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Top 5: Best Movie Directors

Devin loves movies and loves critically looking at them. He hopes to give people the same appreciation for film that he has.



In my next top 5 article, I am talking about film directors. I will be ranking my favorite directors ever. Things I am taking into consideration is body of work. This does not just include good movies, but bad movies as well. I will look at the different tones in their movies and the diversity of their work as well.

5. Denis Villeneuve


Villeneuve is more of an up and coming director than an established presence in film, but the films he has directed have been great. The first film to really put him on the scene was Sicario in 2015. He is perhaps better known for his most recent film, Dune. He is really known for experimental sound engineering which, when used in the film Arrival, puts the viewer on the edge of their seat in anticipation. He has a way of drawing you in without needing dialogue. He does it through sounds and intense camera shots. He uses violence as a tool to communicate a point, not just to give the film an action scene. This is another way that Villeneuve can tell the story without using words.

I really wanted to put him higher than 5, and i think in time he will rise, but his body of work is not extensive enough to put him higher. I have been impressed with every film he has done, and now I will go see any film that he has directed. He has proven he can do multiple genres, but he seems to be focused on the sci-fi films such as Blade Runner 2049. He has a brilliant mind and can communicate to the audience in more ways than just through dialogue or meaningless action sequences. He knows how to bring out emotions in the actors that will speak for themselves.

Favorite Villeneuve Films: Dune, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049

4. Martin Scorsese


Scorsese has one of the most recognized names in film. As opposed to Villeneuve, he has a long list of films, and most of them are absolute classics such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Departed. He specializes in the antihero or gang films that may focus on a misunderstood character. His films also will typically provide some kind of narration from the main character which really has become a trope thanks to Scorsese. Another thing the Scorsese has popularized is the long tracking shot where the camera will follow characters for a long period of time. It is said that this is an extremely hard shot to master but Scorsese has and it is really showed off in the film Goodfellas.

I really love Martin Scorsese as a director. He has mastered that gangster story with the really dark tone, but I also love his film Raging Bull. It is a little different than something like Goodfellas or The Departed, but it tells a story that has really deep character moments like all of his stories. Scorsese can write a character better than just about anyone.

My Favorite Scorsese Films: Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver

3. James Cameron

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When you see James Cameron's name attached to a movie, you know what you are going to get. Cameron has mastered the blockbuster film and attaching his name to any film will immediately give it attention. Cameron usually has a strong female lead in his movies, such as in Terminator, Alita Battle Angel and Aliens. If you think through some of his major films, you can point out a constant theme. Cameron loves using the theme of machines versus humans and exploits those humans lack of independence. Again, two examples are Alita and Terminator. Cameron is at his best when he can tell a dystopian future story.

I get excited anytime a James Cameron movie is coming out. I know I am going to have a lot of fun exploring some pretty intense and dark setting and I know I will get plenty of action. All of Cameron's films tell a real world story hiding behind some kind of sci-fi film. Avatar tells a beautiful story about humanity's reliance on machines instead of seeing the beauty around them. This is a reason I love James Cameron is because of his ability not just to tell a great story, but also hit at real-world themes while doing it.

My Favorite James Cameron Movies: Terminator: Judgment Day, Aliens, Avatar.

2. Steven Spielberg


Steven Spielberg should probably go to number 1 on the list, but I have a little bit of bias and this is my list after all! However, there is not a genre that Spielberg cannot direct. He has done things like Jaws and Indiana Jones, then goes to Jurassic Park and Ready Player One, then he goes to The Post and Bridge of Spies, all of which are fantastic movies. He has also dabbled in the war genre with Saving Private Ryan. I am convinced that he could direct any movie. There have been stories that tell of Spielberg's ability to make changes while filming and come up with ideas on the spot to enhance the film.

Everyone has seen a Steven Spielberg movie in their life. I talked about how Cameron knows how to make a blockbuster, but Spielberg is the master of the blockbuster. As you can see with the movies mentioned above, he knows how to make movies that people will see. The reason he is so high on this list is because of the amount of great films he has made. Many people will critique Spielberg for just making movies that will make money, but he has consistently delivered movies that people can enjoy for a long time.

My Favorite Spielberg Movies: Indiana Jones, Minority Report, Jurassic Park

1. Christopher Nolan


I mentioned how I am very biased towards my number one choice, but I think I have a pretty good reason to be. Nolan has not made a film that was not good. Most of his movies are fantastic. Christopher Nolan is obviously famous for The Dark Knight trilogy, but he has also done the mind-bending action films such as Inception and most recently, Tenet. He is known for saying that he believes we should not dumb films down for audiences and he believes that the audience should be able to stay on track with some very obscure themes.

What I love the most about Christopher Nolan films is that you do not know what to except. I love movies like that. They keep me on the edge of my seat not wanting to turn away for fear of missing something important. He also does a great job with his characters. he develops them so well, and often times the character becomes someone you do not want to cheer for such as in Memento and The Prestige. I always enjoy a Chris Nolan film and look forward to his next one!

My Favorite Christopher Nolan Films: The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inception

© 2022 Devin Weatherly

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