5 Favorite Directors

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1. Luis Buñuel
“a surrealist, an iconoclast, a contrarian and provocateur.” - Dominique Russell.

I love Buñuel because I “get” him - that doesn’t mean I understand everything he does, but the obscure and strange, the contradictions and hypocrisy, the big wonderful messiness and madness of it all, I get it even when I don’t get it - and I revel in it all.

Fab Films: Viridiana, L’Age d’Or, Belle De Jour, Exterminating Angel, Nazarine, the Young and the Damned, Un Chien Andalou, and so much more

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2. Buster Keaton
The master craftsman, the stone face (filled with so much emotion), the athlete’s body, the precision timing, man in a world in chaos. Buster never thought of himself as a genius, but he was, he was to comedy what a prima ballerina is to dance.

10 Fab Films: The General, Sherlock Jr., The Navigator, Steamboat Bill Jr. One Week, The Cameraman, Seven Chances, The High Sign, Go West, Cops

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3. Alfred Hitchcock
The man on the run, the cool blond, the mothers - that careful and exacting eye, the naughty humor, the master of suspense. Even his lesser films offer something to delight in, a knockout camera move, or expressionistic angle or lighting.

15 Fab Films: Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho, North by Northwest, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, The 39 Steps, The Birds, Marnie, Sabotage, Shadow of a Doubt, Rebecca, The Wrong Man, Lifeboat, The Lady Vanishes

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4. Satyajit Ray
The humanist, the illustrator, calligrapher, composer, and earthy poet - the collision of tradition and modernism - the social fabric of India is woven into each film, and yet he was universal, his work spoke to everyone, in all corners of the world.

Fab Films: The Apu Trilogy, Charulata, Jana Aranya (The Middleman), The Music Room, Devi, Mahanagar (The Big City), Kanchenjungha, Days and Nights in the Forest, Nyak (The Hero)

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4. Federico Fellini
The mad Ringmaster, born from neorealism, he branched out from these origins and boldly explored his obsessions with the circus, societal decadence, spiritual redemption, and, most controversially, women. He drew so much from within himself, that placing his name before the title wasn’t so much egoism, but a declaration of fact, Fellini was his film, his films were Fellini.

10 Fab Films: 8½, La Dolce Vita, La Strada, Amarcord, Nights of Cabiria, I vitelloni, Juliet of the Spirits, And the Ship Sailed on, Roma, Variety Lights

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5. Akira Kurosawa
The legacy, the innovator, the editor (axial cuts and screen wipes), the running shots - the explorer of human nature, and the cycles of violence - masters and disciples, the unlikely hero or anti-hero. Didactic but able to pull back and allow an actor to tell the story through emotion or body language.

10 Fab Films: Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashomon, Yojimbo & Sanjuro, Ran, High and Low, Throne of Blood, Stray Dog, Dersu Uzala, Red Beard

Honorable Mentions:
Hayao Miyazaki
Andrei Tarkovsky
Carl Th. Dreyer
Wes Anderson
Bong Joon-ho
Alain Resnais
Don Hertzfeldt
Larisa Shepitko
King Hu

Those are mine, what are yours?


I go in no particular order:

Akira Kurosawa
George Romero
Jacques Tati
Martin Scorsese
Ingmar Bergman

with honorable mentions of Yasujiro Ozu and Frank Capra

(I’ll expand on this at some point; I’m just feeling beat and utterly exhausted today.)


Nice - all ace directors.

And I just wanted to add, no one has to get as wordy as I do (I can’t help myself, I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I wind up with these novels). A list is cool too.



I do love a good director discussion.

I want to flesh out my answers and plan to do so at some point.

Anywho, that’s a good roundup you have there yourself. I dig how you included Keaton, Hitch, and Fellini. I also like how your parameters allowed for the inclusion of an animation director like Miyazaki.


I’m not as well-versed in film history, but when I look at the people who made my favorite films I come up with Sidney Lumet, Vincente Minnelli, P.T. Anderson, Robert Altman and Mel Brooks.


Love those choices.

