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.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Cinematographers

 1 
Alfonso Cuarón
(Mexican Filmmaker Known for Directing Films in a Variety of Genres)

Alfonso Cuarón
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Alfonso Cuarón is a Mexican filmmaker who works in a wide range of genres. He has multiple romantic, action, drama, and fantasy movies to his credit. The son of a doctor and a biochemist, he chose an unconventional profession for himself. After completing his studies, he began working as a director. He has received four Academy Awards. 

 2 
Alton Brown
(TV Personality, Celebrity Chef, Author)

Alton Brown
4
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.

 3 
Todd Fisher
(Director, Cinematographer, Producer and Actor of Television Films and Documentaries)

Todd Fisher
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States

Todd Fisher is an American cinematographer, director, producer, and actor. The son of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Todd played a major role in carrying on the legacy of his parents by serving important positions in the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino and Debbie Reynolds Management Company, Inc. In 2013, he became the CEO of the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum.

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 4 
Roger Deakins
(Cinematographer)

Roger Deakins
4
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.

 5 
Steven Soderbergh
(Director, Producer)

Steven Soderbergh
6
Birthdate: January 14, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 6 

Tony Curran
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 7 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)

Robert Osborne
4
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.

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 8 
David Lean
(Film Director, Producer & Screenwater)

David Lean
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Croydon, Surrey, England
Died: April 16, 1991

 9 
Louis Malle
(Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Camera operator, Cinematographer, Actor)

Louis Malle
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thumeries
Died: November 23, 1995

Louis Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his film Le Monde du silence, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1957. He was also the recipient of two Golden Lion awards, one of the only four directors to have achieved this feat. He was active in both French cinema and Hollywood.

 10 
Caleb Deschanel
(Cinematographer, Director)

Caleb Deschanel
4
Birthdate: September 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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.

 11 
Emmanuel Lubezki
(Cinematographer)

Emmanuel Lubezki
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Emmanuel Lubezki is a Mexican cinematographer best known for his innovative uses of continuous uninterrupted shots and natural lighting in cinematography. A member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Lubezki has worked with acclaimed American directors like Tim Burton, Mike Nichols, and Michael Mann. Emmanuel Lubezki is the first person to win three consecutive Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

 12 
Martin Kenzie
(Cinematographer)

Martin Kenzie
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 16, 2012

 13 
Daniel Moder
(Cinematographer)

Daniel Moder
4
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.

 14 
Thomas Markle
(Lighting designer, Cinematographer)

Thomas Markle
1
Birthdate: July 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Pennsylvania, United States

 15 
Damon Herriman
(Actor, Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer)

Damon Herriman
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Adelaide

 16 

Costa Ronin
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kaliningrad, Russian SFSR RSFSR, Soviet Union USSR (now Russia)

Costa Ronin is a Russian-born New Zealand cinematographer and actor. He is best known for his appearances in international projects like Red Dog, East West 101, The Americans, and Homeland. In addition to being a cinematographer and actor, Costa Ronin is also a passionate motorcyclist.

 17 
Gareth Edwards
(Film director)

Gareth Edwards
4
Birthdate: June 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England

 18 
Lynne Ramsay
(Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)

Lynne Ramsay
3
Birthdate: December 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow

 19 
Alexandra Pelosi
(Journalist)

Alexandra Pelosi
4
Birthdate: October 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Alexandra Pelosi is an American documentary filmmaker, journalist, and writer. Many of her documentary films including Journeys with George, which she made from her recordings of George W. Bush's presidential campaign, have earned her critical acclaim. Alexandra Pelosi has also contributed immensely to NBC News where she worked as a field producer for a decade.

 20 
Eleanor Coppola
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter)

Eleanor Coppola
3
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.

 21 
Lloyd Kaufman
(Director)

Lloyd Kaufman
3
Birthdate: December 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Lloyd Kaufman is an American film producer, director, actor, and screenwriter. Kaufman is credited with co-founding Troma Entertainment film studio along with producer Michael Herz. Kaufman is also credited with directing many successful films like Tromeo and Juliet and The Toxic Avenger. As an actor, he played important roles in films, such as The Transfiguration.

 22 
Nicolas Roeg
(Film director, Cinematographer)

Nicolas Roeg
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

 23 
Hoyte van Hoytema
(Cinematographer known for his collaborations with director Christopher Nolan, having shot Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017) and Tenet (2020))

Hoyte van Hoytema
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Horgen, Switzerland

Born in Switzerland to Dutch parents, Hoyte van Hoytema feels more connected to Sweden than any other country in the world. Currently a Swedish citizen, he lives and works in Sweden, having Swedish wife and daughter. He has worked as cinematographer in numerous films, documentaries and television productions and has won several awards for his contributions.

