Famous 19th Century Directors

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin.
4
Famous As: Comic Actor
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London, England
Died: December 25, 1977

Cinema lovers around the world hold Charlie Chaplin in high esteem. One of the biggest stars of the silent film era and an icon, he left the audience in splits with his comedic performances. Even today, his performances in movies like Modern Times and The Gold Rush are considered classic. The legendary actor was also a writer, director and producer.

 2 Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton.
4
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: October 4, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Piqua, Kansas, United States
Died: February 1, 1966

Buster Keaton was an American comedian, filmmaker, actor, and stunt performer. Regarded as one of the greatest actor-directors of all time, Keaton was renowned for his physical comedy. Counted among the greatest stars of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute, Buster Keaton's films remain highly regarded. His 1926 film The General was admired by actors like Orson Welles.

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 3 John Ford

John Ford.
3
Famous As: Film Director & Producer
Birthdate: February 1, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cape Elizabeth
Died: August 31, 1973

John Ford was an American naval officer and film director. The recipient of five Oscars, Ford is renowned for directing films like The Searchers and Stagecoach. He also holds the record for winning the most number of Academy Awards (four) under the Best Director category.John Ford is widely considered one of the most influential and important filmmakers of his generation.

 4 Frank Capra

Frank Capra.
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: May 18, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
Died: September 3, 1991
Frank Capra was a filmmaker and writer responsible for making several American award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. After being born into a poor Italian family, Capra went on to become one of Hollywood's most influential directors of the 1930s; his rags-to-riches story continues to inspire many, with historians labeling him the American Dream personified.

 5 D. W. Griffith

D. W. Griffith.
3
Famous As: American director
Birthdate: January 22, 1875
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Crestwood, Kentucky, United States
Died: July 23, 1948

 6 Howard Hawks

Howard Hawks.
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Goshen, Indiana, United States
Died: December 26, 1977

 7 George Cukor

George Cukor.
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 7, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died: January 24, 1983
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 8 Cecil B. DeMille

Cecil B. DeMille.
3
Famous As: Film Director, Producer
Birthdate: August 12, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ashfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: January 21, 1959

Cecil B. DeMille was an American filmmaker. DeMille is widely regarded as a founding father of the cinema of the United States. He is also considered the most successful filmmaker in the history of American cinema. The recipient of several prestigious awards, DeMille's work has influenced several filmmakers. The Cecil B. DeMille Award is named in his honor. 

 9 Jean Renoir

Jean Renoir.
2
Famous As: Film Director, Actor, Producer
Birthdate: September 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1979

Jean Renoir was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. The son of the prominent painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean was one of the first filmmakers to be known as an auteur. He started working during the silent film era and made more than 40 silent films. In 1975, he received a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.

 10 Michael Curtiz

Michael Curtiz.
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: December 24, 1886
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Died: April 10, 1962

 11 Dadasaheb Phalke

Dadasaheb Phalke.
3
Famous As: Father of Indian Cinema
Birthdate: April 30, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tryambakeshwar, Bombay Presidency
Died: February 16, 1944

 12 Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas Fairbanks
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: December 12, 1939

 13 F. W. Murnau

F. W. Murnau
2
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: December 28, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bielefeld, Germany
Died: March 11, 1931

 14 Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch
2
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Screenwriter, Film producer, Writer, Film editor
Birthdate: January 29, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: November 30, 1947

 15 Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges
2
Famous As: Playwright, Director
Birthdate: August 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: August 6, 1959

 16 Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau.
3
Famous As: Novelist, Poet, Artist & Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 5, 1889
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maisons-Laffitte, France
Died: October 11, 1963
While Jean Cocteau preferred calling himself a poet, his multidimensional works consisted of novels such as Les Enfants Terribles and films directed by him such as La Belle et la Bête. Cocteau relied on motifs such as eyes, blood, and mirrors, and mingled mythology and modernism.

 17 William Desmond Taylor

William Desmond Taylor.
2
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: April 26, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carlow
Died: February 1, 1922
Actor-director William Desmond Taylor, a popular figure from the silent era of Hollywood, made headlines when he was found murdered in his LA bungalow. The case, which initiated a media frenzy, remains unsolved to date due to lack of evidence, in spite of a deathbed confession from actor Patricia Palmer.

 18 James Whale

James Whale
2
Famous As: Film director, Theatre director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dudley
Died: May 29, 1957

 19 Victor Fleming

Victor Fleming.
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: February 23, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States
Died: January 6, 1949

 20 Busby Berkeley

Busby Berkeley
2
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: November 29, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: March 14, 1976

 21 King Vidor

King Vidor.
2
Famous As: Film Director and Producer
Birthdate: February 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas, U.S.
Died: November 1, 1982

 22 Adolph Zukor

Adolph Zukor
2
Famous As: Film producer
Birthdate: January 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ricse
Died: June 10, 1976

 23 Cosima Wagner

Cosima Wagner
2
Famous As: Composer, Writer, Director
Birthdate: December 24, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bellagio
Died: April 1, 1930

 24 Kenji Mizoguchi

Kenji Mizoguchi
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 16, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hongo, Tokyo, Japan
Died: August 24, 1956

 25 Douglas Sirk

Douglas Sirk
2
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 26, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: January 14, 1987

 26 William A. Wellman

William A. Wellman.
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: February 29, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: December 9, 1975

 27 Josef von Sternberg

Josef von Sternberg.
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: May 29, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 22, 1969

 28 Henry Hathaway

Henry Hathaway.
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 13, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Died: February 11, 1985

 29 Dorothy Arzner

Dorothy Arzner
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: October 1, 1979

 30 Leo McCarey

Leo McCarey.
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: October 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died: July 5, 1969

 31 Edward Gordon Craig

Edward Gordon Craig
1
Famous As: Actor, Director, Illustrator, Scenographer, Painter
Birthdate: January 16, 1872
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stevenage
Died: July 29, 1966

 32 Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage.
1
Famous As: Film Director, Actor
Birthdate: April 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Died: June 19, 1962

 33 W. S. Van Dyke

W. S. Van Dyke.
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 21, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Diego, California, U.S.
Died: February 5, 1943

 34 Robert Wiene

Robert Wiene
1
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 27, 1873
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: July 17, 1938

 35 René Clair

René Clair
1
Famous As: Screenwriter, Actor, Film director, Film producer, Journalist, Writer, Film editor
Birthdate: November 11, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: March 15, 1981

 36 Frances Marion

Frances Marion
1
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: May 12, 1973

 37 Abel Gance

Abel Gance
1
Famous As: Screenwriter, Actor, Film director, Film producer, Film editor
Birthdate: October 25, 1889
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris
Died: November 10, 1981

 38 Norman Taurog

Norman Taurog.
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: February 23, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: April 7, 1981

 39 Allan Dwan

Allan Dwan.
1
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: April 3, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: December 28, 1981

 40 Erwin Piscator

Erwin Piscator
1
Famous As: Theatre director
Birthdate: December 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greifenstein
Died: March 30, 1966

 41 Vsevolod Pudovkin

Vsevolod Pudovkin
1
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: February 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Penza, Russia
Died: June 30, 1953

 42 Joris Ivens

Joris Ivens
1
Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Film editor, Screenwriter, Scenographer
Birthdate: November 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nijmegen

 43 John Grierson

John Grierson
1
Famous As: Film producer, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Q2674217
Died: February 19, 1972

 44 William Dieterle

William Dieterle.
1
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: July 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ludwigshafen, German Empire
Died: December 9, 1972
Born in Germany, actor and director William Dieterle had initially been part of a traveling theater. He later made waves in Hollywood, with films such as the Academy Award-winning The Life of Emile Zola. Known for his signature white gloves at shoots, he went by the nickname The Iron Stove.

 45 Gregory La Cava

Gregory La Cava.
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 10, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Towanda, Pennsylvania
Died: March 1, 1952

 46 Walter Lang

Walter Lang.
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee
Died: February 7, 1972

 47 Robert Z. Leonard

Robert Z. Leonard.
1
Famous As: Film Director, Actor, Producer
Birthdate: October 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Died: August 27, 1968

 48 Wesley Ruggles

Wesley Ruggles.
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: June 11, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died: January 8, 1972

 49 Johanne Luise Heiberg

Johanne Luise Heiberg
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 22, 1812
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: December 21, 1890

 50 Jafar Jabbarly

Jafar Jabbarly.
0
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: March 20, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Xızı
Died: December 31, 1934