Greatest Film Directors
and Their Best Films

Part 3

Greatest Film Directors
(alphabetical)
Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 , Part 6

Greatest Film Directors: These honored selections are designed as a tribute to some of the greatest directors of predominantly English-language films, with suggested or recommended Best Films or 'Must-See' Films from their filmographies. See also this site's multi-part compilation of other deserved film directors (alphabetical) - More Great Film Directors.

Key to Iconic Symbols: The following sources are indicated by icons in Filmsite's compilation:

Entries in Entertainment Weekly's (April 19, 1996 issue) list of "The 50 Greatest Directors and Their 100 Best Movies" in a cover-story article - with ranking number (#)
Entries in the UK Empire Magazine's "Top 40 Greatest Directors of All-Time" conducted in 2005 - with ranking number (#)
Filmsite's selections of the "50 Greatest Film Directors" - without ranking numbers.

The Greatest Directors and Their Best Films
Part 3
(Alphabetical Order, Unranked)

HENRY KING 1886-1982
Durable, Consistently-Commercial Director from the Silents to the 60s

Suggested Filmography: Tol'able David (1921), Stella Dallas (1925), Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), In Old Chicago (1938), Jesse James (1939), Stanley and Livingstone (1939), A Yank in the RAF (1941), The Black Swan (1942), The Song of Bernadette (1943), Wilson (1944), A Bell for Adano (1945), Margie (1946), Captain From Castile (1947), Twelve O'Clock High (1949), Prince of Foxes (1949), The Gunfighter (1950), David and Bathsheba (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), King of the Khyber Rifles (1953), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Carousel (1956), The Sun Also Rises (1957), The Bravados (1958), The Old Man and the Sea (1958), This Earth is Mine (1959), Beloved Infidel (1959).

STANLEY KRAMER 1913-2001
Influential, Highly-Regarded Director-Producer of Social Themes and Issues in the 50s and 60s

Suggested Filmography: Champion (1949) (producer), Home of the Brave (1949) (producer), The Men (1950) (producer), Death of a Salesman (1951) (producer), High Noon (1952) (producer), The Wild One (1954) (producer), The Caine Mutiny (1954) (producer), Not as a Stranger (1955), The Pride and the Passion (1957), The Defiant Ones (1958), On the Beach (1959), Inherit the Wind (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Ship of Fools (1965), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969), Bless the Beasts and the Children (1971), Oklahoma Crude (1973), The Domino Principle (1977).



# 23
# 4
STANLEY KUBRICK 1928-1999
Enigmatic, Creative, Cinematic Perfectionist and Hollywood Outsider of the Post-War Era; Director of Deeply-Layered, Complex, and Wide-Ranging Films in Many Different Genres

He made science trippy in 2001, Cold War politics slapstick in Dr. Strangelove, and Roman slaves au courant in Spartacus.

Suggested Filmography: Day of the Fight (1951), Fear and Desire (1953), Killer's Kiss (1955), The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned... (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Eyes Wide Shut (1999).



# 6
# 6
AKIRA KUROSAWA 1910-1998
Acclaimed and Magnificent Writer/Director of Japanese Cinema

Suggested Filmography: Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961), Sanjuro (1962), Dersu Uzala (1975), Ran (1985).



# 30
# 29

FRITZ LANG 1890-1976
Pioneering Abstract German Expressionist and Resourceful Early Director of Dark Film Noirs

Metropolis still defines the future, and thrillers like The Woman in the Window and The Big Heat probed America's past.

Suggested Filmography: Dr. Mabuse: the Gambler (1922), Siegfried (1924), Kriemhild's Revenge (1924), Metropolis (1927), M (1931), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Fury (1936), You Only Live Once (1937), The Return of Frank James (1940), Man Hunt (1941), Western Union (1941), Hangmen Also Die (1943), Ministry of Fear (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), Cloak and Dagger (1946), Clash By Night (1952), Rancho Notorious (1952), The Big Heat (1953), The Blue Gardenia (1953), Moonfleet (1955), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956), Human Desire (1954), While the City Sleeps (1956).

JOHN LASSETER 1957-
Pioneering Director of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) in Animated Films

Suggested Filmography: Luxo Jr. (1986) (short film), The Brave Little Toaster (1987) (animator), Tin Toy (1988) (short film), Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001) (executive producer), Spirited Away (2001, Jp.) (executive producer), Finding Nemo (2003) (executive producer), Howl's Moving Castle (2004, Jp.) (executive producer), The Incredibles (2004) (executive producer), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007) (executive producer), WALL-E (2008) (executive producer), Bolt (2008) (executive producer), Up (2009) (executive producer), The Princess and the Frog (2009) (executive producer), Toy Story 3 (2010) (executive producer), Cars 2 (2011).



# 34
# 12

DAVID LEAN 1908-1991
British-Born Director of Lavish, Breathtaking and Exotic Epics

From Lawrence of Arabia to Doctor Zhivago, his movies proved that no desert is as deep or wide as the landscape of the human heart.

