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The Greatest Directors In Movie History

Updated January 25, 2021 363.7k votes 30.7k voters 358.2k views743 items

List RulesMost important, culturally significant filmmakers of all time most deserving of critical acclaim and award recognition.

List of the greatest directors in movie history, who are most deserving of Academy Awards and critical recognition. The list includes directors who have already won major awards, those who continue to have the potential to win Oscars and filmmakers who were overlooked by the Academy during their lifetimes. The skill set of a high-level director is massive - everything from working with and managing large teams to a strong aesthetic and artistic sensibility to the ability to sell ideas to studio executives and potential collaborators. Though many have mastered the actual work of getting films made, only a rare few have managed to create truly memorable, important motion pictures that will stand the test of time.

Often, the greatest of these filmmakers will go unrecognized by the Motion Picture Academy, particularly during the most active, vital period of their careers. Alfred Hitchcock famously never took home a statue for Best Director, despite being perhaps the one of the MOST iconic film directors, and certainly one of the most significant contributors to contemporary film language and genre. Martin Another of the best film directors in history, Martin Scorsese, eventually did take home Best Director for his work on The Departed, but this film came long after the movies for which Scorsese will likely be best remembered - Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and so on.

Who is the best film director? Do you think Guillermo del Toro is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Some say David Lynch is one of the greatest Hollywood directors of all time. If you don’t agree that they are some of the best movie directors, make your voice known!

The top 10 people on this list are perhaps the 10 best directors of all time. This list disregards the quibbles over who has won in the past or will win in the future, and instead focuses purely on the quality of the filmmaking and the importance of the films themselves. Vote for the best filmmakers of all time, and if some of your choices for top film directors haven't yet made the list, be sure to add them.