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My Favorite Directors

  • Nov 6, 2009
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So it's come to this... a favorite Directors List, eh?  I watch movies... a lot.  I love them, and when doing so you tend to get a feel for certain directors the way you get a feel for certain novelist.  Since there are quite a few people doing a list of favorite directors... I thought I'd join in on the fun.  Hopefully more moviegoers will do a list of their favorite directors.
1
Alfred Hitchcock
Trust me when I say that if you're a movie goer... you need to see Alfred Hitchcock films.  There's no excuse not to.  The master of Suspense, Mystery, Thriller AND Horror (that's right, FOUR freakin' genres!) never seemed to have a slump.  His body of work is so vast but he's managed to become perhaps the most famous director of all time.  He was certainly one of the first to have his name be the leading reason you went to see a film.  Interesting fact about Hitchcock... the man NEVER received an Oscar throughout his entire life.  But trust me when I say... if you love movies you MUST endure HItchcock.

Personal Favorites:
Rear Window
Psycho
North by Northwest
Vertigo
Dial "M" for Murder
The Birds
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Notorious

Can I just say... "All of them?"
2
David Lean
There are hardly as many directors that make films as stunning as David Lean.  Such a vast career and yet I can't think of a single film he ever did that I didn't like.  Once you see a David Lean film, it's hard to look back.

Personal Favorites:
Blithe Spirit
Brief Encounter
Doctor Zhivago
Lawrence of Arabia
3
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick is perhaps one of the most ambitious directors in recent history.  He is a director that only cares to do what he wants to do and no one else.  Also a peculiar man, he didn't care too much about the authors who's films he decided to adapt.  In fact, when it came to the authors of A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining, he managed to piss all three authors off because of his directing methods.  When Stanley Kubrick made a film he only cared about impressing one person: Stanley Kubrick.

Personal Favorites:
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
Full Metal Jacket
4
Martin Scorsese
In this day and age who has the style and grace of Martin Scorcesse?  Well, not too many people, that's for sure.  Mostly making Gang-Related Films, Scorcesse has often been called "The Master of the Moving Camera, " and with good reason (Taxi Driver is probably a great example of movement when it comes to the camera).  He's a fantastic director who really enjoys what he does.

Personal Favorites:
Raging Bull
Goodfellas
The Departed
Taxi Driver
5
Steven Spielberg
Lately Spielberg has been hit or miss, but to be honest, I've always enjoyed even his so-called "bad" films because even when a movie is bad I don't think I've seen reason to discredit Spielberg as a director.

Personal Favorites:
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Hook (You heard me)
Saving Private Ryan
Catch Me If You Can
6
Quentin Tarantino
My list would somehow be incomplete without the likes of Quentin Tarantino.  A stylistic director who, like Kubrick, does what he wants to do and not exactly what others would like for him to do.  He's gained a cult following, but he's mostly known around hollywood for his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema, his homages, and his strikingly original ideas.

Personal Favorites:
Pulp Fiction
Reservoir Dogs
Kill Bill
Inglourious Basterds
See the full review, "A Unique Style".
7
Christopher Nolan
Like Tarantino, my list wouldn't be complete without Christopher Nolan.  He's a unique film maker today because he has often been able to utilize the "non-linear" storytelling technique really well (The Dark Knight is actually the most straightforward film he's done) but he's always got unique visions for what he directs.  Once again, he typically does what he wants to do and not the other way around.

Personal Favorites:
The Dark Knight
Memento
The Prestiege
Batman Begins
See the full review, "A Remarkable Director".
8
Takashi Miike
Miike is perhaps the reason why I got so interested in Japanese Horror.  His horror films are often unique and absolutely terrifying.  He's done a lot, and I haven't seen all of his work, but I hope to see more by him at some point.

Personal Favorites:
Audition
One Missed Call (not the crappy ass American remake)
3-Extremes (A Segment called The Box)
9
Coen Brothers
There's something really kooky about the Coen Brothers.  On one hand they make these dark--sometimes depressing--films and on the other they make these odd offbeat comedies.  Either way they always seem to do really well.  I've rarely been disappointed by the Coen Brothers.

Personal Favorites:
Fargo
The Big Lebowski
No Country for Old Men
Raising Arizona
10
danny boyle
Danny Boyle is almost one of those guys who can do anything, if only because each new movie he does is rarely (if ever) like the previous.  He's got his own style and his own approach but he's always doing something new and unique and unlike whatever his last project was.  There's hardly a slump with Danny Boyle.

Personal Favorites:
Slumdog Millionaire
Trainspotting
28 Days Later
11
Frank Darabont
Once you've seen a David Lean film... you just about never look back.  The man has probably made many of the greatest films out there.  He's also one of the few directors that made several films but not a single one of them was ever bad.  Almost every film David Lean has ever done has been enjoyable.

Personal Favorites:
The Shawshank Redemption
The Green Mile
The Mist
12
Hayao Miyazaki
Most everyone knows Miyazaki but a lot of people don't seem to realize it's him when they see him.  The man is like the Walt Disney of Japan.  Only better in many respects.  You've probably seen him, you just don't realize it.

