Directors

Remember Catch Me If You Can, Schindlers List or even Saving Private Ryan? They are all Directors are the ones who direct the translation of the script into the final movie. They guide the complete process of making of the film starting right from the visualization of the script to the completion of the filming. The role of a director in film making is extremely complex—he is responsible not just for the technical aspects, but also for the dramatization and artistic elements of film production. Direction is a highly creative process; the director has to give a concrete form to the written words in the script by translating them into sounds and visuals. He has to guide the cinematographer in camera placements, selection of shots and staging of the action. He has to manage the flow of film production in a controlled pace by working with the other crew members and guiding them in setups and rehearsals. Film making involves various components which are to be converged into a single complete unit, i.e., the movie. It is the director who coordinates the efforts of the different professionals involved in film making to realize the artistic vision that eventually takes the shape of a film. Read on to know about the life and works of famous directors, through their biographies and timelines, from around the world.

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 Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 31, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
The quintessential Western man in the Hollywood movies, Clint Eastwood is regarded as the cultural icon of masculinity. Eastwood’s brilliant portrayal of tough, rugged, ruthless guy in the Western movies endeared him to the masses and brought him international fame.

 2 Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg.
6
Famous As: film director
Birthdate: December 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Film director, producer, and screenwriter Steven Spielberg is one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. A pioneer of the New Hollywood era, he popularized the genre of escapist films. As of 2020, he is the highest-grossing film director in history. He has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice.

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 3 Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino.
4
Famous As: Fimmaker
Birthdate: March 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Popular film director, screenwriter, and producer, Quentin Tarantino, first rose to fame as an independent filmmaker in the early 1990s. His films are known for their nonlinear story-lines and neo-noir elements and have garnered both critical and commercial success. He is the winner of two Academy Awards and has been called "the single most influential director of his generation."

 4 Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin.
4
Famous As: Comic Actor
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London, England
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.

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 5 Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan.
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: July 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

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.

 6 Ron Howard

Ron Howard.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Duncan, Oklahoma, United States

Ron Howard started his career in the show business as an actor, but it was in direction that he found his true calling. He is highly respected for his craft and films like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. He won the Academy Award for the Best  Director for A Breautiful Mind.

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 7 Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese.
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: November 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York, United States

Martin Scorsese is widely considered one of the most influential and significant film directors in the history of the American film industry. One of the most decorated film directors, Scorsese has nine Oscar nominations, the most for any living director. He has also founded many non-profit organizations like The Film Foundation and World Cinema Foundation.

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 8 Tim Burton

Tim Burton.
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: August 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States

The quintessential filmmaker of gothic fantasy films in Hollywood, Tim Burton's contribution to the long list of American film industry's quirky movies is immense. Since he is also an artist and animator, he is perhaps best-suited for making the kind of films that he has made so far - Edward Scissorhands, Planet of the Apes, and Alice in Wonderland.

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 9 George Lucas

George Lucas.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: May 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Modesto, California, United States
National Medal of Arts-winner George Lucas is best known for his iconic movie series Star Wars and Indiana Jones. He wished to the join the U.S. Air Force but was rejected, following which he studied film production at USC. He is also a Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee.

 10 Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
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.

 11 James Cameron

James Cameron.
6
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.

 12 Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks.
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: June 28, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Mel Brooks is the director of iconic comedy films and spoofs like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety and Spaceballs. He is also an actor and a writer and has written for many films. He has received many awards and accolades and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film. The Producers, in 1969.

 13 Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 13, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leytonstone, London, England
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.

 14 Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki.
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bunkyō

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.

 15 Orson Welles

Orson Welles.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
Died: October 10, 1985

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.

 16 David Lynch

David Lynch.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: January 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Missoula, Montana, United States

American filmmaker David Lynch is widely regarded as one of the most influential and accomplished directors of the modern era. Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire are some of his acclaimed films. He was given an honorary Oscar in 2019. He is also a painter and a musician.

 17 Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson.
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Famous As: Producer
Birthdate: May 1, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Wes Anderson’s movies mostly have eccentric narratives. BBC named his films The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel to their list of the greatest films made since 2000. He owns a production company and has won a Silver Bear for the animation film Isle of Dogs.

 18 Spike Lee

Spike Lee.
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: March 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Spike Lee is a celebrated and one of the most decorated American filmmakers of his generation. Most of his critically acclaimed films explore political issues, such as urban crime and poverty, colorism in the African-American community, and race relations. Four of his films have been selected for conservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

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 19 Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough.
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Famous As: British Politician
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
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.

 20 Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola.
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Famous As: FilmMaker
Birthdate: April 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Francis Ford Coppola is an American filmmaker. Widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers ever, Francis Ford Coppola was a prominent figure in the Hollywood Renaissance filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A much revered and celebrated filmmaker, he is credited with directing some of the greatest films of all time, including The Godfather movie series.

 21 Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott.
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Famous As: Film Producer, Director
Birthdate: November 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: South Shields

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.

 22 Rob Reiner

Rob Reiner
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 23 Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson.
4
Famous As: Film Director, Producer & Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 31, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pukerua Bay, New Zealand

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

 24 Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson.
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: June 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Studio City, California
Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s style of using hard-hitting cinematography and flawed characters is distinctive. He first shot to fame with Boogie Nights in 1997 and then impressed his critics with There Will Be Blood in 2007. He has also directed music videos and made a short film for Netflix.

 25 Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog.
4
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: September 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich
Werner Herzog, one of the prominent figures of the New German Cinema era, has directed films such as Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, and documentaries such as Grizzly Man. Named to TIME 100, he has written countless books and directed many operas. He was also seen playing The Client in The Mandalorian.

 26 Danny DeVito

Danny DeVito.
4
Birthdate: November 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Neptune Township, New Jersey, United States

An award-winning actor, Danny DeVito overcame a rare genetic disorder called Fairbank's disease to become an influential figure in the American film industry. Along with Michael Shamberg, he founded a production company called Jersey Films, which went on to produce films like Pulp Fiction. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

 27 Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa.
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shinagawa City, Tokyo, Japan
Died: September 6, 1998

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.

 28 Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Actor, Animator, Film actor
Birthdate: November 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minneapolis

 29 Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin

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.

 30 John Carpenter

John Carpenter
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Famous As: American film director
Birthdate: January 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Carthage, New York, United States

 31 Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: August 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington

 32 Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton.
4
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: October 4, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Piqua, Kansas, United States
Died: February 1, 1966

Buster Keaton was an American comedian, filmmaker, actor, and stunt performer. Regarded as one of the greatest actor-directors of all time, Keaton was renowned for his physical comedy. Counted among the greatest stars of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute, Buster Keaton's films remain highly regarded. His 1926 film The General was admired by actors like Orson Welles.

 33 Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 10, 2004

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.

 34 Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray.
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Famous As: Indian filmmaker
Birthdate: May 2, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: April 23, 1992

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. 

 35 Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States

Emilio Estevez is known for acting in movies like The Mighty Ducks, The Breakfast Club and Repo Man as well as Bobby and The Public, the last two of which he also wrote and directed. One of the members of 1980s Brat Pack group of actors, he has also directed television shows like CSI: NY and appeared in music videos.

 36 Alejandro Gonzalez Inãrittu

Alejandro Gonzalez Inãrittu.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Mexican filmmaker, Alejandro Gonzalez Inãrittu, is known internationally for his films about the human condition. Beginning his entertainment career as a radio host, he started composing music and producing films as the years went by. The recipient of many prestigious awards, he is the first Mexican filmmaker to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

 37 Banksy

Banksy.
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Famous As: Graffiti Artist
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Bristol, England

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.

 38 Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi
4
Famous As: American film director
Birthdate: October 23, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Royal Oak

 39 Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Austin, Texas, United States

American actor, Ethan Hawke, is an acclaimed artist and has had a successful career. His breakthrough role was of a school student in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. Training Day, First Reformed, Boyhood, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight are some of his critically appreciated movies. He has also directed several films and acted in many stage productions.

 40 Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: May 14, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago

 41 Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular Mexican filmmakers of all time. Along with Alejandro Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, he is known as one of the Three Amigos of Cinema. He also played a major role as a former special effects makeup artist. In 2018, he was named in Time's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 42 Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: November 27, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Carlos, California, United States

 43 Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Saba, Texas, United States

Veteran actor and filmmaker, Tommy Lee Jones, has had a career spanning over half a century.  he has played many notable roles onscreen and is especially known for portraying real-life characters like businessman Howard Hughes. He has won an Academy Award for his performance in the movie, The Fugitive. Tommy Lee Jones is an inductee to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.

 44 Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman.
4
Famous As: Director & Actor
Birthdate: July 14, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Uppsala, Sweden
Died: July 30, 2007

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.

 45 Lilly Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: December 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 46 Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler.
4
Famous As: Actor, Director, Model, Painter
Birthdate: March 9, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Las Vegas

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.

 47 Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone.
4
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Birthdate: September 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Oliver Stone is a filmmaker best known for his trilogy of war films, which he made based on his own experience in the Vietnam War, where he served as an infantry soldier. Known for making controversial films based on political issues, he is often criticized for misrepresenting real-world events and promoting conspiracy theories in his films.

 48 John Huston

John Huston.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nevada, Missouri, United States
Died: August 28, 1987

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.

 49 John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes.
4
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: December 9, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 3, 1989
John Cassavetes is best remembered for his Academy Award-nominated performance in The Dirty Dozen and for his Academy Award-nominated screenplay and direction in Faces and A Woman Under the Influence, respectively. His movies explored the cinéma verité style of filmmaking and included frequent collaborations with his wife, Gena Rowlands.

 50 Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Donnie Yen is a Hong Kong martial artist, actor, stuntman, action choreographer, director, and producer. He has won several wushu tournaments and is credited for introducing mixed martial arts to mainstream Asian cinema. He is also credited with introducing UFC champion Zhang Weili to MMA. Donnie Yen has won several awards like Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards.

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