Film Directors The Greatest Auteurs in Film History  

Ranker Film
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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
338 96
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
292 80
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
167 43
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
147 41
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
134 43
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

6
157 58
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander

7
139 48
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

8
204 84
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

9
173 67
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

10
108 34
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
97 31
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
131 52
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
204 111
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
80 34
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
60 19
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

16
129 70
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

17
44 10
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

18
52 15
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

19
84 42
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

20
157 91
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

21
85 48
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
50 23
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

23
69 36
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

24
119 74
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

25
112 69
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

26
41 18
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

27
52 28
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

28
54 29
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

29
35 13
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

30
14 1
Daryush Shokof is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
daryushshokofo added Seven Servants, Breathful, Asudem

31
56 31
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

32
50 28
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added MASH, Nashville, The Player

33
42 20
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

34
87 55
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

35
33 13
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

36
50 28
Wong Kar-wai is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together

37
75 50
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

38
42 22
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
108 77
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

40
35 19
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Rome, Open City, Germany

41
49 33
Sergei Eisenstein is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, October: Ten Days That Shook the World

42
110 87
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

43
40 24
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
Carl Theodor Dreyer is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

45
74 57
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

46
31 19
Bernardo Bertolucci is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Once Upon a Time in the West, The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris

47
74 60
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
EricMc added Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, Cinderella

48
33 22
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

49
32 20
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
48 37
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry