24. Clint Eastwood – For most of his life, he was known as the bad guy of movies, with his stints in such classics as Dirty Harry. While he has been directing movies since the 70’s it wasn’t until his 1992 Western classic Unforgiven, that Clint suddenly became a directing legend. Since then he has directed another Best Picture Winner, Million Dollar Baby, and two other nominees, Letters from Iwo Jima and Mystic River. His compelling, and very dark dramas have become a staple in modern cinema, and his upcoming Nelson Mandela pic with Morgan Freeman should be another classic to add to his collection.
23. Quentin Tarantino – One of my personal favorites, Tarantino is one of the most eclectic, outrageous, and brilliant directors in Hollywood today. His films are overdramatic, cheesy, violent, unnecessary gory, and, more importantly, purely Tarantino, and we love him for it. His hits such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir dogs, and the Kill Bill movies have become cult classics, as well as box office draws, a combination so rarely seen today in modern cinema. Some of his other classics including Jackie Brown, From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse, and the new Inglorious Basterds has only enhanced one of the most unique collections in Hollywood.
22. Elia Kazan – The man won two Oscars throughout his career, and I think I can safely say that they weren’t enough. While his name is not one that is thrown around a lot in modern conversations, his movies are. On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Gentlemen’s Agreement, A Streetcar Named Desire, America, America, Baby Doll, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Last Tycoon. Any of these ring a bell? From the looks of it Kazan had one of the most successful and acclaimed careers in the history of cinema.
21. Victor Fleming – In classic American cinema there are certain films that just stand above the rest. Such films as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Gone with the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz, are so synonymous with greatness that people tend to forget that one man was behind these classics. Starting from before the invention of sound in movies, Victor Fleming is considered a pioneer in the development of the modern motion picture. Not only did he create two of AFI’s top ten films of all time, but an enduring and passionate collection.