A week spent celebrating the work of some of our favourite directors starts with the team’s top 60 choices. Today is 40 to 31...
Find the rest of the Top 60
This week we are celebrating those filmmakers that have provided us nothing but joyful times in our viewing lives. Not necessarily joy as in laughs and happiness, but that feeling you get when, despite the subject matter, you know you’ve just seen something that will stick with you long after the cinema lights have come back on. The list is by no means definitive so don’t judge us. What we did was ask everyone who writes for us to give us a list of ten film directors, and then we scientifically, okay we just added up all the choices, and then we built the list from duplicated names. Our finalised list won’t be to everyone’s liking I am sure, but we hope you enjoy the list none the less and at the weekend enjoy all our thoughts and reviews on filmmakers and their art. Where a final decision on placement was needed due to a tied vote, the final decision was made by Steve Taylor-Bryant. With biography information from IMDb, here is the list from 40-31…
40. Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of Switzerland and attended school in Nyons (Switzerland). His parents divorced in 1948, at which time he returned to Paris to attend the Lycée Rohmer. In 1949 he studied at the Sorbonne to prepare for a degree in ethnology. However, it was during this time that he began attending with François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, and Éric Rohmer.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Breathless.
39. Oliver Stone
William Oliver Stone was born in New York City, to Jacqueline (Goddet) and Louis Stone, a stockbroker. His American father was from a Jewish family (from Germany and Eastern Europe), and his mother, a war bride, was French (and Catholic). After dropping out of Yale University, he became a soldier in the Vietnam War. Serving in two different regiments (including 1rst Cavalry), he was introduced to The Doors, drugs, Jefferson Airplane, and other things that defined the sixties. For his actions in the war, he was awarded a Bronze Star for Gallantry and a Purple Heart. Returning from the war, Stone did not return to graduate from Yale. Oliver Stone is a three-time Oscar winner, and although he has mostly been stung by critics of his films, he remains a well-known name today in the film industry. The films he directed have been nominated for 31 Academy Awards, including eight for acting, six for screen writing, and three for directing. There is no denying that Stone has cemented himself a position among the legends of Hollywood.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Platoon and JFK.
38. Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes was always interested in art and made amateur movies and painted while he was still a child. He attended Brown university and majored in art and semiotics. After he graduated he moved to New York City and made the controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988). The movie uses dolls instead of actors to tell the story of the late Karen Carpenter. The movie was a success at several film festivals, and because of a lawsuit by Richard Carpenter (over musical rights) is very hard to see but it is a true classic for bootleg video buyers. His first feature, Poison (1991) was even more controversial. The film was attacked by conservatives and Christians who said it was pornographic, but it won the Grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It is now considered a seminal work of the new queer cinema. His short film Dottie Gets Spanked (1993) was aired on PBS. His next feature film Safe (1995) told the story of a women played by his good friend, Julianne Moore, suffering from a breakdown caused by a mysterious illness. Many thought the film was a metaphor of the Aids virus. The movie was a considered to be an outstanding work and one of the best films of the year. In Velvet Goldmine (1998), starring Christian Bale and Ewan McGregor, he combines the visual style of 60s/70s art films and his love for glam rock music to tell the story of a fictional rock star's rise and fall. Far from Heaven (2002), set in the 1950s and starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid, is about a Connecticut housewife who discovers that her husband is gay, and has an affair with her black gardener, played by Dennis Haysbert. The film was a critical and box office success, garnering four Academy Awards. It was hailed as a breakthrough for independent film and brought Haynes mainstream recognition. With I'm Not There. (2007), Haynes returned to the theme of musical legend bio, portraying Bob Dylan via seven fictive characters played by six different actors. The film brought him critical claim, with special attention to the casting of Cate Blanchett as arguably the most convincing of the Dylan characters, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. In 2011, Haynes directed Mildred Pierce, a five-hour miniseries for HBO starring Kate Winslet in the title role. His new feature film Carol (2015) with Cate Blanchett premiered at the Cannes International Festival 2015 to rave reviews and won Best Actress for Rooney Mara.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – I’m Not There and Velvet Goldmine.
37. Nancy Meyers
Nancy Meyers was born on December 8, 1949 in Pennsylvania, USA as Nancy Jane Meyers. She is a writer and producer, known for It's Complicated (2009), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Holiday (2006). Since the success of What Women Want (2000) and Something's Gotta Give (2003), she is very sought after as a writer and director. She is particularly in demand because she writes great parts in hit movies for adults.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – What Women Want.
