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11 Directors That Matter

January 4th, 2008

Everyone loves lists. And seeing as this is one of my first blog post, I thought I’d write something that allows you, constant reader, to get to know me a little better. I know there are a plethora of best director lists out there, but this list is better. Why? Because, to paraphrase noted intellectual Nigel Tufnel, this one goes to eleven.

There are plenty of great directors out there so I decided to narrow my criteria for this list down to the eleven directors that matter most to me and their influence on the world of cinema as a whole. These directors represent everything about movies that I love and aspire to in my own work.

In future posts I will elaborate about what I like and admire about each filmmaker, but for now it should be interesting to note that, with the exception of Clint Eastwood, all of these filmmakers are writers as well.

So here is my list of the eleven directors that matter and three films of theirs to watch.

1. Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton

Technically brilliant director, his films have stood the test of time and are as fresh and funny now as they were in his time.
Sherlock Jr., The Navigator, The General

2. Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

No one knew how to terrify audiences more than the Master of Suspense.
Notorious, Vertigo, North By Northwest

3. Orson Welles

Orson Welles

Master filmmaker and manipulator, Welles was an independent artist before it was cool to be independent.
Citizen Kane, Touch Of Evil, F For Fake

4. Milos Forman

Milos Forman

A gift with actors and stories about the unlovable and misunderstood.
Loves Of A Blonde, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus

5. Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Dark, edgy and efficient, one of the best directors working today.
Bird, Unforgiven, Mystic River

6. Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven

Combining hyper-realism and symbolism, his films are intelligent, violent and always memorable. Don’t write him off because of Showgirls and see his Dutch Films.
Soldier of Orange, The Fourth Man, Robocop

7. Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick

Has anyone ever made more beautiful or intellectual films?
Badlands, Days Of Heaven, The Thin Red Line

8. John Carpenter

John Carpenter

Master genre director who is unappreciated and ahead of his time.
The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Christine

9. David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg

Constantly exploring the dark side of the human psyche. Be forewarned.
The Fly, Dead Ringers, Eastern Promises

10. Sammo Hung

Sammo Hung

Arguably the most influential director to come out of Hong Kong. Without him there would be no Jackie Chan, John Woo or The Matrix.
Eastern Condors, Pedicab Driver, Blade of Fury

11. David Mamet

David Mamet

Great dialogue, intelligence and insight into the masculine psyche through entertaining games of deception.
House Of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, Heist

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