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Directors by Decade - USA

wilder · 7 · 1160

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on: December 12, 2017, 03:44:43 AM
Notable USA & English-language directors, sorted by the decade they made their first feature film for the sake of working backwards (or forwards) through film history. Birth country in parenthesis if not USA. All links point to Wikipedia.

World Cinema thread here.



Frank Borzage
Tod Browning
Michael Curtiz (Hungarian)
Cecil B. DeMille
John Ford
Alfred E. Green
D.W. Griffith
Howard Hawks
Fritz Lang (German)

Ernst Lubitsch (German)
Andrť De Toth (Hungarian)
King Vidor
Raoul Walsh


Dorothy Arzner
Anthony Asquith (English)
Frank Capra
Charlie Chaplin (English)
William Dieterle (German)
Robert Flaherty
Victor Fleming
Edmund Goulding (English)
Alfred Hitchcock (English)
Buster Keaton
Mervyn LeRoy
Rouben Mamoulian
F.W. Murnau (German)
Roy Del Ruth
Josef von Sternberg (Austrian)
Erich von Stroheim (Austrian)
William A. Wellman


Kenneth Anger
Busby Berkeley
George Cukor
Edward Dmytryk (Canadian)
Victor Fleming
Henry Hathaway
Leo McCarey
Michael Powell (English)
Otto Preminger (Austrian)
Carol Reed (English)
Lowell Sherman
Douglas Sirk (German)
George Stevens
Jacques Tourneur (French)
Edgar G. Ulmer
Charles Vidor (Hungarian)
James Whale (English)
William Wyler (German)


Budd Boetticher
William Castle
Delmer Daves
Basil Dearden (English)
Maya Deren (USSR)
Stanley Donen
Terence Fisher (English)
Samuel Fuller
John Huston
Elia Kazan
David Lean (English)
Joseph Losey
Ida Lupino (English)
Alexander Mackendrick
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Anthony Mann
Vincente Minelli
Richard Quine
Nicholas Ray
Mark Robson (Canadian)
Robert Rossen
George Sidney
Don Siegel
Robert Siodmak (German)
John Sturges
Preston Sturges
Orson Welles
Billy Wilder
Robert Wise
Fred Zinnemann (Austrian)


Robert Aldrich
Robert Altman
Jack Arnold
Richard Brooks
John Cassavetes
Jack Clayton (English)
Blake Edwards
John Frankenheimer
Monte Hellman
Arthur Hiller
Stanley Kramer
Stanley Kubrick
George Kuchar
Sidney Lumet
Delbert Mann
Russ Meyer
Arthur Penn
Karel Reisz (English)
Tony Richardson (English)
Martin Ritt
Frank Tashlin
J. Lee Thompson (English)
Peter Watkins (English)


Woody Allen
Lindsay Anderson (English)
Ralph Bakshi
Peter Bogdanovich
John Boorman (English)
Mel Brooks
Alan Clarke (English)
Robert Downey Sr.
Francis Ford Coppola
Milos Forman (Czech)
Bob Fosse
William Friedkin
Curtis Harrington
Jack Hill
James Ivory
Philip Kaufman
Richard Lester
Ken Loach (English)
Paul Mazursky
Radley Metzger
Paul Morrissey
Mike Nichols
Brian De Palma
Sam Peckinpah
Melvin van Peebles
Frank Perry
Roman Polanski (Polish)
Sydney Pollack
Bob Rafelson
George Romero
Stuart Rosenberg
Ken Russell (English)
John Schlesinger (English)
Peter Yates (English)
John Waters
Frederick Wiseman
Doris Wishman


Hal Ashby
James Bridges
Albert Brooks
John Carpenter
Michael Cimino
Stuart Cooper
Alex Cox (English)
David Cronenberg (Canadian)
Joe Dante
Jonathan Demme
Clint Eastwood
Abel Ferrara
Terry Gilliam
Walter Hill
Tobe Hooper
Derek Jarman (English)
John Landis
Jeff Lieberman
Mike Leigh (English)
George Lucas
David Lynch
Terrence Malick
Elaine May
John Millius
Floyd Mutrux
Alan J. Pakula
Nicolas Roeg (English)
Alan Rudolph
Jerry Schatzberg
Paul Schrader
Martin Scorsese
Ridley Scott (English)
Steven Spielberg
Oliver Stone
Paul Verhoeven (Dutch)
Peter Weir (Australian)
Wim Wenders (German)
Robert Zemeckis


Gregg Araki
Jim Van Bebber
Kathryn Bigelow
Tim Burton
James Cameron (Canadian)
The Coen Bros.
Terence Davies (English)
Christopher Guest
Peter Greenaway (English)
Hal Hartley
John Hughes
Jim Jarmusch
Neil Jordan (Irish)
Spike Lee
Barry Levinson
David Mamet
Michael Mann
Robert Redford
Gus Van Sant
Tony Scott (English)
Terry Zwigoff


Wes Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson
Noah Baumbach
Louis CK
Sofia Coppola
Larry Clark
David Fincher
Vincent Gallo
James Gray
Todd Haynes
Nicole Holofcner
Spike Jonze
Lodge Kerrigan
Harmony Korine
Ang Lee (Taiwanese)
Richard Linklater
Anthony Minghella (English)
Andrew Niccol (New Zealand)
Christopher Nolan (English)
Alexander Payne
Kelly Reichardt
Kevin Smith
M. Night Shyamalan
Quentin Tarantino
Steven Soderbergh
Todd Solondz
Whit Stillman
The Wachowskis


Andrea Arnold (English)
Anna Biller
Andrew Bujalski
Shane Carruth
The Duplass Bros.
David Gordon Green
Robert Greene
Andrew Haigh (English)
Eliza Hittman
Rian Johnson
Karyn Kasuma
Aaron Katz
Richard Kelly
Kenneth Lonergan
Steve McQueen (English)
Bennett Miller
John Cameron Mitchell
Greg Mottola
Alex Ross Perry
Jeremy Saulnier
Lynn Shelton
Joe Swanberg


Antonio Campos
Dustin Guy Defa
Sean Durkin
Robert Eggars
Chad Hartigan
Yorgos Lanthimos (Greek)
David Lowery
Frank V. Ross
Josh & Benny Safdie
Amy Seimetz
Trey Edward Shults


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Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 10:48:51 AM
What kind of criteria do you use for inclusion?  For instance, Seimetz has only done one feature so her inclusion is questionable.  Louis CK should be under 90s because his first film, Tomorrow Night, was made in 1998.

In any event, you left off:

Kevin Smith
Nicole Holofcener

David Gordon Green
Joe Swanberg

Will add more as I think of them.


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Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 02:09:45 PM
Cool, adding those.

I chose directors based on their contribution to film history, their frequency of work (I donít think there are many one-off directors on here excluding the up-and-comers from the 2010s), and on the basis of having a singular voice or not. I know I used film lists like Sight & Soundís Top 250, some by AFI, The Criterion Collection website index, and wiki pages on various film movements. It was compiled several months ago - found it on my computer and added the wiki links yesterday, so I donít completely remember. In the other thread I know the Asian countries are sparse just because my knowledge in that area is lacking.

At the end of the day itís subjective. I included Seimeitz based on the strength of her work in ďThe Girlfriend ExperienceĒ, which will now amount to over 10 hours of material written and directed by her.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
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Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 05:36:13 PM
Awesome! Possible additions off of the top of my head (forgive me if I've merely overlooked them):

Duplass Bros.
Andrew Bujalski
Frank V. Ross
Dustin Guy Defa
Lynn Shelton
Frederick Wiseman
Aaron Katz
Chad Hartigan
Jeremy Saulnier
Rian Johnson
Trey Edward Shults
Karyn Kusama
Robert Greene

Also, just a note: it's JOSH and Benny Safdie.
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."


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Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 05:49:35 PM
Fixed and added. Substituting IMDB links when wikis arenít available.

(Truthfully, I havenít heard of some these.)


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Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 06:56:40 PM

Alfred E. Green
Robert Z. Leonard


Dorothy Arzner


Lowell Sherman

Erich von Stroheim belongs in the 20s! these decades are my favorite. thanks for starting this thread.


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Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 07:01:27 PM
Thank you