Top 10: Greatest Film Directors of the Decade (00s)

LeTune December 14, 2009 4

We marvel at everything that happens on the silver screen, but seldom ponder that we’re experiencing what someone else wants us to experience. One single person is directing  our thoughts and even emotions in a way that will drive the story forward and make it an integral part of us. That’s what a good movie director will do. A great film director will never let go of us, even after we’ve left the theater. So here are your Top Ten Directors of the Decade.

#10. Terrence Malick

Some might be asking how Malick would make any list, but the facts on this are simple: brilliance and anticipation. True, Terrence Malick is not a prolific director, but the films he does direct are visceral, colorful and most of all, memorable. Plus, the coming 2010 fantasy The Tree of Life (Brad Pitts’ thoughts) has got us on pins and needles.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. The New World (2005)

Movie director lifeline:

  1. The Tree of Life (2010)
  2. The New World (2005)
  3. The Thin Red Line (1998)
  4. Days of Heaven (1978)
  5. Badlands (1973)
  6. Lanton Mills (1969)

#9. David Cronenberg

Cronenberg is known for his unique directing style and use of shock in ways no one has ever even thought of before (The Fly 1986, Crash 1996). Few directors have ever delivered the high impact and social commentary that he has and yet maintained a sense of thoughtfulness.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. Eastern Promises (2007)
  2. A History of Violence (2005)
  3. Spider (2002)
  4. Camera (2000)

#8. Hayao Miyazaki

Sometimes national big numbers do not always translate into international ones. Animator Hayoa Miyazaki is an example of this. Having broken box-office records in Japan for years he has only recently been acknowledged by his peers and movie fans on the international level. His films are often insightful and thought provoking, if a little on the visually pleasant side.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. Ponyo (2008)
  2. Hoshi wo katta hi (2006)
  3. Mizugumo monmon (2006)
  4. Yadosagashi (2006)
  5. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  6. Mei and the Kitten Bus (2002)
  7. Spirited Away (2002)

#7. Errol Morris

This creator of documentaries is known for his quick mind, his ability to sniff out a story and his willingness to bring it to the screen in a manner that compels the audience to listen to his message. He does all of this in a way that is so ironic, you have to laugh, no matter how dark the subject is.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
  2. The Fog of War (2003)

#6. Abbas Kiarostami

Innovative, full of political intrigue and dangerous. Those are just three words to describe our #6 pick. Based mostly in Iran his films are shot as simply as possible and sometimes with just one camera, but the stories he tells are a political commentary laden with experimentation.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. Shirin (2008)
  2. Kojast jaye residan (2007)
  3. Roads of Kiarostami (2006)
  4. Tickets (2005)
  5. 10 on Ten (2004)
  6. Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)
  7. Ten (2002)
  8. ABC Africa (2001)

#5. Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh is one of the darlings of Hollywood, or is he? Soderbergh has had some commercial hits with Julia Roberts as a star and co-star, but seems to do these projects so he might persue his own thing on the side. This policy of quid pro quo has seemed to serve him well.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. The Informant! (2009)
  2. The Girlfriend Experience (2009)
  3. Che: Part Two (2008)
  4. Che: Part One (2008)
  5. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
  6. The Good German (2006)
  7. Bubble (2005)
  8. Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
  9. Eros (2004)
  10. Solaris (2002)
  11. Full Frontal (2002)
  12. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  13. Traffic (2000)
  14. Erin Brockovich (2000)

#4. Joel and Ethan Coen

Intolerable Cruelty was no Fargo, though it still had some of the edge that made the ladder such a hit to movie goers. Commercial success seemed like it was destined to change these two, but thus far they have fundamentally stayed the same, only with a bigger budget.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. A Serious Man (2009)
  2. Burn After Reading (2008)
  3. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  4. Paris, I Love You (2006)
  5. The Ladykillers (2004)
  6. Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
  7. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
  8. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

#3. Martin Scorsese

Very few directors’ names are as recognizable as Martin Scorsese’s. He has been a legend and will continue to be so. His from the hip, take no prisoners approach to film making has been imitated, but never fully duplicated.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. Shine a Light (2008)
  2. The Key to Reserva (2007)
  3. The Departed (2006)
  4. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)
  5. The Aviator (2004)
  6. Gangs of New York (2002)

#2. David Lynch

This is one of the deepest, psychologically speaking, directors around. Lynch seems to have an open window into the general psyche of all of us. Through vivid imagery and subject matter that resonates with all audiences, Lynch gets into our heads and shows us what we never knew was in there.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. More Things That Happened (2007)
  2. Boat (2007)
  3. Inland Empire (2006)
  4. Darkened Room (2002)
  5. DumbLand (2002)
  6. Rabbits (2002)
  7. Mulholland Dr. (2001)

#1. Michael Haneke

The German-born Austrian Haneke was a German TV staple for many years before gaining acclaim on the silver screen. Haneke’s approach is interesting in that there is implied violence coupled with the visual give him an edge few directors can boast. His storytelling and vision are often disturbing and thought driven. In this way he invites the audience in to his creations.


Movies directed in the 2000s:

  1. The White Ribbon (2009)
  2. Funny Games U.S. (2007)
  3. Hidden (2005)
  4. The Time of the Wolf (2003)
  5. The Piano Player (2001)
  6. Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys (2000)


  1. Kevin June 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm -

    Quentin Taratino and Christopher Nolan need to fit in the list somewhere.

  2. Mark September 25, 2010 at 9:23 am -

    Surely you can’t leave Christopher Nolan out.

  3. Sina January 15, 2012 at 10:00 am -

    man sorry but this list sucks, where is Spielberg, Fincher, Ritchie or at least Nolan?

  4. Msully June 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm -

    When I saw that Christopher Nolan was absent from the list, I knew that this “Top 10″ lacked credibility.
    Heck, I’d even throw in Ron Howard and Mel Gibson before some of these other guys for sheer entertainment value.