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25 Greatest European Directors Of All Time

Published October 30, 2013 by gossipzoo

Alain Resnais

In my last article, I rated the top 25 American film directors of all time and to follow it up I turn to Europe to look at the most important directors to hail from that continent.

Just as in my rankings of American directors, we will measure a director’s relative “greatness” by a combination of how much the director’s style and films have influenced succeeding filmmakers, how well regarded they were by the filmmakers and critics of their time as well as modern critical opinions on their work, how well have their films held up both to audiences and critics, and the overall importance of their filmography in the cinematic canon.

In a reversal of my last article, some European born directors who worked exclusively in Hollywood and whose films are innately “American” such as Frank Capra, William Wyler, Elia Kazan, and Billy Wilder are considered American directors and are not considered for this list. At the same time, there are some directors on this list who worked primarily in America but whose films are not necessarily “American”, with two examples being Hitchcock and Chaplin.

Again, although there are a number of great modern European filmmakers today, in an attempt for the list to capture the “hall of fame” of European directors as it were, only one spot on this list is reserved for directors who debuted after 1980. In order to make it as objective as possible, my personal feelings about each filmmaker were not taken into account.

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