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.

1
288 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
234 68
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo

3
126 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
179 68
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver

5
131 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
108 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
113 40
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

8
146 57
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
David Lynch Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead

9
112 39
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Federico Fellini La Dolce Vita, 8½, La Strada

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
79 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
111 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
112 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
171 93
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
133 70
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums

16
64 27
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
105 52
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
37 9
Fritz Lang is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Catherine Judd added Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

19
95 51
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Joel Coen The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

20
78 43
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
70 37
John Ford is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Ford The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach

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22
48 20
Michelangelo Antonioni is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup, L'Avventura, The Passenger

23
92 51
Christopher Nolan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

24
43 18
Vittorio De Sica is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Vittorio De Sica Cinema Paradiso, Bicycle Thieves, Blood for Dracula

25
59 30
Jean-Luc Godard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Band of Outsiders

26
40 16
Luis Buñuel is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Luis Buñuel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Beauty of the Day, An Andalusian Dog

27
49 23
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

28
34 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
47 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
29 8
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
59 32
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
LizGoddardPearson added Tim Burton Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands

32
27 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
37 18
Louis Malle is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Louis Malle Au revoir, les enfants, Atlantic City

34
63 38
Guillermo del Toro is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim

35
32 16
Roberto Rossellini is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Roberto Rossellini Rome, Open City, Germany

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36
41 23
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Robert Altman MASH, Nashville, The Player

37
34 16
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added John Huston Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, The Black Cauldron

38
31 15
Luchino Visconti is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Luchino Visconti The Leopard, Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice

39
60 40
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
sherri0411 added Ridley Scott Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator

40
31 15
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
25 10
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus

42
40 24
Wong Kar-wai is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Wong Kar-wai Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together

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43
95 76
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Woody Allen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters

44
34 20
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
62 48
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

46
61 47
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
26 13
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
40 28
Michael Haneke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

49
39 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
26 16
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Auteurs in Film History
MickLamarr added Rainer Werner Fassbinder Querelle, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul