Steven Spielberg voted best Director

SteveSpielberg.jpgThere’s quite a few polls around just now, and I’ll follow up a few other posts at the weekend about top lists of films, however this one is quite interesting and I’m sure will spark some debate.

The BBC are carrying the story from Empire Magazine of their latest poll. The top Directors of all time…well, up until now that is. Here’s the top ten:

1. Steven Spielberg
2. Alfred Hitchcock
3. Martin Scorsese
4. Stanley Kubrick
5. Sir Ridley Scott
6. Akira Kurosawa
7. Peter Jackson
8. Quentin Tarantino
9. Orson Welles
10. Woody Allen

Well I actually think that’s a pretty fair list, although the order for me needs to be played around with a bit. I’d fire up Welles a few spots for sure, and does Jackson deserve to be there for pretty much three movies? I personally don’t see Allen in there, and where in god’s name is De Palma?

I’m sure we all have our own top Directors that should be there, and unless you’ve all emigrated or had your Internet connection cut off, you’re damn sure going to have something to say about the entrants on the list, and the order. So what’s wrong with these Directors? Which shouldn’t be there, and which are missing?

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42 thoughts on “Steven Spielberg voted best Director

  1. This list is embarrassing. Where did ART go?

    -Joseph L. Manciewicz

    -Zhang Yimou

    -Alfred Hitchcock

    -Jules Dassin

    -Jean Luc Godard

    -Vittorio DeSica

    -Luchino Visconti

    -Nikita Mikhalkov

    -Stanley Kubrick

    -Federico Fellini

    -Michael Cacoyannis

  2. Ryuhei kitamura is SURE to make the top 5 when he gets noticed by those silly, SILLY americans…..sheesh.

  3. The best director is the one who directed among others:

    The Apartment

    Sabrina

    Witness for the Presecution

    The Seven Year Itch

    Stalag 17

    Some Like It Hot

    The Lost Weekend

    Sunse Blvd

    Double Imdemnity

    These are just a few of the films BILLY WILDER directed most of which he also wrote and produced. He was nominated for 21 Academy Awards and won 5.

    Not one of the directors on the BBC list even comes close to his diversity. Peter Jackson, Quintin, Burton, DePalma ? You must be joking!

    Jeff Nelson

  4. Why not Steven Spielberg? Look at the top 100 movies of all time, 5 of the movies in that list (AFI) was directed by Spielberg. I think he leads the list than any single director. Obviously he is correct choice. Also Woody allen has 4 movies followed by Martin Sorcesse with 3 movies. To me the poll looks okay except for Peter Jackson and leaving Francis Ford coppolla.

  5. Lists are great for kickstarting debates – is that why they publish them? Anyway, how does this list reflect the equivalent top 10 movies of all time? Would like to see a wee match made here.

    Surely the end product is what drives how good a director is, however, point here is that they are not the only people who shape the end-product – actors, producers, crew, us, et al – much prefer best film lists as they represent the ‘whole’ film, not just the director part.

    “Here endeth the lesson”.

  6. The main thing that stops Walt Disney being there as he didnt direct a feature film in his life. He directed cartoons and short stories upto about 1940’ish, but that was it. He produced the majoirty of the Oscar winning films.

  7. I notice that nobody has mentioned Walt Disney. What, just because he only did animation, he isn’t considered a director? A dump truck full of Oscars would suggest otherwise.

  8. Akira Kurosawa
    Robert Altman
    Richard Linklater
    Stanley Kubrick
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Martin Scorsese
    Federico Fellini
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Woody Allen
    Charlie Chaplin

    How is Ridley Scott on this list?!?!?

  9. I am happy to see Ridley Scott finally recognized on a list of major directors, although I wouldn’t put him as high up there as Empire did – I certainly believe he deserves to be up there. I was surprised with Peter Jackson. I do think if you are going to put a relatively new director on the list, then rather than Peter Jackson, I would nominate Alfonso Curan or Steven Soderbergh or Wong-Kar Wai. But, hey that’s just me. Also, just a question but where is John Ford? I mean the guy inspired half the people on that list, defined a genre and created the form of the modern myth – but hey, I know, to a lot of people he’s just a guy who made “westerns” with John Wayne.

  10. The main problem is that so many of these directors have one great film to every dud film.

    Spielberg is right up there as is Scott, Lucas, Coppala, and even Scorsese but all have plenty of cheesy movies..
    Fincher has an Alien 3 which was out of his hands.
    Burton has 2-3 great films but a lot of crap.
    Hitchcock fantastic films just wooden acting, please watch again either North by NW or Rear Window.

    If we need to start at the top then Kubrick Number 1 for art and music, then Wilder number 2 for humour, from there its anyone’s guess.

    Jackson, Tarantino need to pay their dues.

    And as I said earlier the top 10 that is reported on is pointless, it’s Empire magazine for crying out loud i.e. hack writing.

    Editor, please post a Movieblog top ten so we discuss something worth while

  11. David Lynch
    David Fincher
    Jim Jarmusch
    Luc Besson
    Bernardo Bertolucci
    Wolfgang Petersen
    Roland Emmerich
    Oliver Stone
    Federico Fellini
    Sergio Leone

  12. 1. Steven Spielberg
    2. Martin Scorsese
    3. Alfred Hitchcock
    4. Stanley Kubrick
    5. Ridley Scott
    6. Woody Allen
    7. Peter Jackson
    8. Quentin Tarantino
    9. Orson Welles
    10. Charlie Chaplin

  13. Top ten polls are always subjective, especially if the criteria used for choosing is unclear.

    In something as broad as cinema the poll question needs to be very accurate otherwise its just my opinion versus yours. And if i prefer comedy over action, then obviously my comedy director beats your action director, regardless of actual ability.

    That said, if a director makes a film that ends up endangering numerous species of animals and creates unbelievable(and just plain wrong hysteria in jo-public) they should NOT be hailed as the greatest director.

    Spielberg needs to do a re-check on what he has done to the shark popluation of this planet by making three of the most god-awful, technically incorrect pieces of shit films ever. Anybody who has spent time in the water with these beautiful creatures will understand how they really are. Yes, films aren’t meant to be “real”, lets face it if they were most people probably wouldn’t watch them, they are supposed to be entertainment, but and its a big BUTT, if you are releasing a potential world wide film you need to be a touch more responsible.

    Spielberg in my opinion, overstepped that and should be excluded.

  14. John Hughes was the director of Ferris Buellers day off. He also directed Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. Plus numerous writting credits including Pretty in Pink. Chirs Colombus had no involvment directing wise with any of the Brat Pack films. Hughes did the Breakfast Club, Joel Schumacher Directed St Elmos Fire, Horward Deutch directed Pretty In Pink, Francis Ford Coppola directed the Outsiders (HOW IS FRANCIS FORD NOT IN THE LIST!!!!)

    Chris Colombus is probably best know, directing wise, for the two Harry Potter films, the first two Home Alone Films and Mrs Doubtfire. As fun films as these may be, it is hardily the most impressive of filmographys.

    The director of Beverly Hills Cop, Martin Brest has Gigli to his credit, so we should say no more on that one!

    However, Jason I do get your point. Currently, there are fundamentally two types of directors. The “popcorn” film makers. The likes of Speilberg, Lucas, Jackson, Colombus etc who make great commercial cinema. They make great feel good films, that make you laugh, make you cry, and the majority of the time you come out of the cinema feeling great. Lucas has always admitted his films are pure cinema. He feels to much dialogue and technical camera work can get in the way of his story. These guys make pure stimualtory cinema and know what the majority of the public want to see.

    The other form of directors are the “auteurs” of cinema. Scorcese, De Palma, Coppola, Altman, Mallick, etc. Many of these guys were inspired by the great European directors of Fellini, Bergman, Antonioni. They view film as art, and initially rebelled against the studio system and wanted to make films that were critically acclaimed, rather than big blockbusters. They were the first bunch of directors to have unhappy non-hollywood films, where the main characters died, or didn’t get the girl, or didn’t live happily ever after. They experimented with camera and editing techniques, used a lot of music and a lot of dialogue to drive their films on. Granted, not all there films are great but the legacy that these guys have left on cinema is simply stunning, and I don’t think will ever be repeated. Films like The Godfather, MASH, Scarface, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Apocolypse Now, The Player, are all great great great films.

    I do not think its is fair to compare the directors against eachother, because both have there merits and faults. Sometimes you don’t want to think about what you are watching. Sometimes you just want to watch a film that takes you from beginning to end and you sit back and enjoy the ride. You want to be removed from the horrors of real life. There are other times when I want to watch a film that makes me think, a film that may not be a “feel good” film. A film where not everything turns out great.

  15. Great comments there Jason.

    You picked a good point, and there’s a similar situation with music bands. They usually have one good album in them since most of their life has been gearing up for one album. Next one is rubbish, I guess the same could be said for Directors.

    There’s some great names popping up here that have so obviously been forgotten about.

    Another question to ask is what defines a great director? A better hit to non-hit ratio? Consecutively good movies? Consistent reinvention? Success in many genres? A great Director can surely have many misses if he meets some of these criteria?

