Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meme: 15 Directors

Ah, the Internet Meme.  If it weren't for the proliferation of these dastardly virtual viruses we'd probably all be a lot more productive but not nearly as entertained.  I caught this particular bug from J.D. over at Radiator Heaven, who apparently was infected after seeing the kickoff over at Films From the Supermassive Black Hole and the most righteous posting over at The Dancing Image.

The easy part is coming up with the list.  From J.D.'s post:
List off the first 15 directors that come to your head that have shaped the way you look at movies. You know, the ones that will always stick with you. Don't take too long to think about it.
After about a minute or so I had about 20 directors.  This list is simply the first 15 I scribbled down, with the bonus 16th cleverly concealed in the image above (try and figure it out!).

The harder part was deciding how to visually present the list.  I'd love to take some time and care with this and use video clips like MovieMan0283 did (seriously, his entry is a crash-course in film and should be checked out), but for now I'll follow J.D.'s steps and use simple images of the people themselves:

Michael Curtiz

Howard Hawks

Akira Kurosawa

Woody Allen

Alfred Hitchcock

The Coen Brothers

Guillermo del Toro

Orson Welles

Martin Scorsese

Jean-Pierre Melville

Jean-Luc Godard

Francis Ford Coppola

David Lynch

Terry Gilliam

Ingmar Bergman

There are, of course, others that should be on this list - Spielberg was right below Kubrick, Tarantino was below him, and John Huston just slipped my mind until I started looking for pictures.  But these are the one that came to my head first, and they're in no particular order with the exception of Michael Curtiz, who doesn't get enough credit as a director, and has the distinction of directing the  #1 and #2 films on my list of all-time favorites.

Over the next few months I'll come back and revisit each of these directors and shed a little light on why their films have affected the way I look at not only cinema but the world.  In the meantime, enjoy the pics (I tried to keep to a certain style) and let me know who would be on your list.


  1. So many great directors here, Chris. And Michael Curtiz is a truly wonderful selection (CASABLANCA remains my all-time favorite film). So glad to see Guillermo del Toro there, too. Thanks for this.

  2. very nice selection! as le0pard13 said, great to see Del Toro on there! I love the pics you have of Lynch, Coppola and Gilliam (the latter of which taken from THE FISHER KING, one of my top faves of his). Awesome stuff.

  3. le0pard13 - Thanks! And glad you agree with me on Michael Curtiz. CASABLANCA has been my favorite film of all time ever since watching it with my father as a kid, as THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is a close second.

    J.D. - Thanks as well! I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge how much del Toro's films mean to me; he always manages to tap into my childhood dreams of monsters and ghosts better than almost anyone.

    As for the pics, I dug deep to find ones that had a special feel - I specifically chose the Gilliam pic because of the place THE FISHER KING holds in my heart - it was the film I took my wife to see on our first date almost 20 years ago.

  4. Chris:

    I am right there with ya on FISHER KING. While, BRAZIL is probably his undisputed masterpiece, FISHER KING is the one I connect with the most.

  5. Am I the only Gilliam hater in the crowd? Oh well, it's a burden I'll bear. Other than that this is a great list of great filmmakers. One would expect no less from you.

  6. I doubt it, Mike. He's certainly a divisive filmmaker, and his recent output hasn't done much to bolster his reputation. But TIME BANDITS was a pivotal film for me when I saw it as a kid, and his visual sensibilities (especially in the short he did for MONTY PYTHON'S MEANING OF LIFE) from his early films stuck with me all my life.

    Thanks for giving me the "thumbs up" on the other choices, though!

  7. Great in-the-moment pictures, almost every single one of them is a highly indicative gem (I love how in the Lynch one, he seems to be just sitting back and letting Michael J. Anderson direct, ha ha). Great you put Curtiz in there, another great one is Captain Blood which I like almost as much as Adventures of Robin Hood. Thanks for linking to me (twice!) and jumping in.

  8. Curtiz is an interesting inclusion. A great director no doubt. I'm not sure if he was much of an auetur, since no two movies of his were ever seemingly alike--but a master craftsman and entertainer.

  9. Adam - I agree with you 100%, and that's a good thing. The meme asked for those directors that shaped the way you view movies, and the his films - from CAPTAIN BLOOD to CASABLANCA to ROBIN HOOD and beyond - are the films that made me the movie lover I am today, and for that he has the highest place of honor on my list. There may certainly be "better" directors out there, but none had the impact on my life he did.