70s The Greatest Directors of the 1970s  

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List Rules Vote based on each director's body of film work between 1970 and 1979

List of the top directors of the '70s. The 1970s were filled with absurd styles and monumental changes in movies, as some of the world's greatest directors began experimenting like never before. Fellini, Bergman, and Truffaut, for instance, inspired Americans like John Cassavetes and Hal Ashby to make some of their most unique and cherished films of the decade.

The top directors of the 1970s made some defining works of art during the period. For instance, Roman Polanski struck gold with Chinatown while Stanley Kubrick did the same with A Clockwork Orange. The same can be said for Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola, whose 1970s filmographies seem unparalleled and as if they could do no wrong. Not only was this decade the time of the two Godfather movies, but the seventies is also when director Sidney Lumet came out with his two Al Pacino spectaculars: the unforgettable '70s hits of Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

list ordered by

1
105 24
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 79 The Godfather (1972)
The Conversation (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Apocalypse Now (1979)

2
89 34
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 71 (1928-1999) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Barry Lyndon (1975)

3
81 30
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
clash1977 added age 76

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
New York, New York (1977)

4
52 21
Sidney Lumet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 87 (1924-2011) The Anderson Tapes (1971)
Child's Play (1972)
The Offence (1972)
Serpico (1973)
Lovin' Molly (1974)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Network (1976)
Equus (1977)
The Wiz (1978)

5
52 25
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 81 (1925-2006) MASH (1970)
Brewster McCloud (1970)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller 1971)
Images (1972)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Thieves Like Us (1974)
California Split (1974)
Nashville (1975)
3 Women (1977)
A Wedding (1978)
Quintet (1979)
A Perfect Couple (1979)

6
40 14
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 89 (1918-2007) The Touch (1971)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
The Magic Flute (1975)
Face to Face (1976)
The Serpent's Egg (1977)
Autumn Sonota (1978)

7
31 8
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 81

The Duellists (1977)
Alien (1979)

8
51 25
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 76 Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)
Fata Morgana (1971)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
Heart of Glass (1976)
Nosferatu the Vampire (1979)
Woyzeck (1979)

9
36 17
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 73 (1920-1993) The Clowns (1970)
Roma (1972)
Amarcord (1973)
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)

10
25 14
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 60 (1929-1989)

Duck, You Sucker (AKA A Fistful of Dynamite, 1971)
My Name Is Nobody (1973)
A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975)

11
41 26
William Friedkin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 83 The French Connection (1971)
The Exorcist (1973)
Sorcerer (1977)
The Brink's Job (1978)

12
37 23
Hal Ashby is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Died at 59 (1929-1988) The Landlord (1970)
Harold and Maude (1971)
The Last Detail (1973)
Shampoo (1975)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Coming Home (1978)
Being There (1979)

13
40 35
Roman Polanski is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 85

Macbeth (1971)
What? (1972)
Chinatown (1974)
Tess (1979)
The Tenant (1976)

14
31 24
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 54 (1932-1986)

Solaris (1972)
The Mirror (1975)
Stalker (1979)

15
30 23
Peter Bogdanovich is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 79 The Last Picture Show (1971)
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Paper Moon (1973)
Daisy Miller (1974)
At Long Last Love (1975)
Nickelodeon (1976)
Saint Jack (1979)

16
33 30
Miloš Forman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 86

Taking Off (1971)
Vision of Eight (1973)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Hair (1979)

17
27 24
John Cassavetes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 60 (1929-1989) Husbands (1970)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
Opening Night (1977)

18
16 16
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Died at 98 (1901-1999)

Quatre nuits d'un rêveur (Four Nights of a Dreamer, 1971)
Lancelot du Lac (Lancelot of the Lake, 1974)
Le diable probablement (The Devil Probably, 1977)

19
9 8
Robert Wise is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Dec. at 91 (1914-2005)

The Baby Maker (1970)
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Two People (1973)
The Hindenburg (1975)
Audrey Rose (1977)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

