Film Directors The Greatest Auteurs in Film History  

Ranker Film
Originally by
8.8k votes 907 voters 31.4k views 133 items

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.

1
302 86
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

2
248 71
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
135 38
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
119 36
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Orson Welles Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

5
186 71
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

6
117 42
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

7
133 52
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Ingmar Bergman The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander

8
153 62
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Lynch Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

9
92 28
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

10
115 42
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Federico Fellini La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

11
87 25
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

12
118 44
Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Hayao Miyazaki Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke

13
179 94
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Quentin Tarantino Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Volume 1

14
114 54
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

The Scariest Demon Toys in Film History

15
111 52
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Fincher Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

16
137 73
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

17
67 30
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
74 38
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Ford The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

19
81 44
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
98 53
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Joel Coen The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

21
98 53
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

The Best of Premium Cable TV Series

22
39 11
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

23
49 22
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

24
44 19
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Vittorio De Sica Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

25
42 17
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Luis Buñuel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

26
50 23
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added David Lean Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

27
63 34
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Tim Burton Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

28
60 32
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

The Top 7 Manliest Swordfights in Film History

29
50 24
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

30
29 7
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Buster Keaton Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

31
35 13
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean Renoir The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

32
71 39
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

33
67 40
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Ridley Scott Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

34
29 9
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

35
44 23
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Robert Altman MASH, Nashville, The Player

Mythical Creatures That Were Found in Real Life

36
36 17
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Huston Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

37
38 19
Louis Malle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Louis Malle Au revoir, les enfants, Atlantic City

38
33 17
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Roberto Rossellini Rome, Open City, Germany

39
28 11
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

40
32 16
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Luchino Visconti The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

41
67 48
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
32 16
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 42 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

The Scariest Clown Movies in Film History

43
42 25
Wong Kar-wai is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wong Kar-wai Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together

44
99 78
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Woody Allen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

45
36 21
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

46
28 14
Carl Theodor Dreyer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Carl Theodor Dreyer The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

47
63 49
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
42 29
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

49
41 27
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman, Babel, Amores perros

50
27 17
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Rainer Werner Fassbinder Querelle, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul