Famous Canadian Directors

If you are a movie buff or have an affinity for watching movies from across the globe, you would agree that film-watching wouldn’t be complete unless you have seen Canadian movies like ‘Jesus of Montreal’, ‘Mon oncle Antoine’, ‘Goin’ Down the Road’, ‘Les Ordres’ or even ‘Dead Ringers’. These are some of the classic cult Canadian films that every movie buff should watch. Having said that, it is only natural to think what would these movies had been, if not for their directors! A director is often the unsung hero of a film – you appreciate an actor for his on-screen performance, a singer for his songs, music director for the music, choreographer for the dance moves and the art director for the fights. But all those wouldn’t have meant anything if not for a director’s vision! Directors are the backbone of every film – they are the reason why a unit comes together on the floor and works hard to come up with a film. It is a director’s dream and his visualizations that get enlivened on the camera roll. Canada has a pool of visionary directors who have put to canvas some masterpieces that are hard to beat, be it Claude Jutra, Atom Egoyan, Don Shebib, Denys Arcand or Ted Kotcheff. With this section, explore the life and career of top Canadian 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 Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 9, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada

Beginning his career as a child star, actor Michael J. Fox went on to play more mature roles as a young adult and established himself firmly in Hollywood. His thriving career suffered a setback when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at just 29. Despite his health issues, he continues to act and advocates for Parkinson's disease research.

 2 Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve
4
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Playwright
Birthdate: October 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

Known for directing critically acclaimed movies, such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve was adjudged Filmmaker of the Decade in 2019 by the Hollywood Critics Association. One of the most popular and respected filmmakers of the current generation, Denis Villeneuve's films have had a major impact all over the world.

 3 James Cameron

James Cameron
7
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: August 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kapuskasing, Canada

Canadian film director, producer, and screenwriter James Cameron is best known for making science fiction and epic films. He is the co-founder of the production companies Lightstorm Entertainment and Digital Domain. Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. He is also an environmentalist.

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 4 William Shatner

William Shatner
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Canadian actor, William Shatner, is best known for his roles in the television series Boston Legal, a legal drama for which he won two Emmy Awards and Star Trek, a science fiction adventure. He has also worked in many other sitcoms and films and has authored a number of science fiction novels. He is a singer and a spoken-word artist too.

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 5 Avan Jogia

Avan Jogia
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Avan Jogia is a Canadian actor and singer. He gained recognition with his performance in the American biographical TV film A Girl Like Me. Also an activist, Jogia co-founded Straight But Not Narrow, a non-profit organization which aims at changing the viewpoints of straight people about the LGBTQ community. Not surprisingly, he is loved and respected within the LGBT community.

 6 David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg
4
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: March 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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. 

 7 Amy Jo Johnson

Amy Jo Johnson
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dennis, Massachusetts, United States

Amy Jo Johnson is an American-Canadian filmmaker, actress, singer, and songwriter. Over the years, Johnson has been honored at several important film festivals including Long Island Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. A multi-talented personality, Amy Jo Johnson has also directed a couple of films like Tammy's Always Dying and The Space Between.

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 8 Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman
3
Famous As: Owner of The Montecito Picture Company, founded in 1998.
Birthdate: October 27, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Komárno, Czechoslovakia

Ivan Reitman is a screenwriter and film and TV producer and director. He is a co-owner of The Montecito Picture Company. He attended McMaster University, where he studied music. After being fired from his first job at a TV channel, he went on to produce stage productions. Later on, he began producing films as well. 

 9 Nia Vardalos

Nia Vardalos
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 24, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Nia Vardalos is a Canadian actress, filmmaker, and screenwriter. She is best known for her portrayal of Fotoula Toula Portokalos in the 2002 romantic comedy film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which she also wrote. For her work in the film, Vardalos received several award nominations. Nia Vardalos is also part of the non-profit collaborative art project, 1 Second Film

 10 Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley
3
Famous As: Actress, Director
Birthdate: January 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 11 George A. Romero

George A. Romero
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: February 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: July 16, 2017

Legendary horror filmmaker George A. Romero is best known for his Night of the Living Dead series and for popularizing the zombie film genre. He also gained fame for his collaborations with horror novelist Stephen King, the most notable of them being the film version of King’s novel The Dark Half.

 12 Dave Foley

Dave Foley
3
Famous As: Actor, Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: January 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

A high-school dropout, Dave Foley started his career with stand-up comedy. After meeting Kevin McDonald, he formed the iconic sketch-comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall with him and others. He later appeared in movies such as The Wrong Guy and voiced for animated characters, such as Flik from A Bug's Life.

 13 Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland
0
Famous As: Actor, Director, Producer, Voice Actor
Birthdate: December 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England, UK

The son of famous Canadian actors, Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland followed in his parents' footsteps to become a famous actor. Apart from being a respected and decorated actor, Kiefer is also one of the controversy's favorite children, having been on the wrong side of the law several times.

 14 David Furnish

David Furnish
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: October 25, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian filmmaker and former advertising executive David Furnish is an alumnus of the University of Western Ontario in London. He is openly gay and is married to English musician Sir Elton John. Along with his husband, he is co-chief of Rocket Pictures, a film production company. He also serves on the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

 15 Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan
3
Famous As: Director known for his film It's Only The End of the World 2016, Mommy 2014
Birthdate: March 20, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, the son of actor-singer Manuel Tadros, first gained fame with his directorial debut, I Killed My Mother, at 19. He later won the Jury Prize at Cannes with his film Mommy. He has also dubbed for Ron Weasley in the French versions of Harry Potter films.

 16 Michael Mando

Michael Mando
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Canadian actor Michael Mando is best known for his roles in the video game Far Cry 3, sci-fi series Orphan Black, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and AMC series Better Call Saul. Trained in both classical and contemporary theatre,  Mando also played Mac Gargan aka The Scorpion in the movie Spiderman Homecoming. He is also the Artistic Director and President of Red Barlo Productions.

 17 Tosca Musk

Tosca Musk
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: South Africa

South African filmmaker, Tosca Musk, has produced and directed several TV programs, films, and web series. Beginning her career in the early 2000s, she teamed up with Jeff Macpherson to produce the web series, Tiki Bar TV. Her movie, Simple Things, received the California Independent Film Festival Slate Award. She is also the founder of the streaming service Passionflix.

 18 Jason Reitman

Jason Reitman
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director
Birthdate: October 19, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Jason Reitman, a Canadian-American film director, is best known for directing the films such as Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult.  Also a screenwriter, producer, and actor, Reitman has received one Grammy Award, one Golden Globe, and four Academy Award nominations. 

 19 Paulo Costanzo

Paulo Costanzo
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 21, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Paulo Costanzo is a Canadian actor best known for his role in the TV Series Animorphs. The son of a singer-songwriter and an artist, he was drawn to creative professions from a young age and chose to become an actor. He began his career in the early 2000s and became a sensation owing to his good looks and impeccable talent.

 20 Peter DeLuise

Peter DeLuise
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Peter DeLuise is an actor, screenwriter, and producer. He made his debut as an actor in the late 1970s and gained fame with his role in the Fox TV series 21 Jump Street. He eventually branched out into direction and production as well. As a director and writer, he is known for his science fiction TV shows. 

 21 Joanna Gleason

Joanna Gleason
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Joanna Gleason is a singer and actress best known for her portrayal of the Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods for which she was honored with the Tony Award. Renowned for her musical theatre and stage work, Gleason was also honored with a Special Award for Achievement in Theatre by the New England Theatre Conference in 2007.

 22 Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: July 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Shawn Levy is a Canadian film director, producer, and actor. He has directed films, such as Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen and the Night at the Museum series. He bagged an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture for producing the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival. Levy has also been one of the executive producers of the Netflix original series Stranger Things

 23 Evan Goldberg

Evan Goldberg
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 11, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Evan Goldberg is a Canadian screenwriter, comedian, and film and TV producer, and director.  He attended Point Grey Secondary School, where he befriended future actor Seth Rogen. The two men often collaborate and have worked together on projects, such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End. They won a Canadian Comedy Award for Superbad. 