20
24 24
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 52 (1932-1984) The Wild Child (1970)
Bed and Board (1970)
Two English Girls (1971)
A Gorgeous Kid Like Me (1972)
Day for Night (1973)
Small Change (1976)
The Man Who Loved Women (1977)
The Green Room (1978)

21
8 9
Robert Benton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 86

Bad Company (1972)
The Late Show (1977)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

22
16 17
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Died at 90 (1920-2010)

Love in the Afternoon (1972)
The Marquise of O... (1976)
Perceval le Gallois (1978)

23
8 10
Stuart Rosenberg is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Died at 80 (1927-2007)

Move (1970)
WUSA (1970)
Pocket Money (1972)
The Laughing Policeman (1973)
The Drowning Pool (1975)
The Voyage of the Damned (1976)
Love and Bullets (1979)
The Amityville Horror (1979)

24
10 10
Blake Edwards is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Dec. at 88 (1922-2010)

Darling Lili (1970)
Wild Rovers (1971)
The Carey Treatment (1972)
The Tamarind Seed (1974)
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) 
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
0 (1979)

25
22 20
Bob Fosse is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Died at 60 (1927-1987) Cabaret (1972)
Lenny (1974)
All That Jazz (1979)

26
8 9
Carl Reiner is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 96

Where's Poppa? (1970)
Oh, God! (1977)
The One and Only (1978)
The Jerk (1979)

27
6 8
Lewis Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 98

The Adventurers (1970)
Friends (1971)
Paul and Michelle (1974)
Operation Daybreak (1975)
Seven Nights in Japan (1976)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Moonraker (1979)

28
12 16
Bertrand Blier is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added age 79

Going Places (1974)
Calmos (1976)
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978)
Buffet froid (1979)

29
7 7
Mark Zakharov is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added age 85

Train Stop — Two Minutes (1972)
Wake Up and Sing (1974)
The Twelve Chairs (1976)
An Ordinary Miracle (1978)
The Very Same Munchhausen (1979)

30
7 7
Eldar Ryazanov is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added age 91

Grandads-Robbers (1971)
Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia (1974)
The Irony of Fate (1975)
Office Romance (1977)
The Garage (1979)

31
14 20
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added age 83

Sex-Business: Made in Pasing (1970)
San Domingo (1970)
Nach meinem letzten Umzug (1970)
Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King (1972)
Theodor Hierneis oder Wie man ehem. Hofkoch wird (1972)
Karl May (1974)
The Confessions of Winifred Wagner (1975)
Hitler: A Film from Germany (1977)

32
7 8
Leonid Gaidai is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Died at 70 (1923-1993)

The Twelve Chairs (1971)
Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)
It Can't Be! (1975)
Incognito from St. Petersburg (1977)
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (1977)
Along the Streets a Commode Was Led (1978)

33
5 4
Alexander Mitta is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added age 85

Dot, Dot, Comma... (1972)
Moscow, My Love (1974)
How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor (1976)
Air Crew (1979)

34
4 6
Georgiy Daneliya is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added age 88

Hopelessly Lost (1972)
Afonya (1975)
Mimino (1977)
Autumn Marathon (1979)

35
1 1
George Lucas is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
starwarssuperfan added age 74

36
8 16
Bruno Bozzetto is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added age 80

Mr. Rossi Looks For Happiness (1976)
Allegro non troppo (1976)
Mr. Rossi's vacation (Le vacanze del Signor Rossi, 1976)
Mr. Rossi's dreams (I sogni del Signor Rossi, 1977)

37
1 5
Igor Maslennikov is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Igor Maslennikov age 87

38
1 5
Tatyana Lioznova is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Tatyana Lioznova Died at 87 (1924-2011)

39
6 16
Sylvester Stallone is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 72

Paradise Alley (1978)
Rocky II (1979)

40
2 10
James Frawley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 82

The Christian Licorice Store (1971)
Kid Blue (1973)
The Big Bus (1976)