. 5
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    Youth Without Youth, One from the Heart, Gardens of Stone More
    83
  6. 6
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    Love Birds in Bondage, Django Unchained, Four Rooms More
    82
  7. 7
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    The Fountain of Youth, The Hearts of Age, Orson Welles' Sketch Book More
    79
  8. 8
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    High and Low, Gendai no Noh, Dreams More
    78
  9. 9
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    The Counselor, A Good Year, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers ... More
    77
  10. 10
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    Once Upon a Time in the West, Hanno rubato un tram, For a Few Dollars More ... More
    77
  11. 11
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    Cinema 16: British Short Films, Batman Begins, Following More
    76
  12. 12
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    The Hudsucker Proxy, Burn After Reading, True Grit More
    76
  13. 13
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    Stagecoach, Cheyenne Autumn, The Black Watch More
    75
  14. 14
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    The Bond, Those Love Pangs, A King in New York More
    75
  15. 15
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    Fedora, The Spirit of St. Louis, The Lost Weekend More
    73
  16. 16
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    Mystic River, Heartbreak Ridge, Play Misty for Me More
    72
  17. 17
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    Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hollywood Ending More
    72
  18. 18
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    Tess, Two Men and a Wardrobe, Afternoon of a Champion More
    70
  19. 19
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    The Image Makers, Madame de Sade, The Rite More
    69
  20. 20
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    Lumière and Company, The Short Films of David Lynch, The French as ... More
    69
  21. 21
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    The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, Moontide ... More
    69
  22. 22
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    Torso, The Beat of the Live Drum, The Game More
    68
  23. 23
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    The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the ... More
    67
  24. 24
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    War Comes to America, Rain or Shine, Arsenic and Old Lace More
    66
  25. 25
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    Ginger and Fred, Roma, The Voice of the Moon More
    65
  26. 26
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    The Asphalt Jungle, Wise Blood, The Red Badge of Courage More
    64
  27. 27
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    Planet of the Apes, The Match Girl, Dark Shadows More
    63
  28. 28
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    The Dirk Diggler Story, Magnolia, Inherent Vice More
    61
  29. 29
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    From the Drain, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch More
    61
  30. 30
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    Gloria, Family Business, Strip Search More
    60
  31. 31
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    Fig Leaves, Cradle Snatchers, Paid to Love More
    60
  32. 32
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    Noon Wine, Major Dundee, The Glory Guys More
    60
  33. 33
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    The Fury, Obsession, Murder a la Mod More
    59
  34. 34
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    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys, The Brothers Grimm More
    59
  35. 35
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    Life of Pi, Lust, Caution, The Ice Storm More
    58
  36. 36
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    Love on the Run, The Woman Next Door, Love at Twenty More
    58
  37. 37
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    Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Twelve Chairs, History of the World, Part I ... More
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  38. 38
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    The General, Mixed Magic, Excuse My Dust More
    58
  39. 39
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    The Sound Barrier, Madeleine, In Which We Serve More
    57
  40. 40
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    Semafor: Greatest Hits 2, Loves of a Blonde, The Firemen's Ball More
    57
  41. 41
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    The Tree of Life, Untitled Terrence Malick project, The New World More
    57
  42. 42
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    The Abyss, Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day More
    57
  43. 43
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    Magic Mike, Ocean's Eleven, Schizopolis More
    57
  44. 44
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    Mystery Men, The Family Stone, Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise More
    57
  45. 45
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    Land of Silence and Darkness, The Wild Blue Yonder, Game in the Sand More
    57
  46. 46
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    Ivan Groznyy: Skaz vtoroy - Boyarskiy zagovor, Strike, Alexander Nevsky ... More
    57
  47. 47
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    Vincent & Theo, Images, The James Dean Story More
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  48. 48
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    Back to the Future Part III, Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York, Flight ... More
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  49. 49
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    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling ... More
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  50. 50
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    Howl's Moving Castle, Sora Iro no Tane, Kūsō no Sora Tobu Kikaitachi More
    55
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