The Best Female Directors People In Film
Ultimate List
3  reranks 1,270 votes 220 voters 26,844 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
  • 3 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 103
    Down 28

    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 84
    Down 33

    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring

    open report item
  3. 3
    Up 54
    Down 21

    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 46
    Down 26

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

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 30
    Down 19

    The Piano

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 35
    Down 28

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 20
    Down 15

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

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 29
    Down 27

    added by carlybobarly An Education

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 26
    Down 24

    Frida, Titus

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 23
    Down 22

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

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 17
    Down 17

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

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 14
    Down 15

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

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 6
    Down 16

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

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 6
    Down 16

    most listed & added by hrundo Blood & Sand

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 12
    Down 14

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

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 10
    Down 16

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

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 9
    Down 11

    added by hrundo The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 6
    Down 11

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

    open report item
  19. 19
    Up 8
    Down 13

    Mad Love, Priest, Face

    open report item
  20. 20
    Up 8
    Down 12

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

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 6
    Down 12

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

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 5
    Down 7

    Pasti, Pasti, Pastičky, Prefab Story, Pearls of the Deep

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 5
    Down 6

    Jacquot de Nantes, Lion’s Love, Documenteur: An Emotion-Picture

    open report item
  24. 24
    Up 23
    Down 19

    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux The Parent Trap, The Holiday, What Women Want Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, What Women Want, The Holiday, Parent Trap

    open report item
  25. 25
    Up 5
    Down 4

    added by Ibetolis Milk, Cinema16: World Short Films, Wasp

    open report item
  26. 26
    Up 1
    Down 3

    new! & added by schuechen The Promise, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt

    open report item
  27. 27
    Up 3
    Down 7

    added by Ibetolis Old Joy, River of Grass, Wendy and Lucy

    open report item
  28. 28 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 27 of 27

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists