Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part V (#10-1)

10. Francis Ford Coppola

The greatest director of the '70s. Period. He only directed four movies during that decade, and can you guess which ones they are? The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. An easy argument could be made that they are the four greatest movies of the '70s, and all of which could easily find their way near the top of an all-time greatest movies list. In short, he only needed those four to make it onto this list, and his position here is richly deserved.

Favorite movies:
- The Godfather
- The Godfather Part II
- The Conversation
- Apocalypse Now

9. Joel & Ethan Coen

One of the few directors (if you care to count them as one director) that I have seen every movie by. No, I didn't care much for The Ladykillers, The Hudsucker Proxy, Intolerable Cruelty, Burn After Reading (though I plan on re-watching that soon, hopefully with better results), or True Grit, but not enough to detract from their other 10 movies. All-in-all, they are very hit and miss for me, but I love them anyway, and have directed some of my all-time favorite movies.

Favorite movies:
- No Country For Old Men
- The Big Lebowski
- Fargo
- Raising Arizona
- Miller's Crossing
- Barton Fink

8. Alfred Hitchcock

The Master Of Suspense, as some people call him, and not a moniker I would find myself disagreeing with. Yes, he has directed some disappointments (Strangers On A Train, Spellbound, and I Confess immediately spring to mind), but when you compare them to his most prolific work, it's hard for me to hold them against him. (On a side-note: This blog's name is derived from his TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which is equally as incredible as most of the material you can find here on this blog.)

Favorite movies:
- Psycho
- North By Northwest
- Vertigo
- Rear Window
- Rebecca
- The Birds
- Dial 'M' For Murder

7. Woody Allen

I have probably seen about as many movies by Allen as I have any other director (with the exception of my #1), and seldom has he disappointed me. No, I wasn't too enthralled with Annie Hall or Sleeper, but as previously implied, I don't find myself holding grudges against directors for occasionally producing material that I don't personally care for. And though he has recently slowed in his production of strong material, his newest picture Midnight In Paris is one of my favorites he has ever done, so I can't complain. Regardless, Woody Allen has directed some fantastic movies, and is definitely one of my favorite entertainers of any medium.

Favorite movies:
- Hannah And Her Sisters
- Midnight In Paris
- The Purple Rose Of Cairo
- Zelig
- Match Point
- Crimes And Misdemeanors
- Broadway Danny Rose
- Bullets Over Broadway
- Husbands And Wives

6. Sidney Lumet

No, he is not this high on my list because he is recently deceased. He's on here because he directed some of the greatest movies I've ever seen, if you can buy that. Yes, he too has produced a few duds, but watching things like Network and Dog Day Afternoon instantly wipe them from memory. Too bad Ethan Hawke (aka Satan) had to ruin Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, otherwise there would have been another great addition to the list.

Favorite movies:
- Network
- Dog Day Afternoon
- 12 Angry Men
- Murder On The Orient Express
- Long Day's Journey Into Night
- The Verdict
- Serpico

5. Billy Wilder

Easily one of the greatest directors, and quite possibly the greatest screenwriter of all-time as well, Wilder was a pioneering comedic and dramatic director. Like with any other director, he has produced some material I was less than fond of, but that couldn't stop me from looking at him as one of the best ever. Watch some of the following movies and you will see for yourself why he is this high on my list.

Favorite movies:
- The Lost Weekend
- Ace In The Hole
- Double Indemnity
- Stalag 17
- Sunset Boulevard
- Witness For The Prosecution
- Some Like It Hot
- The Apartment

4. Luis Bunuel

As a Christian, it's hard for me to get behind Bunuel's incredibly sacrilegious viewpoint, but his movies are so well-done, it's impossible for me to hold it against him for long. I haven't seen a single movie of his that I didn't think was at least really good (very eloquently phrased, I know), which makes him at this point, one of the most dependable directors I've ever went out of my way to explore.

Favorite movies:
- The Exterminating Angel
- El
- The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
- The Young And The Damned
- Viridiana
- That Obscure Object Of Desire
- Simon Of The Desert
- The Criminal Life Of Archibaldo De La Cruz
- Belle De Jour

3. Stanley Kubrick

I originally was going to put Kubrick #5 on this list, and then I remembered just how great he really was. I really don't see the point in going into detail why he's on this list, because if you've seen any of these movies, you will probably know exactly why he's on here. In fact, I'd be surprised if I don't get several people saying "he should be #1!" and then start spitting on the floor.

Favorite movies:
- Dr. Strangelove
- A Clockwork Orange
- Paths Of Glory
- The Shining
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Lolita
- The Killing
- Eyes Wide Shut

2. Ingmar Bergman

My second best reason why Kubrick isn't #1. Bergman's unmistakable style makes his movies (much like David Lynch) slightly unnerving, but always engrossing. I've still only seen 9 of his movies, but I know for a fact that the deeper I go into his filmography, the more I will admire him. There is a certain mystic quality that you see in many of his movies that I always find strange and incredible. I can't really describe it, but I think that's part of what makes him so amazing.

Favorite movies:
- Wild Strawberries
- The Seventh Seal
- Through A Glass Darkly
- Hour Of The Wolf
- The Virgin Spring
- Winter Light
- Persona
- The Magician
- Cries And Whispers

1. Akira Kurosawa

If you have ever talked to me about movies for more than about 5 minutes, you could have predicted this. If not, well, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise anyway. Having seen 20+ of his movies, Kurosawa is so obviously the greatest director I have ever seen, that the rest of the list almost doesn't mean anything anymore, because he is head-and-shoulders above the rest of them. When it comes to filmmaking, no-one comes close, and yes, I am bordering on having a seizure right now just writing about it. I decided not to include all of his movies on the following list, but of the ones I've seen, these stand out as being my favorites. So don't be lame, watch as many of these movies as you can get your hands on.

Favorite movies:
- Seven Samurai
- Rashomon
- Ran
- Red Beard
- Ikiru
- Throne Of Blood
- Dreams
- Yojimbo / Sanjuro
- The Bad Sleep Well
- The Hidden Fortress
- The Lower Depths
- Madadayo
- High And Low

Thank you for being patient with me -- those of you who are still reading at this point -- and I hope my list didn't disappoint. See you next time!


Rodders said...

your list didn't disappoint, it's a great list, and great to see Kubrick ranked so highly

Tom_Film_Master said...

This is a fantastic list, but Strangers on a Train is a great film! Some of these directors I need to look into more for sure, great job Jeff!