The DGA Picks the 80 Greatest Directorial Achievements

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The Directors Guild of America is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and to help celebrate the occasion they’ve taken it upon themselves to pick the 80 greatest directorial achievements from the past 80 years of film. The resulting list is based on poll results submitted by over 2000 members and also includes only movies directed by members of the guild. While many of the films mentioned are the usual suspects seen on all-time best of lists, it is interesting that The Godfather beat out Citizen Kane for the top spot, despite the latter seeming like an obvious winner from a directorial point of view. There are also a few fairly recent entries including Birdman, Avatar, There Will Be Blood and The Hurt Locker. Do you agree with these choices? Check out the full list after the jump and see what you think.


1. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
2. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
3. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
5. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
6. The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
7. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
8. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
9. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
10. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
11. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
12. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
13. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
14. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
15. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
16. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
17. The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994)
18. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
19. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977)
20. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
21. On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
22. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
23. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
24. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
25. Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998)
26. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
27. A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
28. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
29. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
30. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)
31. To Kill A Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962)
32. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
33. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
34. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
35. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen + Gene Kelly, 1952)
36. 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
37. The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)
38. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
39. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
40. The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957)
41. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
42. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)
43. The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965)
44. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
45. Titanic (James Cameron, 1997)
46. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
47. Amadeus (Miloš Forman, 1984)
48. Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)
49. West Side Story (Jerome Robbins + Robert Wise, 1961)
50. Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
51. Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959)
52. Fargo (Ethan Coen + Joel Coen, 1996)
53. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)
54. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
55. Avatar (James Cameron, 2009)
56. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)
57. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948)
58. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2014)
59. All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)
60. The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
61. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
62. The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973)
63. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
64. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
65. Rocky (John G. Avildsen, 1976)
66. The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
67. Gandhi (Richard Attenborough, 1982)
68. The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
69. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988)
70. Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
71. The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford, 1940)
72. All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976)
73. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
74. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
75. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)
76. Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992)
77. The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
78. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
79. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
80. Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

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  • Loren

    Hmmm.. The Usual Suspects? Use to be one of my favorites as a teen. Liked the swearing and the twist. Haven’t watched it in probably 10+ years. Need to see if it hold up.

  • Jonnie123

    It does. It also has the greatest cigarette to the eye and real life reaction ever :)

  • Nick Poliskey

    2 Godfathers in the top 10 and we still have no Godfather premium? How many Carpenter films are in this list? ZERO.