Top 12 Best Hollywood Film Directors of all Time

With the advancement of technology and the popularization of the internet, western culture has spread its influence to various parts of the globe. Consequently, Hollywood movies have increased their viewership exponentially in recent years. Talking about India, more specifically about urban India, with the degradation in the quality of Bollywood movies (which is the popular opinion), people have shifted their interests to Hollywood movies. Especially the youth prefer watching Hollywood movies as they feel they are constructed upon better ideas, are directed better and are just more fun to watch overall. For a long time Hollywood has produced some magnificent movies which are both critically acclaimed and popular among the people. Don’t get me wrong, film industries like ours have also released some gems of a movie. However, their frequency had reduced drastically in recent times. Now film makers in the Hollywood put in a lot of hours thinking and then constructing a movie built on that thought. This process sometimes takes years. Eventually, it usually leads to fruitful results and splendid movies are released on the big screen, which leave their audiences in awe.
Now, everyone- right from the lead actor to the crewman- works hard for a movie to come out as well as it does. But, the man in charge of overseeing the entire project is the director. Directors make the movie what it is and without them, the film industry would fall apart in a day. Here are some of the top directors of Hollywood:

12. Clint Eastwood


We all know him as perhaps one of the icons of macho movie stars but, Clint Eastwood is also a very amazing director and has directed some really excellent movies. Eastwood was born in 1930 in San Francisco. He started his acting career with B-films like Tarantula. It was probably his role as the police inspector in Dirty Harry that elevated him to superstar status. He has done numerous quality films since then. As a director, he has directed fine films among Million Dollar Baby is probably the people’s favorite. Apart from this, he has also directed films like Invictus, Gran Torino and Mystic River.

11. Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

Born in 1939 in Detroit, USA, Francis Ford Coppola is the director of the IMDb Top 250 number 2 and 3 films: The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. Coppola’s film The Godfather became among the highest grossing films in 1971. He also won an Oscar for the movie. He won another Oscar for The Godfather: Part II. The Godfather series, as some call it, are the best adaptations of a book (written by Mario Puzo) into a movie. Other films directed by him include Dracula, The Rainmaker and Apocalypse Now.

10. Peter Jackson


Peter Jackson was born in New Zealand in 1961 and ever since childhood, used to direct short films with his friends, often using special effects her and there to make them special. He grew up to become the famous director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which included parts The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Most parts of the movie were directed in New Zeland. He has also directed two movies of The Hobbit series, including An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of the Smaug. A third one, Battle of Five Armies, is in the post production phase.

9. James Cameron

7th Annual Young Hollywood Awards - Los Angeles

Born in 1954 in Ontario, Canada, James Francis Cameron is the popular director of science fiction movies and movie series. His works include titles like The Terminator Series, Titanic, Avatar, True Lies, and Aliens, among many others.  Cameron won three Oscar awards for Titanic in 1998 and also won many other prestigious awards like The Golden Globe and The Emmys. He has also received nominations for numerous other critics’ and people’s choice awards.

8. Sergio Leone

Sergio leone

Sergio Leone was born in 1929 in Rome, Italy to one of Italy’s cinema pioneers, Roberto Roberti (a.k.a. Vincent Leone. Leone was the director of the movie The Good, The Bad, The Ugly which features at number 6 on IMDb’s Top 250 movies of all time.  His other masterpieces include splendid titles like Once Upon a Time in The West and For a Few Dollars More. This fact is not very well known, but Leone actually declined the offer to direct The Godfather in favor of his dream project, One Upon a Time in America. Leone died at the age of 60 in 1989.

7. Steven Spielberg


Unarguably one of the most influential personalities in the history of Hollywood, Steven Spielberg is probably the most popular film directors of the West. Also, his work has made him one of the wealthiest in the film industry. The 68 year old film director has created some of the most critically acclaimed and high-earning films of all time. Some of his best works include the likes of Jurassic Park series, Indiana Jones series, Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List and Jaws. However, there are many more to add to that list.

6. Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

Scorsese was born in 1942 in an Italian-American household in New York City. He is one of the most innovative and creative directors of Hollywood. Scorsese’s well known trademarks are that he usually starts his films from the middle or the end, uses slow-motions, freezes frames and does cameos. His works include films like Taxi Driver, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo, Shutter Island, The Aviator, Casino and Goodfellas among numerous others, most of which feature in IMDb’s Top 250 list. Basically, most of the movies featuring Leonardo Di Caprio that we love are made by Scorsese.

5. Charles Chaplin


Charlie Chaplin is considered to be one of the most genius and pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood. He is undoubtedly the most recognized stars of the silent film era of Hollywood. Born in 1889, he is remembered by most as the little man with the toothbrush moustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane and a funny walk. His works include Modern Times, The Idle Class, City Lights, The Circus and A Burlesque of Carmen among countless more, a huge percentage of which were silent films. Chaplin died in 1977 at the age of 88.

4. Stanley Kubrick


Stanley Kubrick was born in 1928 in New York. Although he was very intelligent since childhood, he failed to score good grades in school. Kubrick’s career actually began as a photographer before he came into the movie business. He directed some of the most excellent films ever made. 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Paths of Glory and Eyes Wide Shut are some of his finest works. Kubrick died at the age of 70 in 1999.

3. Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

The 51 year old director was born Knoxville, Tennessee. Tarantino’s first film as a writer-director, Reservoir Dogs, was released at the Sundance Film Festival in the January of 1992. The film received high critical acclaim and popularity, instantly making Tarantino a legend in the movie industry. After that Tarantino made movies like Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Inglorious Basterds, Death Proof, Sin City, Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction, all of which were very well received by audiences across the globe. He has won Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and other honorary awards for most of his movies.

2. Christopher Nolan


Nolan was born in 1970 in London, England. In just 15 years of his film making career, Nolan has graduated from making small-time, low budget films to some of the biggest blockbusters Hollywood has seen. His first feature was a relatively less known film The Following. He then made Memento in the year 2000 which brought him many honors and award nominations including an Oscar nomination. From there, Nolan went on to make movies like Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception, and of course The Batman series: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. His movies have one of the best screenplays in the history Hollywood and his ideas are unmatched by any other film maker.

1. Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, London in 1899. Apart from being one of the best film makers the world has ever seen, Hitchcock was also a very skilled artist. He was famous for making suspense-based thrillers and mystery films. Some of his works include Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Psycho, Vertigo and the famous TV series: Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He made numerous other short films and features apart from these. Hitchcock died in 1980 due to renal failure.


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Shreyas Bhayana

An engineering student who would just about write on any topic that has some potential. Though, music would always have a special place. Originally from Noida (Delhi-NCR), currently in Patiala, Punjab.

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    • There’s literally no way Michael Bay could be one of the best directors of all time. His movies are trashy and base, to put it bluntly. However, I agree with the addition of Ridley Scott and John Woo to the list.

  • We all appreciate the actors after watching any movie. We all love the people on screen and praise their work but what about the people off the screen? Let’s not forget there are hundreds of people making one single film not only actors. Most of all efforts of a director must not be under estimated. A director through his/her hard work and patience make a film look good. A good director can give a magical touch to the film. Without having a good director you cannot make a film worth watching. Let’s have a look at our list of 10 Best Hollywood Film Directors who made some exceptional films.