Who are your favorites?
With Steven Spielberg's West Side Story coming out very soon, I thought it was high time I gave you guys my ten favorite film directors. A director can very much change the quality of the movie. From creative choices to cinematography to lighting, the director is in control of pretty much most of the movie. That's a daunting task, but these ten are really good at it. I picked this list by a combination of two things: one is their actual talent as a director that is on display in their movies and two is their filmography and how much I like it. With that said, here are my ten favorite movie directors of all time.
10. The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Endgame)
I had to put the Russos on here. The MCU is my favorite film franchise of all time. They have directed four of the most important MCU movies, as well as three of my top five MCU movies. They started with Winter Soldier, which is a political thriller inside of a huge superhero franchise. And it works. They made the fight scenes practical and took away most of the CGI, making for one of the grittiest Marvel movies that I love. Then they did Civil War, which was a great battle between our heroes. And Infinity War and Endgame are the perfect conclusion to the Infinity Saga. They know their audience, and they knew exactly what to do to make Endgame so satisfying. They are so important to the superhero genre and the MCU, so they had to be here.
9. John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing)
John Carpenter is my type of movie director. He gravitates towards horror movies or fun action-adventure flicks...both of which are right up my alley. He is great at excellence through simplicity, and that's what makes him one of my favorites. Carpenter basically started the modern horror genre with the one-two punch of Halloween and The Thing. He's great at creating thrills in simple situations. His action movies, though fun, are not nearly as good as his horror movies, but I still love him for what he has given us in terms of scary films.
8. Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo)
Hitchcock's movies aren't really my jam, but his handle as a director is amazing. I don't particularly like Vertigo or North by Northwest, but Rear Window is a fantastic thriller that has all of Hitchcock's talent packed into it. I've wanted to see Psycho since I heard about it, but I haven't gotten around to it. He truly is the master of suspense. He is great at building tension, showing the audience just the right amount of things to make you uneasy, and then ramping it up at the end of movie so that your heart is just pounding out of your chest.
7. Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner)
A few weeks ago, Ridley Scott would've been higher, but he's kind of been a jerk lately. He's been mad that The Last Duel and House of Gucci haven't been doing well, and he blames phones and superhero movies. That's annoying. But I like his movies. Alien is a great sci-fi horror film that benefits from a great atmosphere courtesy of Scott. Gladiator is also another incredible epic historical drama that has a massive scale and great direction. Scott is really good at creating atmosphere. All of his movies have a different vibe, whether it is Gladiator, Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and more. He's directed tons of different movies, but all of them have his distinct flavor. And his flavor is great.
6. James Cameron (The Terminator, Titanic, Aliens)
Right above the director of Alien is the director of Aliens (which I have not seen, but I want to). Cameron is great at handling huge blockbusters with big budgets. He's done Terminator. He's done Aliens. He's done Titanic. He's done Avatar. Cameron is an epic filmmaker, but his blockbusters are packed with great tension, interesting visuals, and a very high entertainment value. I'm sad that we've lost him to Avatar sequels, but, hopefully, after Avatar 2 comes out next year, he can start working on some other movies.
5. Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us)
Now, Jordan Peele has directed two films. I have seen Get Out multiple times. It is one of my favorite movies. I haven't seen Us all the way though, but the parts that I've seen still have tons of great things from Peele. His iron grip over film is very much on display in Get Out. I love the way that the shots are composed and the symbolism is shown. Peele always throws some social commentary into his films, but does it subtly enough where it does not take away from the experience of the movie. I'm very excited to see what he does with Nope in 2022.
4. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs)
Tarantino is one of the most iconic directors. He's never really directed a big blockbuster film, which cannot be said about almost every director on this list. His movies are almost like their own genre. They aren't really story based. They are told out of order. His scripts and direction make his movies just perfect. I'm not going to do a ranking of my favorite screenwriters, but if I was going to, Tarantino would be number one. He is an iconic director that has gifted the world with Pulp Fiction. He is amazing.
3. David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Game)
David Fincher is the second master of suspense. And, as much as I love Hitchcock as a director, I enjoy Fincher's movies quite a bit more. The Game is the most intense, edge-of-your-seat movie I have ever seen. The thrills that Fincher is able to craft are insane. Se7en is a terrifying serial killer movie that just shows how masterful Fincher can be with these mystery-thriller setups. I cannot talk about Fight Club (that's the first rule). Besides thrillers, Fincher tends to gravitate towards period dramas, which are not my favorite, but his directorial craft is still very much on display.
2. Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception, Memento)
Christopher Nolan's filmography, in my opinion, is better than my number one. My favorite director is just the best overall with his craft and excellence with a bunch of movies. But Christopher Nolan has given us some of the most unique and incredible films of the past twenty years. He's the director of The Dark Knight, which is my favorite movie. He will take a simple concept and spin it around into a thought-provoking, thematically rich film that provides the viewer with an experience that can never be repeated. That's what's amazing about him and his movies.
1. Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List
Steven Spielberg is easily the world's most popular film director. He is the highest grossing director of all time. He has been around since the 70s, where he broke out with Jaws. He's still directing films today, with West Side Story coming out next week. Spielberg is great because he can direct any movie. He has a shark thriller. He created the greatest adventure series of all time. He's directed multiple successful sci-fi films. He has a 3-hour black-and-white epic about the Holocaust. He can execute any genre to perfection. That's why he's my favorite. He's also a great person, but I'm really just evaluating he's filmmaking. But, yeah. He's the best.