The Best Female Directors People In Film

The Best Female Directors

original ranker
26,188 views 29 items 1,203 votes 212 voters 14 followers 3reranks
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 Criteria: Only women who are film directors

  • the crowd
  • 3 reranks
  • comments
  • </> embed
DISPLAY Rerank This List
Rank
loading your
votes…
 
  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 102
    Down 25
    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 80
    Down 29
    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring More
    93
  3. 3
    Up 53
    Down 19
    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own More
    87
  4. 4
    Up 43
    Down 25
    Julie & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail More
    75
  5. 5
    Up 34
    Down 27
    Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I Could Never Be Your Woman More
    71
  6. 6
    Up 28
    Down 18
    The Piano More
    71
  7. 7
    Up 23
    Down 20
    American Psycho , This Film Is Not Yet Rated, I Shot Andy Warhol More
    65
  8. 8
    Up 29
    Down 25
    An Education More
    63
    added by: carlybobarly
  9. 9
    Up 9
    Down 15
    La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa), La Mujer sin Cabeza (The ... More
    61
    added by: carlybobarly
  10. 10
    Up 19
    Down 14
    Away From Her, Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz More
    61
    added by: carlybobarly
  11. 11
    Up 23
    Down 23
    Frida, Titus More
    60
  12. 12
    Up 6
    Down 14
    60
    added by: hrundo
  13. 13
    Up 6
    Down 10
    Wayne's World, Suburbia, The Decline of Western Civilization More
    58
  14. 14
    Up 6
    Down 15

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dorothy Arzner

    Blood & Sand More
    58
    added by: hrundo
  15. 15
    Up 13
    Down 14
    My Father and I, Adore, Coco Before Chanel More
    53
    added by: carlybobarly
  16. 16
    Up 8
    Down 12
    Mad Love, Priest, Face More
    53
  17. 17
    Up 12
    Down 13
    We Need to Talk About Kevin, Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher More
    52
    added by: carlybobarly
  18. 18
    Up 22
    Down 18
    The Parent Trap, The Holiday, What Women Want More
    52
    added by: wiabux
    Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, What Women Want, The Holiday, Parent Trap
  19. 19
    Up 17
    Down 16
    Whip It, Curious George, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle More
    51
    added by: PeteBoyle
  20. 20
    Up 4
    Down 3
    Milk, Cinema16: World Short Films, Wasp More
    48
    added by: Ibetolis
  21. 21
    Up 7
    Down 11
    Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts), Brothers (Brødre), Efter ... More
    47
    added by: carlybobarly
  22. 22
    Up 4
    Down 4
    Jacquot de Nantes, Lion’s Love, Documenteur: An Emotion-Picture More
    47
  23. 23
    Up 1
    Down 2
    The Promise, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt More
    45
    added by: schuechen
  24. 24
    Up 1
    Down 2
    A Place in Time, In the Land of Blood and Honey, Lovesick More
    45
    added by: srjthnk
  25. 25
    Up 7
    Down 9
    The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail More
    44
    added by: hrundo
  26. 26
    Up 4
    Down 6
    Pasti, Pasti, Pastičky, Prefab Story, Pearls of the Deep More
    44
  27. 27
    Up 3
    Down 6
    Old Joy, River of Grass, Wendy and Lucy More
    42
    added by: Ibetolis
  28. 28
    Up 6
    Down 11
    Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, Les beaux gosses (The French Kissers) More
    42
    added by: hrundo
  29. 29
    Up 2
    Down 6
    No image

    Georgina Smithers

    40
  30. 30 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 29 of 29

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

more popular lists