Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Ten Most Influential Directors of All Time

John at Hitchcock's World is at it again, and my pal Drew at A Fistful of Films was kind enough to pass me the baton in John's latest relay.

In John's own words, here's how this works:

I have compiled a list of ten directors I consider to be extremely influential. I will name another blogger to take over. That blogger, in their own article, will go through my list and choose one they feel doesn't belong, make a case for why that director doesn't fit, and then bring out a replacement. After making a case for why that director is a better choice, they will pass the baton onto another blogger. That third blogger will repeat the process before choosing another one to take over, and so on.

The List:

Francis Ford Coppola

Jean-Luc Godard

Alfred Hitchcock

Stanley Kubrick

George Melies

Martin Scorsese

Steven Spielberg

Quentin Tarantino

Orson Welles

Who I'm Taking Out:

Sergio Leone

I hated to make this decision, but it was either Sergio Leone or George Melies. While I consider his epics Once Upon a Time in America and Once Upon a Time in the West masterpieces, his body of work is significantly smaller than almost every director on the list. Melies, on the other hand, is one of cinema's early pioneers and made hundreds of short films. Leone has unquestionably been an influential director in the history of cinema, yet it's hard to fit him in the top ten.

Who I'm Putting In:

Ingmar Bergman

This choice feels as obvious as my actors relay pick, but the Swedish filmmaker is no less deserving. Ingmar Bergman's films put the human condition in the forefront, combining striking imagery with raw emotion. Where would cinema be without his humanistic approach to storytelling? He has inspired filmmakers like Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Pedro Almodovar, and many emerging directors. His work continues to shape the efforts of other filmmakers, even influencing last year's Frances Ha and Ginger & Rosa. If there can be only ten influential directors, he deserves to make the cut.

I'm passing the baton to Ruth, who's doing great things at FlixChatter. I can't wait to see who she adds!

Other contributors:

Hitchcock's World
Girl Meets Cinema
And So It Begins
Dell on Movies
Two Dollar Cinema
A Fistful of Films


  1. I knew this was coming, and it's why I threw it your way! Bergman is SOOOO deserving of being here. Great move!

    1. Thanks man! Thrilled I could put him in here. :)

  2. I thought I might see Bergman at some point. I don't know much of his work but I know how he felt about Jean-Luc Godard and you know what they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    1. Ha, I was surprised about Bergman's opinion of Godard's films, but to each his own. I love the irony of placing them on the list together as well.

  3. Hi Josh! Thanks for thinking of me. Oh man, this is gonna be tough. At first glance I absolutely don't know who I have to remove here, they all seem influential to me even if I haven't seen their films. I REALLY need to see something by your chosen filmmaker, I have no doubt Mr. Bergman is influential indeed.

    I know who to add tho, and I guess my reasoning would have to be that this director is simply *more* influential (in my mind) than the one I'm taking out :P

    1. Hi Ruth! No problem. :) Looking forward to your post!

  4. I understand why you wanted to get rid of Leone as much as it pains you and I.... yet you can't ignore the influence that Ingmar Bergman have.

    1. Yeah, Bergman has had the greater influence, but I'd love to see Leone back on the list.

  5. YES!! I was hoping you would add the great and powerful Bergman. Obviously, no argument from me whatsoever. He's the best there was.

    1. Ha, how could I not? I know we're biased, but I was surprised you didn't add him.

  6. I know you love Bergman, so that choice makes sense :)

    1. Yeah, it's a very predictable choice, but I couldn't leave him out. :)