 24 

Patrick McDermott
3
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.

 25 
Peter Greenaway
(Theatre director, Film director, Writer, Experimental artist, Screenwriter, Painter, Film editor, Actor, Cinematographer, Television director)

Peter Greenaway
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport

 26 
Robert Frank
(Photographer)

Robert Frank
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 2019

Robert Frank was a Swiss documentary filmmaker and photographer best remembered for his photographic book The Americans which earned him comparisons with the likes of Tocqueville. An acclaimed photographer, Robert Frank won many prestigious awards, such as Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 1996 and the Edward MacDowell Medal in 2002.

 27 
Conrad Hall
(Cinematographer)

Conrad Hall
3
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.

 28 

Mack Sennett
3
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. 

 29 
Maurice Krafft
(Volcanologists)

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

 30 
Sean Stone
(Actor)

Sean Stone
3
Birthdate: December 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Sean Stone is an actor, filmmaker, and TV host. He gained massive popularity for hosting the RT America show Watching the Hawks with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace. The son of an actor father, he was introduced to show business as a child. After establishing himself as an actor, he made his directorial debut with the film Graystone. 

 31 
Mike Figgis
(Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer, Composer, Writer, Film score composer)

Mike Figgis
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Carlisle

 32 
Robert Richardson
(film producer, cinematographer, journalist, writer)

Robert Richardson
3
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. 

 33 
Jan de Bont
(Film director, Cinematographer)

Jan de Bont
3
Birthdate: October 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Eindhoven, Netherlands

 34 
Christopher Doyle
(Cinematographer)

Christopher Doyle
1
Birthdate: May 2, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

 35 
Santosh Sivan
(Cinematographer)

Santosh Sivan
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram, India

 36 
Chris Marker
(Film producer, Film critic, Film director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter, Film editor, Television producer, Multimedia artist, Journalist, Cinematographer, Teacher, Poet)

Chris Marker
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
Died: July 29, 2012

Chris Marker was a French photographer, writer, multimedia artist, film director, and film essayist. He is considered an exponent of the Left Bank subgroup of the French New Wave that came into existence in the 1950s and 1960s. After starting his career by working with members of the Left Bank Film Movement, Marker went on to help popularize the genre.

 37 
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
(Film director, Photographer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer, Film editor)

Nuri Bilge Ceylan
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul

 38 
Vilmos Zsigmond
(Cinematographer)

Vilmos Zsigmond
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Szeged
Died: January 1, 2016

Best known for his Academy Award-winning work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was regarded as a prominent pillar of the American New Wave movement. He was also known for his signature use of colors, natural light, and the technique of flashing or pre-fogging.

 39 
John Schwartzman
(Cinematographer)

John Schwartzman
3
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. 

 40 
Jesús Franco
(Filmmaker Known for Low-Budget Exploitation and B-Movies)

Jesús Franco
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Málaga, Spain
Died: April 2, 2013

Spanish director, screenwriter, producer, actor, cinematographer, editor, musician and composer Jesús Franco Manera, considered as a cult director by both critics and public, is most reputed as a director of exploitation and B-movies. His expansive career spanning over five decades saw him writing, directing, producing and acting in around 173 feature films.

 41 
Rupert Wyatt
(Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director)

Rupert Wyatt
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Exeter

 42 
Balu Mahendra
(Cinematographer, director, screenwriter and film editor who worked predominantly in Tamil cinema)

Balu Mahendra
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Died: February 13, 2014

 43 
Robert Elswit
(Cinematographer Known for His Film Collaboration With Paul Thomas Anderson)

Robert Elswit
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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. 

 44 
Wally Pfister
(Film director, Cinematographer)

Wally Pfister
3
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.  

 45 
Herschell Gordon Lewis
(Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Actor)

Herschell Gordon Lewis
2
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 
Mario Bava
(Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects)

Mario Bava
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980

 47 
Haskell Wexler
(Cinematographer, Film director, Screenwriter)

Haskell Wexler
2
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.

 48 
Matthew Libatique
(Cinematographer)

Matthew Libatique
2
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.   

 49 
Jacques Rivette
(Former director and film critic most commonly associated with the French New Wave and the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma)

Jacques Rivette
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: January 29, 2016

Jacques Rivette was a French film critic and director. One of the most important members of the French New Wave, Rivette's work is renowned for its loose narratives, improvisation, and lengthy running times. Rivette, who started his career as a film critic, worked for the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and his articles helped popularize the magazine in the 1960s.

 50 
Rodrigo Prieto
(Cinematographer, Photographer)

Rodrigo Prieto
2
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.