Film Friday: 10 Famous Filmmakers Everyone Should Know

One of the most important aspects of growing in a creative field is examining the work of others who have already found success in that field. For aspiring filmmakers, researching the lives and work of famous filmmakers is a valuable tool that will help both inform and inspire. We have gathered a list of 10 of our favorite filmmakers and have provided some quick facts about each. We highly recommend diving deeper into the lives and work of these men to find out what led to their success.

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Steven Spielberg

Famous Filmmaker Steven Spielberg


NAME: Steven Spielberg
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer
BIRTH DATE: December 18, 1946 (Age: 66)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Cincinnati, Ohio
ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001), and “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)
AWARDS: Won three Academy Awards, 145 various award wins and 120 nominations.
QUOTE: “I dream for a living.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Steven Spielberg was born on December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio. An amateur filmmaker as a child, Spielberg went on to become the enormously successful and Academy Award-winning director of such films as “Schindler’s List”, “The Color Purple”, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Saving Private Ryan”. In 1994, he cofounded the studio Dreamworks SKG, which was purchased by Paramount Pictures in 2005.


Martin Scorsese

Famous Filmmaker Martin Scorsese


NAME: Martin Scorsese
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer
BIRTH DATE: November 17, 1942 (Age: 70)
EDUCATION: New York University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Flushing, New York
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Goodfellas” (1990), “Shutter Island” (2010), “The Departed” (2006), “Taxi Driver” (1976)
AWARDS: Won one Academy Award, another 111 various award wins and 112 nominations.
QUOTE: “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Born November 17, 1942, in Flushing, New York, Martin Scorsese is known for his gritty, meticulous filmmaking style and is widely considered one of the most important directors of all time.


Alfred Hitchcock

Famous Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock


NAME: Alfred Hitchcock
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Television Personality, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: August 13, 1899
DEATH DATE: April 29, 1980
EDUCATION: St. Ignatius College, University of London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Bel Air, California
FULL NAME: Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
NICKNAME: The Master of Suspense
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Psycho” (1960), “Rear Window” (1954), “Vertigo” (1958), “North by Northwest” (1959)
AWARDS: Nominated for five Academy Awards, another 31 various award wins and 18 nominations.
QUOTE: “Even my failures make money and become classics a year after I make them.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Born in London on August 13, 1899, Alfred Hitchcock worked for a short time in engineering before entering the film industry in 1920. He left for Hollywood in 1939, where his first American film, “Rebecca,” won an Academy Award for best picture. Hitchcock created more than 50 films, including the classics “Rear Window,” “The 39 Steps” and “Psycho.” Nicknamed the “Master of Suspense,” Hitchcock received the AFI’s Life Achievement Award in 1979. He died in 1980.


Quentin Tarantino

Famous Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino


NAME: Quentin Tarantino
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Director, Producer, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: March 27, 1963 (Age: 50)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Knoxville, Tennessee
FULL NAME: Quentin Tarantino
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Reservoir Dogs” (1992), “Kill Bill: Vol. 1″ (2003), “Kill Bill: Vol. 2″ (2004)
AWARDS: Won two Academy Awards, another 85 various award wins and 74 nominations.
QUOTE: “If I’ve made it a little easier for artists to work in violence, great! I’ve accomplished something.“

Brief bio courtesy of

Born in Tennessee in 1963, Quentin Tarantino grew up loving movies more than school. In his early 20s, he got a job at the Video Archives, where he wrote the scripts for “True Romance” and “Natural Born Killers.” His directorial debut came with 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs,” but he received wide critical and commercial acclaim with “Pulp Fiction” (1994), which earned more than $108 million at the box office—the first independent film to do so. In 2003 and 2004, Tarantino released his “Kill Bill” series, which led to a Golden Globe nomination for Uma Thurman, who starred in the films. Tarantino was later nominated for two Academy Awards (best director and best original screenplay) for the film “Inglourious Basterds” (2009).


Francis Ford Coppola

Famous Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola


NAME: Francis Ford Coppola
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: April 07, 1939 (Age: 74)
EDUCATION: New York Military Academy, Hofstra University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Detroit, Michigan
MOST KNOWN FOR: “The Godfather” (1972), “The Godfather: Part II” (1974), “The Godfather: Part III” (1990), “Apocalypse Now” (1979)
AWARDS: Won five Academy Awards, another 42 various award wins and 41 nominations.
QUOTE: “If the movie works, nobody notices the mistakes… If the movie doesn’t work, the only thing people notice are mistakes.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Francis Ford Coppola was born April 7, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan. He first found directorial success with “Finian’s Rainbow” in 1968. He gained international critical attention for his screenwriting talents, with 1970’s “Patton.” Two years later, he released “The Godfather” (1972). In 1997, he stepped away from directing for a time. In 2007, he returned to hands-on filmmaking with “Youth Without Youth.”


Stanley Kubrick

Famous Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick


NAME: Stanley Kubrick
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: July 26, 1928
DEATH DATE: March 07, 1999
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Childwickbury Manor, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
MOST KNOWN FOR: “The Shining” (1980), “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Full Metal Jacket” (1987)
AWARDS: Won Academy Award, another 39 various award wins and 48 nominations.
QUOTE: “A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Born in New York City on July 26, 1928, Stanley Kubrick worked as a photographer for Look magazine before exploring filmmaking in the 1950s. He went on to direct a number of acclaimed films, including “Spartacus” (1960), “Lolita” (1962), “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), “Clockwork Orange” (1971), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “The Shining” (1980), “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) and “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999). Kubrick died in England on March 7, 1999.


James Cameron

Famous Filmmaker James Cameron


NAME: James Cameron
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer
BIRTH DATE: August 16, 1954 (Age: 59)
EDUCATION: California State University at Fullerton
PLACE OF BIRTH: Kapuskasing, Canada
FULL NAME: James Francis Cameron
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Aliens” (1986), “Titanic” (1997), “Avatar” (2009), “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (1991)
AWARDS: Won three Academy Awards, another 51 various award wins and 37 nominations.
QUOTE: “People call me a perfectionist, but I’m not. I’m a rightist. I do something until it’s right, and then I move on to the next thing.”

Brief bio courtesy of

James Cameron is a critically acclaimed film director known for some of the biggest box-office hits of all time. A science fiction fan as a child, he went on to produce and direct films including “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Avatar.” He has received numerous Academy Awards and nominations for his often large-scale, expensive productions. His most noted work, 1997’s “Titanic,” became the first film to earn more than $1 billion, and landed 14 Academy Award nominations. Cameron took home three Academy Awards himself for the project, including for best director, best film editing and best picture.


Woody Allen

Famous Filmmaker Woody Allen


NAME: Woody Allen
OCCUPATION: Actor, Director, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: December 01, 1935 (Age: 77)
EDUCATION: Midwood High School, New York University, City College of New York
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
ORIGINALLY: Allen Stewart Konigsberg
FULL NAME: Heywood Allen
ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Annie Hall” (1977), “Midnight in Paris” (2011), “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999), “Manhattan” (1979)
AWARDS: Won four Academy Awards, another 113 various award wins and 130 nominations.
QUOTE: “I do the movies just for myself like an institutionalized person who basket-weaves.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 1, 1935, Woody Allen is an American film director, screenwriter, actor and author who is best known for his romantic comedy films containing elements of parody and slapstick. He is also known for writing strong and well-defined characters for his female stars. Allen directed and starred in two of his most famous films, “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan.” Among his featured performers were Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow, both of whom he was romantically involved with.


George Lucas

Famous Filmmaker George Lucas


NAME: George Lucas
BIRTH DATE: May 14, 1944 (Age: 69)
EDUCATION: University of Southern California
PLACE OF BIRTH: Modesto, California
FULL NAME: George Walton Lucas Jr.
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983), “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ” (1989), “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002), “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)
AWARDS: Nominated for four Academy Awards, another 35 various award wins and 24 nominations.
QUOTES: “A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”

Brief bio courtesy of

Director George Lucas was born on May 14, 1944, in Modesto, California. He grew up in the suburbs, which inspired his 1973 film “American Graffiti.” He studied cinematography at the University of Southern California and caught Francis Ford Coppola’s eye. Coppola helped him enter the film business. He’s best known for directing the “Star Wars”  and “Indiana Jones” film series.


Orson Welles

Famous Filmmaker Orsen Welles


NAME: Orson Welles
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Director
BIRTH DATE: May 06, 1915
DEATH DATE: October 10, 1985
EDUCATION: Todd School for Boys, Art Institute of Chicago
PLACE OF BIRTH: Kenosha, Wisconsin
PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Citizen Kane” (1941), “Touch of Evil” (1958), “F for Fake” (1973), “Confidential Report” (1955)
AWARDS: Won one Academy Award, another 19 various award wins and 11 nominations.
QUOTE: “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”

Born on May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Orson Welles began his career as a stage actor before going on to radio, creating his unforgettable version of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” In film, he left his artistically indelible mark with such films as “Citizen Kane” and “The Magnificent Ambersons.” He died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, on October 10, 1985.


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Author: James Peacock

James Peacock is a Digital Marketing Specialist at FIDM in Los Angeles, California. He received his A.A. in Graphic Design from FIDM and was hired as Social Media Assistant in 2013 by his alma mater in order to help grow the institution’s social media marketing efforts. James now combines two of his passions, telling stories and solving problems by managing data-driven marketing campaigns across multiple channels that ultimately result in a positive return on investment.

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  • Khadija

    thanks a lot

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