 

 24 Enrico Colantoni

Enrico Colantoni
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Enrico Colantoni is a Canadian actor and director best known for his role in the sitcom Just Shoot Me! He received his training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Yale School of Drama. He began his career as an actor in the 1980s and appeared in a string of successful TV series. He is also a director. 

 25 David Sutcliffe

David Sutcliffe
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

David Sutcliffe is a Canadian-American former actor best known for portraying the role of Christopher Hayden in the popular TV series Gilmore Girls. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, David Sutcliffe helped raise money for programs concerning children's mental health in 2013. He also participated in the World Poker Tour to benefit the Hollygrove House charity.

 26 Saul Rubinek

Saul Rubinek
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Föhrenwald, Wolfratshausen, Bavaria, Germany

Saul Rubinek is a German-born Canadian actor, director, and playwright. Encouraged to pursue acting by his parents, he enrolled at the Ottawa Little Theatre. After a successful Broadway career, he branched out to TV shows and films as well. He made his directorial debut with the black comedy film Jerry and Tom, earning a Sundance Film Festival award nomination. 

 27 Paul Gross

Paul Gross
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 30, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paul Gross is a Canadian actor, director, producer, writer, and musician. He is best known for his association with the popular TV series Due South; in addition to playing the lead role of Constable Benton Fraser in the series, Gross also wrote and executive produced some of the episodes. Over the years, he has won many awards including Gemini Awards.

 28 Leslie Hope

Leslie Hope
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada

Leslie Hope is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Teri Bauer in the popular American action drama TV series, 24. Over the years, she has played an important role as an actress in both the Canadian and American entertainment industries. Apart from being an actress, Leslie Hope is also a director.

 29 Jennifer Finnigan

Jennifer Finnigan
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 22, 1979
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal
Daughter of Canadian radio star Jack Finnigan, Jennifer Finnigan soared to fame with her roles in The Bold and the Beautiful and Salvation, and in several TV movies. The Emmy Award-winning actor is also a pilates fan. She now stays in Los Angeles with her actor husband Jonathan Silverman

 30 Norman Jewison

Norman Jewison
2
Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Actor, Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto

 31 Katherine Barrell

Katherine Barrell
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 32 Raymond Massey

Raymond Massey
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 29, 1983

 33 Gil Bellows

Gil Bellows
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 28, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Gil Bellows is a Canadian actor, director, and screenwriter best known for his portrayal of Tommy Williams in the 1994 drama film The Shawshank Redemption. Renowned for playing emotionally ambiguous characters, Gil Bellows is often counted among the finest character actors from Canada.

 34 Jean-Marc Vallée

Jean-Marc Vallée
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: March 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

 35 Jonathan Crombie

Jonathan Crombie
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 12, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: April 15, 2015

 36 David Hewlett

David Hewlett
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redhill, Surrey, England, UK

 37 Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Actor, University teacher
Birthdate: July 19, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cairo

 38 Hart Bochner

Hart Bochner
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Hart Bochner is a Canadian actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He is known for playing prominent roles in films like Rich and Famous, Mad at the Moon, and Liberty Stands Still. Also known for his work on TV, Bochner has played important roles in popular TV series, such as War and Remembrance, The Starter Wife, and Too Old To Die Young.

 39 Anna Silk

Anna Silk
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

 40 Director X

Director X
2
Famous As: music video director, film director
Birthdate: July 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto

 41 Mary Harron

Mary Harron
2
Famous As: Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: January 12, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

 42 Crystal Lowe

Crystal Lowe
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 20, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 43 Tyler Hynes

Tyler Hynes
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 44 Mike Clattenburg

Mike Clattenburg
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Cole Harbour, Canada

 45 June Havoc

June Havoc
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 8, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: March 28, 2010

 46 Arthur Hiller

Arthur Hiller
2
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: November 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada
Died: August 17, 2016

 47 Laurieann Gibson

Laurieann Gibson
2
Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: July 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 48 Steve Bacic

Steve Bacic
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lisicic, Croatia

 49 Mack Sennett

Mack Sennett
2
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. 

 50 Ted Kotcheff

Ted Kotcheff
2
Famous As: Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: April 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto