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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

15. Billy Wilder (1906 – 2002)

It could be considered ironic that Hollywood’s most beloved writer-director was actually born in Austria, never speaking the English language until he came to America in the 1930s. But perhaps it was his outsider perspective that made him such a keen observer of American behavior. With a slate of films, covering all genres, Wilder set his wit loose on America, and we have yet to recover. Few have managed to match his success in the business, nor his dedication to the occupation. Up until his recent passing, Wilder continued to go to his office each day and work on new ideas.

Says MM Editor at Large Phillip Williams: “In film after film—Lost Weekend, Stalag 17, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment—Billy Wilder got audiences to fall in love with characters that, on a good day, might be considered loveable losers. The Wilder leading man—whether fallen drunk, cynical opportunist, kept writer or lovesick accountant—was always digging himself out of some self-generated pit. [His characters were] fully human and fully realized”. They were also wholly American.

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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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