film directors The Greatest Auteurs in Film History  

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List Rules Filmmakers known as auteurs

An auteur is a filmmaker or director whose personal, individual production style and creative flare gives his or her films a distinctive, unique feel. A director who falls in this category usually has complete control over the creative elements of producing a film. Since their influence on their films is so great they are considered the author of the film, regardless of whether or not they actually wrote the script. If you’ve ever asked the question, “What are the Greatest Auteurs in Film History?” before then you’ve definitely landed on the right page!
 
If you’re a movie buff, you’ve probably been a fan of at least a few of history’s greatest auteurs for years, whether or not you have actually understood what the definition of one is! Some of film’s greatest auteur directors have produced history’s greatest movies that have stood the test of time, such as: Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Lost in Translation, and Moonrise Kingdom.
 
This list features history’s best auteurs, including: Wes Craven, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman and Julian Schnabel. Vote for your favorite auteur film director below, or add one whose style you love if they aren't already on the list.
list ordered by

1
234 70
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Stanley Kubrick The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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2
194 54
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
102 28
Akira Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Akira Kurosawa The Magnificent Seven, A Fistful of Dollars, Seven Samurai

4
145 55
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

5
115 43
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Ingmar Bergman The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander

6
93 31
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

7
97 33
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Federico Fellini La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

8
90 29
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Orson Welles Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

9
118 46
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Lynch Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

10
72 20
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

11
93 33
Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Hayao Miyazaki Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke

12
63 20
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

13
56 19
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
BillSchmalz added Sergio Leone Good, Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America

14
142 79
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Quentin Tarantino Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Volume 1

15
94 49
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

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16
61 28
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Ford The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

17
109 61
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

18
81 45
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Fincher Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

19
69 40
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
snourb added François Truffaut Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Breathless, Fahrenheit 451

20
40 17
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

21
80 47
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Joel Coen The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

22
36 16
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Vittorio De Sica Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

23
31 11
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean Renoir The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

24
28 8
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

25
71 41
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

26
41 20
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

27
49 27
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

28
43 22
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Tim Burton Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

29
20 4
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

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30
39 20
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added David Lean Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

31
31 14
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Luis Buñuel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

32
28 13
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Roberto Rossellini Rome, Open City, Germany

33
31 14
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Huston Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

34
32 15
Louis Malle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Louis Malle Au revoir, les enfants, Atlantic City

35
88 64
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Woody Allen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

36
52 33
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Ridley Scott Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

37
27 12
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Luchino Visconti The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

38
36 20
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Robert Altman MASH, Nashville, The Player

39
28 13
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Éric Rohmer Claire's Knee, My Night at Maud's, I Think I Love My Wife

40
18 4
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Buster Keaton Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

41
52 32
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

42
21 8
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

43
32 19
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

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44
36 23
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

45
52 38
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
EricMc added Walt Disney Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, Cinderella

46
29 17
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

47
53 41
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

48
20 9
Henri-Georges Clouzot is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Henri-Georges Clouzot The Wages of Fear, Les Diaboliques, Diabolique

49
23 12
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Hitler: A Film from Germany, Parsifal, The Ister

50
21 12
Bernardo Bertolucci is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Bernardo Bertolucci Once Upon a Time in the West, The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris