While there are certain aspects of film-making they can’t always control, ultimately it is the skill of the director that determines whether a movie is good or bad. To make this list of the greatest modern directors, a director must still be actively making movies and only movies from the last 15 years are considered in the ranking of the directors.
The factors in the rankings obviously include the general quality of the directors films but also takes into account the number of films made in the given time period as well, the impact of the director on the filmmaking scene as a whole, and the potential they have for making more great movies in the future. The sheer number of quality directors ensures that a good number were excluded from the list as many excellent filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle, Nicolas Winding Refn, and others fell just short.
Each of the following directors has an instantly recognizable style and many of them are responsible for the some of the finest modern films.
15. Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood has long been one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures, becoming the model for many later action heroes. While he began directing movies in the 70′s, Eastwood became one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors in the 90′s with his 1992 western Unforgiven, which Eastwood meant as an almost anti-western film.
Most of Eastwood’s best films have been made during the twenty first century with his first great film of the era being 2002′s acclaimed crime drama Mystic River. Featuring incredible acting from its cast, particularly from Sean Penn, Mystic River became one of the most memorable films of that year.Eastwood further cemented his reputation with 2004′s Million Dollar Baby, an intensely powerful film that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2006, Eastwood directed two films depicting WWII from different sides with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, with the latter once again picking up Oscar nominations.In 2008, Eastwood once again released two film, Changeling and Gran Torino with both receiving critical acclaim. Eastwood’s career since then has seen a slight decrease in quality but he still turned out above average films with 2009′s Invictus and 2010′s Hereafter.
Eastwood’s films are marked by his favoring of underdogs as well as a gritty feel that likely comes from his days making westerns. While his best directorial efforts are likely behind him, Eastwood has done just enough to earn a place on the list.
Eligible Films: True Crime (1999), Space Cowboys (2000), Blood Work (2002), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Flags of our Fathers (2006), Letter from Iwo Jima (2006), Changeling (2008), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), J.Edgar (2011)
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