It felt like whatever acclaim we paid to Sidney Lumet was nowhere near enough. Same with Altman.

Brooks is a comedic legend, and I have to think that as amazing as P.T. Anderson has done, his best work still lies ahead.


I probably should have gotten Fritz Lang in there somewhere.


For me, he’ll have a hard time topping There Will Be Blood.


Lang would make an extended list… there are so many more I like that I didn’t mention, Almodovar, Naruse, Hawks… on and on.

As for film history, the thing that opened the flood gates was starting the Alt-Oscar blog. I always say I didn’t create it out of ego, but as a kind of grief therapy. I needed something to occupy my mind at that time. So I start this with the mindset that I know film and would be able to whip it out in a year. Ha, I quickly discover that I’ve only scratched the surface of cinema, and that this would turn into a years-long, decade-long endeavor.

But that’s what expanded -or rather- exploded my movie horizons. To think, when I started it they were still working on a new fix-up for Metropolis, the Apu Trilogy was being restored (the master print had been in a fire) and I didn’t get to see it until 2015, Mizoguchi’s “The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum” wasn’t released by Criterion until 2016, I didn’t have access to these and other pictures for years and years.


There Will Be Blood IS a tough act to follow, although I will say that I loved the hell out of The Master.

I was beyond lucky to catch There Will Be Blood at the theater. That’s a movie that really needs that full cinematic atmosphere.

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There Will Be Blood was superb, as was The Phantom Thread and Magnolia, I liked Hard Eight too. And while I know some folks didn’t care for it, Inherent Vice is one of my favorites, that was one crazy flick.


Almodovar and Hawks would be inspired selections.

I’m sorry that you went through any such grief, but I’m glad that you had a good outlet to work through like that.

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Me too. And yes, it definitely needs to be seen on a cinema screen. I saw it on a double bill with No Country for Old Men, which followed it. After seeing both, I felt like There WIll Be Blood was one of the best films I’d ever seen, while No Country was just OK. I never agreed with the public fawning over No Country in comparison with There Will Be Blood.


I enjoyed No Country very much, but in terms of scope and character, it can’t compare with There Will Be Blood.

No Country felt like an atmospheric thrill ride. Blood felt like a game-changing epic.

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Like @FastidiousRobot, I’m not especially versed in film history. I see many directors here whose work I have yet to experience, or experience more fully. Five that come to mind for me are:

P.T. Anderson
Cinematically masterful. He seems to shift between making love to the camera and with the camera, and in both cases it’s a marvelous thing. I could watch P.T. Anderson Steadicam shots all day long.

Christopher Nolan
Visually, his compositions are sharp enough to cut glass, just stunning. And his stories – Inception, Tenet, Interstellar – are unique and truly epic. I like a challenge from time to time that makes my brain hurt a bit.

James Cameron
As deft with storytelling as P.T. is visually. As effortlessly as we breathe and walk, he’s able to visualize a story and know almost immediately every single shot required to bring it to life, with nothing wasted. Yes, things like Titanic and Avatar aren’t exactly high concept, but I don’t think anyone could have made them more exciting than he did. His stories are efficient and impactful.

Wes Anderson
His aesthetic sense is one-of-a-kind – warm pastels, rich but not overwhelming. And somehow those terms also describe his stories and odd casting choices. His work is infused with innocence, yet brought to life by a seasoned expert.

Hayao Miyazaki
I’m still discovering Miyazaki, but what I’ve experienced so far is remarkable. The Ghibli movies I’ve been watching are amazing stories, with a dash of Wes Anderson’s innocence, and his animation is amazing, perhaps where Disney would be if they’d stuck with the hand-drawn work.


All great stuff. Magnolia was my first P.T. Anderson film experience, and it felt so overwhelmingly intriguing.

Hard Eight is frustratingly underseen and underappreciated. Philip Baker Hall is a national treasure like that.

But Phantom Thread? NOW we’re talking. The highest compliment I can pay that movie is that it took subject matter that I had absolutely no interest in - the world of high fashion - and made it so engrossing, compelling, and absorbing. P.T. Anderson has a gift for drawing in the viewer like that.



Alfred Hitchcock

The Maestro of the Thriller Form. A career lasting half a century. From Silents to the 70s. He carried an entire genre on his back. Obviously inspired by Lang, Hitchcock internalized German Expressionism and reformulated it into an everyday anxiety primed to explode on Ad Executives or Icy Blondes alike. Exacting control, meticulous planning, heightened emotion, and masterclass manipulation were his hallmarks.


  1. Vertigo (1958)
  2. North By Northwest (1959)
  3. Psycho (1960)
  4. Rear Window (1954)
  5. Strangers on a Train (1951)
  6. Notorious (1946)
  7. The Lady Vanishes (1939)
  8. The 39 Steps (1935)
  9. Rebecca (1940)
  10. The Birds (1963)
  11. Foreign Correspondent (1940)
  12. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  13. Lifeboat (1944)
  14. Spellbound (1945)
  15. The Wrong Man (1956)


John Ford

Mr. Western and so much more. Monument Valley, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Americana. His composition and pictorial signature are unparrelled. Wagon trains, settlements, town dances, civilization amidst the wilderness, Ford revels in his people and their trials roll off the screen like stardust.


  1. The Searchers (1956)
  2. The Quiet Man (1952)
  3. My Darling Clementine (1946)
  4. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  5. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  6. Stagecoach (1939)
  7. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
  8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962)
  9. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
  10. They Were Expendable (1945)
  11. The Long Voyage Home (1940)
  12. Drums Along The Mohawk (1939)
  13. Fort Apache (1948)
  14. Rio Grande (1950)
  15. The Informer (1935)


Stanley Kubrick

The Perfectionist. An unerring eye and gift for planning evolved into flawless execution and an increasing gap between films. Man’s inhumanity to Man, technology, madness, and social order were his themes.


  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  2. The Shining (1980)
  3. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)
  4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  5. Barry Lyndon (1975)
  6. Spartacus (1960)
  7. Paths of Glory (1957)
  8. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
  9. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  10. The Killing (1956)


Steven Spielberg

The Wunderkind and Child Prodigy. Sentimental, direct, and blessed in the art of motion. Spielberg nears cliche due to his dominance while his work stays timeless particularly his early films and heartfelt efforts.


  1. Jaws (1975)
  2. E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) [Theatrical Cut]
  3. Schindler’s List (1993)
  4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) [Special Edition]
  6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  8. Jurassic Park (1993)
  9. Minority Report (2002)
  10. Lincoln (2012)


Clint Eastwood

Pure Storyteller. Amazingly prolific, eloquent, understated. Eastwood prefers minimalism and powerful performances. Muscular, poetic, with himself frequently in front of the camera, Clint engages larger than life stories highlighting huge human stakes.


  1. Unforgiven (1992)
  2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  3. Mystic River (2003)
  4. Letters From Two Jima (2006)
  5. American Sniper (2014)
  6. Gran Torino (2008)
  7. A Perfect World (1993)
  8. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
  9. Flags Of Our Fathers (2006)
  10. Sully (2016)
  11. The Mule (2018)
  12. Play Misty For Me (1971)
  13. Pale Rider (1985)
  14. High Plains Drifter (1973)
  15. Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

This list is missing Howard Hawks. Some of his better movies are:
Scarface, Rio Bravo, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Bringing Up Baby, The Big Sleep, Only Angels Have Wings


Excellent topic my friend!

These are actually in order:

  1. Stanley Kubrick
  2. Paul Thomas Anderson
  3. David Lynch
  4. Alfred Hitchcock
  5. Derek Jarman

and WOW the names I had to leave off!


There’s not a single feature film of his (so far) that I don’t love. What he can pull from his actors is astonishing. I will go to my grave insisting that Adam Sandler gave one of the greatest comic performances I ever saw in Punch Drunk Love.

I’m so looking forward to Licorice Pizza, and if I love it, I’m going to move him to #1 on my list in a tie with Kubrick.