Greatest German Film Director

by Dibyayan_Chakravorty | created - 28 Dec 2014 | updated - 07 Feb 2017 | Public

Who do you think is the greatest German Film Director?

Discuss the list here

1. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

2. Werner Herzog

Director | Fitzcarraldo

Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...

3. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer | Faustrecht der Freiheit

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and...

4. Wim Wenders

Director | Der Himmel über Berlin

Wim Wenders is an Oscar-nominated German filmmaker who was born Ernst Wilhelm Wenders on August 14, 1945 in Düsseldorf, which then was located in the British Occupation Zone of what became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially as West Germany until ...

5. Leni Riefenstahl

Actress | Das blaue Licht

Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With...

6. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

F.W. Murnau was a German film director. He was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Ibsen plays he had seen at the age of 12, and became a friend of director Max Reinhardt. During World War I he served as a company commander at the eastern front and was in the German air ...

7. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

8. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Director | Das Leben der Anderen

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born on May 2, 1973 in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany as Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck. He is a director and writer, known for The Lives of Others (2006), The Tourist (2010) and Never Look Away (2018). He is married to ...

9. Margarethe von Trotta

Director | Die bleierne Zeit

Margarethe von Trotta was born in Berlin in 1942. In the 1960s she moved to Paris where she worked for film collectives, collaborating on scripts and co-directing short films. She also pursued an acclaimed acting career, starring in films by well known German directors such as Rainer Werner ...

10. Wolfgang Petersen

Director | Das Boot

This director seems to shine most when making movies that can best be described as part action movies/part disaster movies.

Beginning with Outbreak (1995) about the outbreak of a killer virus. This film had shades of an Irwin Allen disaster movie, The Swarm (1978), about the outbreak of killer bees....

11. Volker Schlöndorff

Director | Die Blechtrommel

Has studied economy and political sciences as well as at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographique (IDHEC) in Paris, France. Worked as an assistant director with Louis Malle, Jean-Pierre Melville and Alain Resnais. Founded his own production company Bioskop Film together with Reinhard Hauff ...

12. Wolfgang Becker

Director | Good Bye Lenin!

Wolfgang Becker was born on June 22, 1954 in Hemer, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He is a director, known for Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Schmetterlinge (1988) and Child's Play (1992).

13. Arnold Fanck

Director | Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü

Arnold Fanck was born March 6, 1889, in Frankenthal, Germany. A trained geologist, he began making documentary and action films after the end of World War I, and his love of geology inspired him to shoot his films in remote mountain locations. These pictures became immensely popular with the German...

14. Tom Tykwer

Composer | Lola rennt

Director, writer, producer and composer Tom Tykwer was born in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany. He showed an interest in film-making from childhood, making super 8 films from the age of 11. Among his first jobs was working at a local art-house cinema. Tykwer eventually relocated to Berlin, first working...

15. Oliver Hirschbiegel

Director | Das Experiment

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1957. In his teens he left high school and worked as a cooker in a boat.

Then he studied painting and graphism in the Academy of arts in Hamburg where he also started experimenting with video and photography. Those experimental movies attracted the attention of some ...

16. Robert Wiene

Director | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene was born on April 24, 1873 in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He was a writer and director, known for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Hands of Orlac (1924) and L'autre (1930). He died on July 17, 1938 in Paris, France.

17. Frank Beyer

Director | Spur der Steine

Director. Writer. Began studying at the FAMU in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1952 where he made his diploma in directing. Since 1958 worked as a director for the east-german production company DEFA. In that time he received numerous decorations for his work. His film Spur der Steine (1966) was ...

18. Detlev Buck

Actor | Männerpension

Directed his first movie at the age of 21. Studied at the 'Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie' (DFFB) til 1989. Founded the Boje Buck Filmproduktion in 1991. Founded the Boje Buck Produktion GmbH together with Claus Boje in 1992.

19. Douglas Sirk

Director | Schlußakkord

Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1897, in Hamburg, Germany, to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, ...

20. Uwe Boll

Producer | Postal

As a child, he produced a number of short films on Super 8 and video before beginning his studies as a film director in Munich and Vienna. He also studied literature and economics in Cologne and Siegen. Uwe graduated from university in 1995 with a doctorate in literature. From 1995-2000, he was a ...

21. Edgar Reitz

Director | Die andere Heimat - Chronik einer Sehnsucht

Studied theatre science, German philology, art history, and publicism in Munich. Published some poems and short stories during early 1950s, co-edited the literature magazine "Spuren". In 1952, he took acting lessons, co-founded a student theatre which became established as the university's studio ...

