5. Alfred Hitchcock (6 films)
The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, wowed audiences for over 50 years with his stories of deception, intrigue, horror and paranoia, creating some of the most inedible entertainments ever put to screen. Interestingly enough, none of his British films made it on to the list, with the 1940 gothic film Rebecca (#173) being his first appearance. In a bizarre sequence of events, the lush and desperately romantic Notorious is not on the list, but the lesser yet still wildly entertaining Dial M For Murder (#155) is. Rear Window, often considered one of the greatest suspense movies, is very high up at 43.
A lot of his most successful films star either Cary Grant or James Stewart. James Stewart is the protagonist of Rear Window and Vertigo (#74) and Cary Grant is the star of the extravagant North By Northwest (#75). But it was without these actors and without much of a crew that Hitchcock scored his highest rated film on IMDB. Tearing up the rulebook, Psycho comes in at a remarkable number 35.
4. Stanley Kubrick (7 films)
Stanley Kubrick didn’t make very many films, but when he did, they usually scored in the IMDB Top 250. 7 out of 13 films feature on the list, giving him a remarkable 54% success rate. His films are singular and esoteric, showing an obsessive control over the camera rarely otherwise evinced in mainstream cinema. HIs first film on the list is the heartbreaking Paths of Glory (#59) featuring a star turn by the inimitable Kirk Douglas. Up next is the brilliant comedy Dr. Strangelove (#56), which managed to make a hit out of satirising nuclear oblivion.
His greatest film, and arguably the most untraditional one in this entire 60-strong collection, is 2001: A Space Odyssey, ranking at a very respectable number 92. From there his next four films in a row all feature in the IMDB Top 250, which is the second-best run out of any director on his list; scoring hits with A Clockwork Orange (#84), Barry Lyndon (#228), The Shining (#61) and Full Metal Jacket (#91). His last film, the extremely divisive Eyes Wide Shut, sadly does not make the list.
3. Martin Scorsese (7 films)
Martin Scorsese is a hit with both fans and critics alike, making deeply personal films that never fail to be entertaining. Innovating with a lot of things we take for granted now — funny gangsters, rock and roll music soundtracks, hand-held tracking shots and voiceover — he helped create the Italian-American canon with some of the best films ever made. Teaming up with Robert De Niro, his first entry on the list is Taxi Driver (#89); one of many that would also be set in New York. Up next is his epic of jealousy, Raging Bull, coming in at a great number 123.
Next up is arguably the greatest gangster movie, Goodfellas, coming in at an extremely high no.17. After that he scored IMDB Top 250 hits with Casino (#147), The Departed (#42), Shutter Island (#181) and The Wolf of Wall Street (#151). This is even more impressive when you consider that Goodfellas, Casino and The Wolf Of Wall Street all have, more or less, the same style!
2. Steven Spielberg (7 films)
Possibly America’s most popular movie director ever, Steven Spielberg is responsible for seven films in the IMDB Top 250. He moves between genres with ease, filming in a very fluid style that is accessible for any filmgoer. Jaws (#237), his first film on the list, is credited with giving birth to the Hollywood blockbuster. After that he would make one of the most relentlessly entertaining films ever with Raiders of the Lost Ark (#41). Indiana Jones also makes a reappearance at no.112 with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The best example of the extraordinary range Spielberg has is the two films he released in 1993 alone: Schindler’s List (#6) and Jurassic Park (#200). After Ridley Scott, he must be one of the best directors working who doesn’t get sloppy just because he works fast. He later returns to the IMDB Top 250 with the elegant war drama Saving Private Ryan (#28), starring Tom Hanks as the school teacher we wish we all had.
Tom Hanks makes a reappearance on this list with Catch Me If You Can (#220), which is probably the most surprising Spielberg film here, but just works as another example of Spielberg’s almighty range. He made Minority Report in the same year!
1. Christopher Nolan (8 Films)
The leader of the IMDB Top 250 is a strange one considering that he is probably the weakest director out of all ten of them. Not to say his films are bad, but they do seem to be extremely highly valued compared to their actual worth. Just look how high some of them end up being ranked, with two in the top twenty alone. He has an 80% success record when it comes to getting into the IMDB Top 250, which is simply remarkable.
His first film on the list is the backwards film Memento (#50), starring Guy Pierce as an amnesiac searching for his wife’s murderer. Then after the simply-OK Insomnia, which doesn’t make the list, every film Nolan has released since has made the IMDB Top 250. This is the best run of any filmmaker on this list.
Landing The Batman Trilogy was the best thing that happened to his career, as he was afforded the privilege to use his mainstream success to fund more personal projects. After the standard fare Batman origin story Batman Begins (#117), he could use that success to make The Prestige (#49). Additionally, the brilliance of The Dark Knight (which is at completely ridiculous number 4 on the list) allowed him to make Inception (#14!).
The Dark Knight Rises, the finest Batman movie, also does very well, coming in at number 65. Now Batman has finished, it looks like Nolan will avoid superhero movies, with his last two movies being Interstellar (#33) and Dunkirk (#141) — the latter being the one that has finally made Nolan the so-called highest rated director of all time. One assumes that in many years the IMDB Top 250 will be due a correction.
Author Bio: Redmond Bacon is a professional film writer and amateur musician from London. Currently based in Berlin (Brexit), most of his waking hours are spent around either watching, discussing, or thinking about movies. Sometimes he reads a book.