The Best Female Directors People In Film
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The Best Female Directors

List Criteria: Only women who are film directors

The best female directors include an Academy Award winner, members of Hollywood's royal families and a whole bunch of ladies who make beautiful things happen when they're behind the camera. While women might be the minority among the greatest directors in movie history that doesn't mean they are any less talented.

It's hard to argue against Kathryn Bigelow as a top pick for the best female director of all time. For her work on "The Hurt Locker" in 2009, she became the first woman to take home the prized Oscar for Best Director. Bigelow proved herself as no one-trick pony in 2012 when she received numerous accolades for her direction of "Zero Dark Thirty."

Bigelow's Oscar buzz was easily the most mainstream of any female director in the recent past but she surely isn't the first female director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. In 1976 Lina Wertmuller received a nomination for "Seven Beauties,in 1993 Jane Champion was nominated for "The Piano," and in 2003 Sofia Coppola, daughter of the great Francis Ford Coppola, was up for the award for "Lost in Translation."

But for every Oscar-nominated female director, there are dozens right behind also creating great movies. Isa Lupino, Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers and Amy Heckerling are just a few of those names and each directing poignant and quality films on a regular basis.

Has a female director become an inspiration or favorite of yours? Have a beloved female director in mind that's not listed? Vote for those you enjoy, add any not listed or re-rank this list of the best female directors below. Who knows, maybe these talented women will soon be considered some of the greatest living American directors.

  • 7 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 132
    - 38

    the people's #1 & most listed
    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 121
    - 43


    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 74
    - 27


    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 69
    - 36


    Julie & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 53
    - 37


    Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I Could Never Be Your Woman

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 47
    - 23


    The Piano

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 33
    - 19

    added by carlybobarly
    Away From Her, Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 36
    - 26


    American Psycho, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, I Shot Andy Warhol

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 35
    - 25

    added by wiabux
    The Parent Trap, Father of the Bride, Something's Gotta Give Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, What Women Want, The Holiday, Parent Trap

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 14
    - 3

    added by jobill
    The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, Elysium

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 12
    - 6

    added by Ibetolis
    Fish Tank, Wasp, Red Road

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 18
    - 7


    Last Tango in Paris, Vagabond, The Truth About Charlie

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 17
    - 16


    Wayne's World, Suburbia, The Decline of Western Civilization

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 36
    - 28


    Frida, Titus

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 14
    - 17

    added by Trioxin245
    Kung Fu Panda, Girl, Interrupted, Shark Tale

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 26
    - 23

    added by PeteBoyle
    Whip It, Curious George, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 16
    - 15

    added by carlybobarly
    Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts), Brothers (Brødre), Efter ...

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 7
    - 7

    added by weik
    Monster

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 14
    - 13

    added by hrundo
    Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, Les beaux gosses (The French Kissers)

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 10
    - 2

    added by micktravis
    Triumph of the Will, Olympia, The Holy Mountain

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 13
    - 12

    added by hrundo
    The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 32
    - 31

    added by carlybobarly
    An Education

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 9
    - 8


    Daisies, Something Different, Traps

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 9
    - 18

    added by hrundo
    The Blot, Hypocrites, Where Are My Children?

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 3
    - 2
    No image

    added by weik
    I Am Sam, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Stepmom

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 9
    - 18

    added by hrundo
    Blood & Sand

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 4
    - 1

    added by micktravis
    Esmeralda, Algie the Miner, La Fée aux Choux

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 17
    - 16

    added by carlybobarly
    My Father and I, Adore, Coco Before Chanel

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 15
    - 16

    added by carlybobarly
    We Need to Talk About Kevin, Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 2
    - 2
    No image

    added by weik
    Slums of Beverly Hills, Happy Accidents, The Savages

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 3
    - 4

    added by weik
    The Man Who Cried, Orlando, Yes

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 8
    - 9

    added by Ibetolis
    Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, Old Joy

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1
    - 4

    added by weik
    Bridget Jones's Diary, Incendiary, Call Me Crazy: A Five Film

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 2
    - 4
    No image

    added by weik
    Batman: Year One, Justice League: Doom, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1
    - 3

    added by weik
    Whale Rider, North Country, A Heavenly Vintage

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 9
    - 14


    Mad Love, Priest, Face

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 3
    - 6

    often listed & added by weik
    Real Genius, Valley Girl, The Prince and Me

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 6
    - 0

    ranked low on reranks
    The Deer Hunter, Out of Africa, Kramer vs. Kramer

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 3
    - 4

    often listed & added by schuechen
    The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Rosenstrasse, Circle of Deceit

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 19
    - 11

    added by weik
    Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 21
    - 13

    added by weik
    Boys Don't Cry, Carrie, Stop-Loss

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 13
    - 18

    often listed & added by carlybobarly
    La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa), La Mujer sin Cabeza (The ...

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 4
    - 10

    often listed & added by weik
    Pet Sematary, Pet Sematary Two, The In Crowd

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 24
    - 17

    added by weik
    The Kids Are All Right, Laurel Canyon, High Art

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 19
    - 14

    added by weik
    Winter’s Bone, Down to the Bone, Stray Dog

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 6
    - 1

    added by weik
    The Graduate, Tootsie, The Birdcage

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 12
    - 8

    added by weik
    Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money, Walking and Talking

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 4
    - 0


    Annie Hall, Vacation, American History X

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 3
    - 1

    added by weik
    Là-bas, Never Forget, The Meetings Of Anna

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 4
    - 2

    added by weik
    Meshes of the Afternoon, A Study in Choreography for Camera, Cinema16: ...

    ) open
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