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
312 92
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey

2
257 77
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
147 40
Akira Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Magnificent Seven, A Fistful of Dollars, Seven Samurai

4
130 37
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

5
144 54
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander

6
191 77
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

7
160 64
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

8
122 46
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

9
119 43
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

10
97 31
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

11
89 29
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

12
120 48
Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke

13
189 100
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Volume 1

14
121 57
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

15
145 76
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

16
72 32
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
BillSchmalz added Good, Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America

17
46 12
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

18
114 58
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

19
47 17
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

20
103 56
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

21
83 46
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
snourb added Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Breathless, Fahrenheit 451

22
79 39
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

23
75 41
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

24
34 9
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

25
103 59
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

26
47 21
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

27
63 33
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

28
38 14
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

29
50 24
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

30
31 8
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

31
71 41
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

32
51 25
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

33
51 25
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

34
47 24
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added MASH, Nashville, The Player

35
67 40
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

36
37 17
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

37
30 11
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

38
39 20
Louis Malle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Au revoir, les enfants, Atlantic City

39
45 26
Wong Kar-wai is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together

40
31 14
Carl Theodor Dreyer is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

41
33 18
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Rome, Open City, Germany

42
68 49
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
EricMc added Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, Cinderella

43
38 21
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

44
32 17
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

45
44 27
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Birdman, Babel, Amores perros

46
102 80
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

47
32 17
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Claire's Knee, My Night at Maud's, I Think I Love My Wife

48
43 29
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

49
66 52
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

50
44 32
Sergei Eisenstein is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, October: Ten Days That Shook the World