Can You Identify These Film Directors From an Image?


By: Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Image: DreamWorks/Fox 2000 Pictures/Reliance Entertainment

About This Quiz

Think about your favorite films. What about them leaves a lasting impression in your head? Is it because they resonate with you? Perhaps, they add some type of meaning to your life. Maybe it's the actors. After all, you probably hear the name of a film and immediately know the actors who starred in it. Performances have a way of captivating audiences, and the greatest performers do this time and time again.

When you think about the entirety of the production, though, it's hard to deny that it's the directors who really put the work in to see a premise come to life. Unless they are being controlled by a movie studio, the director is the one with the vision that the film must capture, and everyone from the lead actor to the costume designer has to honor whatever that vision might be.

Are you familiar with the greatest filmmakers to ever sit in the director's chair? From the era of silent films through the days of black and white television to the modern era with CGI and other special effects, these filmmakers shaped the film industry into what it is today. 

Now, reflect back on their accomplishments by trying to identify them in this directors quiz.

What's the name of this influential filmmaker who never shies away from violence in his films?

Martin Scorsese often used his parents, Charles and Catherine, in some of his earliest films. Both of them appeared in "Goodfellas," his mom as the mother of a main character and his father as a prison inmate.


This award-winning director has a filmography that stretches back to the '70s. Who is he?

It's hard to believe that no actor in a Steven Spielberg movie was able to bring home an Oscar until Daniel Day-Lewis won the award in 2013. Other actors were nominated, but Day-Lewis' role in "Lincoln" took the cake.


Can you tell us who this Oscar-nominated director is?

Greta Gerwig received a Best Director nomination for "Lady Bird" in 2018. Though she didn't receive a nomination in the Best Director category for "Little Women," Gerwig's screenplay is nominated.


Do you recognize this director who basically shaped how suspense could be utilized in film?

Alfred Hitchcock learned the art of filmmaking while working on silent films in the 1920s. During the decade, he created title cards for the Famous Players-Lasky Company, which would eventually become Paramount Pictures. In this position, he learned how to craft scripts and film scenes.


A director who enjoys writing nonlinear plots, who is this?

In the early 1990s, Quentin Tarantino had two scripts ready to go: "Reservoir Dogs" and "True Romance." He let Tony Scott pick which script he wanted to direct, choosing "True Romance." That left "Reservoir Dogs" to Tarantino, becoming his directorial debut.


The cultural phenomenon known as "Star Wars" was launched by which director shown here?

Before receiving international fame, George Lucas worked as a camera operator during the Rolling Stones 1969 concert at the Altamont Speedway. The footage was turned into a documentary a year later, detailing the tragic death of a fan.


A director who addresses urban problems, particularly in the black community, who is this filmmaker?

Spike Lee created his own production company in 1978 called 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. The name of the company is based on a promise made to slaves following the Civil War that never came to fruition.


Is this actor-turned-filmmaker a face you recognize?

Clint Eastwood had quite the interesting life even before he made it big in Hollywood. During one incident in 1951, the actor and director survived a plane crash while traveling from Seattle back to California. The plane landed in the Pacific Ocean, and Eastwood swam back to shore.


This director gained recognition after winning the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Who is she?

Despite her gifts as a director, Ava DuVernay has struggled to find distribution companies for her films, a problem many black directors face. To counter this, she helped start the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, which has gained a lot of support since it began.


Are you familiar with this director who put his own unique twist on horror films?

Tim Burton had an obsession with horror movies from an early age, when he would watch B-rated horror films at a local theater. Burton claims that he was never scared of these movies but, instead, found them captivating.


One of the most well-known creatives in the entertainment business, name this director.

Tyler Perry started utilizing his famous character Madea, who appears in many of his films, as an accident. The character was originally written as a small part for a play, but the lead actress bailed out of the production, forcing Madea to stay on stage for the entire show.


You might recognize the director depicted here for bringing to life J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

The 1994 drama "Heavenly Creatures" helped skyrocket Peter Jackson to the higher echelon of the film industry. Jackson, who helped write the film's screenplay, received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.


Can you identify this actress turned director who has made a name for herself in Hollywood since she made her feature directorial debut in 1999?

Like many directors, Sofia Coppola creates films from her own screenplays, but while other directors might take on other screenplays as well, Coppola sticks solely to her own. She finds that creative control is one of the most important components for her as an artist.