  16. my favorites are (in no particular order):

    tim burton
    steven spielberg
    m night shyamalan
    ron howard
    micheal bay

  17. I think “Jason” makes a really good point (I cleaned up the misspellings and grammar a bit)…

    Think about how MANY films Chris Columbus has made that many would say “I Love his movies”….Planes, Trains and Auto’s…..Home Alone…..all those Brat pack Movies……definitely a lot of movies in my top one hundred….but none of us would even think of calling him a Great Director. Didn’t he do Ferris Bueller’s Day Off too? If you could only pick 1 director’s libary of films to take to a desert island for the rest of your life…..would it be Peter Jackson’s? Or Woody Allens? Or would you take Steven Speilberg’s or Chris Columbas’ or Alfred Hitchcock’s?

    I think this would change the way people would vote on their polling card. Who in their right mind would wanna watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy over and over again, when they could watch greats from the likes of Allen or James Cameron or even some “no-name” director with a list of great movie credentials.

  18. I would say it’s pretty accurate. I don’t know much of Wells work and I might change the order a bit.

    Instead of Jackson, I can think of a few off the top of my head that I like better:

    Steven Soderbergh
    James Cameron
    Tim Burton
    Roman Polanski
    P.T. Anderson
    Coen Brothers
    Terry Gilliam
    Brian DePalma
    Cameron Crowe
    Ron Howard

  19. Bottom line: Thats a crap list…way too broad….not enough thought behind it…..besides who has a harder job? Martin Scorcese figuring out a way to bash in a mafia hit mans brain or John Landis figuring out how to make John Belushi truly funny walking threw the lunch line in Animal House……”I’m a ZIT….get it?”

  20. I thought about this for a while and I want to change my opinion…..here’s why: I was commenting on the F Gary Grey blog about The Italian Job….and I was thinkin…..why is one director considered better? Its east to say: Steven Spielberg is better than F Gary Grey…RIGHT? QT hasent been around long…..true. Lucas made one Great movie…..debatable! Here is my point: Some of my favorite movies…like MY PERSONAL TOP 10…….I dont even know who directed them…..like….who directed the original Beverly Hills Cop? Not Sure! Who directed “Better Off Dead”? Again…..Who was responsible for Ernest goes to camp…errrrr….bad joke…..any way……my point is……I think every director has one or two great things in them…..some have more…..but IF you make only ONE movie that is considered and discussed 30 years down the road…..isnt that better than making twenty really average films? Think about hwo MANY films Chris Columbas has made that many would say “I Love his movies”….Planes,Trains and Auto’s…..Home Alone…..all those Brat pack Movies……definatly alote of movies in my top one hundred….but none of us would even think of calling him a Great Director. Didnt he do Ferris Buellers Day Off too? If you could only pick 1 directors libary of films to take to a desert island for the rest of your life…..would it be Peter Jackson’s? Or Woody Allens? Or would you take Steven Speilbergs or Chris Columbas or Alfred hitchcock? Does this make sense or am I an Ass?

  21. If you wanna make a list……make one with a list of the top ten UNDER RATED DIRECTORS or top ten Directors for certain types of movies….ie: top ten “action” directors,top ten “Cheesy” directors,top ten comedic directors…….cause every director on that list makes mostly Drama’s….but its a fact that its harder to make a truly GREAT comedy than a Drama……then you would have a acurate list…….Or even better….TOP TEN directors who salvaged a bad script! Thats a sign or a really true great director!!!!!!

  22. I feel that you cant put a director on that list after 3 or 4 movies….even if its a legend of a movie(Lucas)……Even Spielberg makes too many 2 1/2 star movies to be on the list….and he should never be above Hitchcock on any list….sorry. But I’ll tell you this……..I* dont care who disagree’s withg me….Peter Jackson shouldnt even be considered in the same breath as Orsen Wells……I’m very afraid that he will get that cult status like Lucas where he can live off LOTR for 25 years…..hope King Kong is good!

  23. “No James Cameron on the list? That Titanic movie made some money didn’t it?”

    It made a ton of money but it still sucked eggs.

    My favorite film of all time is Metropolis so I would have liked to have seen Fritz Lang up there but that’s just too much to ask for. Where is Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin? I guess no one watches the silents anymore. As for Spielberg. I would put him on the list because of Jaws, Close Encounters and Schindler’s list. Then I remember he did the three Juassic Suck Fests and AI. Knock him right off. Kubrick or Hitchcock should be at the top.

