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The Best Directors of the '90s 

Ranker Film
Updated May 24, 2020 1.2k votes 225 voters 14.8k views 29 items
List of the top directors of the 90s. Nothing is more in fashion now than nineties nostalgia. Well, these top directors of the 1990's are partly responsible for the entertainment greatness we saw during that decade. The nineties was an interesting time for actors turning into critically-acclaimed directors, as we saw with Tim Robbins (Bob Roberts), Robert Redford (Quiz Show), and Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven).
The 1990's was also the decade of Mike Leigh and the Cohen Brothers for those offbeat movie lovers. Spike Lee also crushed the 90's in the director chair with some of his finest efforts, including Malcolm X and Summer of Sam. The reign of M. Night Shyamalan also took off in the 1990's cinema landscape after The Sixth Sense grabbed audiences worldwide. Before the 21st century kicked in, we had classics like Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs, while Sam Mendes put up a scary mirror to the USA with his ode to the 90's in American Beauty.
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1
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Daniel Miller added Age: 56

Credits (Film): Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Volume 1, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, + more

Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Nationality: United States of America

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Four Rooms (1995)
Jackie Brown (1997)

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2
Joel Cohen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s

Credits (Film): Toy Story, Evan Almighty, Garfield: The Movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, + more

Birthplace: New York

Nationality: United States of America

Miller's Crossing (1990)
Barton Fink (1991)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
Fargo (1996)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
3
Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 73

Credits (Film): Jaws, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, + more

Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Hook (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Schinder's List (1993)
Amistad (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)

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4
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 77

Credits (Film): Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Nationality: United States of America

GoodFellas (1990)
Cape Fear (1991)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Casino (1995)
Kundun (1997)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

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5
James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 65

Credits (Film): Titanic, Avatar, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Terminator, Aliens, + more

Birthplace: Canada, Kapuskasing, Americas

Nationality: Canada

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
True Lies (1994)
Titanic (1997)

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6
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 89

Credits (Film): Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry, Million Dollar Baby, Back to the Future Part II, + more

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

White Hunter Black Heart (1990)
The Rookie (1990)
Unforgiven (1992)
A Perfect World (1993)
The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
Absolute Power (1997)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
True Crime (1999)

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7
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 61

Credits (Film): Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman Returns, + more

Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Batman Returns (1992)
Ed Wood (1994)
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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8
Spike Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 62

Credits (Film): Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Love & Basketball, He Got Game, Inside Man, + more

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Mo' Better Blues (1990)
Jungle Fever (1991)
Malcolm X (1992)
Crooklyn (1994)
Clockers (1995)
Lumiere and Company (1995)
Get on the Bus (1996)
Girl 6 (1996)
4 Little Girls (1997)
He Got Game (1998)
Freak (1998)
Summer of Sam (1999)

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9
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 82

Credits (Film): Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Prometheus, + more

Birthplace: South Shields, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom

Thelma & Louise (1991)
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
White Squall (1996)
G.I. Jane (1997)

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10
Jonathan Demme is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Jonathan Demme Age: 75

Credits (Film): The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Adaptation, That Thing You Do!, Devil in a Blue Dress, + more

Birthplace: Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America, United States, with Territories, + more

Nationality: United States of America

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Cousin Bobby (1992)
Philadelphia (1993)
The Complex Sessions (1994)
Beloved (1998)
11
Frank Darabont is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
20007 added Age: 60

Credits (Film): The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, King Kong, The Mist, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, + more

Birthplace: Montbéliard, France

Nationality: France, United States of America, Hungary

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Green Mile (1999)

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12
Kevin Smith is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
James Mrdutt added Age: 49

Credits (Film): Clerks, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Chasing Amy, Daredevil, + more

Birthplace: Red Bank, New Jersey, USA

Nationality: United States of America

Clerks (1994)

Mallrats (1995)

Chasing Amy (1997)

Dogma (1999)

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13
Gus Van Sant is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 67

Credits (Film): Good Will Hunting, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Milk, Finding Forrester, To Die For, + more

Birthplace: USA, Kentucky, Louisville

Nationality: United States of America

My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
To Die For (1995)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Psycho (1998)

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14
George Lucas is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
starwarssuperfan added Age: 75

Credits (Film): Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, Men in Black, + more

Birthplace: Modesto, California, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

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15
Sam Mendes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 54

Credits (Film): American Beauty, Skyfall, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, + more

Birthplace: Reading, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom

Cabaret (1993)
Company (1996)
American Beauty (1999)

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16
M. Night Shyamalan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 49

Credits (Film): The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, The Village, The Last Airbender, + more

Birthplace: French India, Pondicherry district, Puducherry, Mahé, India

Nationality: India, United States of America

Praying with Anger (1992)
Wide Awake (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)

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17
Lars von Trier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 63

Credits (Film): Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia, Antichrist, Breaking the Waves, + more

Birthplace: Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

Nationality: Denmark

Europa (1991)
Breaking the Waves (1996)
The Idiots (1998)

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18
Roger Allers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
20007 added Age: 70

Credits (Film): The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Groove, + more

Birthplace: Rye, New York

Nationality: United States of America

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Aladdin (1992)

The Lion King (1994)

19
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
jacobsh2019 added Age: 50

Credits (Film): Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr. Fox, + more

Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Bottle Rocket (1996)

Rushmore (1998)

20
Peter Weir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 75

Credits (Film): Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Witness, Gallipoli, + more

Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Nationality: Australia

Green Card (1990)
Fearless (1993)
The Truman Show (1998)

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21
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 59

Credits (Film): Thor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Thor: The Dark World, Chariots of Fire, Henry V, + more

Birthplace: Belfast, United Kingdom

Nationality: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Dead Again (1991)
Peter's Friends (1992)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
Hamlet (1996)
 

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22
Mike Nichols is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
BryanK.Macklowe added Age: 88

Credits (Film): The Graduate, The Birdcage, Working Girl, Charlie Wilson's War, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, + more

Birthplace: Eurasia, Berlin, Germany

Nationality: United States of America, Germany

Died age 83 (1981-2014)

Postcards from the Edge (1990)
Regarding Henry (1991)
Wolf (1994)
The Birdcage (1996)
Primary Colors (1998)

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23
Abel Ferrara is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Mollevangsvagen added Age: 68

Credits (Film): Bad Lieutenant, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Dangerous Game, Body Snatchers, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

King of New York (1990)
Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Body Snatchers (1993)
Dangerous Game (1993)
The Addiction (1995)
Mylène Farmer: California (1996)
The Funeral (1996)
The Blackout (1997)
Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (1997)
New Rose Hotel (1998)

24
Tim Robbins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 61

Credits (Film): The Shawshank Redemption, Top Gun, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Green Lantern, + more

Birthplace: USA, California, West Covina

Nationality: United States of America

Bob Roberts (1992)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Cradle Will Rock (1999)

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25
Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Directors of the '90s
Age: 83

Credits (Film): Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, Out of Africa, + more

Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

A River Runs Through It (1992)
Quiz Show (1994)
The Horse Whisperer (1998)

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