Famous 20th Century Cinematographers

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 Robert Downey Sr.

Robert Downey Sr..
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: USA

Robert Downey Sr. was an American actor and filmmaker. He is best remembered for making satirical films, such as Putney Swope that influenced and inspired the Counterculture of the 1960s. He is also credited with shaping the film career of his son Robert John Downey Jr.

 2 Daniel Moder

Daniel Moder.
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: January 31, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Daniel Moder, husband of legendary actor Julia Roberts, is best known for his Emmy-nominated cinematography in the TV drama The Normal Heart. He is also known for his camera work and cinematography in the films Secret in Their Eyes, Spider-Man 3, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and The Mexican.
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 3 Alton Brown

Alton Brown.
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Famous As: TV Personality, Celebrity Chef, Author
Birthdate: July 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Alton Brown soared to fame as the creator of the Food Network culinary show Good Eats. He has also hosted shows such as Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt. He has authored several bestselling cookbooks. He also created two culinary shows on YouTube during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 4 Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 5 Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins.
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: May 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Torquay

English cinematographer Roger Deakins is known for his collaborations with ace directors such as Sam Mendes and the Coen brothers. He gained fame with his Academy Award-winning cinematography in the films 1917 and Blade Runner 2049, and his work on The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind.

 6 Damon Herriman

Damon Herriman
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Famous As: Actor, Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: March 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Adelaide

 7 Caleb Deschanel

Caleb Deschanel
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Film director
Birthdate: September 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Caleb Deschanel is an American film and television director and cinematographer. In 2000, he won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for his work in the epic historical revisionist war film, The Patriot. Deschanel has also played an important role in shaping the careers of his daughters, Zooey and Emily Deschanel.

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 8 Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne
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Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 9 Louis Malle

Louis Malle
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Camera operator, Cinematographer, Actor
Birthdate: October 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thumeries
Died: November 23, 1995

 10 Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: June 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England

 11 Russ Meyer

Russ Meyer.
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: March 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Leandro, California
Died: September 18, 2004

Russ Meyer was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, editor, and cinematographer. He is best remembered for directing a series of popular sexploitation films, such as Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! After his death, the majority of his estate and money went to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as per his will.

 12 Martin Kenzie

Martin Kenzie.
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: April 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 16, 2012

 13 David Lean

David Lean.
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Famous As: Film Director, Producer & Screenwater
Birthdate: March 25, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Croydon, Surrey, England
Died: April 16, 1991

 14 Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg
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Famous As: Film director, Cinematographer
Birthdate: August 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

 15 Lynne Ramsay

Lynne Ramsay
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: December 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow

 16 Eleanor Coppola

Eleanor Coppola
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Famous As: Film director, Actor, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Eleanor Coppola is an American artist, documentary filmmaker, and writer. The wife of Francis Ford Coppola, Eleanor has often been credited for the success of her husband. Eleanor Coppola is also credited with founding an organization called Circle of Memory which aims at commemorating loved ones. She also manages the Rubicon Estate Winery which is owned by her family.

 17 Patrick McDermott

Patrick McDermott
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Famous As: Cameraman
Birthdate: September 18, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo

Patrick McDermott was an American cameraman who has been missing since June 30, 2005. McDermott, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Olivia Newton-John for nine years, disappeared from a fishing charter boat off the coast of Los Angeles. His disappearance has given rise to many theories, including McDermott faking his own death to start life afresh in Mexico.

 18 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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Famous As: Film maker
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bad W├Ârishofen, Germany
Died: June 10, 1982

 19 Hoyte van Hoytema

Hoyte van Hoytema
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Artist
Birthdate: October 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Horgen

 20 Jan de Bont

Jan de Bont
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Famous As: Film director, Cinematographer, Film producer
Birthdate: October 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Eindhoven

 21 Maurice Krafft

Maurice Krafft
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Famous As: Volcanologists
Birthdate: March 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Alsace, French
Died: June 3, 1991

 22 Bimal Roy

Bimal Roy
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: July 12, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Died: January 8, 1966

 23 Mack Sennett

Mack Sennett
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Canada
Died: November 5, 1960

Mack Sennett was a film actor, director, and producer. He specialized in comedy and was known as the 'King of Comedy'. Born in Canada in 1880, he moved to USA as a young man and entered the fledgling film industry as an actor. He found considerable success and went on to open Keystone Studios in Edendale. 

 24 Mike Figgis

Mike Figgis
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer, Composer, Writer, Film score composer
Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Carlisle

 25 John Schwartzman

John Schwartzman
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: October 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles

John Schwartzman is a cinematographer best known for his work in the movies Jurassic World and The Amazing Spider-Man. He studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and began his career in the 1980s. He has been nominated for an Academy Award. Actors/musicians Jason and Robert Schwartzman are his siblings. 

 26 Robert Richardson

Robert Richardson
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Famous As: film producer, cinematographer, journalist, writer
Birthdate: August 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hyannis

Robert Richardson is a prominent cinematographer who has won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times. He often collaborates with the directors Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese. He attended the AFI Conservatory before beginning his career as a camera operator. Over the years, he evolved into one of the most successful cinematographers in Hollywood. 

 27 Wally Pfister

Wally Pfister
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Famous As: Film director, Cinematographer
Birthdate: July 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago

Wally Pfister is a cinematographer and director. He started working as a production assistant after high school and eventually became a successful cinematographer. He often collaborates with acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan and the two men have worked together in films like Memento and Inception. He won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Inception.  

 28 Chris Marker

Chris Marker
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Famous As: Film producer, Film critic, Film director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter, Film editor, Television producer, Multimedia artist, Journalist, Cinematographer, Teacher, Poet
Birthdate: July 29, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
Died: July 29, 2012

 29 Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaway
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Famous As: Theatre director, Film director, Writer, Experimental artist, Screenwriter, Painter, Film editor, Actor, Cinematographer, Television director
Birthdate: April 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport

 30 Mario Bava

Mario Bava
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980

 31 Vilmos Zsigmond

Vilmos Zsigmond
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: June 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Szeged
Died: January 1, 2016

 32 Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic, Journalist, Writer, Cinematographer, Film actor, Actor, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: March 1, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rouen
Died: January 29, 2016

 33 Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Nuri Bilge Ceylan
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Famous As: Film director, Photographer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer, Film editor
Birthdate: January 26, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul

 34 Rupert Wyatt

Rupert Wyatt
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director
Birthdate: October 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Exeter

 35 Conrad Hall

Conrad Hall
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: June 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pape'ete, French Polynesia
Died: January 4, 2003

Conrad Hall was a cinematographer best remembered for working in films, such as In Cold Blood, American Beauty, and Cool Hand Luke. In 2003, he was named among the most influential cinematographers in history. One of the most celebrated and decorated cinematographers, Conrad Hall won many prestigious awards including three Academy Awards and three British Academy Film Awards.

 36 Darius Khondji

Darius Khondji
2
Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: October 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tehran

 37 Ernest R. Dickerson

Ernest R. Dickerson
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Famous As: Television director, Cinematographer
Birthdate: June 25, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newark

Ernest R. Dickerson is a director, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He received his training at the Tisch School of the Arts, where Spike Lee was a classmate. The two worked together on Lee's 1983 master's degree thesis student film. As a director, Dickerson is best known for horror and action movies. He is a recipient of an NAACP Image Award. 

 38 Rodrigo Prieto

Rodrigo Prieto
2
Famous As: Cinematographer, Photographer
Birthdate: November 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City

Rodrigo Prieto is a Mexican cinematographer who is a member of both the Mexican Society of Cinematographers and the American Society of Cinematographers. He has closely worked with acclaimed directors like Martin Scorsese and Alejandro González Iñárritu. He is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including three Academy Award nominations and three BAFTA Award nominations. 

 39 Haskell Wexler

Haskell Wexler
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 6, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: December 27, 2015

Haskell Wexler was an American cinematographer, film director, and producer. In a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild, Wexler was named among the ten most influential cinematographers in history. One of the most decorated cinematographers, Haskell Wexler received several prestigious awards including two Academy Awards in five nominations. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 40 Robert Elswit

Robert Elswit
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Film editor
Birthdate: April 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: California

Robert Elswit is a cinematographer best known for his work on the historical drama film, Good Night, and Good Luck and the epic period drama film, There Will Be Blood. The latter earned him an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Beginning his career as a  visual effects camera operator, he went on to become a highly influential cinematographer. 

 41 Matthew Libatique

Matthew Libatique
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: July 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Elmhurst

Matthew Libatique is a cinematographer. He studied at California State University and later trained in cinematography at AFI Conservatory. He began his career with music videos and branched out into films as well. He often collaborates with director Darren Aronofsky. He received the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for his work in the horror film Black Swan.   

 42 Andrew Lau

Andrew Lau
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Cinematographer
Birthdate: April 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hong Kong

 43 Bille August

Bille August
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer
Birthdate: November 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brede

 44 Maziar Bahari

Maziar Bahari
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Famous As: Film director, Journalist, Human rights activist
Birthdate: May 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tehran

Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari is also a human rights activist and an Emmy-winning filmmaker. He has won honors such as the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award. His book Then They Came for Me was a bestseller, while he has made films such as And Along Came a Spider, mirroring Iran’s society.

 45 Herschell Gordon Lewis

Herschell Gordon Lewis
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Actor
Birthdate: June 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: September 26, 2016

Herschell Gordon Lewis was a filmmaker who specialized in the horror genre. He is credited with creating the "splatter" subgenre of horror films, for which he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Gore." He studied journalism at Northwestern University and held a few other jobs before venturing into cinema. He was also a published author of several books. 

 46 Douglas Slocombe

Douglas Slocombe
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: February 10, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
Died: February 22, 2016

 47 Teja

Teja
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Famous As: film director, film producer, cinematographer, screenwriter
Birthdate: February 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chennai

 48 Shane Hurlbut

Shane Hurlbut
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Famous As: Cinematographer
Birthdate: February 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: United States of America

Shane Hurlbut is an American cinematographer best known for his work in films like Drumline. Hurlbut is one of the most critically acclaimed cinematographers of the current generation. His photographic work in his debut film, The Rat Pack, earned him a nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers, making him the youngest cinematographer to have been nominated by the ASC.

 49 Pierre Morel

Pierre Morel
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Famous As: Cinematographer, Film director
Birthdate: May 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: France

 50 Guillermo Navarro

Guillermo Navarro
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Famous As: cinematographer, photographer
Birthdate: 1955 AD
Birthplace: Mexico City