  24. Lucas is a crap director. He’s got great ideas for storylines and special effects but he’s not even in the same league as these guys(even though some don’t deserve to be there). Your job as a director is to get good performances out of your actors and tell a coherent and visual story. Lucas failed miserably on all three of those in the prequels, and he didn’t do that great in A New Hope either.

  25. The problem is these polls are so subjective that it as much as it is fun to debate it makes it almost impossible to debate. Just as many people can not stand Kubrick’s stuff as those who love it, maybe even more. What criteria do you use to judge this? Awards given? Total box office numbers? Pure opinion? We all know it is the latter and unfourtunately that is what makes it impossible. It doesn’t matter how well you can debate that A Clockwork Orange is a great movie, there are always a ton of people who watched it and said “What the hell was that?”

    Still fun though.

  26. Hey Paul. Don’t be so quick to kill the discussion. Sure it’s Empire, but it’s still a big group of movie going audience, and we’re on the Movie Blog right now, it’s a new discussion, it’s about what you guys think and what you would want in that listing.

    Thoughts so far are great. Interesting that Lucas can be thought of as both on and off the list.

    Leone and Polanski for sure…I think we could be compiling our own list soon.

  27. Have to quickly and respectfully voice my disagreement with the Allen comment

    Woody Allen deserves to be there. His recent stuff hasn’t been great (haven’t seen Melinda and Melinda) but the early and middle period work is just great.

  28. I voted in this poll on the Empire web site, and chose my favourite director Terry Gilliam. Didn’t get very far, did he!

  29. I wouldn’t worry about it to much. It’s a poll by Empire magazine which is a fluffy pointless magazine pandering to the industry. They wouldn’t know a good film or director if it bit them on the ass.

    I stopped reading when they rated ‘the crying game’ 1 star out of 5. Then it did brilliantly in the U.S and they changed the rating to 5 out of 5 when it came out on video, same reviewer judged both film and video.

  30. I have 2 concerns.
    1-WTF is Quentin Taranteno doing on the list. Honestly. His movies just don’t have staying power, nore do they even provoke a large response from movie goers ie. ticket sales.
    2-Anyone ever heard of George Lucas? I mean come on, he only directed the single best movie that held the top of almost every chart for almost 30 years. Allright, his latest movies haven’t lived up to EVERYONE’s expectations, but every idea for all six movies were out of his head. He shoulen’t be first but atleast top 10.

  31. Werner Herzog, Krystof Kieslowski, Federico Fellini, Francois Trauffaut, F.W. Murnau, Buster Keaton: all missing in action.

    The only two director who actually belong on that list are Kurosawa, Kubrick, Hitchcock, Yimou, Scorcese (although not lately) and Welles. No offence to those directors who made it to the list, but there are far more accomplished (not necessarily popular) directors out there.

    But then again, these lists are popularity contests and have nothing to do with anything…It’s impossible to really compare these things anyway.

  32. No offense but what is Peter Jackson doin on this list…..1 very long …very good movie dosent a director make…..sorry…..the other directors on this list have years of films to judge…..jackson has Lord….and not much else……and I love QT but he makes a movie every 5 years…….Pulp was great….jackie brown was fun but not a master piece….Kill Bill was good but again not a master piece either,,,,res. doggs was good……You just gotta have more than 5 films in 12 years to be cosidered a top ten director of all time……..MY LIST would include Brian Depalma and would not include Woody Allen….he is a example of living on his past projects….sorry…..I havent seen a Woody Allen movie in 10 years that was better than 2 stars……..Long and Short….if you put Peter Jackson on this list….you might as well put Lucas on this list for Star Wars only…..

  33. Where are

    David Lean? Frank Capra? Billy Wilder? Blake Edwards? Robert Altman?
    Francois Truffaut? Ingmar Bergman?
    And that is without doing a search for directors of the past. That list is awful.

  34. How did Peter Jackson make the list? Has anyone seen the frighteners? Where was Roman Polanski, or Sergio Leone. Anyone could have directed Lord of the Rings, and probably done it with more accuracy. If they wanted a new director why not Wes Anderson. At least he writes and directs and The Royal Tenenbaums was what the Magnificent Ambersons should have been before they edited an hour off it behind Orsen’s back.

  35. In what way does Spielberg beat Kurosawa?
    In what way does Spielberg beat Scorsese?
    In what.. way… does Spielberg beat Kubrick?

    *brain melts*
    Spielberg is good, but not THAT good.

  36. They should have a former Spielberg that made Jaws and ET and a current Spielberg who made the Terminal. I might be able to swallow former Spielberg for being a better director than Hitchcock.

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