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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
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  1. 1
    Up 102
    Down 26
    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark More
  2. 2
    Up 81
    Down 29
    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring More
  3. 3
    Up 53
    Down 19
    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own More
  4. 4
    Up 43
    Down 25
    Julie & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail More
  5. 5
    Up 28
    Down 18
    The Piano More
  6. 6
    Up 34
    Down 27
    Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I Could Never Be Your Woman More
  7. 7
    Up 19
    Down 14
    Away From Her, Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz More
    added by: carlybobarly
  8. 8
    Up 29
    Down 25
    An Education More
    added by: carlybobarly
  9. 9
    Up 23
    Down 20
    American Psycho , This Film Is Not Yet Rated, I Shot Andy Warhol More
  10. 10
    Up 23
    Down 23
    Frida, Titus More
  11. 11
    Up 17
    Down 16
    Whip It, Curious George, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle More
    added by: PeteBoyle
  12. 12
    Up 6
    Down 14

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lois Weber

    The Blot, Hypocrites, Where Are My Children? More
    added by: hrundo
  13. 13
    Up 13
    Down 14
    My Father and I, Adore, Coco Before Chanel More
    added by: carlybobarly
  14. 14
    Up 12
    Down 13
    We Need to Talk About Kevin, Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher More
    added by: carlybobarly
  15. 15
    Up 6
    Down 15

    most listed
    Dorothy Arzner

    Blood & Sand More
    added by: hrundo
  16. 16
    Up 6
    Down 10
    Wayne's World, Suburbia, The Decline of Western Civilization More
  17. 17
    Up 9
    Down 15
    La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa), La Mujer sin Cabeza (The ... More
    added by: carlybobarly
  18. 18
    Up 8
    Down 12
    Mad Love, Priest, Face More
  19. 19
    Up 7
    Down 9
    The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail More
    added by: hrundo
  20. 20
    Up 7
    Down 11
    Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts), Brothers (Brødre), Efter ... More
    added by: carlybobarly
  21. 21
    Up 6
    Down 11
    Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, Les beaux gosses (The French Kissers) More
    added by: hrundo
  22. 22
    Up 4
    Down 4
    Jacquot de Nantes, Lion’s Love, Documenteur: An Emotion-Picture More
  23. 23
    Up 4
    Down 6
    Pasti, Pasti, Pastičky, Prefab Story, Pearls of the Deep More
  24. 24
    Up 22
    Down 18

    ranked low on reranks
    Nancy Meyers

    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 2
    Down 6
    No image

    Georgina Smithers

  26. 26
    Up 4
    Down 3
    Milk, Cinema16: World Short Films, Wasp More
    added by: Ibetolis
  27. 27
    Up 1
    Down 2
    A Place in Time, In the Land of Blood and Honey, Lovesick More
    added by: srjthnk
  28. 28
    Up 1
    Down 2
    The Promise, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt More
    added by: schuechen
  29. 29
    Up 3
    Down 6
    Old Joy, River of Grass, Wendy and Lucy More
    added by: Ibetolis
  30. 30 +

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