Entertainment 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
1
1,881 648
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Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Departed
2
1,780 850
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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Schindler's List
3
1,827 842
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Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds
4
1,251 622
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The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now
5
1,168 584
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Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski
6
1,892 654
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins
7
1,208 514
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Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
8
1,178 693
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Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino
9
1,053 513
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator
10
910 531
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Mullholland Drive, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet
11
869 450
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The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia
12
949 696
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Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar Avatar 2
13
822 639
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Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns
14
811 422
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Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums
15
593 220
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
16
722 561
Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind
17
759 517
Peter Jackson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
18
611 366
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Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
19
805 710
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Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome
20
485 191
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim
21
518 359
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Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables
22
577 461
Roman Polański is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked
Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist
23
542 387
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Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs
24
512 336
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Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York
25
556 494
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Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark