Top 20 Directors and Their 5 Best Films

I've attempted to rank directors in order of preference, and give the top 5 films in order too.

This obviously excluded directors with less than five films, which is a shame as I'd like to have represented people like Charlie Kaufman etc.
I have also excluded directors who I love but have not seen 5 films of, such as Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky.

  • Winter Light
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Fanny & Alexander
  • Persona
  • Through a Glass Darkly
  • Aguirre: The Wrath of God
  • Lessons of Darkness
  • Grizzly Man
  • Stroszek
  • La Soufrière – Waiting for an Inevitable Disaster
  • Kill Baby, Kill
  • Danger: Diabolik
  • Rabid Dogs
  • Lisa and the Devil
  • Planet of the Vampires
  • Videodrome
  • The Fly
  • A History of Violence
  • Crash
  • The Brood
  • Playtime
  • Monsieur Hulot's Holiday
  • Mon Oncle
  • Trafic
  • Jour de Fête
  • The Milky Way
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Simon of the Desert
  • That Obscure Object of Desire
  • The Phantom of Liberty
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • The Apartment
  • Sabrina
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Double Indemnity
  • Barton Fink
  • Raising Arizona
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Blood Simple
  • No Country for Old Men
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Barry Lyndon
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • The Shining
  • RoboCop
  • Starship Troopers
  • Total Recall
  • Hollow Man
  • Showgirls
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Jurassic Park
  • Jaws
  • Minority Report
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Caché
  • Funny Games
  • The Piano Teacher
  • Code Unknown
  • The Seventh Continent
  • Manhattan
  • Annie Hall
  • Love and Death
  • Alice
  • Stardust Memories
  • Halloween
  • The Thing
  • Escape from New York
  • Big Trouble in Little China
  • Dark Star
  • Blue Velvet
  • Wild at Heart
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Lost Highway
  • Eraserhead
  • Citizen Ruth
  • The Descendants
  • Sideways
  • About Schmidt
  • Election
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Once Upon a Time in America
  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • For a Few Dollars More
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  • Suspiria
  • Deep Red
  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
  • Tenebre
  • Inferno
  • Vertigo
  • Psycho
  • Rear Window
  • North by Northwest
  • Frenzy
  • The Tree of Life
  • Badlands
  • The New World
  • Days of Heaven
  • The Thin Red Line


  • Love all this different kinds of director / best film approaches! I've seen an even number of 70, and a few directors single out as particularly unexplored on my part - Mario Bava, Luis Buñuel, Haneke and also Argento. Just never got around to them.

  • Yeah, it's so interesting to see people's favorite directors and use it as a guide to fill in blind spots. I've added so many directors to my list after checking out people's lists.
    As for those directors, they are all amazing. Bava is one of the most underrated, versatile and influential directors.
    I got a great box set of Bunuel's. This one here.
    Same with Haneke, although I think the set is now out of print. It had all his films and after burning through them I think it's safe to say he's one of the best working directors.
    Argento was one of my first cinematic loves during high school. After exploring Bava I moved to Argento who although is brighter, more colourful and more obviously stylish I don't think is quite as good as Bava. Especially his recent output. Stick with the earlier stuff.

  • Reg. Buñuel - I've seen Diary of a Chambermaid which I gave 4/5. If it's not on your list, the others must be really good. :-)

    I've also seen Diabolik, that was great too, same rating.

    Argento, on the other hand... Suspiria didn't do it for me at all, only 1-5 stars I'm sorry too say. Too stylish.

  • *1.5 stars (3/10).

  • Bunuel was a had director to choose for. I do like Diary of a Chambermaid but I think I like these 5 more.

    Diabolik I love and is so different, yet so similar to many other Bava films. If you enjoyed it definitely check out his other work.

    Argento, as I said, I saw young. It made an impression because I'd never seen anything like it. That being said I never truly loved Susperia until I saw it in the cinema with really really really loud sound. It was an otherworldly experience; mind bending and perception... uhhmm, blasting? I dunno, what I'm trying to say is that it was great.

  • Although, with Susperia, I did start with a base liking of the film. I doubt that the cinema experience will convert a non-liker.

Please to comment.