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Who are the top directors who made classics in your opinion?

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Hello ..

There are many classic movies , but sometimes when you watch a classic movie you feel that the director when he does the movie he was thinking like "after 40 years or so when people will watch the movie they will say ITS A pure classic!" I don't really know how to Explain the meaning to you , But what I mean in many movies you can see the classic elements or the enviroment , The dicoraton , clothes of the characters and whole atmosphere of the movie and without a doubt the soundtrack.. There are many old movies when you watch them you don't feel that they have old style or the director didn't show the period that the film made in. And in the another hand when you watch an old movie it get close to your heart so fast and you feel that it's CLASSIC! and you wish that you can jump to the T.V screen and live the events!

Hmmm , I don't know if I really make it clear for you guys I'm not so good in explaining in engish ... anyhow I would love if you can write what is the Favorite director that done classics you love and write some of his favorite movies that you enjoyed.

For me I think it's Martin Scorsese and my favorites classics that he done : Mean streets , Taxi Driver , The King of comedy

Other directors that I appreciate thier classic movies are:

Alfred Hitchcock

Jean Luc Godard
Billy Wilder
Gene Kelly
Peter Bogdanovich: What's up, Doc? , Targets
Cy Howard: Lovers and Other Strangers
Blake Edwards: The Party , PINK PANTHER Films
Sergio Leone
Michael Gordon: Pillow talk , Move over, Darling
Ted Kotcheff : Fun With Dick and Jane
Arthur Penn: Bonnie and Clyde
Peter Tewksbury: Sunday in New York
Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men , Dog Day Afternoon

 

 

What is your list?

 

Thanks.

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I think I get what you're saying.  Many director's films have distinct elements and style that audiences come to expect when viewing one of their films.  Hitchcock frequently used the cool ice queen blondes as his leading lady and frequently used macguffins in his stories.  He also had his cameo in each and every film and also typically had funny moments which I think were indicative of Hitchcock's unique sense of humor.  Michael Curtiz, on the other hand, he liked to experiment a lot with shadow and camera angles.  Look at the sword fight between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Robin Hood, in one scene the audiences are treated to a sword fight between the shadows of Robin Hood and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Flynn and Rathbone, respectively).  Curtiz also repeated this technique in a sword fight between Flynn and Henry Daniels in The Sea Hawk.  

 

My favorite directors are:

 

Alfred Hitchcock.  I love his films, they're fun, suspenseful and entertaining.  My favorites are the ones made during what I call his Hollywood glamour period, where he had all the big stars and these films tended to be sexier.  Starting with Psycho and moving forward, Hitchcock seemed to move more into the horror category and moved away from his glamorous films of the 40s & 50s.  With that said, I do really like Psycho and The Birds.  

 

My favorite Hitchcock films are: Rope, Notorious, Spellbound, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest, Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt.  

 

Michael Curtiz. This guy was very versatile.  He made everything from adventure/swashbuckler films to romance to film noir to musicals.  Curtiz also made a lot of films with my favorite actor, Errol Flynn, so that is an added bonus.  

 

My favorite Curtiz films are: The Kennel Murder Case, Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Four's a Crowd, Four Daughters, Dodge City, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Virginia City, The Sea Hawk, Dive Bomber, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, Young Man With a Horn.

 

Raoul Walsh.  I like Walsh's films because he also worked a lot with some of my favorite performers.  He was also very versatile and directed a lot of different types of films.  I also liked many of his films, because even in the most intense film, there are always moments of tenderness and vulnerability.  He directed some very realistic performances even in the most over the top film.

 

My favorite Walsh films are: Gentleman Jim, High Sierra, They Drive By Night, The Strawberry Blonde, They Died With Their Boots On, Uncertain Glory, Desperate Journey, Silver River, White Heat

 

John Huston.  I really like Huston himself.  He seems like he would have been great to have as a friend and director.  From interviews I've seen with him, he was fascinating and a great storyteller.  I could listen to him tell stories about Hollywood all day.  Huston also worked a lot with Humphrey Bogart, who is another of my favorite actors.  I also like him because he tries different things with his films.  Some are successful (The Maltese Falcon) some less so, (Beat the Devil).  

 

My favorite Huston films are: Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo, The African Queen, The Misfits, Night of the Iguana.

 

Vincente Minnelli.  I love musicals and comedies and Minnelli made some of the best of both genres.  I like his films because they are always very beautiful looking.  I also like him, because of all of Judy Garland's husbands, he sounds like he was the only one who was decent and didn't try to take advantage of her for his own purposes.  

 

My favorite Minnelli films: Meet Me in St. Louis, The Clock, The Pirate, Father of the Bride, An American in Paris, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Bandwagon, The Long Long Trailer, Designing Woman, The Reluctant Debutante, Bells are Ringing.

 

Otto Preminger.  Preminger's films are a little grittier than his predecessors and pushed the boundaries of what was "acceptable" at the time.  I like the realism evident in his films.

 

My favorite Preminger films: Laura, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Moon is Blue, River of No Return, The Man With the Golden Arm.

 

Stanley Donen.  He was frequently teamed up with one of my other favorites, Gene Kelly, but Donen proved that he was a capable director on his own as well.  He also made a lot of musicals which is one of my favorite genres.

 

My favorite Donen films: On the Town, Singin' in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, Indiscreet, Charade.

 

Billy Wilder.  Wilder was also very versatile.  He was just as capable in directing a comedy as he was directing film noir.  I also enjoy his storytelling capabilities and unique use of lighting and music.  

 

My favorite Wilder films: Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd, The Lost Weekend, Sabrina, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, The Front Page.

 

There are probably so many more that I'm forgetting.

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John Ford

Billy Wilder

Raoul Walsh

Michael Curtiz

Alfred Hitchcock

Blake Edwards

John Huston

Ernst Lubitsch

Martin Scorsese

Victor Fleming

These are my top ten, there are many others that have made one or more great films, but these 10 come to mind over a long career.....

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John Ford

Billy Wilder

Raoul Walsh

Michael Curtiz

Alfred Hitchcock

Blake Edwards

John Huston

Ernst Lubitsch

Martin Scorsese

Victor Fleming

These are my top ten, there are many others that have made one or more great films, but these 10 come to mind over a long career.....

 

It is cool that all the replies here agreed on: Billy Wilder and Hitchcock

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Excellent choices by all.

 

1. Alfred Hitchcock

2. Fritz Lang

3. F.W. Murnau

4. Anthony Mann

5. Nicholas Ray

6. Otto Preminger

7. Robert Wise

8. John Huston

9. Howard Hawks

10. John Ford

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A few already noted on here, &  four nobody's mentioned:

 

1.  Alfred Hitchcock--Films not mentioned--"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956), "Foreign Correspondent" (1940), & "Lifeboat" (1944).

 

2. Howard Hawks--Career lasted through the 1920's to 1970.  Favorites--"His Girl Friday" (1940), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), "Rio Bravo" (1959), "To Have and Have Not" (1944), "The Big Sleep" (1946).

 

3. George Cukor--career lasted from early 1930's through 1980--Favorite films are "The Women" (1939), "A Woman's Face" (1941),  "Gaslight" (1944), Adam's Rib" (1949) & "Pat and Mike" (1952).

 

4. John Ford--Too many classics to name--a few--"Stagecoach" (1939), "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" (1949), "Rio Grande" (1950), "The Quiet Man" (1952), "Fort Apache" (1948).

 

5. Billy Wilder--films not named--"Five Graves to Cairo" (1943), "Ace in the Hole" (1951)

 

6. Vincente Minnelli--I love his musicals--films not named--"Cabin in the Sky" (1943), "Ziegfeld Follies" (1946), "Kismet" (1955)

 

7. James Whale--pioneering director of horror films seemingly could do no wrong in the early to mid 1930's--"Frankenstein" (1931), "Waterloo Bridge" (1931) "The Old Dark House" (1932), "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), & others.

 

8. Edmund Goulding--directing career lasted from 1920's to 1958--directed "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Blondie of the Follies" (1932),  "Dark Victory" (1939), "The Great Lie" (1941), "Nightmare Alley" (1947).

 

9.  Victor Fleming--for directing more than 75% of "Gone With The Wind" (1939), & "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) he merits inclusion.

 

10. John Huston--favorite not mentioned--"The Unforgiven" (1960)--tackled racial prejudice--was Audrey Hepburn's only western--was criminally underrated.

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Here are two directors that nobody's mentioned yet, and I can't believe they've been overlooked:

 

Frank Capra - 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, Arsenic and Old Lace, It's a Wonderful Life

 

William Wyler - Counsellor at Law, The Good Fairy, Dodsworth, Dead End, Jezebel, Wuthering Heights, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver, The Heiress, Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur, Funny Girl

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Can't believe that nobody's mentioned Roberto Rossellini. Or Vittorio de Sica. Plus Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Michaelangelo Antonioni. 

 

I think these Italian directors were way better than a lot of the Hollywood studio directors.

 

Here's my list:

 

1. ROBERTO ROSSELLINI

2. ALFRED HITCHCOCK

3. MAX OPHULS

4. VITTORIO DE SICA

5. JOHN FORD

6. FEDERICO FELLINI

7. OTTO PREMINGER

8. JULES DASSIN

9. LUCHINO VISCONTI

10. ERNST LUBITSCH

11. JEAN RENOIR

12. LOUIS MALLE

13. MICHAELANGELO ANTONIONI 
14. SERGIO LEONE
15. INGMAR BERGMAN
16. FRITZ LANG
17. RENE CLEMENT
18. FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT
19. JEAN-LUC GODARD 
20. ORSON WELLES

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I realize my opinion will be unpopular. To me, "top" directors means the top 2 or 3, not 50. If you think the field of great directors is 50 or 75, then who do you think are the top 5 or 10?

 

Also unpopular opinion is I personally dislike Hitchcock & Ford. They both have made movies I like, but I don't care for their overall "style". But I certainly would count them both as great & notable directors. 

 

But if asking my opinion of the top directors, I'd say:

 

Billy Wilder- wildly consistent: great writing, great editing, great looking, great casting & performances. 

Fritz Lang- even his weakest film is worth watching. 

Frank Capra - a beautiful body of work

 

I will always watch movies by these directors because chances are I'll like them:

 

Peter Bogdanovitch

William Wyler

John Huston

Otto Preminger

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I realize my opinion will be unpopular. To me, "top" directors means the top 2 or 3, not 50. If you think the field of great directors is 50 or 75, then who do you think are the top 5 or 10?

What's the point of slamming people who list many preferences? Very uncool. Why not just list personal faves without the lecture. Personally, I think anyone who just lists three to five is missing out on so many excellent directors, especially when we look beyond Hollywood. It really is almost impossible to whittle it down to a small handful. That is like saying in your whole lifetime there are only three to five foods you enjoy. Silly.

 

Again no need to limit it to a small number. Just my opinion. :)

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I have a lot of trouble remembering directors' names and associating them with certain types of movies, except for John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Ford was one of the most prolific, with 145 director's credits, from 1917 to 1976.

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I have a lot of trouble remembering directors' names and associating them with certain types of movies, except for John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Ford was one of the most prolific, with 145 director's credits, from 1917 to 1976.

But although you may not remember their names at first, you probably recognize the style. You might say to yourself 'this reminds me of another film I saw...' and then when you look it up online, you realize both films had the same director. And you make a mental note of it.

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But although you may not remember their names at first, you probably recognize the style. You might say to yourself 'this reminds me of another film I saw...' and then when you look it up online, you realize both films had the same director. And you make a mental note of it.

 

Yes, I think you are right.

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TopBilled,

 

I've noticed in a lot of your posts that you are a smart guy. Why don't you take over as one of TCM's guest hosts?

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Yes, I think you are right.

To me, the real task is once you have your favorite directors chosen, then you have to comb through their individual filmographies and decide where they did their best work.

 

Recently I've been going through some of Michaelangelo Antonioni's films-- there's a lot of greatness in his output. So it's not easy to rank his pictures from best to worst (and actually, none of it is bad because his 'worst' would still be ten times better than most other directors).

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TopBilled,

 

I've noticed in a lot of your posts that you are a smart guy. Why don't you take over as one of TCM's guest hosts?

Thanks Fred.  I appreciate your nice comment.

 

I feel like I am learning a lot about classic filmmaking everyday. Would be nice to reach the level of a Robert Osborne or Nick Clooney at some point.

 

You're a smart guy, too, Fred. :)

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William Wyler: The Little Foxes (1941), The Heiress (1949), Roman Holiday (1953), Funny Girl (1968). 

Billy Wilder: Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like it Hot (1959) 

Joseph L. Mankiewicz- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), All About Eve (1950), Suddenly Last Summer (1959)

Ida Lupino- The Bigamist (1953), The Hitch-Hiker (1953) 

 

Just a few more well-known directors... But I do love these films they directed.

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William Wyler: The Little Foxes (1941), The Heiress (1949), Roman Holiday (1953), Funny Girl (1968). 

Billy Wilder: Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like it Hot (1959) 

Joseph L. Mankiewicz- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), All About Eve (1950), Suddenly Last Summer (1959)

Ida Lupino- The Bigamist (1953), The Hitch-Hiker (1953) 

 

Just a few more well-known directors... But I do love these films they directed.

 

In your list of Wyler films if you had used Jezebel instead of The Little Foxes,   all four films would have been films where the actress won the best actress Oscar.     I don't think that was just because Wyler was in the right place at the right time.

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In your list of Wyler films if you had used Jezebel instead of The Little Foxes,   all four films would have been films where the actress won the best actress Oscar.     I don't think that was just because Wyler was in the right place at the right time.

Would you say Wyler was Bette Davis' best director..? Though she did quite well under guys like Litvak and Mankiewicz.

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Would you say Wyler was Bette Davis' best director..? Though she did quite well under guys like Litvak and Mankiewicz.

 

I would say that Wyler was Davis' best director,  based on the performances in Jezebel,  The Letter and The Little Foxes.   Wyler allowed her to push the envelop but not to go over the top.    Irving Rapper was also able to do that.  

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I would say that Wyler was Davis' best director,  based on the performances in Jezebel,  The Letter and The Little Foxes.   Wyler allowed her to push the envelop but not to go over the top.    Irving Rapper was also able to do that.  

Those may be good films, but I don't think it's Bette at her best. Wyler did not succeed in removing the Davis ego...in all those films, we have Bette as Bette Davis playing the character. Not until after she left Warners and was taking character roles, did she start to play the characters as written on the page without the Davis ego or persona interfering. Anyway, that's my personal opinion about her at the stage of her career when she was directed by Wyler.

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In no particular order:

 

Alfred Hitchcock

Fritz Lang

Michael Curtiz

Howard Hawks

John Ford

George Stevens

Carl Theodor Dreyer

Michael Powell

Rene Clair

Kurosawa

Ozu

Fellini

Renoir

Bunuel

Raoul Walsh

Preston Sturges

Billy Wilder

John Huston

Frank Capra

David Lean

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Those may be good films, but I don't think it's Bette at her best. Wyler did not succeed in removing the Davis ego...in all those films, we have Bette as Bette Davis playing the character. Not until after she left Warners and was taking character roles, did she start to play the characters as written on the page without the Davis ego or persona interfering. Anyway, that's my personal opinion about her at the stage of her career when she was directed by Wyler.

 

Well we feel differently about Davis (but of course that is A-OK).   I feel she was able to transcend her persona in many of her 30s and 40s roles as well as channel her strong persona without going over the top when she worked with a director like Wyler.       

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Well we feel differently about Davis (but of course that is A-OK).   I feel she was able to transcend her persona in many of her 30s and 40s roles as well as channel her strong persona without going over the top when she worked with a director like Wyler.       

Yes, we do feel differently about her LOL...and yes it is okay to have diversity of opinion on a subject like this. I don't have her listed among my top 20 film actresses on my profile, because I don't feel she overcame her off-screen persona in many roles. Technically she is often superb, but her performances often leave me feeling cold...I don't feel she really reaches the heart of her characters because Bette Davis the Star gets in the way of that. 

 

In BABY JANE, I gravitate more towards Crawford who brings sympathy and a shred of dignity to her part-- but I never feel that way with Bette or the characters she plays, and I want to, very much.

 

And it's not just a Davis-Crawford comparison. In films with Miriam Hopkins, I gravitate towards Hopkins over Davis. I can see Hopkins' scene stealing a mile away, but Hopkins still manages to bring real vulnerability expecting to get caught stealing. LOL 

 

And even in something like THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER where Bette is trying to show us she can play a sweeter more sincere character, it still seems phony to me. And in that case, I gravitate towards Ann Sheridan.

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For me it's Billy Wilder and George Stevens.  Although I am a big Hitchcock fan, I love Wilder and Stevens for the both the length and breadth of their careers.  They could direct classics in various genres like musicals, comedies and dramas and I also like that Wilder was also a writer.  As good as Astaire & Rogers were I, like many, feel their best or one of their best films was Swing Time directed by Stevens, who could also direct Giant, A Place in the Sun, Diary of Anne Frank.  I also admire Elia Kazan with classics like Streetcar and On the Waterfront.  When there's a movie I can watch a million times and never get tired of it for me that is a classic which stands the test of time.

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