Entertainment

List of Jewish Film Directors

Famous Jews
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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
age 73
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
age 50
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, and X-Men: The Last Stand. He was also a producer ...more
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 84
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
age 80
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
age 72
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
age 52
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
Dec. 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
age 66
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
age 70
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
age 53
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
age 54
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
age 50
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
Dec. 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
age 54
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
age 62
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
age 65
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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
age 76
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
Dec. 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
age 69
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
age 60
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
Dec. 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
age 44
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