Film Directors List of Jewish Film Directors

Famous Jews
19.7k views 80 items

The best Jewish directors include multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe winners,  who make magical things happen when they're behind the camera. Throughout the history of the Motion Picture Academy, Jewish directors have dominated the Best Director category and many are considered the best directors of all time.

For every Academy Award winning filmmaker on this list, with Woody Allen (Annie Hall), Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan), Billy Wilder (The Apartment) and the only back-to-back winner of Best Director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives, All About Eve), there's a stellar group of directors whose influence on filmmaking and pop culture cannot be discounted. Perhaps the most famous and influential Jewish film director is Cecil B. DeMille. The director was at his peak during Hollywood's most formative days and his legendary films include Cleopatra (1934); Samson and Delilah (1949); The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture; and The Ten Commandments (1956).

Jewish directors are some of the most famous voices in comedic film history. They are known for their acerbic wit, creative storytelling and situational comedy, which has put them at the top of comedy. Directors like Amy Heckerling, Ethan and Joel Coen, Harold Ramis, Carl Reiner and Judd Apatow's brand of humor has influenced generations of young, up-and-coming comedians.

There are so many great Jewish film directors that it's impossible to mention them all here, so take a look at who the most famous Jewish film directors in film history.

Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Steven Spielberg age 72 - Steven Allan Spielberg is an American filmmaker. Spielberg is consistently considered as one of the leading pioneers of the New Hollywood era, as well as being viewed as one of the most popular ...more

Brett Ratner is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Brett Ratner age 49 - Brett Ratner is an American filmmaker and music video director. He is known for directing the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He was ...more

Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Woody Allen age 83 - Heywood "Woody" Allen is an American actor, writer, director, comedian and playwright, whose career spans more than 50 years. He worked as a comedy writer in the 1950s, writing jokes ...more

Joel Schumacher is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Joel Schumacher age 79 - Joel T. Schumacher is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Some notable films he has directed include The Incredible Shrinking Woman, St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys, Cousins, ...more

Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Rob Reiner age 71 - Robert "Rob" Reiner is an American actor, director, producer, and activist. As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence with the role of Michael Stivic, son-in-law of Archie ...more

Judd Apatow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Judd Apatow age 51 - Judd Apatow is an American producer, director, comedian, actor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in comedy films, and is the founder of Apatow Productions and also developed the ...more

Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Stanley Kubrick Died at 71 (1928-1999) - Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor who did much of his work in the United Kingdom. Part of the New Hollywood film-making wave, he ...more

Barry Sonnenfeld is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Barry Sonnenfeld age 65 - Barry Sonnenfeld is an American filmmaker and television director. He worked as cinematographer for the Coen brothers, then later he directed films such as The Addams Family and its sequel, ...more

Rob Cohen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Rob Cohen age 69 - Robert "Rob" Cohen is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter.

J.J. Abrams is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
J.J. Abrams age 52 - Jeffrey Jacob "J. J." Abrams is an American director, producer, writer, actor, and composer, best known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams wrote ...more

Bryan Singer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Bryan Singer age 53 - Bryan Jay Singer is an American film and television director, film and television producer, story writer, screenwriter, and actor. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and he has ...more

Darren Aronofsky is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Darren Aronofsky age 49 - Darren Aronofsky is an American film director, screenwriter and film producer. He has received acclaim for his often surreal, disturbing films and has been noted for frequent collaborations with ...more

Cecil B. DeMille is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Cecil B. DeMille Died at 78 (1881-1959) - Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director and film producer in both silent and sound films. DeMille began his career as a stage actor in 1900. He later moved on to writing and directing ...more

Sam Mendes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Sam Mendes age 53 - Samuel Alexander "Sam" Mendes, CBE is an English stage and film director. He is best known for directing the comedy-drama film American Beauty, which earned him the Academy Award and ...more

Ethan Coen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Ethan Coen age 61 - Ethan Coen is a film director, film and television producer, film editor and screenwriter.

Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Joel Coen age 64 - Joel Coen is a film and television producer, screenwriter, film director and film editor.

Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Billy Wilder Died at 96 (1906-2002) - Billy Wilder was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most ...more

Ernst Lubitsch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Ernst Lubitsch Died at 55 (1892-1947) - Ernst Lubitsch was a German American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated ...more

Sidney Lumet is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Sidney Lumet Died at 87 (1924-2011) - Sidney Arthur Lumet was an American director, producer and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Director for 12 Angry Men, Dog Day ...more

Michael Mann is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Michael Mann age 75 - Michael Kenneth Mann is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. For his work, he has received nominations from international organizations and juries, including those at the ...more

Otto Preminger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Otto Preminger Died at 81 (1905-1986) - Otto Ludwig Preminger was an Austrian American theatre and film director. He is known for directing over 35 feature films in a five-decade career after leaving the theatre. He first gained ...more

John Landis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
John Landis age 68 - John David Landis is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He is known for his comedy films, his horror films, and his music videos with Michael Jackson. He directed ...more

Sam Raimi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Sam Raimi age 59 - Samuel M "Sam" Raimi is an American film director, producer, writer and actor, famous for directing the cult horror comedy Evil Dead series, the superhero film Darkman, and the ...more

