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The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

Articles - Directing

9. Federico Fellini (1920 – 1993)

In a country marked by the documentary-like films of the neorealism directors, it could be considered ironic that Italy’s most famous director is one teeming with surrealism. But Federico Fellini is not so far removed from the work of Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti and the neorealists before him: Fellini began his career as a writer, collaborating with Roberto Rossellini on the scripts for Paisan and Open City, two landmarks of the movement. But the inspiration for his own work came from life experience.

Fellini’s brief stint with a circus and early work as a caricaturist and cartoonist certainly informed his playful style. Though anchored in personal history, the impetus for his work was based more on his dreams—both waking and sleeping—than in any sort of day-to-day reality. As such, Fellini’s work is
marked by a chimerical quality where everything and everyone is big and exaggerated. Yet, for the most part, his stories were quite accessible, helping him attain his status as a true visionary.

Unlike other directors who dared to be different by executing a new kind of simplicity, the work of Fellini magnified and enlarged all that had been attempted in cinema before. Though many have tried to imitate his style, his vision is too large to duplicate. The most one can hope for is to be deemed “Felliniesque.”

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  1. Avatar

    R. Taylor

    January 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Where the heck is David Lean?!

  2. Avatar


    February 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    david lean? where is andrei tarkovsky?

  3. Avatar


    March 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Where is Satyajit ray, the greatest indian filmmaker?

  4. Avatar

    Violet Ray

    May 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Where are the women?

  5. Avatar

    Roger Howerton

    May 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, David Lean has should be here, and how ’bout William Wyler?

  6. Avatar


    July 25, 2019 at 1:30 am

    For me, it’s definitely Lars vor Trier with his impecable style and metaphors. His Melancholia drama was just astonishing with its sci-fi influences and Kirsten Dunst starring. I wrote more than 50 movie reviews on all of his films starting with The Orchid Gardener. I wonder how may times Willem Dafoe wanted to leave the projects.

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