Famous British Directors

If a film is a tree, directors are the roots of the tree. An idea that buds in a tiny part of the mind is sowed, watered and reaped into a beautiful tree which encapsulates the thought into a 90-minute film that showcases a story, a belief and a conviction that the filmmakers stand by. It is the director who envisions an idea and formulates the same into a film. The entire film unit functions according to the idea envisioned and work collaboratively to come up with a brilliant piece of performance that stands by the idea, thought or story. Since the earliest days of filmmaking, every country has had some ace directors who have given audience some scintillating movies that you just can’t get enough of even after watching it several times. It is to these directors that we owe much of our entertainment. British filmmakers have given world audience some exceptional movies that have been high on content and purely entertaining. The most outstanding quality of British films is that once seen, their work cannot be easily forgotten. Some of the exceptionally talented British directors include Alfred Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, David Lean, Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle and so on. However, these are just a handful of the truckloads of outstanding directors that Britain has been home to. Check with this segment to know more about famous British directors, their life, profile, works and movies.

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
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Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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 Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: July 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

British-American writer and director, Christopher Nolan is known for his distinctive kind of films which are often intelligent, deep and nonlinear. He gained international recognition with Memento and further reached greater heights with big budget movies like The Dark Knight film series, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. The multiple award winning director began shooting short films at the age of seven.

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 3 Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: March 7, 1999

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.

 4 Banksy

Banksy
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Famous As: Graffiti Artist
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Nationality: British

Speaking to world through his spray paints and stencils, Banksy is a popular, though anonymous, graffiti artist. He has a unique style that includes stenciling technique and is known for delivering satirical political and social messages. With fans all over the world, this mysterious artist’s works are worth millions of pounds.

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 5 Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 13, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: April 29, 1980

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.

 6 Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott
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Famous As: Film Producer, Director
Birthdate: November 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

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.

 7 Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie
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Famous As: Filmmaker & Businessman
Birthdate: September 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British

As a 15-year-old who left school to take up entry-level jobs in the entertainment industry, Guy Ritchie has turned out pretty well. As a filmmaker, he has made some high-grossing films, such as Aladdin and The Gentlemen. Apart from being a filmmaker and writer, Guy Ritchie also practices Shotokan karate, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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 8 Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough
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Famous As: British Politician
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: August 24, 2014

Richard Attenborough is credited with making one of the greatest films of all time - Gandhi. Also an actor, Richard served as the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Apart from being honored by the British royalty, he was also honored with India's third-highest civilian award, The Padma Bhushan.

 9 Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 1, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

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.

 10 Soni Razdan

Soni Razdan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 25, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian, British

 11 David Thewlis

David Thewlis
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
David Thewlis gained fame with his role in Naked, a film that won him a Cannes Film Festival Award. Fans loved him as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film franchise and Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares in Wonder Woman. He has also written a novel and directed a BAFTA-nominated short film. 

 12 Karen Gillan

Karen Gillan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

Karen Gillan is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Scotland. She is best known for playing Nebula and Ruby Roundhouse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Jumanji film series respectively. Also a filmmaker, she wrote and directed The Party's Just Beginning, apart from acting in the film. She is also a philanthropist.

 13 Jerry O'Connell

Jerry O'Connell
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 17, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British, American

 14 Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: May 30, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Director, screenwriter, and producer Duncan Jones, son of rockstar David Bowie, is best known for his BAFTA-winning directorial debut, Moon. His other notable works include Source Code and Warcraft. He has also co-written a graphic novel. He married his fiancée, Rodene Ronquillo, the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

 15 Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux
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Famous As: Documentary Filmmaker
Birthdate: May 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British, American

Renowned British-American documentary filmmaker, Louis Theroux began his career as a journalist with Metro Silicon Valley, Spy magazine and TV Nation series. He gained recognition with his documentary series When Louis Met..., and Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. The two time BAFTA Award winner has also received appreciation for his documentaries The Most Hated Family in America and My Scientology Movie.

 16 Charles Dance

Charles Dance
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Charles Dance is best known as Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones and Lord Mountbatten in Netflix’s The Crown. He started as a Shakespearean actor and has also received the OBE. He has also appeared in Childhood's End, The Jewel in the Crown, and the films Alien 3 and Kabloonak

 17 Bonnie Wright

Bonnie Wright
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 17, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

Bonnie Wright is an English actress, filmmaker, screenwriter, and activist. She is best known for portraying Ginny Weasley in the popular Harry Potter movie series. Over the years, Wright has been playing a key role in raising awareness about plastic pollution. She also serves as an ambassador for an international non-governmental charity called Lumos.

 18 Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 19 Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: April 18, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Director Edgar Wright is best known for the film Shaun of the Dead, part of “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy." He also directed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and co-wrote Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin and the Marvel film Ant-Man. His signature style includes tracking shots and zooms. 

 20 Sophie Hunter

Sophie Hunter
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Famous As: Theatre Director
Birthdate: March 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

Sophie Hunter is an English playwright, opera director, and former performer. She is credited with co-founding and popularizing a theatre company called Boileroom, which was honored with the Samuel Theatre Trust Award in 2007 for its play The Terrific Electric, which marked Sophie Hunter's directorial debut.

 21 Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, American
Died: February 23, 1965

Comedian Stan Laurel entertained audiences as part of the iconic duo Laurel and Hardy, along with Oliver Hardy, in over 100 films. He began his career with music-hall sketch comedy and worked as an understudy of Charlie Chaplin in Fred Karno's Army. He was known for his trademark bowler hat.

