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.

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  1. 1
    + 134
    - 39

    most listed
    The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 123
    - 44

    Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 75
    - 28

    Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 52
    - 23

    The Piano

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 54
    - 38

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 69
    - 38

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

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 37
    - 27

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

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 14
    - 6

    added by Ibetolis
    Fish Tank, Fish Tank, Wasp

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 20
    - 7

    Last Tango in Paris, Vagabond, Vagabond

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 34
    - 19

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

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 35
    - 27

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

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 38
    - 29

    Frida, Titus

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 9
    - 8

    added by weik
    Monster

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 15
    - 5

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 12
    - 2

    added by micktravis
    Triumph of the Will, Triumph of the Will, Triumph of the Will

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 15
    - 18

    added by Trioxin245
    Kung Fu Panda, Girl, Interrupted

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 12
    - 8

    Daisies, Daisies, Daisies

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 15
    - 12

    added by hrundo
    The Intruder, White Material, Beau Travail

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 26
    - 24

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

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 17
    - 18

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

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 33
    - 32

    added by carlybobarly
    An Education

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 10
    - 18

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 16
    - 16

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

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 18
    - 16

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

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 10
    - 18

    often listed & added by hrundo
    Blood & Sand

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 23
    - 14

    added by weik
    Boys Don't Cry, Boys Don't Cry, Carrie

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 15
    - 13

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

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 5
    - 1

    added by micktravis
    Esmeralda, Algie the Miner, Algie the Miner

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 3
    - 2
    No image

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 25
    - 17

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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 10
    - 9

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 21
    - 14

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 5
    - 4

    added by schuechen
    The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Rosenstrasse, Rosenstrasse

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 9
    - 2

    added by weik
    The Secret Garden, Three Colors: Blue, Europa Europa

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 4
    - 6

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 5
    - 1

    added by weik
    Là-bas, Là-bas, Never Forget

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 6
    - 2

    added by weik
    Meshes of the Afternoon, Meshes of the Afternoon, Meshes of the Afternoon ...

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 5
    - 2
    No image

    added by weik
    Little Women, Oscar and Lucinda, My Brilliant Career

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 8
    - 7

    added by weik
    Swept Away, American Pop, Swept Away

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 3
    - 3

    added by weik
    The Ascent, The Ascent, Wings

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 3
    - 3
    No image

    added by weik
    I Am Sam, I Am Sam, I Am Sam

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 3
    - 2

    added by weik
    Last Tango in Paris, Fat Girl, Fat Girl

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 17
    - 16

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 3
    - 4

    added by weik
    The Man Who Cried, The Man Who Cried, Orlando

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 2
    - 3

    added by weik
    Whale Rider, Whale Rider, North Country

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 1
    - 4

    added by weik
    Bridget Jones's Diary, Incendiary, Incendiary

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 2
    - 4
    No image

    added by weik
    Batman: Year One, Justice League: Doom, Justice League: Doom

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 9
    - 14

    Mad Love, Priest, Face

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 20
    - 11

    ranked low on reranks & added by weik
    Monsoon Wedding, Monsoon Wedding, Monsoon Wedding

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 4
    - 10

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

    ) open
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