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List of Jewish Film Directors

Updated June 14, 2019 25.7k views80 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
    Steven Allan Spielberg (; born December 18, 1946) is an American filmmaker. He is considered...  more
  • Brett Ratner
    Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969) is an American director and producer. He directed the Rush...  more
  • Woody Allen
    Heywood "Woody" Allen (born December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and...  more
  • Joel Schumacher
    Joel T. Schumacher (August 29, 1939 – June 22, 2020) was an American filmmaker. Schumacher...  more
  • Rob Reiner

    Rob Reiner

    Age: 73
    Robert Reiner (born March 6, 1947) is an American actor and filmmaker. As an actor, Reiner...  more
  • Judd Apatow
    Judd Apatow (; born December 6, 1967) is an American filmmaker, actor and comedian. He is the...  more
  • Stanley Kubrick

    Stanley Kubrick

    Dec. at 71 (1928-1999)
    Stanley Kubrick (; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter,...  more
  • Barry Sonnenfeld
    Barry Sonnenfeld (born April 1, 1953) is an American filmmaker and television director. He...  more
  • Rob Cohen

    Rob Cohen

    Age: 71
    Rob L. Cohen (born March 12, 1949) is an American director, producer, and screenwriter of film...  more
  • J.J. Abrams
    Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is an American filmmaker. He is known for his work...  more
  • Bryan Singer
    Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965) is an American director, producer and writer of...  more
  • Darren Aronofsky
    Darren Aronofsky (born February 12, 1969) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter, who is...  more
  • Cecil B. DeMille

    Cecil B. DeMille

    Dec. at 78 (1881-1959)
    Cecil Blount DeMille (; August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) was an American filmmaker. Between...  more
  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes

    Age: 55
    Samuel Alexander Mendes (born 1 August 1965) is an English film director, film producer,...  more
  • Ethan Coen

    Ethan Coen

    Age: 63
    Ethan Coen is a film director, film and television producer, film editor and screenwriter....
  • Joel Coen

    Joel Coen

    Age: 66
    Joel Coen is a film and television producer, screenwriter, film director and film editor....  more
  • Billy Wilder

    Billy Wilder

    Dec. at 96 (1906-2002)
    Billy Wilder (; German: [ˈvɪldɐ]; born Samuel Wilder, June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002) was an...  more
  • Ernst Lubitsch

    Ernst Lubitsch

    Dec. at 55 (1892-1947)
    Ernst Lubitsch (; January 29, 1892 – November 30, 1947) was a German American film director,...  more
  • Sidney Lumet

    Sidney Lumet

    Dec. at 87 (1924-2011)
    Sidney Arthur Lumet ( loo-MET; June 25, 1924 – April 9, 2011) was an American director,...  more
  • Michael Mann

    Michael Mann

    Age: 77
    Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and...  more
  • Otto Preminger

    Otto Preminger

    Dec. at 81 (1905-1986)
    Otto Ludwig Preminger (, German pronunciation: [ˈpreːmiŋɐ]; 5 December 1905 – 23 April 1986)...  more
  • John Landis
    John David Landis (; born August 3, 1950) is an American film director, comedian,...  more
  • Sam Raimi

    Sam Raimi

    Age: 61
    Samuel M. Raimi (born October 23, 1959) is an American filmmaker, actor, and producer,...  more
  • Richard Brooks

    Richard Brooks

    Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)
    Richard Brooks (May 18, 1912 – March 11, 1992) was an American screenwriter, film director,...  more
  • Zach Braff

    Zach Braff

    Age: 45
    Zachary Israel Braff (born April 6, 1975) is an American actor, director, screenwriter and...  more