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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

6. Stanley Kubrick (1928 – 1999)

Unlike other directors whose backgrounds are pulled apart to create a psychological profile meant to better understand their work, Stanley Kubrick never let on much about his past. His interest was based on aesthetics, making his contribution to the cinema relatively undiluted. And yet it was his confessional style that revealed vulnerability: he was using film to express emotion, and did so better than any contemporary director. Rather than have the audience watch an experience, Kubrick invited them to be part of it. Audiences felt the exhilaration of space travel gone awry with 2001, were horrified by the violence entrenching “their” city in A Clockwork Orange, experienced the psychosis of desolation in The Shining and tasted the appeal of adultery in Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick’s films are not voyeuristic: they’re all-sensory adventures. But his films at not always love at first sight, either. Deeply layered in metaphorical meaning, they often require a certain digestion period—if not a second viewing—to fully realize their implications. Says editor Steve Hamilton: “[Kubrick is] the master of big (really big) budget
art movies.”

Though he worked in many different genres, tackling horror, sci-fi, literary adaptations and war with just as much ingenuity, Kubrick never made a straight ‘genre’ film. Like the work of Hitchcock, Kubrick’s work displayed a full range of emotion. What could be horrifying one moment could become bitingly funny the next. His work was too complex to fit neatly into any one category, and he went about reinventing each new genre he touched, in essence making “A Kubrick Film” its very own label.

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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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