The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find directors who directed three or more of the GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME. We’re not talking about just simply great movies. We’re not talking about two great movies and then a pretty good, or bad movie. We’re talking about three or four or more consecutive films that altered the landscape of film and/or changed the language of film forever.

It all started with Kubrick. A friend and I were discussing whether anyone has ever matched this run:

Stanley Kubrick
Dr Strangelove
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange

You could add Barry Lyndon and take out Lolita out of it if you wanted to really be pure about GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME but I would keep in Lolita, myself.   You could also add Spartacus, Paths of Glory and The Killing.  It is, ultimately, a matter of preference.

Kubrick set the bar. No question about it. But could anyone equal that level of greatness? Here are the ones we came up with:

David Lean
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Lawrence of Arabia
Dr. Zhivago

Stanley Kubrick and David Lean. Got it. Now who else? How about Elia Kazan, whose absolutely brilliant A Face in the Crowd has the rare distinction of being one of the few films to get zero Oscar nominations – watch it and you will see what an Oscar fail that really was.

Elia Kazan, not even counting Streetcar:
On the Waterfront
East of Eden
Baby Doll
A Face in the Crowd

Kazan fits. Big time. But what about the Master of Suspense himself, the man who really did rewrite film language, Alfred Hitchcock? He had many pockets of greatness throughout, like a Notorious here, a Rope there, Strangers on a Train and I Confess together but Dial M for Murder follows next before Rear Window and that breaks the count. But you do have:

Alfred Hitchcock
North by Northwest

That more than fits. Hitch gets to stay. Now, what about Francis Ford Coppola?

Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather
The Conversation
The Godfather Part II
Apocalypse Now

Oh yeah. Coppola is in.

I don’t think you can talk about changing the language of film without the great Fellini — so you’d have:

Federico Fellini
La Dolce Vita
8 1/2
Juliet of the Spirits

Our top tier pantheon is: Kubrick, Coppola, Lean, Kazan, Hitchcock, Fellini.

Perhaps we can talk about Ingmar Bergman, with:

Ingmar Bergman
Smiles of a Summer Night
The Seventh Seal
Wild Strawberries

Through a Glass Darkly
Winter Light
The Silence

Then our pantheon becomes: Kubrick, Coppola, Lean, Kazan, Hitchcock, Fellini, Bergman.

Billy Wilder is a good contender but his films were paired in twos: Double Indemnity and the Lost Weekend; and Some Like it Hot and The Apartment.

These are the borderline picks:

Nicolas Roeg
Don’t Look Now
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession

Mel Brooks
Blazing Saddles
Young Frankenstein
Silent Movie
High Anxiety

Hal Ashby
Harold and Maude
The Last Detail
(You could add Bound for Glory, Coming Home and Being There too if you wanted)

Robert Altman
Brewster McCloud
McCabe and Mrs. Miller
The Long Goodbye

David Cronenberg
The Dead Zone
The Fly
Dead Ringers

Roman Polanski
The Tenant

Howard Hawks
To Have and Have Not
The Big Sleep
Red River

Or you could go:
Bringing Up Baby
Only Angels Have Wings
His Girl Friday
Sergeant York
Ball of Fire

Sergio Leone
A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West

Orson Welles
Citizen Kane
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Stranger

Francois Truffaut
The 400 Blows
Shoot the Pianist
Jules and Jim

Martin Scorsese
Mean Streets
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Taxi Driver
New York, New York (only one that doesn’t fit)
The Last Waltz
Raging Bull

Woody Allen
Annie Hall

Pedro Almodovar
All About My Mother
Talk to Her
Bad Education

Joel and Ethan Coen
Blood Simple
Raising Arizona
Miller’s Crossing

or you could go:
No Country for Old Men
Burn After Reading
A Serious Man

David Fincher
The Game
Fight Club
Panic Room

Or you could go:
Benjamin Button
Social Network

Steven Spielberg
Close Encounters

William Wyler
The Little Foxes
Mrs. Miniver
The Best Years of Our Lives

Jane Campion
An Angel at My Table
The Piano

Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs
Pulp Fiction
Jackie Brown

Paul Thomas Anderson
Boogie Nights
Punch-Drunk Love
There Will Be Blood
The Master

Alfonso Cuaron
Y Tu Mama También
Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban (doesn’t fit)
Children of Men

Ang Lee
Eat Drink Man Woman
Sense and Sensibility
The Ice Storm

Peter Weir
The Year of Living Dangerously

So, readers, whom did we leave off this fine list? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Al Robinson

    Sasha, I hate to point this out, but under David Fincher, you forgot Fight Club in between The Game and Panic Room.

  • Al Robinson

    I really feel like Charlie Chaplin should make this list. Consecutively he did:

    The Gold Rush (1925)
    The Circus (1928)
    City Lights (1931)
    Modern Times (1936)
    The Great Dictator (1940)

    I don’t know if they “changed” filmmaking and such, but I think they have been influential. Plus, I think they’re thought of as classics.

  • Sebastian Flores

    How about Luis Buñuel. I don’t know all of his filmography, but he has some great, great films, including: Él, Los olvidados, El perro andaluz, El discreto encanto de la burguesia, Ensayo de un crimen, Ese obscuro objeto del deseo, Nazarin. Viridiana and El angel exterminador were made consecutively.

  • Thanks, Al. Fixed.

  • Al Robinson

    Sidney Lumet

    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
    Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    Network (1976)

    Murder maybe, but hey….

  • Al Robinson

    Thanks Ryan. 🙂

  • Al Robinson

    Sorry, this joke is too good to pass up:

    You mean Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy isn’t good enough?

    Transformers (2007)
    Transformers: Revenge of the Crap (2009)
    Transformers: Dark of the Crap (2011)


  • robby

    i think if you remove michael haneke’s u.s. remake of funny games, his entire filmography holds up.

    i’d also include:
    agnes varda
    andrew stanton
    brad bird
    gus van sant
    terrance malick
    richard linklater
    spike lee
    michael moore
    hayao miyazaki

  • Al Robinson

    I don’t know if others will / would agree but for me,

    Ben Affleck:
    Gone Baby Gone (2007)
    The Town (2010)
    Argo (2012)

    Now, did they make movies better? Probably not, but I think they are 3 consecutive good / great movies.

  • Al Robinson

    I’ve got 1 more:

    Martin Scorsese:
    Gangs of New York (2002)
    The Aviator (2004)
    The Departed (2006)

  • Philipp

    What about these:

    Wong Kar Wai: Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, 2046
    Ang Lee: Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Ride With the Devil, Tiger&Dragon
    Jacques Audiard: The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, Rust and Bone
    Michael Haneke: The Piano Teacher, Time of The Wolf, Caché
    Mike Leigh: All or Nothing, Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year
    Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne: Rosetta, The Son, The Child
    Terrence Malick: The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life

  • Kane

    Uh lord…Panic Room? I get why others may like The Game but I couldn’t get into it. But I like the Zodiac, Ben Button and Social Network trilogy. Can we include Peter Jackson and the LotR trilogy? Or should that be considered one big movie? Christopher Nolan with Following, Memento and Insomnia (which I considered amazing) or Dark Knight, Inception and Dark Knight Rises (not a classic but close to amazing in my mind). Spike Jonze and all of his narrative features changed the way I view movies. Maybe some Oliver Stone in there for Salvador, Platoon and Wall Street.

  • Chris Nolan:
    Batman Begins
    The Prestige
    The Dark Knight Rises

    Hayao Miyazaki:
    Princess Mononoke
    Spirited Away
    Howl’s Moving Castle
    The Wind Rises

  • Shit, ignore that Dark Knight Rises, add vanilla Dark Knight instead. Got it mixed with The Wind Rises, it seems !

  • Philipp

    Lars von Trier should be in the list, too.

  • Al Robinson

    Nope, turns out I’ve got 1 more, plus a question.

    Alexander Payne:
    Election (1999)
    About Schmidt (2002)
    Sideways (2004)
    The Descendants (2011)
    Nebraska (2013)

    Would ANYONE include David O. Russell’s last 3 ?? :
    The Fighter (2010)
    Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
    American Hustle (2013)

  • Al Robinson

    Here’s how I would rank the All-Time Top 3 (Consecutive 3):

    1. Alfred Hitchcock
    – Vertigo (1958)
    – North By Northwest (1959)
    – Psycho (1960)

    2. Stanley Kubrick
    – Dr. Strangelove (1964)
    – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    – A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    3. David Fincher
    – Zodiac (2007)
    – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
    – The Social Network (2010)


    Christopher Nolan
    – The Prestige (2006)
    – The Dark Knight (2008)
    – Inception (2010)

  • Sasha Stone

    Philipp, Ang Lee is on there. I like the Audiard but does anyone really think Rust and Bone is one of the greatest films of all time and/or movies that changed film language?

  • Billy Wilder is a good contender but his films were paired in twos: Double Indemnity and the Lost Weekend; and Some Like it Hot and The Apartment.

    I like Kazan’s Baby Doll and Polanski’s The Tenant. I won’t argue against their inclusion as part of these director’s peak streaks.

    But if we’re going to name films like those as “canon” then I have to speak out strongly in defense of Billy Wilder.

    14 films in a row that are mostly all masterful and even the “weakest” ones are incredibly entertaining.

    Double Indemnity (1944) Best Screenplay, Best Director
    The Lost Weekend (1945) Best Screenplay, Best Director
    The Emperor Waltz (1948)
    A Foreign Affair (1948) Best Screenplay
    Sunset Blvd. (1950) Best Screenplay, Best Director
    Ace in the Hole (1951) Best Screenplay
    Stalag 17 (1953) Best Director
    Sabrina (1954) Best Screenplay, Best Director
    The Seven Year Itch (1955)
    The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
    Love in the Afternoon (1957)
    Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Best Director
    Some Like It Hot (1959) Best Screenplay, Best Director
    The Apartment (1960) Best Screenplay, Best Director

    Billy Wilder was Oscar-nominated for all those movies noted, and he won for the ones in bold.

    Ace in the Hole is amazing. It won the international prize at the Venice Film Festival and Jan Sterling won Best Actress from the National Board of Review. Also, it’s Criterion Blu-ray Edition certified.

    Stalag 17 won the Oscar for Best Actor for William Holden.
    Sabrina got 7 Oscar nominations, including 2 nominations for Wilder, and Audrey Hepburn for Best Actress. Edith Head won her 6th Oscar for Sabrina. It won the Golden Globe and Writers Guild award for Best Screenplay.

    Witness for the Prosecution has a rating of 8.5 on IMDb and it’s on the IMDb Top 250 at #83 — no small feat for a movie that age to score that high with the IMDb users. If we don’t want to trust IMDb then let’s please consider that Witness for the Prosecution got 6 Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe for Elsa Lanchester. The AFI ranks it as the #6 courtroom drama of all time.

    Any one of the movies in bold on this list are better and “more historically important” than The Tenant or Baby Doll.

    Like I said, I like The Tenant and Baby Doll but I like them because they’re both kinky oddities.

    I rest my case.

  • Al Robinson

    I just keep thinking of more:

    John Hughes
    – Sixteen Candles (1984)
    – The Breakfast Club (1985)
    – Weird Science (1985)
    – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

  • Al Robinson

    John Landis:
    – Animal House (1978)
    – The Blues Brothers (1980)
    – An American Warewolf in London (1981)

  • Al Robinson

    Kane, yes, your question about The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a great one. I don’t know if it counts as 3 or 1 either.
    Although, I know the studio would consider them 3 seperate movies.

  • DBibby

    You can’t go past Powell and Pressburger. You could argue other consecutive lists amongst their filmography but for me the obvious one is:
    -A Matter of Life and Death
    -Black Narcissus
    -The Red Shoes

  • Al Robinson

    Akira Kurosawa:
    – Yojimbo (1961)
    – Sanjuro (1962)
    – High and Low (1963)

  • I’m also thinking about Linklater — haven’t seen Boyhood, but from what I’ve been reading he should be considered for Bernie, Before Midnight… and Boyhood.

    Also, Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

  • Aaron

    I agree with Phillip. Lars Von Trier should definitely be included. Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, and Dancer in the Dark is one hell of a slam dunk. But no one beats Kubrick, IMO.

    For someone recently, I think Jason Reitman is strong. Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult are all great movies, and some may include Thank You For Smoking which has its fans although I’m not too crazy about it.

  • mileshigh

    Wasn’t THE BIRDS released after PSYCHO? Thats an exceptional Hitchcock movie. It might be his most underrated (imho). Love that movie.

  • Al Robinson

    Yes Mileshigh. It was. I agree. The Birds is very underrated.

  • Terrence Malick

    Days of Heaven
    The Thin Red Line

    Badlands changed film history by introducing film history to Terrence Malick.

    Movies hadn’t seen anything like Malick’s triple-play knockout introduction to movie history since John Huston’s triple-play.

    The Maltese Falcon
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Key Largo

    and then Huston did it again:

    The Asphalt Jungle
    The Red Badge of Courage
    The African Queen

  • Hawkeye

    Yeah, Kubrick easily tops the list. Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and The Shining is a streak that has never been topped in the history of cinema.

  • Michelangelo Antonioni

    L’Avventura (1960)
    La Notte (1961)
    L’Eclisse (1962)
    Red Desert (1964)
    Blowup (1966)

    If we include The Tenant then we can use it for a litmus test. “Is _____ as good or better than The Tenant?” — and all 5 of these movies are.

  • Rob D

    Try Altman like this – The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, California Split and Nashville. Nobody in film history in film history had a more productive run than Altman between 1970 and 75. Eight films, at least four of them upended their genres ever after – Mash, McCabe and Mrs Miller, The Long Goodbye & Nashville. California Split may still be the best film ever made about gambling. He belongs in the pantheon.

  • Hitchcock had 4 distinct peak streak plateaus

    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
    The 39 Steps (1935)
    Secret Agent (1936)
    Sabotage (1936)

    Suspicion (1941)
    Saboteur (1942)
    Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

    Rear Window (1954)
    To Catch a Thief (1955)
    The Trouble with Harry (1955)

    Vertigo (1958)
    North by Northwest (1959)
    Psycho (1960)
    The Birds (1963)

  • Carol Reed

    Odd Man Out (1947) BAFTA Award for Best British Film
    The Fallen Idol (1948) BAFTA Award for Best British Film, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
    The Third Man (1949) BAFTA Award for Best British Film, Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival


  • Bryce Forestieri

    We can do this all day, can’t we? And it’s fun.

    Robert Bresson


    Kurosawa, like everything between ’50 and ’65 but I guess there’re a few most people won’t accept.

    I LIVE IN FEAR (fit?)
    THE BAD SLEEP WELL (haven’t seen)





    and early he made consecutively





    NOSTHALGIA (ehh??)

    For Polanski I kind of prefer this phenomenal streak:


    Werner Herzog


    and then consecutively


    Speaking of whom, it looks like QUEEN OF THE DESERT is in the can, will hit the festival and it could even make it out this year in America. Report/Excerpts from interview:

    “Why this year and not next as many indies often do? Well, according to Werner Herzog itself it’s potentially because Nicole Kidman may have some awards-season fire in it. Playlist contributor James Rocchi spoke to Herzog last week and during a conversation about the acting powers of Klaus Kinski and Nicolas Cage, Herzog veered off to discuss how impressed he was with Kidman. “I think in all my films, the actors are at their best — and it includes Nicolas Cage in ‘Bad Lieutenant.’ I believe he is better than even in the part that won him an Academy Award,” Herzog said of Cage’s Best Actor win for “Leaving Las Vegas.”

    ***>>>>”Now, Nicole Kidman,” Herzog said of her lead performance in “Queen Of The Desert.” “Wait for that one. Wait for it. I make an ominous prediction: How good she is.” “***<<< OMG OMG <3 <3 <3 !!!!!!!! [greatest actress alive in the English language]

  • Al Robinson

    Wow! That is pretty damn amazing. Win the BAFTA 3 years in a row!!

  • Jean-Pierre Melville

    1967 – Le Samouraï
    1969 – Army of Shadows (the highest-rated movie of 2009 on Metacritic — with a score of 99)*
    1970 – Le Cercle Rouge

    *(Army of Shadows was never released in the US until 2009)

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Elia Kazan is for my taste the most underappreciated director of his time and still today.

    We forget then he had consecutively


    All three essential classics. Yes, you heard that right.

    Underappreciated? Kazan?! Yes for my money. Two reasons. The one everyone knows, and the second because in his day, unlike his contemporaries *and equals*, Hitchcock, Ford, Hawkes, Ray, even Fuller, he was not anointed by the almighty, omniscient Cashiers du Cinema and those boys.

    A somewhat less obvious one I guess but just as influential spell

    THE FOG (perhaps doesn’t fit)

    Can’t ignore the boogeyman, I’ll say


    and gasp


  • steve50

    Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave) (hullo?)

    FW Murnau (Last Laugh, Tartuffe, Faust, Sunrise)

    Arthur Penn (Bonnie & Clyde, Alice’s Restaurant, Little Big Man)

    John Schlesinger ( Billy Liar, Darling, Far..Madding Crowd, Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday)

    Ken Russell (Women In Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, The Boyfriend) speaking of changing film language, music videos should bow really low to this man.

  • UBourgeois

    I wouldn’t call the Welles trio you listed a “borderline pick” since it beats out both the Kazan and Fellini trios you listed. Like, Juliet of the Spirits and Baby Doll over The Magnificent Ambersons? Come on. I also have to agree with the Charlie Chaplin comment here. Hard to beat the City Lights-Modern Times-Great Dictator combo. Other notables

    AKira Kurosawa: it’s hard to grab three in a row that are all indisputably great because he puts comparatively minor picks in between his masterpieces (Like Rashomon-The Idiot-Ikiru-Seven Samurai, for example), but you can make a strong case for:

    Dersu Uzala

    Kenji Mizoguvhi:
    Sansho the Bailiff
    The Crucified Lovers

    It’s a shame Life of Oharu is separated from the latter two by the forgettable The Geisha, but I suppose that would be too heavy a three-hit combo.

    Bela Tarr:
    Werckmeister Harmonies

    I know not everyone admires Tarr (I struggle with him, myself), but it’s hard to argue this setup.

    Wong Kar-wai:
    Happy Together
    In the Mood for Love

    Simply wonderful. I wish I could get Chungking Express in there too, but alas.

    Nagisa Oshima:
    In the Realm of the Senses
    Empire of Passion
    Merry Christimas, Mr. Lawrence

    This may seem like overstating, but Oshima is a woefully undervalued director, so I don’t mind at all. Three of his very best films, one right after the other. Pop these in for a great marathon.

    David Cronenberg:
    The Dead Zone
    The Fly
    Dead Ringers
    Naked Lunch

    Body Horror at its finest. You could also make a case for Spider-A History of Violence-Eastern Promises, but I think this one sticks best.

