Who's Your All-Time Favorite Director?

Who is your favorite director? Please limit your answer to just one director. Mentions of runners-up are fine, of course, but choose one as your favorite.

I mentioned Out of the Past in carnivorousplant’s What is your favorite movie of all time? thread, but that choice only barely edged out Faust and Sunrise, both directed by F.W. Murnau.

Murnau was a product of Universum Film AG (UFA), whose list of famous early directors also included Fritz Lang. Murnau’s films made heavy use of chiaroscuro and stylized, uneven sets popular at the time with German Expressionism. His Faust is my favorite filmed adaptation of the tale, and Emil Jannings’ portrayal of Mephisto the most satisfyingly sinister I’ve seen. (This despite Jannings’ own Faustian bargain with the Nazis a decade later.)

Sunrise, Faust, The Last Laugh, all these Murnau films (and more besides) are the ones I go back to again and again. And while I love Noir as a genre more than even these silent German Expressionism films, there is no one director responsible for more of my favorites than Murnau.

Krzysztof Kieslowski is my favourite of all time. His movies are all European (his older ones specifically Polish) and his last directed movie as over 15 years ago, but they all seem fresh and modern to me. I completely ‘get’ his artistic works in a way I do with only a very few others.

John Ford

Probably Ridley Scott.

I’ve always been a big Kubrik fan.

Kubrick and Bergman


Alfred Hitchcock, closely followed by Steven Spielberg.

…specifically, a couple of brothers?

Alfred Hitchcock, with second place to Howard Hawks.

David Fincher.

Coen Brothers

Stanley Kubrick

followed by Spielberg(whose best movie, I believe, is Minority Report).

Stanley Kubrick

(and John Ford, and Alfred Hitchcock, and Howard Hawks, and Billy Wilder…)

Fassbinder.jpg (image)

Terence Malick

Sounds reasonable to me.

Woody Allen, though my (tragically) recent discovery of John Cassavetes may eventually change that.

Michael Curtiz

Steven Spielberg by a healthy margin.

I’d consider David O. Russell if he had a bigger resume.