Film Directors The Greatest Auteurs in Film History  

Ranker Film
Originally by
9.6k votes 1k voters 33.2k 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.
list ordered by

1
328 95
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
272 79
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
158 42
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
139 40
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
152 55
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander

6
132 46
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

7
169 64
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

8
198 82
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

9
125 43
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

10
104 33
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
94 30
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
128 49
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
126 58
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

14
197 103
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Volume 1

15
153 78
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

16
50 12
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

17
76 34
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
52 17
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

19
117 60
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

20
40 10
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

21
80 41
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

22
109 58
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

23
85 46
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
snourb added Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Breathless, Fahrenheit 451

24
50 21
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

25
82 41
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

26
41 14
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
68 34
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
52 24
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

29
54 25
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

30
34 9
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
55 27
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
106 65
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

33
74 44
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

34
40 18
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

35
49 26
Wong Kar-wai is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together

36
71 46
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

37
48 28
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added MASH, Nashville, The Player

38
41 21
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
30 12
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

40
40 21
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

41
34 18
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Rome, Open City, Germany

42
46 29
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

43
48 32
Sergei Eisenstein is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, October: Ten Days That Shook the World

44
46 28
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Birdman, Babel, Amores perros

45
71 52
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
EricMc added Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, Cinderella

46
31 15
Carl Theodor Dreyer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

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
33 19
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
70 54
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

50
106 86
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters