The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
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List Rules The best directors currently living.

List of the best living filmmakers (though not necessarily still actively making films.) When discussing the finest directors of all time, a few names immediately pop to mind. John Ford. John Huston. Frank Capra. But adding in the condition that they must still be living adds a level of difficulty.

Sure, you still have a few luminaries who are with us and clearly are contenders for the title - Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg. These guys are no slouches. But it starts to make the list a bit more challenging to compile, particularly when you consider the vast array of genres and styles in which these directors are working. Can John Lasseter's work in animation be directly compared to Sofia Coppola's atmospheric character studies? Can John Carpenter's '80s horror classics comfortably sit side-by-side with Wes Anderson's twee indie adventures? These are the kinds of tough calls Ranker listers are just going to have to make.

One final element to consider would be consistency. Terrence Malick has made far fewer films than most of the entrants on this list, but most (if not all) have been of a remarkably high level of quality. Does that earn him a spot above, say, Clint Eastwood, who has worked a lot but with a somewhat more spotty record? Tough choices... but isn't that what ranking is all about?
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list ordered by
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Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Departed
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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Schindler's List
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Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds
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The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins
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Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
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Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski
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Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator
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The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia
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Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet
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Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums
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Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2
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Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Ethan Coen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
StacyWolfe added The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo
Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind
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Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns
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Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim
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Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome
J.J. Abrams is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Armageddon
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Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York
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Platoon, Scarface, JFK
Alfonso Cuarón is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
AlanSmithee added Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Pan's Labyrinth, Gravity
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Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Beavis and Butt-head Do America