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 (; born December 18, 1946) is an American filmmaker. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and ...more
Brett Ratner is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 50
Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969) is an American director and producer. He directed the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He was also a ...more
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 84
Heywood "Woody" Allen (born December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades. He began his career as a comedy writer in ...more
Joel Schumacher is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 80
Joel T. Schumacher (; born August 29, 1939) is an American filmmaker. Schumacher rose to fame after directing three hit films: St. Elmo's Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), and Flatliners ...more
Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 72
Robert Reiner (born March 6, 1947) is an American actor and filmmaker. As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence with the role of Michael Stivic on All in the Family (1971–1979), a ...more
Judd Apatow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 52
Judd Apatow (; born December 6, 1967) is an American filmmaker, actor and comedian. He is the founder of Apatow Productions, through which he produced and developed the television series Freaks ...more
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Dec. at 71 (1928-1999)
Stanley Kubrick (; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is frequently cited as one of the most influential filmmakers in cinematic ...more
Barry Sonnenfeld is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 66
Barry Sonnenfeld (born April 1, 1953) is an American filmmaker and television director. He originally worked as a cinematographer for the Coen brothers before directing films such as The Addams ...more
Rob Cohen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 70
Rob L. Cohen (born March 12, 1949) is an American director, producer, and screenwriter of film and television. Beginning his career as an executive producer at 20th Century Fox, Cohen produced ...more
J.J. Abrams is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 53
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is an American filmmaker. He is known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams wrote or produced such films as Regarding ...more
Bryan Singer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 54
Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965) is an American director, producer and writer of film and television. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and has produced or co-produced ...more
Darren Aronofsky is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 50
Darren Aronofsky (born February 12, 1969) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter, who is noted for his surreal, melodramatic, and often disturbing films. Aronofsky attended Harvard ...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 (; August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) was an American filmmaker. Between 1914 and 1958, he made a total of 70 features, both silent and sound films. He is acknowledged as a ...more
Sam Mendes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 54
Samuel Alexander Mendes (born 1 August 1965) is an English film director, film producer, screenwriter, and stage director best known for directing the drama film American Beauty (1999), which ...more
Ethan Coen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Ethan Coen
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 (; German: [ˈvɪldɐ]; born Samuel Wilder, June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002) was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist whose career spanned ...more
Ernst Lubitsch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Dec. at 55 (1892-1947)
Ernst Lubitsch (; January 29, 1892 – November 30, 1947) was a German American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being ...more
Sidney Lumet is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Dec. at 87 (1924-2011)
Sidney Arthur Lumet ( loo-MET; June 25, 1924 – April 9, 2011) was an American director, producer, and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated five times for the Academy ...more
Michael Mann is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Michael Mann
age 76
Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer of film and television who is best known for his distinctive brand of stylized crime drama. ...more
Otto Preminger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Dec. at 81 (1905-1986)
Otto Ludwig Preminger (, German pronunciation: [ˈpreːmiŋɐ]; 5 December 1905 – 23 April 1986) was an American theatre and film director, originally from Austria-Hungary. He directed more than 35 ...more
John Landis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 69
John David Landis (; born August 3, 1950) is an American film director, comedian, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He is best known for the comedy films that he has directed, such as National ...more
Sam Raimi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 60
Samuel M. Raimi (born October 23, 1959) is an American filmmaker, actor, and producer, primarily known for creating the cult horror Evil Dead series, and directing the Spider-Man trilogy ...more
Richard Brooks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)
Richard Brooks (May 18, 1912 – March 11, 1992) was an American screenwriter, film director, novelist and film producer. Nominated for eight Oscars in his career, he was best known for Blackboard ...more
Zach Braff is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Jewish Film Directors
age 44
Zachary Israel Braff (born April 6, 1975) is an American actor, director, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his role as J. D. on the television series Scrubs (2001–2010), for which ...more