Personal Favorites:
Ponyo
Kiki's Delivery Service
Castle in the Sky
Spirited Away
Princess Mononoke
13
Tim Burton
Almost everyone seems to know Tim Burton. He's got an uncanny art style that is almost entirely his own. Heavily influenced by Vincent Price and things that go Bump in the Night, Burton seems to have a knack for making eccentric films or putting his own spin what's already been created. As a result, Tim Burton is definitely not for everyone.  One misconception I have to point out.  A lot of people think Tim Burton Directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.  This isn't entirely true.  When Nightmare Before Christmas went into production, Burton was busy with Batman Returns and as such he could only be the Executive Producer.  Henry Selick (known now for Coraline) is actually the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Burton also isn't the director of the recent film "9" just a Producer.

Personal Favorites:
Edward Scissorhands
Pee Wee's Big Adventure (it's like a guilty pleasure)
Big Fish
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
14
Clint Eastwood
Beyond just being a simple director, Eastwood is also a fairly talented director... and composer.  Is there anything Clint Eastwood can't do?  Well... maybe ressurect the dead, but we won't hold him down for that.

Personal Favorites:
Million Dollar Baby
Gran Torino
Unforgiven
Mystic River
15
George A. Romero
Perhaps best known for his take on the Zombie, George A. Romero has long been a favorite of horror fans, and an inspiration to many horror writers and directors by making what he makes.  Some of his films seem dated but they've never lost their spark.

Personal Favorites:
Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead
16
Kevin Smith
Sure he uses a lot of course langauge, immature humor and he mostly plays in his own films as a silent guy who never talks.  But Kevin Smith movies often have something about them that are incredibly unique.  Often an underlying message that he puts in there for the reason being his films aren't just about two stoners (or whatever) being immature.  Take some of his works and there is definitely a bigger message.

Personal Favorites:
Clerks
Clerks II
Dogma
Chasing Amy
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
17
Andrew Stanton
It just might be too soon to put Andrew Stanton here.  If only because he's only really directed two films thus far.  But they're two incredible films.  He's a Disney/Pixar Guy so the two films he does have under his belt are seen as huge accomplishments for a man who has only directed two films.  What are they, you ask?

Personal Favorites:
Wall-E
Finding Nemo
18
Roman Polanski
To hell with all the legal stuff he's involved in.  This doesn't make Polanski any less of a director or artist.  He's definitely got a way about him that makes him unlike most directors you've seen.  Nevertheless, Polanski is an artists worth looking into.

Personal Favorites:
Rosemary's Baby
The Pianist
Chinatown

What did you think of this list?

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Post a Comment
June 07, 2011
None of the authors to whom you alluded took umbrage to Kubrick's conduct or technique as a filmmaker; to the contrary, they thought him a great master of the medium. Clarke disliked that Kubrick suppressed publication of the "2001" novel that he wrote concurrently with their collaborative screenplay until the film's release. Burgess voiced reservations pertaining to Kubrick's omission of content from the final redemptive chapter of "A Clockwork Orange," and resented AK for refusing to defend the film publicly with him. King found Kubrick brusque and his adaptation of "The Shining" visually impressive yet loathsome because AK neglected his moral subtext and trenchant characterizations.
June 10, 2011
I think they saw him as a master, but I'd read that they didn't particularly like some of things he'd done (in particular King had to sign a contract or something promising he would never publically demean the movie again in order to do that remake). On the other hand, I could be wrong and if that's the case, I'd like to correct the record. If at all possible, may I take some of the commentary here and just... stick it under Kubrick?
June 10, 2011
Honestly, I don't know if the story you've cited is an urban legend, but I've read of it once or twice. If it is true, my guess is that the contractual stipulation was presented to King by Warner Bros. (after 20th Century Fox, the most notoriously litigious of all the major studios) instead of Kubrick, who seldom held grudges and never conducted business to satisfy petty trivialties. You needn't my sanction to paraphrase any of the common knowledge that I've posted here, but if you're to quote anything that I've posted in part or whole, a customary accompanying attribution will suffice.
 
January 08, 2010
Amazing list! I like the commentary you add on why you like them I can't do that I wouldn't know where to start on my favorite directors. And I also like the fact hat you have Stanley Kubrick as a favorite he's a dark horse favorite of mine I love his last film "Eyes Wide Shut".
 
November 06, 2009
Very, very nice. I'm kind of surprised you included Andrew Stanton what with his limited filmography, but still he hasn't done anything bad as of yet. I would have been tempted to include Darabont in my top 20, but he needs to branch out beyond adapting Stephen King stuff.
November 06, 2009
He did do The Majestic and he's directed certain episodes of TV shows, and I believe he's got an adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 in the works.  Even though he's done three Stephen King adaptations, I was struck by how well the direction in the films were.  In particular I enjoy his screenplay writing, not just for the sake of adaptation, but because he doesn't make King's dialog (when they're exactly the same) come off as cheesy like so many directors tend to do.  
 
November 06, 2009
Fantastic list!
 
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created a list. November 06, 2009
Alfred Hitchcock Coen Brothers Quentin Tarantino Takashi Miike Danny Boyle
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About the list creator
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #5
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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