    Wes Anderson:
    The Royal Tenenbaums
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    I don’t much care for Life Aquatic, but I know other people do, and it’s so quintessentially Wes. The other two are his two greatest works, I feel, and the product of his most-productive Owen Wilson script phase.

    Paul Thomas Anderson:
    Boogie Nights
    Punch-Drunk Love
    There Will Be Blood

    PDL’s a little weaker than the other, but no less worthy of attention. One of my very favorite directors.

    Hou Hsiao-Hsien:
    A City of Sadness
    The Puppetmaster
    Good Men, Good Women
    Goodbye South, Goodbye
    Flowers of Shanghai

    Unf. I can’t think of a better five-film run. GMGW is the weak link, but the other four are unbelievable.

    Apichatpong Weerasethakul:
    Tropical Malady
    Syndromes and a Century
    Uncle Boonmee (etc)

    You could also slap Blissfully Yours there at the beginning, but I don’t know if we ought to count The Adventure of Iron Pussy between them, which Weerasethakul only co-directed.

    Hayao Miyazaki:
    My Neighbor Totoro
    Kiki’s Delivery Service
    Porco Rosso
    Princess Mononoke
    Spirited Away

    I know this is like half his films, but… come on. Not a minor work in here.

    Andrei Tarkovsky:
    Andrei Rublev
    The Mirror

    You can practically put his entire filmography in here as a big winning streak, but I’ll limit it to these.

    Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger:
    A Matter of Life and Death
    The Red Shoes
    Black Narcissus

    John Cassavetes:
    A Woman Under the Influence
    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
    Opening Night

  • S

    More directors with 4 masterpieces in a row:
    Barry Levinson: Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, Avalon, Bugsy

    More with 3 in a row:
    Victor Fleming: Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, & Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Letter to Three Wives, All about Eve, No Way Out
    Preston Sturges: The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle at Morgan’s Creek, Hail the Conquering Hero
    Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes
    Jacque Demy: Lola, Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “music videos should bow really low to this man.”

    Also many renowned directors who came and are still coming after him who are now acclaimed by those who belittled him in his time!

  • FW Murnau (Last Laugh, Tartuffe, Faust, Sunrise)

    — and City Girl.
    which makes The Artist look like Mabel’s Awful Mistakes

  • UBourgeois

    Actually, thinking about it more, you can throw A Canterbury Tale and I Know Where I’m Going on top of the Powell/Pressburger trio I mentioned.

  • Cory

    Charles Chaplin:
    City Lights
    Modern Times
    The Great Dictator

    No question.

  • Bryce Forestieri


    TWO PEOPLE (haven’t seen)

    Also Bergman had this other in the late 60’s


    but I think there’s a for-TV film in between those so maybe I’m cheating with a title. Still ridiculous.

  • DBibby

    If you count those two then you can easily add the magnificent Life and Death of Colonel Blimp for a 6-film streak

  • steve50

    Sorry, I’m on a roll:

    Mike Nichols (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Graduate, Catch-22, Carnal Knowledge)

    Costa-Gavras (Z, State of Siege, The Confession) defined the political film

    Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Henry & June)

    John Huston (Treasure of Sierra Madre, Key Largo, Asphalt Jungle, African Queen)

    -and people will boo me for this but go ahead:

    Anthony Minghella (The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain)

  • Ernie Powell

    Here’s two possibilities from Sam Peckinpah:
    1. The Wild Bunch, The Ballad Of Cable Hogue, Straw Dogs
    2. The Getaway, Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia

  • UBourgeois

    DBibby: I didn’t realize The Volunteer was just a short. Yes! An excellent streak!

  • steve50

    FUCK!! How can we forget?!

    Bob Fosse: Cabaret, Lenny, All That Jazz, Star80

    I’ll stop now.

  • Bryce Forestieri



  • Bryce Forestieri

    I was trying to crack Peckinpah. I’m glad I wasn’t the one who broke the ice with CABLE HOGUE


  • Linklater now has two really great runs of 3 in a row. First it was Slacker, Dazed And Confused and Before Sunrise. Now it’s Bernie, Before Midnight and Boyhood

  • Bryce Forestieri


  • Daniel

    Dunno if they’re the best ever…but they’re definitely of a moment and “Silence” is still amazing…

    Jonathan Demme

  • Daniel


    Michael Haneke


  • Bryce Forestieri

    Mike Leigh? The Dardennes? I don’t want to type that much but you get the idea.

  • The Pope

    There are other directors I prefer and there are other films I prefer but when it comes to changing the landscape and language of cinema, aren’t we forgetting someone?

    Select any sequence you want. 15 films in 7 years. No one else comes near this list.

    1960 À bout de souffle
    1961 Une femme est une femme
    1962 Vivre sa vie
    1963 Le Petit soldat
    1963 Les Carabiniers
    1963 Le Mépris
    1964 Bande à part
    1964 Une femme mariée
    1965 Alphaville
    1965 Pierrot le fou
    1966 Masculin Féminin
    1966 Made in U.S.A.
    1966 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
    1967 La Chinoise
    1967 Week End

  • joe

    Peter Jackson
    Heavenly creatures
    The lord of the rings trilogy
    The frighteners
    Bad taste
    Forgotten silver
    King kong

  • joe

    Quentin tarantino
    Reservoir dogs
    Pulp fiction
    Django unchained
    Kill bill volume 1_and 2

    Paul verveheon
    Total recall

    Clint Eastwood
    Million dollar baby
    Letters from Iwo jima
    Jersey boys
    J. Edgar

  • Alan J. Pakula for Klute, The Parallax View and All The President’s Men

    Brad Bird for The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille

    Tim Burton for Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Ed Wood

  • Bong Joon-ho for Memories Of Murder, The Host, Mother and Snowpiercer

  • Bryce Forestieri


    Too shaky?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “Brad Bird for The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille”

    Ooh Nice. Truly.

  • Bryce Forestieri


  • Tye-Grr

    Great list! I would easily add: Brad Bird- ‘The Iron Giant’, ‘The Incredibles’, ‘Ratatouille’, with the latter being one of my all-time favorite films.

  • m1

    Mine is more of a consecutive “good films” list than a “great films” one. But whatever.

    Bennett Miller
    possibly Foxcatcher

    Mike Leigh
    Vera Drake
    Another Year
    possibly Mr. Turner

    Tom Hooper
    The Damned United
    The King’s Speech
    Les Miserables (if we’re counting Burn After Reading and Ben Button we are certainly counting this)

    David O. Russell
    The Fighter
    Silver Linings Playbook
    American Hustle

    Clint Eastwood
    Mystic River
    Million Dollar Baby
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Letters from Iwo Jima

    Ben Affleck
    Gone Baby Gone
    The Town

    Christopher Nolan
    The Dark Knight
    The Dark Knight Rises

    Alexander Payne
    About Schmidt
    The Descendants

    James Cameron

    Kathryn Bigelow
    The Hurt Locker
    Zero Dark Thirty

    Asghar Farhadi
    A Separation
    The Past

    Danny Boyle
    Slumdog Millionaire
    127 Hours

    Joe Wright
    Pride & Prejudice

    Wes Anderson
    Fantastic Mr. Fox
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Joel & Ethan Coen
    A Serious Man
    True Grit
    Inside Llewyn Davis

    David Fincher
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Social Network
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Darren Aronofsky
    The Wrestler
    Black Swan

    Steven Soderbergh
    Magic Mike
    Side Effects

    Paul Thomas Anderson
    Punch-Drunk Love
    There Will Be Blood
    The Master

    Tony Gilroy
    Michael Clayton
    Duplicity (always found this one a little underrated)

    Alfonso Cuaron
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Children of Men

  • m1

    Oh, yes! Brad Bird! Can’t believe I didn’t think of him.

  • m1

    Forgot to put Zodiac for Fincher.

  • BlueFox94

    No animation directors?

    Hayao Miyazaki

    Brad Bird

  • Bryce Forestieri

    OK, one last one for the road. Often we talk of “importance” of certain features. Dear to my heart, and deeply influential beyond the realm of cinematic considerations in a time of furor. The most timely streak…and Kubrick was a fan.


  • Ra S.

    Christopher Nolan though with The Dark Knight and Inception

  • Fabio Augusto Silva

    Almodovar definitely fits the bill, since his movie Live Flesh (Carne Tremula) is also a masterpiece, and was made just before All About My Mother and Talk to Her.

  • UBourgeois

    Fabio: or you can go the other direction from AAMM and TTH into Bad Education and Volver

  • Igor Sousa

    My favorite director Krzysztof Kieslowski:

    – A Short film about killing
    – A Short film about love
    – The Double Life of Veronique
    – Blue
    – White
    – Red

  • Fabio Augusto Silva

    UBourgeois, I didn’t much care for Bad Education, or Volver. Live Flesh on the other hand is a great, great film.

  • JoeS

    As much as I love JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, the great trio of Fellini should be NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, LA DOLCE VITA and 8 1/2. CABIRIA won the Foreign Language Oscar and holds up slightly better than SPIRITS. As a great friend of mine (and former Film critic) once told me, “I could watch Cabiria every night and be happy.”

  • Jack Hailey

    Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy, humanity at its most resonant
    Jean Renoir’s five films fromThe Lower Depths to Rules of the Game, which includes two films that make many best-movies-in-history.

  • I fully agree with whoever extended Kazan’s run to 1963 with the very interesting WILD RIVER, the brilliant Sirkian melodrama SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, and his beautiful, tragically underrated immigrant epic AMERICA AMERICA (which really should’ve won Best Picture over TOM JONES).

    Also worth noting:

    Lars von Trier: EUROPA-NYMPHOMANIAC (I submit he has not made a film in this entire span that was below an 80 on my 100 point scale)
    Guy Ritchie: LOCK, STOCK and SNATCH (two of my favorite films of all time)

  • Manuel

    Tomas Alfredson:
    Four Shades of Brown
    Let The Right One In
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Krzysztof Kieslowski:
    The Decalogue
    The Double Life of Veronique
    Three Colors: Blue
    Three Colors: White
    Three Colors: Red

    Lars von Trier:
    Breaking the waves
    The Kingdom
    The Idiots

    Darren Aronofsky:
    Requiem for a dream
    The Fountain
    The Wrestler
    Black Swan

    Terrence Malick:
    Days of Heaven
    The Thin Red Line
    The New World
    The Tree of Life

    David Fincher:
    Benjamin Button
    The Social Network
    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    Gone Girl (hopefully)

    Jim Sheridan:
    My Left Foot
    The Field
    In The Name of The Father

    Jonathan Glazer:
    Sex Beast
    Under The Skin

    Michael Haneke:
    Funny Games
    The White Ribbon

    David Cronenberg:
    A History of Violence
    Eastern Promises

    Steven Soderberg: ??
    Out of Sight
    The Limey
    Erin Brockovich
    Ocean’s Eleven

    Andrei Tarkovsky:
    Ivan’s Childhood
    Andrei Rublev
    The Mirror

    Steve McQueen:
    12 Years a Slave

    Chan-wook Park:
    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
    Lady Vengeance

  • Jacques Tati:

    Jour de Fête
    Les Vacances de M. Hulot
    Mon Oncle

  • Jeff

    For comedy fans,
    The Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams
    AIRPLANE! (1980)
    TOP SECRET (1984)
    THE NAKED GUN (1988)

    Rob Reiner
    THE SURE THING (1985)
    STAND BY ME (1986)

    The Farrelly Brothers
    DUMB AND DUMBER (1994)
    KINGPIN (1996)

    Albert Brooks
    REAL LIFE (1979)
    LOST IN AMERICA (1985)

  • Jeff

    Also for Scorsese
    RAGING BULL (1980)
    AFTER HOURS (1985)

  • Patrick heidmann

    I would definitely add “Brokeback Mountain” for Ang Lee…

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    no one has ever beaten the one-two punch of Victor Fleming
    with GONE WITH THE WIND and WIZARD OF OZ in one year.

    another director of skill and intelligence was Sam Wood.
    now HE had a track record of brilliant hits within a short period:
    A Night at the Opera
    A Day at the Races
    Goodbye Mr. Chips
    Our Town
    King’s Row
    The Pride of the Yankees

    However, Woody Allen’s 80s list is a modern marvel…
    The Purple Rose of Cairo
    Radio Days
    Hannah and her Sisters
    For Whom the Bell Tolls

    Also, Milos Forman’s great 3some:
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS wasn’t Woody’s.
    that epic was Sam Wood’s

  • Keil S.


    – Tape
    – Waking Life
    – The School of Rock
    – Before Sunset

  • Keil S.

    Coppola may have the strongest 4-in-a-row.

  • Rob Y

    Pedro Almadovar:
    Law of Desire
    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

    Jonathan Demme
    Silence of the Lambs
    Cousin Bobby (an unusual follow up)

    Irvin Kershner
    Eyes of Laura Mars (I loved it)
    The Empire Strikes Back
    Never Say Never Again

    George Lucas
    THX 1138
    American Graffiti
    Star Wars

    Terry Gilliam
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Time Bandits
    Adventures of Baron Munchausen
    Fisher King
    Twelve Monkeys

    James Ivory
    Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
    Howard’s End
    Remains of the Day
    Jefferson in Paris

    Robert Redford
    Ordinary People
    The Milagro Beanfield War
    A River Runs Through It
    Quiz Show

    Oliver Stone
    Wall Street
    Talk Radio
    Born on the Fourth of July
    The Doors

    Frank Capra
    Lady for a Day
    It Happened One Night
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    Lost Horizon
    You Can’t Take It with You
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    Meet John Doe
    Various WWII Documentaries
    Arsenic and Old Lace

    Laurence Olivier
    Henry V
    Richard III
    The Prince and the Showgirl

    Ed Wood
    Glen or Glenda
    Jail Bait
    Bride of the Monster
    Plan 9 from Outer Space

    John Waters
    Mondo Trasho
    The Diane Linkletter Story
    Multiple Maniacs
    Pink Flamingos
    Desperate Living
    Serial Mom

    Peter Greenaway
    Draughtsman’s Contract
    A Zed & Two Noughts
    Belly of an Architecht
    Drowning by Numbers
    The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
    Prospero’s Books

  • John OLIVER

    Robert Wise
    1958-I Want to Live!
    1959-Odds Against Tomorrow
    1961-West Side Story
    1962-Two for the Seesaw
    1963-The Haunting
    1965-The Sound of Music
    1966-The Sand Pebbles

    Richard Brooks
    1958-Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    1960-Elmer Gantry
    1962-Sweet Bird of Youth

  • John OLIVER

    I agree with anyone that loved Kazan’s America, America!

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    Amen to John Oliver’s list
    for Robert Wise.
    And Ryan’s assessment of the
    phenomenal record of Billy Wilder.

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    sorry to take up space here, but if
    someone can cite John Hughes, we
    can pause for minute and reflect on
    the humongous contributions of Michael
    Curtiz during his reign of amazement…
    from 1938 to 1944 we were given

    The Adventures of Robin Hood
    Angels with Dirty Faces
    Four Daughters
    The Sea Hawk
    Yankee Doodle Dandy
    Mildred Pierce

  • John OLIVER

    Jerry Schatberg
    1970-Puzzle of a Downfall Child
    1971-The Panic in Needle Park

  • John OLIVER

    John Cassavetes
    1971-Minnie and Moskowitz
    1974-Woman Under the Influence

  • John OLIVER

    Peter Weir
    1982-The Year of Living Dangerously
    1986-The Mosquito Coast
    1989-Dead Poets Society

    1998-The Truman Show
    2003-Master and Commander

  • Philipp

    It’s fun, but maybe we try to include to much as I did with Audiard. Rust and Bone, I have to admit, is not so outstanding to be in this club. The task is to find directors who gave us ” three or four or more consecutive films that altered the landscape of film and/or changed the language of film forever.”
    And Sasha, I saw that you had Ang Lee on your list, I just wanted to mention two other of his films.

  • Ridley Scott. There, I said it.
    The Duellists (1977) Best First Feature at Cannes — “Unanimously”
    Alien (1979)
    Blade Runner (1982)

    ” films that altered the landscape of film and/or changed the language of film forever.”

    Yes. Yes indeed.

  • John OLIVER

    John Schlsinge
    1963-Billy Liar
    1967-Far From the Madding Crowd
    1969-Midnight Cowboy
    1971-Sunday Bloody Sunday

  • John OLIVER

    Accidentally erased the R on John Schslinger

  • Carl Th. Dreyer
    The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928 )
    Vampyr (1932 )
    Day of Wrath (1943 )

    Yasujiro Ozu
    Late Spring (1949 ) #15 on the Sight and Sound list of greatest movies of all time
    Early Summer (1951)
    The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (1952)
    Tokyo Story (1953) #3 on the Sight and Sound list of greatest movies of all time

  • 1922 – Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler
    1924 – Die Nibelungen
    1927 – Metropolis
    1928 – Spione
    1929 – Frau im Mond
    1931 – M
    1933 – Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

    Who refined the aesthetic of Film Noir 20 years before Film Noir was a thing? Fritz fucking Lang, that’s who.

    And while he was in the middle of doing that he invented the dystopian science fiction film.

  • John Oliver

    Otto Preminger
    1953-The Moon is Blue
    1954-River of No Return
    1954-Carmen Jones
    1955-The Man With the Golden Arm
    1955-The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell
    1958-Bonjour Tristesse
    1959-Porgy and Bess
    1959-Anatomy of a Murder
    1962-Advise & Consent
    1963-The Cardinal
    1965-In Harm’s Way
    1965-Bunny Lake is Missing
    1967-Hurry Sundown
    1970-Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon

  • Jean Vigo
    (1930) À propos de Nice
    (1933) Zero de Conduit
    (1934) L’Atlanta

    A propos de what? Nope, can’t count that one. So that’s only two masterpieces in a row,” some will say.

    Jean Vigo died in 1934 at the age of 31, so go ahead and complain. Jerks.

  • Munro202

    I really think Chaplin and Myazaki need to be on this list! Especially Chaplin, no question.

    I would add Stardust memories onto your Woody Allen list to make a list of 4 instead of 3, I think together Annie Hall, Interiors, Manhattan, Stardust Memories is a four punch that rivals the lists from Kubrick, Fellini, etc. While I wouldn’t say this is a list of films that changed film history, I am also a huge fan of this five-long run from Allen:

    Broadway Danny Rose
    The Purple Rose of Cairo
    Hannah and Her Sisters
    Radio Days

    Also, while I don’t by any means think all of these are among the best of all time, I think think all the films on this list from Tim Burton have in some way had a pretty big impact on the cinema landscape:

    Edward Scissorhands
    Batman Returns
    Ed Wood

  • John Oliver, you and S read my mind.

    There should be special dispensation for entry into the Pantheon, not only for 3 masterworks in a row, but also for directors with 6 or more movies in row where there’s not a bad one in the bunch.

  • John Oliver

    Sasha and Ryan, let’s do the same with actors and actresses. This was fun and educating!

  • Nice idea, John.

    Bette Davis
    1938: Won for Jezebel
    1939: Nominated for Dark Victory
    1940: Nominated for The Letter
    1941: Nominated for The Little Foxes
    1942: Nominated for Now, Voyager

    Which reminds me, in addition to the set of 4 William Wyler films in a row that Sasha already listed

    The Letter
    The Little Foxes
    Mrs Miniver
    (oops, gap)
    The Best Years of Our Lives

    Roman Holiday
    The Desperate Hours
    Friendly Persuasion

    The Children’s Hour
    The Collector

  • Sato

    Two of the greatest Asian directors, LINO BROCKA:

    Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (Weighed But Found Wanting) – 1974
    Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) – 1975
    Insiang – 1976 *Cannes Director’s Fortnight?

    Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sister, Daughter)
    Jaguar *competed for Palm D’Or
    Ina Ka ng Anak Mo (Whore of a Mother)
    *all in 1979

    Not to mention his other films that were also released in 1974 and 1976
    Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa (Three, Two, One)
    Lunes, Martes, Miyerkules, Huwebes, Biyernes, Sabado, Linggo (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)


    Itim (The Rites of May) – 1977
    Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising (Moments in a Stolen Dream) – 1977
    Kakabakaba ka ba? (Will Your Heart Beat Faster?) – 1980
    Kisapmata (In the Wink of an Eye) – 1981 *Cannes Director’s Fortnight
    Batch ’81 – 1982 *Cannes Director’s Fortnight
    Sister Stella L. – 1984 *Venice Film Festival nominated for a Golden Lion

  • Sato

    Also let’s give credit to Tim Burton:

    Peewee’s Big Adventure
    Edward Scissorhands
    Batman Returns (better than Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises imho)
    Ed Wood

  • Jon

    How on earth did you forget the already mentioned Alexander Payne and not include William Friedkin who arguably has the best 1-2 punch in film history with The French Connection AND The Exorcist. You can extend it to include The Boys In The Band (prior to French Connection) and Sorcerer (which I think is a masterpiece). Come on AD Crew I figure that one was an easy layup.

  • Satoshi Kon sadly only had time to make 4 films, but they’re all excellent.
    I would say that PERFECT BLUE and PAPRIKA had a big influence, not just in the animation world, but also for live-action directors like Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan (for “Black Swan” & “Inception”, respectively)

    Satoshi Kon:

  • Also, Mamoru Oshii:

  • Wow. I was really late to this party. So, as a result, I have gone for a kind of indie take on the list with “consecutive films that altered the landscape of {indie} film and/or changed the language of {indie} film forever”. A lot of these are not exactly Gone With The Wind, but still…

    Hal Hartley

    The Unbelievable Truth
    Surviving Desire
    Simple Men
    Henry Fool

    Whit Stillman

    The Last Days Of Disco

    Todd Haynes

    Velvet Goldmine
    Far from Heaven
    I’m Not There

    And then there is:

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet

    The City of Lost Children
    Alien Resurrection {excuse this, please}
    A Very Long Engagement

  • Tero Heikkinen

    We are talking about movies that have influenced cinema, right? To me the 3-in-a-row would have to be very different types of films – in genre and style to be even considered. Most of these listed above are not influential at all. Kubrick seems to be the only one that has unquestionably done that (and no one can disagree really), and probably some of the very early directors, but I have not seen all of their films to be an adequate critic for that. To me, Hitchcock and Bergman have done that also.

    For the partially-influential, but all true masterpieces, Coppola is in (and Godfather films and Apocalypse did that, but Conversation meant very little for future filmmakers). Lean – to me – is questionable, but comes close. I think Dr. Zhivago really drags, but he really invented modern epic that many (incl. Spielberg) followed.

    Btw, Spielberg would have had a great 4-in-a-row if 1941 (a trainwreck I love to hate) didn’t exist. Jaws+Close Encounters+Raiders+E.T. would have been unbelievable in modern era cinema.

  • John

    I am glad that steve50 mentioned Minghella. I absolutely cherish the trifecta of The English Patient, TheTalented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain.

    I think the best of the best include:
    Victor Fleming (late1930s/early 40s).
    Billy Wilder, in general.
    Elia Kazan.
    William Wyler, starting with Ben-Hur.
    And yes, Burton for Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman Returns.

  • steve50

    Robin – how could we forget Todd Haynes!?

    One thing I did notice reading these posts – it’s easier to agree on directors who worked 30+ years ago. They made more films, more often, and had more say into what they did or put into their films. While it may not be drying up, the source is diminishing.

  • John

    ^ very true.

  • Manuel

    Movies that have influenced cinema

    Ridley Scott – Alien / Blade Runner
    The Wachowski Brothers – Bound / The Matrix
    Anthony Minghella – The English Patient/ The Talented Mr Ripley
    James Cameron – The Terminator/ Aliens
    Paul Thomas Anderson – Boogie Nights/ Magnolia
    Lars von Trier – Dancer in the dark / Dogville
    Richard Linklater – Dazed and Confused/ Before Sunset + Before Midnight/ Boyhood
    Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs/ Pulp Fiction + Kill Bill Volume I/ Kill Bill Volume II
    Ingmar Bergman – Cries and Whispers/ Scenes from a marriage
    David Lynch – Blue Velvet / Wild at Heart
    William Friedkin – The French Connection/ The Exorcist
    Michael Haneke – The White Ribbon / Amour
    Michael Mann – Heat / The Insider
    Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker / Zero Dark Thirty
    Spike Jonze – Being John Malkovich/ Adaptation
    Jonathan Glazer – Birth/ Under the Skin
    Robert Zemeckis – Back to the Future / Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
    Hayao Miyazaki – Princess Monoke / Spirited Away
    Jonathan Demme – The Silence of the Lambs / Phildelphia
    Tarsem Singh – The Cell/ The Fall
    Akira Kurosawa – Ikiru / Seven Samurai

    Pedro Almodovar – Live Flesh/ All About My Mother/ Talk to Her
    Krzysztof Kieslowski – Three Colors: Blue/ White/ Red
    Ingmar Bergman – Persona/ Hour of the Wolf/ Shame
    Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo / North by Northwest / Psycho
    Luc Besson – The Big Blue / La Femme Nikita/ Leon: The Professional
    Chan-wook Park – Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance/ Oldboy / Lady Vengeance
    Tod Haynes – Far From Heaven/ I’m Not There
    David Fincher – Zodiac / The Curios Case of Benjamin Button/ The Social Network
    Peter Jackson – Lord of the Rings trilogy

    Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather/ The Godfather II/ The Conversation/ Apocalypse Now
    Sergio Leone – A Fistful of Dollars/ For A Few Dollars More/ The Good, The Bad and The Ugly/ Once Upon a Time In The West

    Alfred Hitchcock 1954 – Dial M For Murder/ Rear Window
    Steven Spielberg 1993 – Jurassic Park / Schindler’s List

    The Stanley Kubrick league:
    Lolita/ Spartacus/ Dr. Strangelove/ 2001: A Space Odyssey/ A Clockwork Orange/ Barry Lyndon The Shining/ Full Metal Jacket

  • RobMiles

    I would just say that Hitchcock did have 4 in a row. Vertigo and Psycho are in my all time Top 10. Even though North By Northwest isn’t in my Hitchcock Top 10, it’s still a great film with a massive influence on Hollywood film. Any time you see a film which shows nature fighting back against humanity, Jaws included, it owes a debt to The Birds, so I would include it.

  • Are we doing “good years” next? Like in 2002 when John C Reilly was in every movie nominated for an Oscar. 😀

  • Hector Delgado, Jr.

    In regards to cinematic influence I’d have to say one of the pioneers of American cinema has not been mentioned,

    D.W Griffith

    The Birth of a Nation (1915)
    Despite the film’s controversial content, Griffith’s innovative film techniques make it one of the most influential films in the commercial film industry, and it is often ranked as one of the greatest American films of all time.

    Intolerance (1916)
    Considered one of the great masterpieces of the Silent Era, Intolerance and its unorthodox editing were enormously influential, particularly among European and Soviet filmmakers. Many of the numerous assistant directors Griffith employed in making the film, such as Erich von Stroheim and Tod Browning, went on to become important and noted Hollywood directors . In 1989, Intolerance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

    Broken Blossoms (1919)
    In 1996, Broken Blossoms was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

  • K Bacon

    Changed film forever? Gotta include Cameron.

  • Jerry Grant

    Steven Spielberg

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    E.T., the Extra Terrestrial
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    The Color Purple
    Empire of the Sun
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Jurassic Park
    Schindler’s List
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    Saving Private Ryan
    A.I., Artificial Intelligence
    Minority Report
    Catch Me If You Can

    Given that we’re including “Bad Timing,” “High Anxiety,” “Shampoo,” and “Panic Room,” I think this is justified!

  • Several of us have been hesitant about naming some great films because — great as they may be — we wonder if they truly “changed the language of film forever.” But honestly when I first read this headline, I took it to mean “Great Directors Who Changed Film Forever.”

    Because I think it would be hard to argue that Lolita, Dr Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange changed film language — since no films remotely like those Kubrick milestones has ever since been produced. Those movies loom large in our conscientiousness precisely because Kubrick’s language and syntax is exclusively his own — it’s impossible to duplicate or even to imitate.


    So instead I took this task as a challenge to name directors who helped expand the horizons of film — not just by pushing their own boundaries but by inspiring other generations of directors who followed to push new boundaries in different ways. I honestly can’t think how Clockwork Orange invented a language or started any new film movements or a new genre of films or a new way of using film that any other director has come close replicating. It’s a language all its own, and nobody but Kubrick speaks it. A Clockwork Orange changed the landscape of film only to the extent that nobody else dared to venture into that minefield landscape ever again.

    There were black comedies for centuries before Dr Strangelove, and even the subtitle: “How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was just a playful variation of a standard pop-psychology book subtitles of the 1950s — beginning with “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” That was nothing new. It was just a wild exuberant riff on something that already existed.

    Not to diminish Kubrick’s achievements which were monumental. But create a new language? I don’t think so. Or else more filmmakers could speak that language and more movies would be better.

    All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t feel like any of these lists of 3 great movies in a row is invalidated just because our lists of movies didn’t create a new language.

    When I think of creators of new film grammar I think of directors like Eisenstein. That’s why (for me) directors like Jean Renoir and William Wyler had more widespread influence on the grammatical landscape of film narrative and style. Because, after they pioneered depth of field and mise-en-scene, thousands and thousands of movies were made that employed the same techniques those directors of the 1930s and ’40s developed and refined.


  • “…create a new language? I don’t think so. Or else more filmmakers could speak that language and more movies would be better.”

    There are isolated successful exceptions. It’s well-known (and obvious) that Ridley Scott looked to Barry Lyndon for inspiration when he made The Duellists.

    And the Cannes jury was, like, “ISWYDT, good job, here’s your special prize.” (and a year later the Camera d’Or prize became an annual Cannes fixture).

    But there again, Kubrick only inspired Scott. Scott benefited from that inspiration but then he translated it into his own language. No need to mimic someone else’s language.

    The natural candlelit chiaroscuro of Barry Lyndon? McCabe and Mrs Miller had already pioneered the methods of “forcing” low-light filmstock 4 years earlier.

  • Dimitri

    I would add David Lynch with Eraserhead and The Elephant Man

  • steve50

    One thing that Kubrick did that DID change film language was his almost meditative attention to detail. Malick and Fincher each use this approach, as did both films leading the race for BP last year. Both McQueen and Cuaron used it to hypnotize audiences in 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. You practically have to go back to Murnau prior to Kubrick where the look of a film was so reliant on the beauty of the very ordinary, yet both of these guys nailed it in the same year in very different ways.

    Sound-wise, Robert Altman’s impressionistic sound style was probably the most major change in the last 50 years with regards to what we hear. He really pushed the limits in McCabe & Mrs. Miller by giving equal volume to the main dialog and background chatter, then clouding it with Leonard Cohen optiatic songs.

    Basically, any director that had three in a row that are now considered classics did impact film language. Maybe not yet, but someone in the future is going to rediscover their look or sound or narrative style and use it again.

    “Mistakes” can often become the mode decades later, too. Bursts of sun spots and reflections were considered sloppy errors and then came Easy Rider and countless 70s dramas. All of a sudden, these became stylish – like a burp becoming part of the language. Wonder what Greg Toland would have thought of Easy Rider’s cinematography.

  • Jeremy

    I wish 1941 didnt exist, because that Spielberg quartet of Jaws/Close Encounters/Raiders/ET is unmatched by any living director in my mind, much less all in the span of less than a decade

  • Bryce Forestieri

    The one film of Kubrick’s that did altered the form for the better is 2001. Yes, like BREATHLESS and like BIRTH OF A NATION — so yeah I’m not talking about mere technical innovations of which it had many of course. Lately I haven’t got much motivation left for obvious reasons plus I’m no expert on these matters, but I know where to find a good explanation. I’ll see if I can transcribe and cite.

  • immature

    Victor Erice
    The Spirit of the Beehive
    The South

    The Double Life of Veronique
    Three Colors Blue
    Three Colors White
    Three Colors Red

    To Have and Have Not
    The Big Sleep
    Red River

  • You practically have to go back to Murnau prior to Kubrick where the look of a film was so reliant on the beauty of the very ordinary

    The right temperament and sensibility to capture hypnotic beauty is a rare enough commodity that it might seem as if nobody but Murnau or Kubrick had ever previously nailed it.

    But isn’t it unfair to deny these directors didn’t compose their frames with meticulous artistry and pack them corner-to-corner with expressive details: Chaplin, Stevens, Wyler, Cukor, Minnelli, Lubitsch, Ophuls, Sirk, Ford, Renoir, Kurosawa, Bergman, Dreyer, Ozu, Bresson, Lean, Antonioni, Visconti, Satyajit Ray, Resnais, Carné, von Stroheim, von Sternberg, Lang, Hitchcock, Kazan, Pasolini, Rohmer, Cocteau, Melville, Powell?

    None of these guys paid any attention to details? None of them created hypnotic sensations? I guess I’m easily hypnotized because I can name 400 exquisitely detailed movies that have hypnotized me that were made long before 2001: A Space Odyssey came along. And then what? It took Malick 10 years to follow up and say, “hey, I can do that too” — and nobody else tried to utilize this neat new Kubrick trick between 1968-1978?

    I hear what you’re saying about Altman’s use of sound and Kubrick’s languid moments of meditation — but then if we can only name 5 other filmmakers since 1968 who have exploited or achieved the same effect (and if I can name 25 directors who came before Kubrick who did it too) then I can’t see how we give Kubrick and Kubrick alone all the credit for inventing it — much less alter the landscape of film narrative ever after.

  • You practically have to go back to Murnau prior to Kubrick where the look of a film was so reliant on the beauty of the very ordinary

    Not to hammer on this, steve50. (I hate to butt heads with you 🙁 ) But I don’t remember a whole lot of “very ordinary” in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    And I don’t remember Full Metal Jacket or Strangelove or A Clockwork Orange being very reliant on “hypnotic beauty.”

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Yo Kubrick invented Kubrick and that is it*, it’s that way of telling a story that won’t let you for a second turn away because it’s so constantly delicious from the first second to the last — it’s almost antithetical. It’s why I’m sure I will see again BARRY LYNDON and THE SHINING half a dozen times each in the next few years. And then again. Nobody else can do it**.

    *not really but you know what I’m saying

    **to me

  • immature

    Seven Samurai
    I Live in Fear
    Throne of Blood

    Hidden Fortress
    The Bad Sleep Well
    High and Low
    Red Beard

  • steve50

    By “ordinary”, I don’t mean what we would call ordinary. It’s a feeling matter-of-factness created by the filmmaker that takes our attention away from sometrhing unusual and makes us more interested in how the character is interacting with it. The zero-gravity stewardess in 2001: watching her steps is more interesting than the fact that she’s soon going to be walking upside down (it’s not ordinary to us, but we assume that it’s going to happen). Clockwork Orange had tons of ordinary events – it was the precise, almost obsessive portrayal of them. I think it took about 50+ takes to get the spit to land just right on McDowall’s face. Eating and/or sleeping, truly the most ordinary things humans do, are portrayed in every (pretty sure) Kubrick film, almost fetishistically.

    “But isn’t it unfair to deny these directors didn’t compose their frames with meticulous artistry and pack them corner-to-corner with expressive details: Chaplin, Stevens, Wyler, Cukor, Minnelli, Lubitsch, Ophuls, Sirk, Ford, Renoir, Kurosawa, Bergman, Dreyer, Ozu, Bresson, Lean, Antonioni, Visconti, Satyajit Ray, Resnais, Carné, von Stroheim, von Sternberg, Lang, Hitchcock, Kazan, Pasolini, Rohmer, Cocteau, Melville, Powell?”

    Ryan, you know me better than that. I’m talking about similar style and approach. You make it sound as if I’m equating these directors with Tom Hooper, fergodsake. There. You’ve made me break my 2014: resolution: no Tom Hooper snipes. Happy?

  • immature

    Wong Kar Wai
    Days of Being Wild
    Chungking Express
    In the Mood for Love

    The Seventh Seal
    Wild Strawberries
    Winter Light
    The Silence
    Cries and Whispers
    Scenes from a Marriage

    Claire’s Knee
    Chloe in the Afternoon
    Tales of the Four Seasons

  • Yo Kubrick invented Kubrick and that is it*
    Nobody else can do it**

    That’s essentially what I said before, Bryce:

    “It’s a language all its own, and nobody but Kubrick speaks it.”

    “Badlands changed film history by introducing film history to Terrence Malick.”

    These directors we’ve all been naming all threw their own hooks into the stream of film history.

    Film history before __X__ and film history after __X__ felt the impact of __X__ existing where __X__ previously didn’t exist.

    But that’s not unique to Kubrick, right? That can be said of 3 dozen directors or more.

    I can honestly say that I do feel a seismic shift in the way movies look and feel pre-Citizen Kane and post-Citizen Kane (although I’m not sure whether that might be a result of Kane riding the crest of the new wave that might have already been evolving).

    Likewise I feel a distinct dividing line in the style of film acting, pre-Streetcar Named Desire and post-Streetcar named Desire.

    But I have to say, I don’t feel movie history dividing into pre-Space Odyssey and post-Space Odyssey. I don’t feel a change in the landscape.

    See? It’s the insistence that these directors had to “change the course of film language” before they qualify as significant. That’s where I balk. Because I do not see how 2001: A Space Odyssey changed anything.

    It’s its own thing, it’s its own independent pinnacle. In a few short years CGI would establish the Certified Look of sci-fi, and I’m hard pressed to think of any movie between Space Odyssey and the advent CGI that managed to use the same language as 2001: Space Odyssey.

    For me that makes 2001 even more of a singular monumental milestone. I don’t see its language being used by any other director (aside from quoting, or homage, or even parody) — but that’s ok with me.

    All I’m saying is that I don’t think it diminishes Wyler or Wilder or Wajda if they don’t invent a language that changes everything.

  • You’ve made me break my 2014: resolution: no Tom Hooper snipes. Happy?

    I’m tingling. Thanks.

  • immature

    Diary of a country priest
    A man escaped
    Au hasard balthazar

  • Bryce, steve50, and anyone else who’s not sick of me already… Here’s a very fine collection of 10 films gathered by Sight & Sound Sight on Sound that they have labeled as Kubrickian.

    Notice something cute? One of those Kubrickian movies (La Ronde) was made before Kubrick himself made any movie. Another Kubrickian movie (Metropolis) was made a year before Kubrick was born.

    It’s this kind of thing that makes me want to remind myself (and anyone else who will listen) that Terrence Malick learned as much film language from Max Ophuls as he did from Kubrick. I understand that it’s hip and cool for directors to say they owe everything to Kubrick, but to me that’s an insult to all the directors who came before Kubrick and to whom Kubrick himself owes so much.

    “Highest of all I would rate Max Ophuls, who for me possessed every possible quality. He has an exceptional flair for sniffing out good subjects, and he got the most out of them. He was also a marvellous director of actors.” – “I particularly admired his fluid camera techniques.” – excerpt from a Kubrick interview by Cinema magazine in 1963

    On March 25, 1957 Kubrick was shooting a scene for Paths of Glory which consisted of a single long tracking shot. The shot was apparently quite a strain for the actors and after they had finished for the day Kubrick confided to one of them that he had done it as a tribute to Max Ophuls who had died earlier that day.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “All I’m saying is that I don’t think it diminishes Wyler or Wilder or Wajda if they don’t invent a language that changes everything.”

    BUT WE ALL AGREE WITH YOU ON THOSE POINTS TOO 🙂 so what are we talking about??

    Just for kicks let me expand on another point you made that I appreciated.

    “1922 – Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler
    1924 – Die Nibelungen
    1927 – Metropolis
    1928 – Spione
    1929 – Frau im Mond
    1931 – M
    1933 – Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

    Who refined the aesthetic of Film Noir 20 years before Film Noir was a thing? Fritz fucking Lang, that’s who.”

    In the same way though, 2001 revolutionized the Sci-Fi aesthetic, manipulation, and the complete approach to the genre, not only by filmmakers, but by audiences. Perhaps you’d argue that Sci-Fi foundations are not as legit as Film Noir foundations. Maybe what’s missing is the “before ___ was a thing”, but then I’d say the film did away with all the infantile conventions that took over the genre long before its arrival — because METROPOLIS, as great as it was, wasn’t nearly as influential to the genre; by this I mean whatever came out between 1927 and 1968. 2001 “triggered” SOLARIS for Pete’s sake, which was a response to it from Andrei because he thought it was too cold or something. It paved the way for ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, STAR WARS. It is the reason why the unabashedly-serious and adult THE THING (1982) is so unlike THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD(1951) but just as -if not more- crucial than Hawkes’ classic. The reason why THE FLY (1986) thank God is not THE FLY (1958). CGI is just the new way they go about to creating “stuff” in movies, but all the serious CGI-heavy sci-fi efforts of recent times (THE MATRIX, SUNSHINE, GRAVITY) are made to look the way they do because of 2001, regardless if what we’re seeing is an practical lit model/set or computer generated. I suppose this is a way in which I see film before and after 2001.

  • Maybe what’s missing is the “before ___ was a thing”, but then I’d say the film did away with all the infantile conventions that took over the genre long before its arrival

    ok, yes, I will concede that Kubrick legitimized a genre that was previously just a notch above horror on the film study Scale of Scorn. I would have liked to see more directors grab that baton and run with it, but even if a only handful ever tried in the 70s and 80s then that’s better than nothing.

    After all, it’s not as if every film noir was a masterpiece. Only just the ones we remember and talk about.

    Good point, Bryce. (I do think there were serious attempts to make serious sci-fi films prior to Space odyssey, but most of them haven’t held up very well).

    Perhaps you’d argue that Sci-Fi foundations are not as legit as Film Noir foundations.

    I’d never argue that sci-fi foundations lack legitimacy, but we can probably all agree most of the sci-fi precedents lacked technical finesse. Kubrick showed everybody how to do it with elegance and timeless good taste.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    For one thing now thanks to you I have the urgent need to visit an old friend, Lolita Montez.

  • steve50

    I wasn’t using Kubrick (or Altman) as originators, only as two directors who went to the extreme to create a different experience. Of course Kubrick learned from those who came before him – he didn’t hatch from a pod and say “I think I’ll make a ballpoint pen appear to float in space”.

    Kubrick made Sci-fi serious and beyond comprehension. It’s not explained away in the last few minutes of the film so everyone feels better when they leave the theatre. That was a first, to my knowledge. That makes it a benchmark.

    Nearly every director listed by AD commentors did something to them to knock them off their guard, to make them notice something they hadn’t before. When this happens on a grand scale, the language is enhanced (“change” is a bad word; language doesn’t change, it evolves). Directors learn from those who came before. Without Ingmar Bergman, there’d be no Woody Allen; without John Ford, no Spielberg; no Kurosawa – no Scorsese. They all admit this.

    I agree with Bryce that we really all agree. The rest is nuance.

  • It’s not explained away in the last few minutes of the film so everyone feels better when they leave the theatre. That was a first, to my knowledge.

    I absolutely agree, almost. But it could also be argued that Kubrick took the ending of The 400 Blows and attached it to a sci-f movie. That was incredibly clever, and it certainly did blow people’s minds. Especially people who had never seen an open-ended movie that left people hanging and wondering what happens next. Like Gone With the Wind, for instance.

  • steve50

    But in the 400 Blows (and GWTW) you understood what went before – and my point was sci-fi specific and not just the ending. Guess I’m not making sense.

  • No you are making sense. I do see what you mean. I’m kidding around using Gone With the Wind as an example.

    You’re right that ambiguity in movies wasn’t familiar to audiences. But it wasn’t unheard of.

    I wonder how audiences felt in 1951. Leaving the theatre after hearing these words: “Watch the skies everywhere. Keep looking. Keep watching the skies.”

    (UFO sightings surged in 1951, and they’ve been a thing ever since.)

  • Al Robinson

    You know, I mentioned Charles Chaplin and his run of:
    The Gold Rush (1925) – The Circus (1928) – City Lights (1931) – Modern Times (1936) – The Great Dictator (1940)

    I think they’re great. In fact, I just watched City Lights and Modern Times the last few nights. (BTW, I think Modern Times is a Masterpiece), so it’s just coincidental that Sasha thought of this topic. But, my point is that as great as they are, I’m wondering what their impact was / has been on films that came after them. Just how influential were they?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Well the boy running to the beach and then facing the camera. Open-ended? Yes. Do we know what will be of him? No. What’s gonna happen to him?!?! Where’s he’s going to head next?!?! Why is this Truffaut person reassuring us that he’s goinf to be OK?!?! Yes I want to know for many many reasons all of which arose because the movie is masterpiece (of course). But I think there’s much more to 2001’s “ending” than OMG will they find what they’re looking for? But they did find it, right? Was that it? What’s gonna happen next and what’s that giant luminous baby? Also are we only talking about the whole shenanigans after the “lights” or ONLY about the “star child”? Either way I think it’s a simplification to say that Clever Ol’ Kubrick just took the ending of such and such open-ended films of which there were several before 2001. I guess Steve50 is saying Kubrick took “open-ended” to the next level, metaphysical, symbolical, surreal, philosophical and all that’s been said and argued before, but for now I’ll avoid going into the “interpretations” because I’m not a fanboy*

    *I am

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Wait nvm I can’t keep up with all the angles the convo is coming from…

  • Al Robinson

    Ha ha! Sorry Bryce, didn’t mean to change the topic of the conversation. 😉

  • Al Robinson

    Heck, I guess you could say that City Lights is open-ended. Does the girl think he’s cute now that she has sight? Will they end up together afterall, or will he just go back to being a troublemaker??

  • Al Robinson

    And then there’s the ending of Modern Times, where they just end up destitute again, walking down that dirt road, off to who-know’s-where, to do who-know’s what….

    But then again, I guess that might be the point of Chaplin’s “The Tramp” character. He’s not supposed to succeed.

  • Bryce, steve50. I’m not arguing! I’m only trying to honestly confess that I don’t see how Lolita, Dr Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange had much influence on movies that followed. (I wish they had!)

    But you’ve convinced me now that 2001 created a serious intellectual niche for sci-fi that set a new standard for generations of directors who followed.

    Now I wish some of the same people who praise Kubrick for breaking that ground would have more tolerance for today’s directors who make honorable efforts to seed the ground Kubrick broke. Because it sometimes seems as if some people automatically dismiss “effects films” as factory-made junk. So it’s like, “Yay Kubrick for inventing a new language!” and “Fuck anybody else who tries to speak that language.”

  • Al Robinson

    When I think influential films, I think of:

    Psycho (1960)
    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
    Star Wars (1977)
    Blade Runner (1982)
    The Matrix (1999)
    Black Hawk Down (2001)

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Ha no problem, Al. I didn’t mean you; though my head would explode if I have incorporate Chaplin into this. But yeah CITY LIGHTS is my fave. Are you team Chaplin or team Keaton and what movie is that from anyways?

    And anyways why doesn’t spell check tell me that goinf is not a word?

  • Al Robinson

    Bryce, I have yet to see a Buster Keaton movie. I’m bad, but I somehow have missed his stuff thus far. I should probably start with The General (1926). And then there’s the Marx brothers. Haven’t seen Duck Soup (1933) yet either.

    I have new assignments. Plus, I have already been thinking of re-watching 2001.

  • Al Robinson

    “And anyways why doesn’t spell check tell me that goinf is not a word?”

    I ges yur comptr isntt vere smrt

  • Al Robinson

    “and what movie is that from anyways?”

    Which one?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Ryan, fully agree that is tiring so many “young” directors who can’t name anyone beyond Kubrick. I suppose we have to depend on Scorsese to recue us from their substandard talking points. Also, why not beat them to the punch and ask Jeff Nichols on his next interview what his favorite Lubitsch is. I reckon your average interviewer is at as much fault. Now you have to admit, Kubrick’s films are very “hip/cool” so credit to him 🙂 –and as you’ve pointed out before on similar/related matters, AD’s readership knows better as demonstrated by the thread.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Al, I have seen a few. There’re a couple available on Netflix instant. I think they have DUCK SOUP too, but I’d give priority to Keaton. You’ll laugh *much* more and his movies are just better.

  • Al Robinson

    These comments make me think to add:

    I think the filmmakers / directors who are so “like no-other”, so “they are 1 of 1” are:

    Charles Chaplin
    Stanley Kubrick
    Joel and Ethan Coen
    Ang Lee
    Terrence Malick
    David Lynch

  • Al Robinson

    Cool, thanks Bryce! Yeah, I will check them out on Netflix. I really like the slapstick method of humor, unless it’s Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey.

  • Al Robinson

    “These comments make me think to add:

    I think the filmmakers / directors who are so “like no-other”, so “they are 1 of 1″ are:

    Charles Chaplin
    Stanley Kubrick
    Joel and Ethan Coen
    Ang Lee
    Terrence Malick
    David Lynch”

    I feel like I should add Spike Lee as well.

  • Friedl

    It’s a pity Ang Lee made Ride with the Devil before Crouching Tiger or that would be quite a lineup for him.

    It feels like David Lynch should be here, but there’s always one film out of place. If you can take Dune seriously, Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune and Blue Velvet make a pretty provocative foursome, but Lost Highway, The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive are perhaps a more convincing bet.

    Also – Akira Kurosawa. Kagemusha, Ran & Dreams should count for something.

    You could also make a strong argument for Sergei Eisenstein with Strike, Battleship Potemkin and October

    Charlie Chaplin for everything.

    And Woody Allen should be extended: Sleeper, Love and Death, Annie Hall, (Interiors), Manhattan

    Lastly, although the rest of his filmography is all over the place, what a mind blowing run for Francis Ford Coppola!!

  • immature

    Hou Hsiao-Hsien
    A Summer at Grandpas all the way through to Flowers of Shanghai

  • I now feel the urge to revise my all-time top 10 movies, which changes slightly probably every six months or so, but feel Modern Times is one of those that never leaves the list.

  • Steve McQueen’s directorial career start is pretty impressive to say the least:

  • @Ryan

    Just reading that Sound On Sight article {which is actually 40 films} that you linked someway up there. And as interesting as it is, the references to “Kubrickian” is really starting to piss me off. And I have only read 40 through 28. There are some very valid mentions there – Compliance and Little Children are quite shrewd picks – but if you word anything well enough you can make Finding Nemo and Betty Blue seem “Kubrickian”. It is, at times while reading it, like these directors don’t have minds or styles of their own.

    I will finish reading it, though, as it has its merits as an article, and I am something of a movie whore…

  • Kane

    Ryan, the site you listed is Site on Sound, not Sight & Sound. Didn’t think Sight & Sound would list Watchmen (which I love) alongside Kubrick 😉

  • devil’s advocate

    Tony Richardson

    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
    Tom Jones (1963)
    The Loved One (1965)

  • menyc

    Jacques Tati:

    Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
    Mon Oncle

  • thanks, Kane. Fixed. Freudian typo.

    Trust me, while scouring around to look for a Kubrick piece that I could cast aspersions on, I would not have chosen to pick a fight with the esteemed Sight & Sound. 🙂

    (although Sight on Sound articles are usually more sound that this one, I was glad to find some sketchy stretching going on to help make my point — namely, Six Degrees of Stanley Kubrick is not a game I like to play).

    And I like Watchmen too.

  • KT

    Wow, way too many directors have been mentioned here. It seems to have gotten out of hand now that people like John Hughes are being mentioned lol. Only a few directors here could actually be called great, let alone produced consecutive masterpieces. Much as I love David Lean I disagree. Bridge on the River Kwai and Dr. Zhivago are not great films, certainly not like Lawrence or Brief Encounter. The only American director I could put forward is Francis Ford Coppola, who had an extraordinary run in the 1970s, as we know. David Fincher does not belong. Neither does Scorsese, or Spielberg, or Paul Thomas Anderson, or Mike Nichols (please).

  • Kane

    Hmmm, never knew you liked Watchmen, Ryan. Although it had flaws I felt it was handled about as best as it could’ve been, with a few scenes that stood among my favorite of that year. I never looked at Sight on Sound before so thanks for introducing me to another good site!

    Thanks to all of you my Netflix queue has increased to maybe 60 movies! I’m shocked at how little of the classics I’ve seen, specifically the foreign films.

  • Scott

    Because Altman had such a unique style and vision I’d list his entire filmography as influential and great. Even the less than perfect ones were made with his creative stamp.

    SHORT CUTS and THE PLAYER. Sandwich them with Vincent & Theo and Pret-a-Porter and you have four movies better than the very best of many directors.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    It’s taken me a while to go back a read the comments.

    ” The natural candlelit chiaroscuro of Barry Lyndon? McCabe and Mrs Miller had already pioneered the methods of “forcing” low-light filmstock 4 years earlier. ”

    Not the same thing, but at any rate neither one had anything on Bergman/Nykvist demonstrating that a conversation could be lit by one single candle on 16mm(!!) in 1968. Same principle, they just expanded on it, Kubrick did anyways. Everything Kubrick did is next-level.

  • jim

    I can’t believe only one other person has said Preston Sturges. In terms of a run of films all in a row, there’s really no one more impressive who burnt so bright for such a short period and then struggled forever after. Eight films in a row, seven of them in just two years, five of them masterpieces, three of them classics. I think we have a winner.

    Birdman of Alcatratz, The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May. Maybe even All Fall Down. Unfortunately the Paranoia trilogy had The Train in between Seven Days and Seconds, or else I’d choose that as well. It seems like Frankenheimer is becoming forgotten, which is a shame.

    Also, Elaine May’s first three films,

  • Alex Brown

    John Ford?
    D.W. Griffith?
    Walt Disney?

  • Jason B.

    I’m with you Ryan Adams. I can’t believe Malick was left off the original post. If nothing else, Malick changed how Levi commercials were forever shot 😉

    I’m joking there, but Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line (the score alone changed blockbuster film scores forever, something Steve McQueen and Chris Nolan likes to remind us of), The New World has proved more influential with age, and then of course The Tree Of Life. Though I disagree with the perception of To the Wonder, that is the only film in his filmography that hasn’t had an impact on film history.

  • Jason B.

    (PS – obviously I’m biased, so I don’t blame y’all for overlooking Malick in the original post)

  • Andrew S.

    Although not technically the director, you could make an argument for Walt Disney with his first three animated films: Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia. He’s the producer, but they’re definitely his films.

  • Chris P.

    Perhaps these are a stretch, but…

    Robert Benton
    Bad Company (1972)
    The Late Show (1977)
    Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

    Walter Hill
    Harsh Times (1975)
    The Driver (1978)
    The Warriors (1979)
    The Long Riders (1980)

    Frank Perry
    David and Lisa (1962)
    Ladybug Ladybug (1963)
    The Swimmer (1968)
    Last Summer (1969)

    Robert Aldrich – TWICE!
    Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)
    Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
    The Dirty Dozen (1967)
    Ulzana’s Raid (1972)
    Emperor of the North (1973)
    The Longest Yard (1974)

    Richard Brooks (again)
    Lord Jim (1965)
    The Professionals (1966)
    In Cold Blood (1967)

    Michael Ritchie
    Prime Cut (1972)
    The Candidate (1972)
    Smile (1975)

    Someone mentioned Milos Forman, but forgot to include Taking Off (1971) – which is a hilarious look at parents trying to remain hip and relevant.

  • Zach

    Late to this party, but I’m very surprised no one made a case for John Ford. I am not personally a fan of him, but in a two-year span, he directed:

    Young Mr. Lincoln
    Drums Along the Mohawk
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Long Voyage Home

    Three Best Pic nominees, one up for Supporting Actress, and one of Henry Fonda’s best showcases. I wasn’t that impressed by Stagecoach or TLVH and haven’t seen Drums or Lincoln, but like I said, I’m surprised no one mentioned Ford. These films are all better reviewed than some of the films mentioned in comments above.

  • Chance

    Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter still stands high and above the rest, save maybe for Chris Columbus’s magic-infused yet poorly acted original. Just had to throw that out there. The final director was quite crap.

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