Most Top -10 lists are subjective in nature – choices are dependent on the writer’s environment and biases. Film Directors from all over the world have been included in this list, but there may be some who are well-known in their country, but have not achieved International fame.
1. Federico Fellini
One of the most revered and influential film directors of our century, Fellini combined dreams and desires and fantasy in his films, and gave us such unforgettable films as La Dolce Vita among others. A gifted caricaturist, often his drawings and films drew inspiration from each other.
2. Satyajit Ray
Regarded by many as India’s greatest film director, Satyajit Ray was a prodigiously talented man. He was a writer of children’s stories, a painter, a graphic designer and film critic. His first film Pather Panchali won him various International awards and acclaim. He directed, scripted, casted, cinematographed and did the publicity for all his films himself.
3. Steven Spielberg
Listed by many as the most influential and powerful figure in the motion picture industry, Spielberg’s films have covered variable themes and genres. Ranging from Sci-fi and adventure films in the initial stages, he has gone on to cover subjects such as slavery, Holocaust and war and terrorism. One of the most successful film makers of all times, his films have broken box-office records frequently.
4. Alfred Hitchcock
There is probably no other film director who has mastered the field of suspense and psychological thrillers like Alfred Hitchcock. In a career spanning 60 years, he has directed films like Psycho, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much. He was a pioneer in the use of various camera sequences, and there were many who learnt a lot from his style of direction.
5. Cecil B DeMille
In the genre of vast canvases and flamboyance, there were few who could match Cecil B.DeMille’s vision. Spectacular set pieces were his trademark and his filming of the parting of the Red Sea in “the Ten Commandments” was one such example. He had his finger on the pulse of the audience and he gave them such great films such as the Greatest Show on Earth, Samson and Delilah, among others.
6. Ingmar Bergman
Woody Allen described him as “the greatest film artist”, he made films about the human condition and covered all aspects of their lives. Most of his films were set in his country of Sweden and dealt with bleak subjects such as death and despair and insanity. His films such as Winter Light, Persona, Cries and Whispers “depressed” even him, but showed an amazing insight into the workings of the human mind.
7. Akira Kurosowa
Japan’s finest director, his films have enthralled and entertained audiences all over the world. From “Rashomon” to “The Dreams”, his perfectionist techniques, and his dictatorial direction style made him a unique filmmaker. He was considered to be a National Treasure in Japan, and to this day his films have been the guiding light for other Asian film directors
8. Francis Ford Coppola
To talk of films and not add the Godfather series to the list would be sacrilegious. Coppola directed both of them and received critical acclaim and box office success simultaneously. Lately after “Apocalypse now” he has not figured in any renowned films, but he has already been inscribed in the annals of great directors.
9. Charlie Chaplin
The little tramp won his way into our hearts as an actor, but he was also the finest filmmaker during the time of silent films. He directed scripted, produced and also scored the music of all his films. Even today, almost 100 years later, his films are considered classics and a joy to watch.
10. Jean Renoir
A highly underestimated film director when he first starting making films, today Renoir is believed to be one of the classic film-maker of all times. His complex portrayals in films such as’La Regle du jeu’’, and La Grande Illusion, left a profound effect on the audiences.