Putting a movie together takes a lot of talent, and the top 10 movie directors are no slouches when it comes to skill. Directing requires a creative eye, and also a well-honed social sense. The top directors are adept in both areas, producing movies that are intelligent as well as entertaining.

  1. Orson Welles. Although his résumé for acting and vocal work is much longer, Welles is most celebrated for his skills as a director. Responsible for perhaps the greatest movie of all time, 1941’s “Citizen Kane,” Welles is required study for any aspiring director.

  2. Stanley Kubrick. Known for his slow and meticulous directing process, Kubrick’s movies were deliberate and flawless pieces of art. 1968’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” is the best example of this director’s offbeat style, but he’s perhaps better known for his work in the 1980’s. “The Shining” and “Full Metal Jacket” are have become modern classics.

  3. Alfred Hitchcock. If you’re looking for spine-tingling suspense, this movie director is your guy. Hitchcock’s directing career began in the silent movie days. He honed his craft over the decades, hitting his stride in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with incomparable suspense movies like “Vertigo,” “North By Northwest” and “Psycho.”

  4. Steven Spielberg. As the member of the top ten movie directors who’s been most influential to modern pop culture, Spielberg is responsible for tons of unforgettable movie moments. 1975’s “Jaws” was this movie director’s first true barometer of success, followed by classics like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

  5. Martin Scorsese. This movie director’s best work captures the nuance and romance of criminal life, giving it an aura never before seen on film. Scorsese is most celebrated for his depiction of the Mafia, providing a human element to the characters that isn’t soon forgotten. 1990’s “Goodfellas” is a prime example, as are 1995’s “Casino” and “The Departed” from 2006.

  6. Ingmar Bergman. With a perfect mix of comedy and  tragedy, this director’s movies are shining examples of artistic prowess. 1957’s “The Seventh Seal” is his masterpiece, containing complex Biblical themes set to a medieval landscape. Bergman’s eye for detail and symbolism make his movies fertile subjects for study.

  7. Francis Ford Coppola. Much like Scorsese, this movie director’s skill for humanizing criminal life is unparalleled. 1972’s “The Godfather” and its 1974 sequel are the best examples of his talent. Also noteworthy is 1979’s “Apocalypse Now,” a disturbing and influential movie about the psychological cost of war.

  8. George Lucas. Although his work on the “Star Wars” franchise is enough to earn a spot among the top ten movie directors, Lucas’ earlier films are something special. Most notable is 1973’s “American Graffiti.” Boasting an all-star cast, it’s a sentimental look at the baby boom generation as they come of age in the early 1960’s. Lucas’ directorial talents bring the script to life, creating a full and rich atmosphere for the movie.

  9. Charlie Chaplin. A prolific writer, director and actor, Chaplin revolutionized the movie industry with his comedic and sentimental works. He’s the most recognizable figure of the silent film era, but his contributions as a director are what really make him stand out. Among his dozens of iconic movies are 1915’s “The Tramp” and 1940’s “The Great Dictator,” both unequaled triumphs of comedy and humanity.

  10. James Cameron. As a visionary in cutting-edge film technology, this movie director’s works are a feast for the eyes. 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” placed him among Hollywood’s elite, and he’s kept his finger on the pulse of modern cinema in the years since. 1997’s “Titanic” and 2009’s “Avatar” are proof positive that this director knows what we want to see.