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The Best Directors of the 2000s

Updated May 26, 2020 4.0k votes 387 voters 9.4k views146 items

List RulesVote up film directors based only on their work released between 2000 and 2009

The best directors of the 2000s rank among some of the greatest living directors and most among the best directors of all time. These talented filmmakers have brought the world ten years of extraordinary cinema including blockbusters, art films, instant classics, fright fests, and naturally, Academy Award winners. From the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Kill Bill 1 and 2 to the Dark Knight trilogy (lots of series in the oughts...) and beyond, the best movies of the '00s were often helmed by these great directors of the decade. Between 2000 and 2009, Steven Spielberg put out catch Me If You Can and Munich, Joel and Ethan Coen had O Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men, and Christopher Nolan had Memento and Inception in addition to the Batman franchise.

These top directors of the '00s are are no slouches, and their filmographies show it. If you don't see your favorite director of the decade on the list, make sure to add them and see if others share your point of view.
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  • 1
    Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    138
    44

    Christopher Nolan

    Memento (00), Insomnia (02)
    Memento (00), Insomnia (02), Batman Begins (05), The Prestige (06), The Dark Knight (08)
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  • 2
    Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    101
    51

    Quentin Tarantino

    Kill Bill Vol. 1 (03), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (04)
    Kill Bill Vol. 1 (03), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (04), Death Proof (07), Inglourious Basterds (09)
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  • 3
    Peter Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    79
    40

    Peter Jackson

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (01), The Two Towers (02)
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (01), The Two Towers (02), The Return of the King (03), King Kong (05), The Lovely Bones (09)
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  • 4
    Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    91
    43

    Martin Scorsese

    Gangs of New York (02), The Aviator (04)
    Gangs of New York (02), The Aviator (04), The Departed (06)
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  • 5
    David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    62
    27

    David Fincher

    Fight Club, Seven
    Panic Room (02), Zodiac (07), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (08)
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  • 6
    Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    94
    47

    Steven Spielberg

    A.I. (01), Minority Report (02)
    A.I. (01), Minority Report (02), Catch Me If You Can (02), The Terminal (04), War of the Worlds (05), Munich (05), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (08)
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  • 7
    Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    77
    49

    Clint Eastwood

    Space Cowboys (00), Blood Work (02)
    Space Cowboys (00), Blood Work (02), Mystic River (03), Million Dollar Baby (04), Flags of Our Fathers (06), Letters from Iwo Jima (06), Changeling (08), Gran Torino (08), Invictus (09)
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  • 8
    Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    56
    22

    Ridley Scott

    Alien, Blade Runner
    Gladiator (00), Hannibal (01), Black Hawk Down (01), Matchstick Men (03), Kingdom of Heaven (05), A Good Year (06), American Gangster (07), Body of Lies (08)
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  • 9
    Joel & Ethan Coen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    63
    34

    Joel & Ethan Coen

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? (00)
    O Brother, Where Art Thou? (00), The Man Who Wasn't There (01), The Ladykillers (04), No Country for Old Men (07), Burn After Reading (08), A Serious Man (09)
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  • 10
    Ang Lee is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    56
    41

    Ang Lee

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (00)
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (00), Hulk (03) Brokeback Mountain (05), Lust, Caution (07), Taking Woodstock (09)
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  • 11
    Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    55
    38

    Paul Thomas Anderson

    Punch-Drunk Love (02), There Will Be Blood (07)
    Punch-Drunk Love (02), There Will Be Blood (07)
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  • 12
    Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    44
    33

    Wes Anderson

    The Royal Tenenbaums (01), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (04)
    The Royal Tenenbaums (01), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (04), The Darjeeling Limited (07), Fantastic Mr. Fox (09)
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  • 13
    Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    43
    32

    Guillermo del Toro

    The Devil's Backbone (01), Blade II (02)
    The Devil's Backbone (01), Blade II (02), Hellboy (04), Pan's Labyrinth (06), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (08)
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  • 14
    Richard Kelly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    20
    11

    Richard Kelly

    Donnie Darko, The Box
    Donnie Darko (01), Domino (05), Southland Tales (07), The Box (09)
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  • 15
    Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    17
    8

    Hayao Miyazaki

    Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle
  • 0
  • 16
    Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    44
    32

    Ron Howard

    Apollo 13, American Graffiti
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (00), A Beautiful Mind (01), The Missing (03), Cinderella Man (05), The Da Vinci Code (06), Frost/Nixon (08), Angels & Demons (09)
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  • 17
    Edgar Wright is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    19
    14

    Edgar Wright

    Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz
    Shaun of the Dead (04), Hot Fuzz (07)
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  • 18
    Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    30
    20

    Tim Burton

    Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas
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  • 19
    Kathryn Bigelow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    27
    30

    Kathryn Bigelow

    The Hurt Locker, Point Break
    K-19: The Widowmaker (02), The Hurt Locker (08)
  • 0
  • 20
    Takeshi Kitano is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    11
    7

    Takeshi Kitano

    Battle Royale, Fireworks
  • 0
  • 21
    Brad Bird is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    21
    24

    Brad Bird

    The Incredibles (04), Ratatouille (07)
    The Incredibles (04), Ratatouille (07)
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  • 22
    Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    15
    14

    Lars von Trier

    Dancer in the Dark, Dogville
    Dancer in the Dark (00), Dogville (03), Manderlay (05), The Boss of It All (06), Antichrist (09)
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  • 23
    John Lasseter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    37
    21

    John Lasseter

    Cars (06)
    Cars (06)
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  • 24
    Darren Aronofsky is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    35
    25

    Darren Aronofsky

    Requiem for a Dream (00), The Fountain (06)
    Requiem for a Dream (00), The Fountain (06), The Wrestler (08)
  • 0
  • 25
    David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Directors of the 2000s
    40
    25

    David Lynch

    Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive
    Mulholland Drive (01), Rabbits (02), Inland Empire (06), 42 One Dream Rush (09)
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