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
191 51
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

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2
225 68
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Stanley Kubrick The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey

3
94 28
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
143 54
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

5
110 43
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
88 29
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
89 31
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

8
93 33
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
113 46
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Lynch Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

10
67 19
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
87 32
Hayao Miyazaki is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Hayao Miyazaki Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke

12
59 20
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
drkaramaniac added Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

13
138 77
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
53 19
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
92 48
Paul Thomas Anderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Minority Report

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16
60 28
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Ford The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

17
106 59
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

18
80 43
David Fincher is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Fincher Fight Club, Seven, Being John Malkovich

19
70 37
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

20
65 40
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
snourb added François Truffaut Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Breathless, Fahrenheit 451

21
37 17
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

22
34 16
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Vittorio De Sica Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

23
76 47
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Joel Coen The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

24
29 11
Jean Renoir is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean Renoir The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Crime of Monsieur Lange

25
40 20
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

26
26 8
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

27
52 31
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Ridley Scott Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

28
38 19
David Lean is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added David Lean Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago

29
41 22
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Tim Burton Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

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30
19 4
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard

31
28 13
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Roberto Rossellini Rome^! Open City, Germany^! Year Zero, Paisan

32
31 14
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Huston Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

33
36 20
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Robert Altman MASH, Nashville, The Player

34
27 12
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Luchino Visconti The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

35
29 14
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Luis Buñuel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

36
44 27
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

37
84 63
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Woody Allen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

38
30 15
Louis Malle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Louis Malle Au revoir, les enfants, Atlantic City

39
51 35
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
50 31
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

41
27 13
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
30 17
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

43
21 8
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

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44
16 4
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Buster Keaton Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad

45
34 23
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

46
20 9
Henri-Georges Clouzot is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Henri-Georges Clouzot The Wages of Fear, Les Diaboliques, Diabolique

47
28 17
Yasujirō Ozu is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

48
21 12
Bernardo Bertolucci is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Bernardo Bertolucci Once Upon a Time in the West, The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris

49
51 41
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

50
22 12
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Hitler: A Film from Germany, Parsifal, The Ister