The Best Female Directors People In Film
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3  reranks 1,258 votes 218 voters 26,687 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
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  1. 1
    Up 102
    Down 27
    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark More
  2. 2
    Up 83
    Down 32
    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring More
  3. 3
    Up 53
    Down 21
    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own More
  4. 4
    Up 45
    Down 26
    Julie & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail More
  5. 5
    Up 30
    Down 19
    The Piano More
  6. 6
    Up 35
    Down 28
    Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I Could Never Be Your Woman More
  7. 7
    Up 20
    Down 15
    Away From Her, Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz More
    added by: carlybobarly
  8. 8
    Up 29
    Down 27
    An Education More
    added by: carlybobarly
  9. 9
    Up 23
    Down 22
    American Psycho , This Film Is Not Yet Rated, I Shot Andy Warhol More
  10. 10
    Up 25
    Down 24
    Frida, Titus More
  11. 11
    Up 17
    Down 17
    Whip It, Curious George, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle More
    added by: PeteBoyle
  12. 12
    Up 6
    Down 16

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lois Weber

    The Blot, Hypocrites, Where Are My Children? More
    added by: hrundo
  13. 13
    Up 13
    Down 15
    My Father and I, Adore, Coco Before Chanel More
    added by: carlybobarly
  14. 14
    Up 6
    Down 16

    most listed
    Dorothy Arzner

    Blood & Sand More
    added by: hrundo
  15. 15
    Up 12
    Down 14
    We Need to Talk About Kevin, Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher More
    added by: carlybobarly
  16. 16
    Up 10
    Down 16
    La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa), La Mujer sin Cabeza (The ... More
    added by: carlybobarly
  17. 17
    Up 6
    Down 11
    Wayne's World, Suburbia, The Decline of Western Civilization More
  18. 18
    Up 8
    Down 13
    Mad Love, Priest, Face More
  19. 19
    Up 7
    Down 11
    The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail More
    added by: hrundo
  20. 20
    Up 7
    Down 12
    Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts), Brothers (Brødre), Efter ... More
    added by: carlybobarly
  21. 21
    Up 6
    Down 12
    Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, Les beaux gosses (The French Kissers) More
    added by: hrundo
  22. 22
    Up 5
    Down 7
    Pasti, Pasti, Pastičky, Prefab Story, Pearls of the Deep More
  23. 23
    Up 5
    Down 6
    Jacquot de Nantes, Lion’s Love, Documenteur: An Emotion-Picture More
  24. 24
    Up 22
    Down 19
    The Parent Trap, The Holiday, What Women Want More
    added by: wiabux
    Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, What Women Want, The Holiday, Parent Trap
  25. 25
    Up 5
    Down 4
    Milk, Cinema16: World Short Films, Wasp More
    added by: Ibetolis
  26. 26
    Up 1
    Down 3
    The Promise, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt More
    added by: schuechen
  27. 27
    Up 3
    Down 7
    Old Joy, River of Grass, Wendy and Lucy More
    added by: Ibetolis
  28. 28 +

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