14. Charlie Chaplin - While many remember Chaplin as the greatest silent film actor of all time, many forget that he is also one of the greatest silent movie directors as well. In modern society there is never enough love and respect for the silent movie, and that is a true travesty. Chaplin transformed our modern culture. He was a pioneer, and his films (The Great Dictator, City Lights, etc.) were the beginning of popular cinema as we know it today. Thanks Charlie!
13. Robert Altman - The father of ensemble-driven movies, no one could pull together a large cast, and many diverging stories together quite like the great Robert Altman, although that hasn't stopped people from trying. His films have become a signature American art form, and he is on that list of directors who never one an Oscar (seriously if the Academy looked at their history, they would hide in shame). Nashville, Short Cuts, Godsford Park, The Player, and M*A*S*H, are all treasures, and only prove why Robert Altman will be missed so much.
12. D.W. Griffith - To most people, this name means absolutely nothing in modern pop culture. However, to those of us who are movie dorks, this is the man that started it all. With his first film in 1908, he was the pioneer of film. Then in 1915 his most famous and controversial work The Birth of a Nation, was released to much success. While its blatant racism makes my liberal skin crawl, I have looked past it, considered the time period, and realized that it was the first full-length blockbuster in film history, and that's gotta count for something.
11. John Ford - The man who toppled Orson Welles. In 1941, not only did Ford beat Welles for director, his movie, How Green Was My Valley, also beat out what is considered the greatest movie of all time (not by me, but whatever), to win Best Picture. That year aside, Ford created a lasting collection of movies ranging from westerns (Stagecoach, The Searchers), to powerful dramas (The Informer, The Quiet Man), and a variety of movies that contain his signature. Plus the man won 4 Best Directing Oscars, that's got to count for something.