22. Uli Edel

Director | Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

Uli Edel was born on April 11, 1947 in Neuenburg am Rhein, Germany. He is a director and writer, known for The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008), Christiane F. (1981) and Das Adlon. Eine Familiensaga (2013).

23. Walter Ruttmann

Cinematographer | Metropolis

Walter Ruttmann was born on December 28, 1887 in Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany as Friedrich Wilhelm Walter Ruttmann. He was a director and writer, known for Metropolis (1927), Mannesmann - Ein Film der Mannesmannröhren-Werke (1937) and Acciaio (1933). He was married to Christine Margarete Helene ...

24. Andreas Dresen

Director | Halt auf freier Strecke

Andreas Dresen was born on August 16, 1963 in Gera, German Democratic Republic. He is a director and writer, known for Stopped on Track (2011), Grill Point (2002) and Night Shapes (1999).

25. Alexander Kluge

Director | Abschied von gestern - (Anita G.)

Writer. Director. Producer. Studied law and graduated. Was one of the founders of the Oberhausener Manifest in 1962. Since 1962 Headmaster of the 'Institut fuer Filmgestaltung' at the 'Hochschule fuer Gestaltung' in Ulm, Germany. Since 1988 produces broadcastings dealing with cultural aspects in ...

26. Paul Wegener

Actor | Der Student von Prag

Paul Wegener was born in Arnoldsdorf, West Prussia, part of the German Empire. His birthplace is currently part of Poland, under the name "Jarantowice". Wegener's family included a number of scientists, the most notable being his cousin Alfred Wegener (1880-1930). Alfred is remembered as the ...

27. Kurt Hoffmann

Director | Das Wirtshaus im Spessart

Kurt Hoffmann was born on November 12, 1910 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany as Kurt Bertrand Paul Hoffmann. He was a director and assistant director, known for Das Wirtshaus im Spessart (1958), The Haunted Castle (1960) and Confessions of Felix Krull (1957). He was married to ...

28. Robert Siodmak

Director | Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam

The director Robert Siodmak (which he insisted, be pronounced 'See-odd-mack') was a masterful film maker who successfully blended the techniques of German Expressionism with contemporary styles of American film, particularly film noir, in the process creating a handful of moody, sometimes chilling,...

29. Werner Schroeter

Director | Nel regno di Napoli

The key person of the New German Cinema of the '70s. His works, mostly shot in 16mm, combine an intense interest and knowledge of German history and personal dramatic and emotional investigations. Malina (1991) which stars Isabelle Huppert is one of the great classics of modern cinema and deals ...

30. Hans-Christian Schmid

Writer | Storm

Hans-Christian Schmid was born on August 19, 1965 in Altötting, Bavaria, Germany. He is a writer and director, known for Storm (2009), 23 (1998) and Distant Lights (2003).

31. Percy Adlon

Director | Out of Rosenheim

Percy Adlon is best known for his film "Bagdad Cafe" aka "Out of Rosenheim". He was born in Munich, June 1, 1935, and grew up in Ammerland/Starnbergersee, in the Bavarian countryside. He studied art and theater history, and German literature at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University, took acting and...

32. Leander Haußmann

Director | Sonnenallee

Leander Haußmann was born on June 26, 1959 in Quedlinburg, German Democratic Republic. He is an actor and director, known for Sun Alley (1999), Berlin Blues (2003) and Hotel Lux (2011).

33. Dominik Graf

Director | Dreileben

Dominik Graf was born on September 6, 1952 in Munich, Bavaria, West Germany. He is a director and writer, known for Dreileben (2011), The Cat (1988) and A Map of the Heart (2002).

34. Veit Harlan

Director | Die goldene Stadt

Veit Harlan was born on September 22, 1899 in Berlin, Germany. He was a director and actor, known for The Golden City (1942), Der große König (1942) and Jud Süß (1940). He was married to Kristina Söderbaum, Hilde Körber and Dora Gerson. He died on April 13, 1964 in Capri, ...

35. Fatih Akin

Director | Gegen die Wand

Fatih Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg of Turkish parentage. He began studying Visual Communications at Hamburg's College of Fine Arts in 1994. His collaboration with Wueste Film also dates from this time. In 1995, he wrote and directed his first short feature, "Sensin - You're The One!" ("Sensin -...



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