70S Movies The Greatest Directors of the 1970s  

Ranker Film
Originally by
1.5k votes 266 voters 25.2k views 39 items

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.

1
103 24
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Francis Ford Coppola age 79 The Godfather (1972)
The Conversation (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Apocalypse Now (1979)

2
84 33
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Stanley Kubrick Died at 71 (1928-1999) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Barry Lyndon (1975)

3
78 27
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
clash1977 added Martin Scorsese age 76

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

4
46 21
Sidney Lumet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Sidney Lumet Died 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
38 13
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Ingmar Bergman Died 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)

6
47 25
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Robert Altman Died 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)

7
27 6
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Ridley Scott age 81

The Duellists (1977)
Alien (1979)

8
50 23
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Werner Herzog 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
34 15
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Federico Fellini Died at 73 (1920-1993) The Clowns (1970)
Roma (1972)
Amarcord (1973)
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)

10
24 10
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Sergio Leone Died 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
37 24
William Friedkin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
William Friedkin age 83 The French Connection (1971)
The Exorcist (1973)
Sorcerer (1977)
The Brink's Job (1978)

12
33 23
Hal Ashby is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Hal Ashby 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
27 22
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Andrei Tarkovsky Died at 54 (1932-1986)

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

14
35 34
Roman Polanski is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Roman Polanski age 85

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

15
26 22
Peter Bogdanovich is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Peter Bogdanovich 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
25 22
John Cassavetes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
John Cassavetes Died 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)

17
14 14
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Robert Bresson 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)

18
29 30
Miloš Forman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Miloš Forman age 86

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

19
8 7
Robert Wise is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Robert Wise Died 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
15 15
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Éric Rohmer Died at 90 (1920-2010)

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

21
22 23
François Truffaut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
François Truffaut Died 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)

22
21 18
Bob Fosse is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Bob Fosse Died at 60 (1927-1987) Cabaret (1972)
Lenny (1974)
All That Jazz (1979)

23
7 4
Eldar Ryazanov is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Eldar Ryazanov age 91

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

24
7 5
Leonid Gaidai is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Leonid Gaidai 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)

25
8 9
Blake Edwards is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Blake Edwards Died 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)

26
6 9
Stuart Rosenberg is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Stuart Rosenberg 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)

27
7 5
Mark Zakharov is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Mark Zakharov 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)

28
5 9
Robert Benton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Robert Benton age 86

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

29
6 8
Carl Reiner is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Carl Reiner age 96

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

30
11 15
Bertrand Blier is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Bertrand Blier age 79

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

31
4 4
Georgiy Daneliya is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Georgiy Daneliya age 88

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

32
4 7
Lewis Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Lewis Gilbert 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)

33
13 19
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg 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)

34
8 14
Bruno Bozzetto is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Bruno Bozzetto 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)

35
4 3
Alexander Mitta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Alexander Mitta age 85

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

36
1 3
Igor Maslennikov is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Igor Maslennikov age 87

37
1 3
Tatyana Lioznova is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Alex Gaginsky added Tatyana Lioznova Died at 87 (1924-2011)

38
2 8
James Frawley is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added James Frawley age 82

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

39
4 15
Sylvester Stallone is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Sylvester Stallone age 72

Paradise Alley (1978)
Rocky II (1979)