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405 voters

The Best Directors of the 2000s

Updated May 26, 2020 4.4k votes 405 voters 9.6k 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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  • Christopher Nolan1
    143
    51

    Christopher Nolan

    Memento (00), Insomnia (02)
    Memento (00), Insomnia (02), Batman Begins (05), The Prestige (06), The Dark Knight (08)
  • Quentin Tarantino2
    104
    55

    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)
  • Martin Scorsese3
    93
    42

    Martin Scorsese

    Gangs of New York (02), The Aviator (04)
    Gangs of New York (02), The Aviator (04), The Departed (06)
  • Peter Jackson4
    84
    44

    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)
  • Steven Spielberg5
    98
    46

    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)
  • David Fincher6
    64
    31

    David Fincher

    Fight Club, Seven
    Panic Room (02), Zodiac (07), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (08)
  • Ridley Scott7
    57
    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)
  • J.J. Abrams8
    90
    43

    J.J. Abrams

    Mission: Impossible III (06), Star Trek (09)
    Mission: Impossible III (06), Star Trek (09)
  • Joel & Ethan Coen9
    65
    38

    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)
  • Clint Eastwood10
    78
    48

    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)
  • Ang Lee11
    56
    42

    Ang Lee

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (00)
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (00), Hulk (03) Brokeback Mountain (05), Lust, Caution (07), Taking Woodstock (09)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson12
    57
    40

    Paul Thomas Anderson

    Punch-Drunk Love (02), There Will Be Blood (07)
    Punch-Drunk Love (02), There Will Be Blood (07)
  • Lars von Trier13
    43
    17

    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)
  • Wes Anderson14
    46
    35

    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)
  • Hayao Miyazaki15
    19
    10

    Hayao Miyazaki

    Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle
  • Guillermo del Toro16
    42
    35

    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)
  • Edgar Wright17
    21
    17

    Edgar Wright

    Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz
    Shaun of the Dead (04), Hot Fuzz (07)
  • Richard Kelly18
    19
    16

    Richard Kelly

    Donnie Darko, The Box
    Donnie Darko (01), Domino (05), Southland Tales (07), The Box (09)
  • Ron Howard19
    41
    34

    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)
  • Takeshi Kitano20
    12
    7

    Takeshi Kitano

    Battle Royale, Fireworks
  • David Lynch21
    94
    24

    David Lynch

    Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive
    Mulholland Drive (01), Rabbits (02), Inland Empire (06), 42 One Dream Rush (09)
  • James Cameron22
    78
    25

    James Cameron

    Ghosts of the Abyss (03), Aliens of the Deep (05)
    Ghosts of the Abyss (03), Aliens of the Deep (05), Avatar (09)
  • Kathryn Bigelow23
    26
    32

    Kathryn Bigelow

    The Hurt Locker, Point Break
    K-19: The Widowmaker (02), The Hurt Locker (08)
  • Tim Burton24
    29
    22

    Tim Burton

    Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu25
    41
    15