Richard Brooks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Richard Brooks Died at 80 (1912-1992) - Richard Brooks was an American screenwriter, film director, novelist and occasional film producer. His outstanding works as director are Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elmer Gantry – ...more

Zach Braff is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Zach Braff age 43 - Zachary Israel "Zach" Braff is an American actor, director and screenwriter. Braff first became known in 2001 for his role as Dr. John Dorian on the television series Scrubs, for which ...more

Stanley Kramer is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Stanley Kramer Died at 88 (1913-2001) - Stanley Earl Kramer was an American film director and producer, responsible for making many of Hollywood's most famous "message movies". As an independent producer and director, he ...more

Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Oliver Stone age 72 - William Oliver Stone is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and military veteran. Stone came to public prominence between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s for writing and ...more

Robert Rossen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Robert Rossen Died at 58 (1908-1966) - Robert Rossen was an American screenwriter, film director, and producer whose film career spanned almost three decades. His 1949 film All the King's Men won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor ...more

Stanley Donen is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Stanley Donen age 94 - Stanley Donen is an American film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are Singin' in the Rain and On the Town, both of which he co-directed with actor and dancer Gene Kelly. ...more

Michael Curtiz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Michael Curtiz Died at 76 (1886-1962) - Michael Curtiz was a Hungarian American film director. He had early credits as Mihály Kertész and Michael Kertész. He directed more than fifty films in Europe and more than ...more

Alan J. Pakula is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Alan J. Pakula Died at 70 (1928-1998) - Alan Jay Pakula was an American film director, writer and producer. He was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture for To Kill a Mockingbird, Best Director for All the President's Men ...more

Herbert Ross is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Herbert Ross Died at 74 (1927-2001) - Herbert David Ross was an American actor, choreographer, director and producer predominantly in the stage and film fields.

Jack Arnold is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Jack Arnold Died at 76 (1916-1992) - Jack Arnold was an American actor, film and television director, best known as one of the leading filmmakers of 1950s science fiction films.

Carl Reiner is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Carl Reiner age 96 - Carl Reiner is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, and singer. He is best known for his role in a comedy duo with Mel Brooks. He is also known for his role on Your ...more

Barry Levinson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Barry Levinson age 76 - Barry Levinson is an American screenwriter, Academy Award winning film director, actor, and producer of film and television. His most notable works include acclaimed films such as the ...more

Nora Ephron is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Nora Ephron Died at 71 (1941-2012) - Nora Ephron was an American journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, director, and blogger. Ephron is best known for her romantic comedies and was nominated three ...more

Sydney Pollack is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Sydney Pollack Died at 74 (1934-2008) - Sydney Irwin Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack directed more than 21 films and 10 television shows, acted in over 30 films or shows, and produced over 44 films. ...more

Sam Newfield is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Sam Newfield Died at 65 (1899-1964) - Sam Newfield, born Samuel Neufeld, also known as Sherman Scott or Peter Stewart, was an American B-movie director, with over 250 feature films to his credit, and a large number of shorts, ...more

Jerry Lewis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Jerry Lewis age 92 - Jerry Lewis AM is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally ...more

William Wyler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
William Wyler Died at 79 (1902-1981) - William Wyler was an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Notable works included Ben-Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Mrs. Miniver, all of which won Wyler Academy Awards for ...more

Joseph L. Mankiewicz is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Died at 84 (1909-1993) - Joseph Leo Mankiewicz was a film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career, and twice won the Academy Award for both Best Director and Best Writing, ...more

Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Mel Brooks age 92 - Melvin James "Mel" Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, comedian, actor, producer, composer, and songwriter. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic ...more

Harmony Korine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Harmony Korine age 45 - Harmony Korine is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, author and occasional actor. He is best known for writing Kids and for writing and directing Spring Breakers, Gummo, Julien ...more

Samuel Fuller is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Samuel Fuller Died at 85 (1912-1997) - Samuel Michael Fuller was an American screenwriter, novelist, and film director known for low-budget genre movies with controversial themes.

Alan Arkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Alan Arkin age 84 - Alan Wolf Arkin is an American actor, director, comedian, musician and singer. He is known for starring in such films as Wait Until Dark, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The ...more

James L. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
James L. Brooks age 78 - James Lawrence "Jim" Brooks is an American director, producer and screenwriter. Growing up in North Bergen, New Jersey, Brooks endured a fractured family life and passed the time by ...more

Mike Nichols is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Mike Nichols age 87 - Mike Nichols was a German-born American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He began his career in the 1950s with the improv troupe The Compass Players, predecessor of the ...more

Edward Zwick is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Edward Zwick age 66 - Edward M. Zwick is an American filmmaker and film producer noted for his films about social and racial issues. He has been described as a "throwback to an earlier era, an extremely cerebral ...more

Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Spike Jonze age 49 - Spike Jonze is an American director, producer, screenwriter and actor, whose work includes music videos, commercials, film and television. He started his feature film directing career with Being ...more

Christopher Guest is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Christopher Guest age 70 - Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest, better known as Christopher Guest, is an English-American screenwriter, composer, musician, director, actor, and comedian who holds dual British ...more