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A panel of critics at The Guardian

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 02, 2006

A panel of critics at The Guardian pick the world’s 40 best directors. Anyone missing? (via khoi)

Update: A reader pointed out that this list probably isn’t that current (Errol Morris’ Fog of War is still forthcoming, for example). Oh and please note that the list is comprised of working directors; it’s not an all-time list. (thx, kate)

Reader comments

BrendaDec 02, 2006 at 4:50PM

I honestly doubt the Wachowski brothers should be on there.
Also, whither Jim Jarmusch?

JohnDec 02, 2006 at 5:23PM

Without taking anything away from the directors who are on the list, I would agree with Brenda that Jarmusch should be there.

Also, although I have not seen The Fountain yet, I believe Darren Aronofsky deserves a place. Pi and Requiem for a Dream were both beautifully shot and he definitely developed his own style.

SwitchDec 02, 2006 at 5:32PM

Herzog, and maybe Michel Gondry.

TimDec 02, 2006 at 5:37PM

Alejandro González Iñárritu

l•treeDec 02, 2006 at 5:56PM

Yep, as Rex said, Herzog.

AdrienneDec 02, 2006 at 6:01PM

I think Pedro Almodovar should be rated a little higher than 15. What about Chan-wook Park? Francois Ozon?

mikeinseattleDec 02, 2006 at 6:24PM

No Mike Nichols? No Jean-Pierre Jeunet? No Spike Lee? Almodovar at 15? The Wachowski bros. on the list at all? No credibility.

AugustDec 02, 2006 at 8:38PM

I think I’m now officially the only cinemaphile that considers David Lynch a hack. Oh well.

I think Wong Kar-wai should be much, much higher on the list, but otherwise I think the conspicuous absences have all been mentioned. I’m glad to see Soderbergh so high on the list.

DavidDec 02, 2006 at 10:40PM

Where is Spike Lee? Where is Clint Eastwood? These two men are the best directors in America. I love Martin Scorsese, but Spike Lee has been putting out solid, solid work for twenty years. Here is a short list:

When the Levees Broke
25th Hour
Summer of Sam
Four Little Girls
Clockers
Jungle Fever
Do the Right Thing

As far as I’m concerned, for these films alone he should beat Tarantino at a minimum.

And Clint Eastwood? He was the High Plains Drifter and Josey Wales when you were still in short pants. And Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby are as good as anything in modern cinema. He loses points for some of his stinkers (Absolute Power, I’m looking at you), but when he’s on, he runs the table. Million Dollar Baby wrung me out.

RubensDec 02, 2006 at 11:30PM

Needs more Clint Eastwood and Fernando Meirelles.

Matthew RussellDec 03, 2006 at 4:24AM

What about Akira Kurosawa? If it wasn’t for him, some of the most influential of American Westerns would have never been done. Which only leads one to Sergio Leone — existentialism and the wild frontier have never been closer.

PatrickDec 03, 2006 at 7:52AM

Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman (given that the list is not so current), Roman Polanski, Woody Allen…

AdrienneDec 03, 2006 at 10:25AM

Like August, I question David Lynch’s placement on this list. Number 1? Pleeease.

AndreasDec 03, 2006 at 11:23AM

What about Peter Jackson? Lord of The rings is easily the most impressive movie trilogy ever made.

Alejandro Amenábar and Chan-wook Park should also be on the list

smaDec 03, 2006 at 2:01PM

woody allen, desperately missed!

smaDec 03, 2006 at 2:04PM

and not to forget kim ki-duk.

Frank BlackDec 03, 2006 at 3:23PM

Where the hell is Woody Allen? Where is Tim Burton? Oh, wait… there they are. They fell down behind the dresser. I love David Lynch, but I’m not sure about #1.

Mack BrockDec 03, 2006 at 5:23PM

Does thinking that Steven Spielberg deserves to be on there make me uncool and unhip. Not that I have those qualities to begin with.

CurtisDec 03, 2006 at 10:33PM

David Lynch? Nearly makes the rest of the list unreadable. Glad to see Miyazaki on there.

Chris S.Dec 04, 2006 at 10:15AM

Apparently, the hack-tacular Wachowski brothers are better directors than:

1. Peter Greenaway
2. Wim Wenders
3. Jim Jarmusch
4. Michael Apted

What a ridiculous list.


DonnyDec 04, 2006 at 12:09PM

Sidney Lumet
Clint Eastwood
Steven Spielberg
Milos Forman
Robert Zemeckis
Roman Polanski
Spike Lee


YahmdallahDec 04, 2006 at 12:54PM

Yeah, any best directors list that does not include Steven Spielberg or Francis Ford Coppola is like a cookie recipe without flour and sugar.

andrew haglinDec 04, 2006 at 9:46PM

park chan wook definitely needs to be recognized. between the vengeance trilogy and jsa, his last decade of work is unrivaled among directors on this list.

JarrodDec 08, 2006 at 3:38PM

If that list were relased today… Sophia Coppola would be included, David Fincher wouldn’t be, and Lars Von Trier would be higher (Dogville was amazing!).

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.