36. Jim Jarmusch
Jarmusch came to New York City from Akron, Ohio to study at Columbia and NYU's film school. He would also study film at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris. He worked as an assistant on Lightning Over Water (1980), a film by Nicholas Ray and Wim Wenders, before making his first film, _Permanent Vacation (1982), made for roughly $15,000. After much hustling, he found a German producer by the name of Otto Grokenberger, who stayed out of his way and provided him with complete artistic control. The result was the highly stimulating Stranger Than Paradise (1984), a film he structured around Screamin' Jay Hawkins' song, "I Put A Spell on You", and which would go on to win the Camera D'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Paterson and Coffee and Cigarettes.
35. Terrence Malick
Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.
A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honour society, he attended Magdalen College, Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, but did not finish his thesis on Martin Heidegger, allegedly because of a disagreement with his advisor. Returning to the States, he taught philosophy at M.I.T. and published a translation of Heidegger's "Vom Wesen des Grundes" as "The Essence of Reasons". Malick did not get his PhD in philosophy: Instead, he attended the American Film Institute Conservatory in its inaugural year (1969), taking a Master of Fine Arts degree in film-making. His master’s thesis was the seventeen-minute comedy short Lanton Mills (1969), which starred Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton. Malick himself acted in the short.
At A.F.I., Malick made a lasting association with Jack Fisk, who would establish himself as an Oscar-nominated art director and production designer and serve as art director on all of Malick's films. He also picked up Mike Medavoy as an agent, who got Malick work doctoring scripts and marketed his original ones. He wrote the screenplay for the 1972 Alan Arkin trucker movie Deadhead Miles (1973), which was many miles from Harvard let along Oxford, and for the 1972 Paul Newman-Lee Marvin contemporary Pocket Money (1972), another departure from fields of academia. "Deadhead Miles" was dumped by Paramount as unreleasable and "Pocket Money", despite being headlined by two Top Ten Box Office stars, flopped. It was an inauspicious start to a legendary career, but it influenced Malick to begin directing his own scripts.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Badlands.
34. Scott Cooper
Scott Cooper was born in 1970 in Abingdon, Virginia, USA. He is an actor and director, known for Crazy Heart (2009), Out of the Furnace (2013) and Black Mass (2015).
Has directed two actors in Oscar nominated performance: Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Bridges won for his performance in Crazy Heart.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Crazy Heart and Black Mass.
33. John Sturges
John Sturges was born on January 3, 1910 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA as John Elliott Sturges. He was a director and producer, known for The Great Escape (1963), The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Old Man and the Sea (1958). He was married to Katherine Helena Soules and Dorothy Lynn Brooks. He died on August 18, 1992 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – The Great Escape.
32. Nic Roeg
When he made his directorial debut in 1970, Nicolas Roeg was already a 23-year veteran of the British film industry, starting out in 1947 as an editing apprentice and working his way up to cinematographer twelve years later. He first came to attention as part of the second unit on David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), with Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death (1964) two years later containing his first distinctive solo work. He went on to photograph films for such distinguished directors as François Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451 (1966)), John Schlesinger (Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)) and Richard Lester (Petulia (1968)) before his sensational directorial debut in 1968. Co-directed with writer (and painter) Donald Cammell Performance (1970) was intended to be a simple-minded star vehicle for Mick Jagger and Warner Bros were so horrified when they saw the final multi-layered kaleidoscope of sex, violence, and questions of identity that they delayed its release for two years. Roeg went to Australia for his solo debut as director (Walkabout (1971)), which was also his last film as cinematographer, and throughout the next decade he produced a world-class body of work (Don't Look Now (1973); The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976); Bad Timing (1980)) that revealed his uniquely off-kilter view of the world, expressed through fragmented, dislocated images and a highly original yet strangely accessible approach to narrative. He married the star of Bad Timing (1980), the elegant Theresa Russell who would play the female lead in nearly all his subsequent films, though these have generally found less favour with critics and audiences, and the release of both Eureka (1983) and Cold Heaven (1991) was severely restricted due to problems with the films' distributors.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – The Man Who Fell to Earth.
31. Richard Donner
Richard Donner was born on April 24, 1930 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard D. Schwartzberg. He is a director and producer, known for Superman (1978), Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon (1987). He has been married to Lauren Shuler Donner since November 27, 1986.
TheDreamCage Most Watched – Superman and Conspiracy Theory.
Image/biography – IMDb.