12 Best Hollywood Film Directors of All Time

Most people appreciate what they see on-screen and tend to forget that there is a lot more to it than just the actors and the actresses present on the screen. While the actors do what they are told to do, it is the director, who brings the whole together. Generally, people decided to watch a movie based on the actors present or simply after watching the trailer. But a true movie enthusiast knows his movies well, and builds his viewing list based on not only the ratings or the actors but also based on the content and the directors. While actors are the aesthetic part, directors are the creative planners that make or break a movie. Now, there are several directors whom people love and who are critically acclaimed, but finding the best out of the lot is the toughest job. And to make this job easier, and to introduce you to the world of good cinema, here is a list of 12 Best Hollywood Film Directors of All Time

12. Billy Wilder

Samuel Wilder popularly known as Billy Wilder is an Austrian director who contributed a lot to the 1940-1960s Golden Age of Hollywood. His films like Sunset Boulevard(1950), Double Indemnity(1944), Some Like It Hot(1959) are famous for their superbly written dialogues and characters. It is also believed that he is responsible for launching great actors like Marlin Monroe and William Holden.  He has received 8 Academy Awards nominations for the category of Best Director and won it twice for The Apartment(1960) and The Lost Weekend(1945).

11. Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone was born into an Italian cinema family. He is known as the founder of the Spaghetti Western genre and is known for making movies that place extreme close-ups alongside long shots. Some of his famous movies include Once Upon a Time in America(1984), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly(1966), Duck, You Sucker! (1971) etc. Unfortunately, he died at an age of 60 without even being nominated for the Academy Awards.

10. James Cameron

James Cameron is the director of the famous movie Titanic(1997). He has been known for making sci-fi movies and has received a lot of fame in his career. Some of his famous movies include Titanic, Avatar(2009), The Terminator (1984-2019) series etc. This Canadian director has been nominated for Academy Awards 6 times and has won it thrice.

9. Woody Allen

Woody Allen is someone who has been making good films for over 6 decades. This American director is known for his romantic and comedy movies. It is said no other director can make as good romantic movies as he can, and why not? After all, he has been credited for making beautiful movies like Manhattan(1979), Annie Hall(1977), To Rome with Love(2012), Blue Jasmine(2013), Midnight in Paris(2011) and many more. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards 19 times and has grabbed it 4 times till date.

8. Charlie Chaplin

The Little Man of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin is known as the greatest comedian, but that’s not all. Besides being an excellent actor, he is an amazing director. He began his directorial venture with The Kid(1921), which can be easily considered one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. Though mostly associated with comedy films, his movies tend to deal with various serious problems like poverty, love, loss, and greed.  The Circus(1928), Limelight(1952), Modern Times(1936) are few other directorial works of his.

7. Christopher Nolan

Every other 20th-century film enthusiast has watched at least 4-5 Nolan movies and is a fan of this astounding director. This English gentleman, in his 20 years of career has given more hits than any other director. While he started his career with a film called The Following(1998), his big releases include Memento(2000), The Prestige(2006), The Batman series(2005-2012), Inception(2010), Interstellar(2014), Dunkirk(2017) etc. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards 5 times and unfortunately has not won it till date.

6. Francis Ford Coppola

The maker of The Godfather(1972-1990) series, Coppola is known for bringing a huge change in American cinema of the 70s. While The Godfather series is considered as his most famous work, one can’t deny that Apocalypse Now(1979) is his best work. Known as the director who has a keen eye for human condition and abstruse philosophy, Coppola is in a way the path-breaker of mid-century American cinema. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards 15 times out of which he has won it 8 times.

 5. Martin Scorsese

This Italian-American director is known for taking up challenging and innovative ideas and presenting them beautifully on-screen. His career stretch for over 40 years and what makes the span special is that his movies still has the same charm that they had back in the beginning. Some of his best movies include Silence(2016), Taxi Driver(1976), Shutter Island(2010), The Wolf of Wall Street(2013) and many more. Till date, he has been nominated for the Academy Awards some 12 times and finally in the year 2007 he won it for the 1st time for his movie The Departed(2006).

4. Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is the bridge maker between artistic and commercial movie. He began his career with a thriller called Jaws(1975) and since then he is known for taking up different genres and making movies like E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial(1982), The Jurassic Park(1997), The Schindler’s List(1993), Saving Private Ryan(1998), The Post(2017) etc. Spielberg has been called an artistically hollow director, but that does not shun him from shinning and becoming people’s favourite. Among the 18 nominations, he has won it 4 times.

 3. Quentin Tarantino

There are not many directors who saw success with their debut movie, but Quentin Tarantino is one such who actually did. His debut movie Reservoir Dogs(1992) received high critical acclaim and brought him to fame.  Besides that, his Pulp Fiction(1994) is popular for transforming violence in cinema. He has directed many other successful movies like The Hateful Eight(2015), Inglorious Basterds(2009), Death Proof(2007), etc. and has won the Academy Awards twice.

2. Alfred Hitchcock

Another British gentleman, who took the world by storm with his dumb-founding mystery thrillers. Alfred Joseph Hitchcock’s films were hardly considered art because of their commercial value, but time has made them legendary, making him a legend of cinema. His movies are known for dealing with various aspects like voyeurism, the female psyche, multiple identities and more. Some of his great movies include Vertigo(1958), The Psycho(1960), The Birds(1963) etc. He won the Academy Award only once but was nominated 6 times.

1. Stanley Kubrick

A director, who has been known for inspiring a whole generation of filmmakers, surely deserves to be the no. 1. Kubrick over his 5-decade film career never stepped back from experimenting. He dealt with different genres, styles and themes. His movies portray a different sort of ambiguity, which makes his movies all the more interesting even today. He has been known as one of the best filmmakers Hollywood has ever seen and his movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968), Dr Strangelove(1964) are among the greatest and finest movies ever made. Though he had won Academy Awards only once, his works have won the hearts of many and that is what makes him, one of the best Hollywood film directors of all time.

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Ishita Chatterjee