Regarded as one of the greatest American filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick was the maker of acclaimed movies like Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon. Stanley Kubrick was known for his exceptional visual style and artistic expression. He began his career as a magazine photographer and subsequently began directing short films. His first big break came with the hit movie Spartacus.
Popularly known as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the Hitchcockian style of filmmaking. One of the most studied filmmakers in the world, Hitchcock is also one of the most influential in the history of cinema. In his career, that spanned six decades, he directed some of the greatest films of all time, such as Psycho and Vertigo.
Considered one of the most prominent filmmakers in the history of animated films, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and manga artist. A co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki has gained worldwide acclaim as a maker of animated films and a masterful storyteller. Miyazaki has served as an inspiration to several world-renowned animators and directors, including James Cameron and Wes Anderson.
American filmmaker, Orson Welles, acted in and directed the 1941 film, Citizen Kane, which is considered to be one the greatest movies ever made. Though hailed as a genius, many of his films didn’t work at the box office. The Stranger, Macbeth, Chimes at Midnight, Touch of Evil and The Trial are some of the other films that he directed.
New Zealand director/producer Peter Jackson is best known for his three-time Academy Award-winning work in The Return of the King, the third part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The third-highest-grossing director ever, he is also the man behind The Hobbit trilogy and the 2005 film King Kong.
British film director, Ridley Scott,is hailed as a master of his craft and his movies are known for their visual style and intricate details. Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant and The Martian are some of his acclaimed and successful films. He was knighted in 2003.
Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker. Widely considered one of the most influential and important filmmakers of all time, Kurosawa's works opened up Western film markets to the products of the Japanese entertainment industry, enabling other Japanese filmmakers to achieve international recognition. Such is his impact as a filmmaker that he is credited with contributing to the development of Asia.
11 Zack Snyder
Zack Snyder is an American filmmaker who specializes in making superhero and comic book films, such as 300, Man of Steel, and Justice League. His style of filmmaking has inspired a lot of young directors all over the world. Away from the film industry, Zack plays an important role in the lives of his children, four of whom he adopted.
Christopher Reeve had a flying start to his acting career as he played the iconic Superman in four films. Unfortunately, he became a quadriplegic after suffering an accident at an equestrian competition. Despite the setback, he continued contributing to the film industry and also founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation as part of his charitable work.
15 Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian film director, music composer, and writer. Considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Ray became the first Indian to be honored with an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. Apart from Indian filmmakers, international directors like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan have been influenced by Satyajit Ray.
16 Sam Raimi
Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish filmmaker and screenwriter. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and accomplished filmmakers of all time, Ingmar Bergman continues to serve as an inspiration for filmmakers like Woody Allen. His work has also influenced other prominent directors like Martin Scorsese, Thomas Vinterberg, and Richard Ayoade.
American actor, Matthew Gray Gubler, is best known for playing the character of Dr Spencer Reid in the popular and acclaimed television series Criminal Minds. He has also acted in films like 500 Days of Summer, Suburban Gothic and How to Be a Serial Killer. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for his role in the television series, The Beauty Inside.
21 John Huston
Director/screenwriter John Huston is known for making his films with nominal editing and featuring novel adaptations and themes of religion, colonialism, and war. He is known for his Academy Award-winning direction in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and also appeared as an actor in films such as The Cardinal.
The winner of Critics' Choice Television Award, Giancarlo Esposito is known for playing a variety of roles in films and TV series. From portraying drug dealers to policemen, Esposito has proved his versatility in the American film industry. He has also been featured in popular video games, such as Payday 2 and Far Cry 6.
David Cronenberg is a Canadian actor, film director, and screenwriter. He is considered a pioneer in what is known as the body horror genre. His films have earned numerous awards, and he has both earned critical acclaim and sparked controversy due to the nature of his work. He often collaborates with fellow actor Viggo Mortensen.
24 Regina King
Regina King was first noticed when she appeared in the series 227 and then gained fame with her role in Jerry Maguire. Her performance as Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk won her both the Academy and the Golden Globe awards for Best Supporting Actress.
28 Don Cheadle
29 Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle is best known for his Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. He also amazed audiences with his deft direction in Trainspotting, 127 Hours, and 28 Days Later. He won a BAFTA with his debut film, Shallow Grave. He was the artistic director of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
30 Rob Zombie
The founding member of the popular heavy metal band White Zombie, Rob Zombie is an American singer-songwriter, voice actor, and filmmaker. Having incorporated horror and sci-fi themes into his music and lyrics from the beginning of his career, Zombie often entertains his audience visually in his live shows; he is credited with popularizing shock rock theatricality.
31 Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk began his career as an SNL writer but shot to fame only after starring as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad and its spin-off, Better Call Saul. He has also been part of critically acclaimed movies such as Nebraska and The Post, and has directed and produced several shows.
32 Ang Lee
Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.
Melissa Gilbert is an actress and politician. She played an important and influential role in the American film and TV industry while serving as the president of the Screen Actors Guild between 2001 and 2005. Also a writer, Melissa Gilbert has published an autobiography, cookbook, and short story for children.
35 Zach Braff
American actor Zachary Braff made his mark in the entertainment industry with the long running television series Scrubs and later with Alex, Inc. As a director and scriptwriter, his first movie Garden State was critically acclaimed and won numerous awards including a Grammy. The popular actor has done theatres and also voiced for many commercials and Disney animations like Chicken Little.
36 James Caan
Best known for playing the iconic character of Sonny Corleone in the movie, The Godfather, James Caan is a practising martial artist, apart from being an actor and director. He has trained under Japanese-American master of karate, Takayuki Kubota, for almost 30 years. For his contributions to arts, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
David Boreanaz is an American actor, director, and television producer. He came into prominence after playing Angel on the popular supernatural drama TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is also credited with co-founding Chrome Girl, a nail polish line, along with his wife Jaime Bergman and their friends Aaron Ravo and Melissa.
39 James Gunn
At the age of 12, James Gunn started making 8 mm zombie films in the woods near his home along with his brothers. What started as a fun activity, eventually helped Gunn establish a career in filmmaking. Apart from filmmaking and acting, he is also interested in music and writing; he founded a band in 1989 and wrote a novel in 2000.
40 Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes is an English filmmaker known for his dark re-inventions of popular stage musicals. The recipient of a Tony Award, Mendes received the Academy Award for his film directorial debut American Beauty. In the 2020 New Years Honours, he was knighted for services to drama. He was also featured on the 100 most powerful people in British culture list.
41 Tony Scott
Tony Scott was an English actor, film director, and producer. He directed several highly successful action and thriller films including Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II. He graduated from the Royal College of Art and began his career directing commercials. He soon shifted to films and enjoyed tremendous success. He died by suicide in 2012.
42 Seth Green
Seth Green is a popular American actor and voice artist who is credited with co-creating the famous adult animated comedy TV series Robot Chicken for Adult Swim. As a voice actor, Seth Green has contributed immensely to the success of series, Family Guy.
Dennis Hopper was an American actor, photographer, and filmmaker. His directorial film debut Easy Rider glorified the counterculture of the 1960s and became the cinematic symbol of counterculture, inspiring several youngsters. Also a photographer, Hopper’s photographs of the 1963 March on Washington were published. Hopper is also credited with influencing actress Amber Tamblyn whose father was one of his friends.
46 Teri Hatcher
Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was nominated for the Academy Awards 12 times and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. His distinctive style of film-making has inspired generations of directors in both Italy and Hollywood.