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Top 100 Directors of All-Time

Updated: December 4th, 2022

Reverting back to the top film per director system since I found it too hard to update before. I have a 5 feature film minimum for a director to qualify so just starting or slow-working contemporary geniuses will have to wait. Or I will have to wait.

For directors who primarily work in the short form and are unlikely or slow to make five features, I’ll make an exception on the condition that I’ve seen at least 10 of their features and shorts combined. If I’ve seen at least 5 feature films from a director, then their short films are excluded from the average rating or ranking.

Directors where I’ve seen 10+ of their films have…

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  • Rushmore

    1

  • Secrets & Lies

    2

  • Magnolia

    3

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    4

  • Barton Fink

    5

  • Le Bonheur

    6

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    7

  • Limelight

    8

  • Brazil

    9

  • Taxi Driver

    10

  • Stalker

    11

  • A Short Film About Killing

    12

  • Se7en

    13

  • Whiplash

    14

  • Sunset Boulevard

    15

  • Persona

    16

  • Shame

    17

  • Taxi

    18

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    19

  • The Lobster

    20

  • Charulata

    21

  • Badlands

    22

  • Adaptation.

    23

  • It's Such a Beautiful Day

    24

  • Memento

    25

  • On the Waterfront

    26

  • Children of Men

    27

  • Wings of Desire

    28

  • Harakiri

    29

  • Umberto D.

    30

  • The White Ribbon

    31

  • Happy Together

    32

  • Claire's Knee

    33

  • You, the Living

    34

  • To Be or Not to Be

    35

  • PlayTime

    36

  • Before Midnight

    37

  • Triangle of Sadness

    38

  • Blow-Up

    39

  • Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

    40

  • Stroszek

    41

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    42

  • The Earrings of Madame de...

    43

  • Culloden

    44

  • Roman Holiday

    45

  • Annie Hall

    46

  • Looper

    47

  • Do the Right Thing

    48

  • Rio Bravo

    49

  • Arrival

    50

  • Amadeus

    51

  • The Godfather: Part II

    52

  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    53

  • A Separation

    54

  • The Elephant Man

    55

  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

    56

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    57

  • Pierrot le Fou

    58

  • Hiroshima Mon Amour

    59

  • Werckmeister Harmonies

    60

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    61

  • Nosferatu

    62

  • The 400 Blows

    63

  • Le Samouraï

    64

  • Opening Night

    65

  • Inglourious Basterds

    66

  • Murmur of the Heart

    67

  • The Player

    68

  • Midnight Cowboy

    69

  • The Passion of Joan of Arc

    70

  • The Wrestler

    71

  • Shaun of the Dead

    72

  • Diary of a Country Priest

    73

  • Milk

    74

  • Dead Man

    75

  • Heat

    76

  • Spencer

    77

  • Ariel

    78

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    79

  • American Beauty

    80

  • Close-Up

    81

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    82

  • Alien

    83

  • Amélie

    84

  • Ran

    85

  • The Naked Kiss

    86

  • The Power of the Dog

    87

  • Stop Making Sense

    88

  • The Sound of Music

    89

  • Brief Encounter

    90

  • Distant Voices, Still Lives

    91

  • 8½

    92

  • My Winnipeg

    93

  • Tabu

    94

  • Memoria

    95

  • Sherlock, Jr.

    96

  • Citizen Kane

    97

  • 20 Feet from Stardom

    98

  • Sideways

    99

  • Kes

    100