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
280 83
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
229 68
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
125 36
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
176 67
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

5
130 49
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
107 35
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Orson Welles Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

7
112 40
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

8
112 39
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Federico Fellini La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

9
142 57
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Lynch Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

10
85 26
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
78 23
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
108 42
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
110 52
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

14
169 92
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

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15
64 27
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
130 69
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
102 51
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Fincher Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

18
95 50
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Joel Coen The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

19
37 9
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

20
48 20
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
77 43
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
snourb added François Truffaut Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Breathless, Fahrenheit 451

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22
69 37
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Ford The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

23
42 18
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Vittorio De Sica Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

24
59 30
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

25
88 50
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
58 31
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Tim Burton Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

27
38 16
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Luis Buñuel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

28
33 12
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean Renoir The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

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29
46 22
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added David Lean Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

30
47 23
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

31
28 8
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

32
26 6
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Buster Keaton Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

33
63 37
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

34
32 16
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Roberto Rossellini Rome, Open City, Germany

35
34 16
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Huston Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

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36
60 39
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
36 18
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
40 23
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
30 15
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Luchino Visconti The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

40
25 10
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

41
30 15
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
61 45
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 42 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

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43
39 24
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
33 19
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

45
94 76
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Woody Allen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

46
39 27
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

47
24 12
Carl Theodor Dreyer is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Carl Theodor Dreyer The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

48
59 47
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

49
38 26
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
40 30
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry