25. Christopher Nolan
Right off the bat we are going to get the modern directors out of the way and Nolan beats out Bela Tarr and Michael Haneke for the last spot on this list. Although the other two direct incredible films and are probably more respected by critics, neither has been as influential as Christopher Nolan has on the moviemaking industry, and his films really aren't all that bad either. Although he could just as easily be considered an American filmmaker since he does have dual citizenship and works primarily in the U.S, Nolan was born in the U.K and there's not really anything "Hollywood" about his films except that they have big budgets. He has been enormously important in the modern blockbuster world for multiple reasons: one is his insistence on using as little CGI as possible, second is his ability to create multi-dimensional characters while still keeping a sense of spectacle, third is his propensity to challenge audience both with convoluted narratives and with stories that hint at moral and ethical quandaries, and fourth is his refusal to film in 3-D and simultaneously push forward the IMAX format. What separates Nolan from many of his contemporary directors is his knowledge of classical filmmaking and its influence on his work. Nolan's films just look right in comparison to many of the CGI fueled, shoddily filmed movies of today's blockbuster era. Many have compared his style to masters such as Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock and while his work is not quite on the same level, he does possess some of the technical mastery of Hitchcock as well as a little bit of the ambition of Kubrick. Similar to Steven Spielberg, the immense popularity of Nolan's films has led to something of a critical backlash that has belied his immense status in the film industry. Regardless, Nolan has been incredibly consistent, enormously influential, and at only 43 years old and still very much in his prime, he could one day rank much, much higher on this list.