 22 Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Actor, Animator, Film actor
Birthdate: November 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British, American

 23 Jason Connery

Jason Connery
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: January 11, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British

Jason Connery, son of legendary actor Sean Connery, started his career with theater and was part of the Tony-winning play Love! Valour! Compassion! Audiences loved his performance in Robin of Sherwood. Jason has also been part of a few horror films and has directed an award-winning film, Tommy's Honour.

 24 Sam Taylor-Johnson

Sam Taylor-Johnson
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 25 Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle
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Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Film Producer
Birthdate: October 20, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

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.

 26 Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

A Tony Award recipient, Ralph Fiennes is one of the most respected English actors of the current generation. He is known for playing important roles in notable films, such as the Harry Potter and James Bond film series. A Stanislavsky Award recipient, he is also known for his work behind the camera.

 27 Kevin McKidd

Kevin McKidd
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American, Scottish

 28 Tony Scott

Tony Scott
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: June 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, American
Died: August 19, 2012

 29 Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: December 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

Northern Irish actor, director, and producer, Kenneth Branagh, is a respected figure in Hollywood. Beginning his career as a theater artist in Northern Ireland, he eventually moved to films. He is famous for starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards five times.

 30 Simon Monjack

Simon Monjack
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Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Birthdate: March 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: May 23, 2010

Simon Monjack was an English filmmaker, screenwriter, and make-up artist. Much of his professional life was overshadowed by his personal life, which included his marriage to American actress Brittany Murphy. Monjack's death attracted the attention of media as he died five months after Murphy's death due to complications similar to Murphy's undoing. 

 31 Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

British actor Andrew Serkis, a critically acclaimed motion capture artist, first gained widespread recognition for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He provided motion capture movements and voice for the computer-generated imagery character Gollum. Planet of the Apes trilogy and The Adventures of Tintin are some of the other notable films for which he has done motion capture work.

 32 Richard Osman

Richard Osman
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Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: November 28, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

Richard Osman is an English writer, television presenter, comedian, and producer. He is credited with creating the popular British TV quiz show Pointless. He is also renowned for his work as creative director of the famous TV production company Endemol UK. Also an influential writer, Richard Osman's novel The Thursday Murder Club is expected to be adapted into a film.

 33 Victoria Wood

Victoria Wood
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: May 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: April 20, 2016

 34 Peter Serafinowicz

Peter Serafinowicz
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 10, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British

 35 Jonathan Nolan

Jonathan Nolan
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Director, Producer
Birthdate: June 6, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, American

Jonathan Nolan is a British-American television producer, director, screenwriter, and author. He is credited with creating the CBS science fiction crime drama Person of Interest. He is also credited with co-creating HBO's popular science fiction Western television series Westworld. Along with his brother Christopher Nolan, Jonathan has co-written popular films, such as The Dark Knight and Interstellar.

 36 Roddy McDowall

Roddy McDowall
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 17, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: October 3, 1998
Roddy McDowall is best remembered as Cornelius and Caesar from the original Planet of the Apes movie series and as Galen from the 1974 spin-off series. His portrayal of Octavian in Cleopatra earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He was also a talented photographer and was associated with several boards.

 37 Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Sudanese, British

 38 Paul W. S. Anderson

Paul W. S. Anderson
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Famous As: Director, Producer
Birthdate: March 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Paul W. S. Anderson is best known for directing sci-fi movies based on video games, such as the Resident Evil franchise and Mortal Kombat. His Event Horizon was panned by critics initially but went on to achieve a cult following later. He also created the Death Race series of films.

 39 Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 40 Keiran Lee

Keiran Lee
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 15, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British

 41 Martin Clunes

Martin Clunes
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Martin Clunes is best known as Martin Ellingham from Doc Martin and as Gary Strang from Men Behaving Badly, winning a BAFTA for the latter. The OBE honoree has also starred in the film Shakespeare in Love, voiced Kipper the Dog in Kipper, and narrated several animal-centric documentaries.

 42 David Morrissey

David Morrissey
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 21, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
David Morrissey is best known for his portrayal of The Governor in The Walking Dead. A talented Shakespearean theater actor, he has also delivered an award-winning performance as Macbeth. He has also been seen in films such as Sense and Sensibility and The Reaping, and has directed various projects.

 43 Alex Winter

Alex Winter
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British, American

 44 Graham McTavish

Graham McTavish
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, Scottish

 45 Mackenzie Crook

Mackenzie Crook
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 46 Rupert Sanders

Rupert Sanders
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Director Rupert Sanders is best known for his work in the blockbuster film Snow White and the Huntsman and the movie adaptation of the sci-fi manga franchise Ghost in the Shell. He also won two Golden Lions for directing the commercial The Life for the video game Halo 3: ODST

 47 Alex Garland

Alex Garland
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Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: May 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

Alex Garland is an English filmmaker and writer best known for penning the critically acclaimed novel, The Beach, which was adapted into a movie after being translated into 25 languages. Apart from writing screenplays of films like 28 Days Later, Garland has also directed movies like Ex Machina, which earned him an Oscar nomination and a couple of BIFA awards.

 48 Peter Ustinov

Peter Ustinov
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 16, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: March 28, 2004

 49 Shaun Evans

Shaun Evans
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 6, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

Shaun Evans is an English actor best known for playing Endeavour Morse in the popular detective drama TV series, Endeavour. Also known for his skills as a director, Shaun Evans has helmed a couple of episodes of TV series Casualty and Endeavour.

 50 David Soul

David Soul
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, American