25. Ethan and Joel Coen
One of the most unconventional and wildly original filmmakers in the history of cinema, Ethan and Joel Coen (or the Coen Brothers as they are popularly known) are arguably amongst the finest filmmakers working today. Since making their feature directorial debut in 1984 with Blood Simple, the Coen brothers have proven themselves to be among the greatest directors Hollywood has seen. Their diverse films prove that few others can pivot so seamlessly between dark drama and screwball comedy.
They take weird, niche ideas and find ways to bring them to a mainstream audience. Whether it is their brilliant neo-noir crime masterpiece Fargo or the trippy black-comedy The Big Lebowski, their cinema often serves as an incisive rebuff to the American values of hope and idealism.
Image Source: IndieWire
24. Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an actor, then stage director, then filmmaker and novelist, often embarking on several of these endeavors simultaneously. Known for introducing Marlon Brando to the world of cinema, Kazan is considered one of the most influential American filmmakers of all-time. While Kazan’s films were often marked by social issues to the outsider, the filmmaker was much more drawn to the pathos of the human condition — the painfully vulnerable, complicated and emotional naked places of the human psyche.
He loved and nurtured the vanity-free actors who were willing and able to facilitate such ends and emotional complex truths. Some of the most impactful works from Kazan include such undoubted masterpieces as Gentleman’s Agreement, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and East of Eden.
Image Source: Senses of Cinema