Suggested Filmography: In Which We Serve (1942), This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945), Brief Encounter (1946), Great Expectations (1946), Oliver Twist (1948), The Sound Barrier (1952), Hobson's Choice (1954), Summertime (1955), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970), A Passage to India (1984).



# 48
# 25

SPIKE LEE 1957-
Talented, Provocative, African-American Film-maker/Producer/Writer Who Explored Racial Themes

This African-American filmmaker provoked discussion via Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, and Summer of Sam.

Suggested Filmography: She's Gotta Have It (1986), School Daze (1988), Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Crooklyn (1994), Clockers (1995), Get on the Bus (1996), Girl 6 (1996), 4 Little Girls (1997), He Got Game (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), Bamboozled (2000), The Original Kings of Comedy (2000), The 25th Hour (2002), She Hate Me (2004), Inside Man (2006), Miracle at St. Anna (2008), Red Hook Summer (2012), Oldboy (2013).



# 41

# 17
SERGIO LEONE 1929-1989
Creator of Genre of Italian "Spaghetti" Westerns Starring the "Man With No Name"

Suggested Filmography: The Dollars Trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For A Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966); Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, It.), A Fistful of Dynamite (1971), Once Upon a Time in America (1984).



# 50
JERRY LEWIS 1926-
Director, Comedic Actor, and Producer

Suggested Filmography: The Bellboy (1960), The Ladies' Man (1961), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Family Jewels (1965).



# 16
ERNST LUBITSCH 1892-1947
German-Born Director, 'Continental' Comedy Film-maker, Known for His Sophisticated, Graceful, and Witty 'Lubitsch Touch'

Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, and To Be or Not to Be have a unique Continental style that defies remaking.

Suggested Filmography: Carmen (Gypsy Blood) (1918, 1921), The Marriage Circle (1924), The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927), The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), One Hour With You (1932), If I Had a Million (1932), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Design For Living (1933), The Merry Widow (1934), Angel (1937), Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), Ninotchka (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), That Uncertain Feeling (1941), To Be Or Not To Be (1942), Heaven Can Wait (1943), A Royal Scandal (1945), Cluny Brown (1946), That Lady in Ermine (1948).



# 31
GEORGE LUCAS 1944-
Influential Executive Producer/Director and Re-Definer of the Special Effects Industry

Not only did he create the Star Wars mythos, but he drove the development of widely used sound and special-effects technology.

Suggested Filmography: Herbie (1966), THX-1138 (1971), American Graffiti (1973), The Star Wars Trilogy: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (producer only), Return of the Jedi (1983) (producer only); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (producer), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) (producer), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) (producer), Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).



# 42
SIDNEY LUMET 1924-2011
American Producer/Director of Films Based in the Urban East/New York, the Consummate Actor's Director

Suggested Filmography: 12 Angry Men (1957), Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962), Fail-Safe (1964), The Pawnbroker (1965), The Hill (1965), Bye-Bye Braverman (1968), Serpico (1973), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), Equus (1977), Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), Prince of the City (1981), Deathtrap (1982), The Verdict (1982), Garbo Talks (1984), The Morning After (1986), Running on Empty (1988), Q&A (1990), A Stranger Among Us (1992), Guilty as Sin (1993), Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), Gloria (1999), Strip Search (2004), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), Getting Out (2009).



# 24
DAVID LYNCH 1946-
Acclaimed Writer/Director of Experimental, Avante-Garde, Dark and Disturbing Art House Films

His nightmarish Eraserhead paved the way for increasingly surreal movies in mainstream-thriller guises, from Blue Velvet to Mulholland Drive.

Suggested Filmography: Eraserhead (1977), Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), Mulholland Drive (2001), Inland Empire (2006).

TERRENCE MALICK 1943-
Rich and Visually-Stylistic, Lyrical, Enigmatic, Hypnotic Contemporary Film-Maker

Malick's brooding, intellectual anti-Hollywood masterpieces include Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line.

Suggested Filmography: Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), The New World (2005), The Tree of Life (2011), To the Wonder (2012).



# 40
LOUIS MALLE 1932-1995
French-Born Director of French and American Films

Suggested Filmography: Elevator to the Gallows (1958), The Lovers (1959), Zazie (1960), A Very Private Affair (1962), Viva Maria! (1965), The Fire Within (1966), The Thief of Paris (1967), Dearest Heart (1971), Murmur of the Heart (1971), Lacombe Lucien (1974), Pretty Baby (1978), Atlantic City (1981), My Dinner With Andre (1981), Alamo Bay (1985), Au Revoir, Les Enfants (1987), May Fools (1990), Damage (1992), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994).

ROUBEN MAMOULIAN 1898-1987
One of the Greatest Screen Innovators and Stylistic Directors of Hollywood's Golden Age

Suggested Filmography: Applause (1929), City Streets (1931), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932), Love Me Tonight (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Becky Sharp (1935), The Gay Desperado (1936), Golden Boy (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), Laura (1944) (replaced by Otto Preminger), Summer Holiday (1948), Silk Stockings (1957).



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