The Directors Guild Of America Selects The 80 Best-Directed Movies

The Directors Guild of America is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and it has decided to commemorate this event in a manner most befitting of the internet age: by making a list. More specifically, by polling DGA members and assembling a list of the 80 best-directed movies made since 1936, when the guild was founded. That's one movie per year.

And like all internet lists, it's bound to inspire conversation, eye-rolling, yelling, and maybe even a little cheer or two.

Straight from the official DGA site, here's how they describe the process of assembling this list:

As the DGA celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, we decided to poll our members to see what they consider the 80 greatest directorial achievements in feature films since the Guild's founding in 1936. (Features directed by nonmembers were eligible.) Many organizations and critics groups have compiled similar lists, but this was an opportunity for the people who actually do the job to focus specifically on the work of the director and his or her team. Members participating totaled 2,189 (13.7 percent of all Guild members). As in any poll of this nature, there are bound to be choices you disagree with, and other films you would have included—that's part of the fun. But we think you'll find this list thought-provoking and a fitting tribute to the timeless work of our great directors.

For the most part, the list is fairly standard stuff, reading (for the most part) like a fairly typical list of "the greatest movies of all time." The top 10 consists entirely of the usual suspects: The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Casablanca, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, Schindler's List, Gone With the Wind, and Goodfellas. As you'd expect, there's a whole bunch of Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese on display here. However, there are are a few unusual suspects lurking elsewhere in the list, like, uh, Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects, which came in at 77.

You won't find many people willing to argue that Psycho and The Wizard of Oz don't belong on a list like this, so it's going to be the offbeat choices that get people talking. For example, I couldn't be happier to see Terry Gilliam's Brazil, my favorite movie of all time, clocking in at 70, but the suggestion that Birdman (freakin' Birdman!) is a better-directed movie than Alien or Rashomon is a sick kind of insanity. Other bizarre selections include Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and Forrest Gump. Sure, these movies are good, but are they really among the best-directed movies of all time? Really? And while I'm complaining, the list skews heavily toward Hollywood directors, with only a handful of foreign films making the cut.

Then again, I have a hard time getting too angry at a list that finds room for Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. You can explore the complete list below.

1. The Godfather Francis Ford Coppola 1972

2. Citizen Kane Orson Welles 1941

3. Lawrence of Arabia David Lean 1962

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick 1968

5. Casablanca Michael Curtiz 1942

6. The Godfather: Part II Francis Ford Coppola 1974

7. Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola 1979

8. Schindler's List Steven Spielberg 1993

9. Gone With the Wind Victor Fleming 1939

10. Goodfellas Martin Scorsese 1990

11. Chinatown Roman Polanski 1974

12. The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming 1939

13. Raging Bull Martin Scorsese 1980

14. Jaws Steven Spielberg 1975

15. It's a Wonderful Life Frank Capra 1946

16. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Stanley Kubrick 1964

17. The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont 1994

18. The Graduate Mike Nichols 1967

19. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope George Lucas 1977

20. Blade Runner Ridley Scott 1982

21. On the Waterfront Elia Kazan 1954

22. Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino 1994

23. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Steven Spielberg 1982

24. Annie Hall Woody Allen 1977

25. Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg 1998

26. Seven Samurai Akira Kurosawa 1954

27. A Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick 1971

28. Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg 1981

29. Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock 1958

30. Sunset Boulevard Billy Wilder 1950

31. To Kill A Mockingbird Robert Mulligan 1962

32. Psycho Alfred Hitchcock 1960

33. The Searchers John Ford 1956

34. Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis 1994

35. Singin' in the Rain Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly 1952

36. 8 ½ Federico Fellini 1963

37. The Third Man Carol Reed 1949

38. The Best Years of Our Lives William Wyler 1946

39. Rear Window Alfred Hitchcock 1954

40. The Bridge on the River Kwai David Lean 1957

41. North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock 1959

42. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Miloš Forman 1975

43. The Sound of Music Robert Wise 1965

44. Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese 1976

45. Titanic James Cameron 1997

46. The Shining Stanley Kubrick 1980

47. Amadeus Miloš Forman 1984

48. Doctor Zhivago David Lean 1965

49. West Side Story Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise 1961

50. Some Like it Hot Billy Wilder 1959

51. Ben-Hur William Wyler 1959

52. Fargo Ethan Coen, Joel Coen 1996

53. The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme 1991

54. The Apartment Billy Wilder 1960

55. Avatar James Cameron 2009

56. The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow 2008

57. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre John Huston 1948

58. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Alejandro G. Iñárritu 2014

59. All About Eve Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1950

60. The Deer Hunter Michael Cimino 1978

61. There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson 2007

62. The Sting George Roy Hill 1973

63. The Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah 1969

64. Alien Ridley Scott 1979

65. Rocky John G. Avildsen 1976

66. The Conformist Bernardo Bertolucci 1970

67. Gandhi Richard Attenborough 1982

68. The Bicycle Thief Vittorio De Sica 1948

69. Cinema Paradiso Giuseppe Tornatore 1988

70. Brazil Terry Gilliam 1985

71. The Grapes of Wrath John Ford 1940

72. All the President's Men Alan J. Pakula 1976

73. Barry Lyndon Stanley Kubrick 1975

74. Touch of Evil Orson Welles 1958

75. Once Upon a Time in America Sergio Leone 1984

76. Unforgiven Clint Eastwood 1992

77. The Usual Suspects Bryan Singer 1995

78. Network Sidney Lumet 1976

79. Rashomon Akira Kurosawa 1950

80. Once Upon a Time in the West Sergio Leone 1968