Can you identify this director who had several successful films before "The Dark Knight Trilogy" launched him to stardom?

While CGI has become all the rage in recent decades, Christopher Nolan is one director who has decided to use it sparingly. Even in the film "Interstellar," which is set in space, Nolan chose to avoid using a green screen as much as possible, instead building a set for the production.


A director with the ability to film a range of genres, what's the name of this artist?

Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to ever win the Academy Award for Best Director when she took home the award for "The Hurt Locker." This was one of many first for Bigelow, who has been taking home awards since the '80s.


Does this director and performer have a face you're familiar with?

Charlie Chaplin was one of the founders of United Artists, which he started with fellow filmmakers because he wanted to keep creative control over his films. The company was later bought by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, one of the largest media companies in the world.


A storyteller who enjoys making adaptations of written works, how well do you know this director?

Two Hollywood icons in Stanley Kubrick and Marlon Brando would have made any film shine, which almost happened when they were set to work on "One-Eyed Jacks" together. However, egos got in the way, and Brando fired Kubrick before filming began.


What's the name of this filmmaker who made slasher films popular within the horror genre?

Wes Craven's films often relied on psychological horror to really lure an audience in. Craven was able to capture an audience in this way partly because of his education, as he studied Psychology in undergrad and earned a Master's degree in Philosophy.


The gangster genre hit a new high when "The Godfather" was created under the watchful eye of which director shown here?

It was as a scriptwriter that Francis Ford Coppola first found international fame in the film industry. His script, "Patton," won several Academy Awards after its release in 1970, including one for Best Original Screenplay.


Are you familiar with this director who could brilliantly blend comedy and drama into his films?

A director and screenwriter with 24 Academy Award nominations, Woody Allen has a unique approach to writing where he doesn't use a computer. Instead, he still writes his scripts on a typewriter that he bought as a teenager.


A master of the thriller genre, name this director who has put his stamp on both film and drama series.

Directors like to get the perfect shot, but David Fincher is known for taking this to a whole new level. If he finds it necessary, Fincher will shoot a scene over a hundred times to get every angle and moment just right.


You might recognize which Japanese director depicted here for his many samurai films?

To film the climatic battle in "Seven Samurai," Akira Kurosawa's first samurai film, he utilized three cameras at a time because he knew he only had one opportunity to capture certain pieces of action. This technique shaped the future of his film style, as he found it beneficial to cut these shots together in postproduction.


How much do you know about this director who has tackled a variety of time periods and settings in his films?

Ridley Scott is a master at capturing the atmosphere of an urban environment in a variety of settings. From ancient Rome in "Gladiator" to the futuristic cities in "Blade Runner," Scott has an insight into city life that few other directors have.


Do you recognize this director who has an uncanny ability to bring out the hidden emotions of his characters?

Ang Lee found some success while he was still studying for his Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television at New York University. For his thesis work, he created the film "Fine Line," which won the NYU Wasserman Award for Outstanding Direction.


A creative who changed both radio and film, identify this director.

Orson Welles' earliest acting experience was actually the result of a lie. When he was 16, he traveled to Dublin, where he claimed to be a theater star from New York. The lie got him several roles throughout Ireland, as he started to craft his performance resume.


Can you name this director who crafts small town stories in a simplistic style?

Kelly Reichardt chooses to tell stories about untraditional characters who are drifters and outcasts across the American landscape. She often leaves it up to the viewer to make decisions on these characters, like if they're heroes or villains, justified or irrational.


One of the pioneers of the Western genre, how well do you know this director?

John Ford has a record four Academy Awards for Best Director, which shows just how important he was to the film industry. The films to win the award are "The Informer," "The Grapes of Wrath," "How Green Was My Valley" and "The Quiet Man."


Select the name of this Italian director who started the Spaghetti Western frenzy.

Sergio Leone was famous for his "Dollars Trilogy," which starred and helped launch the career of Clint Eastwood. The trilogy also popularize Spaghetti Westerns, which were Westerns created by Italians.


Who is this director who gained fame at the age of 24 when he released "Boyz n the Hood"?

John Singleton took inspiration from two legends in the entertainment business: Steven Spielberg and August Wilson. Singleton saw a "20/20" special about a Spielberg film that turned him toward directing, and Wilson's play "Fences" inspired Singleton to start writing.


"Wonder Woman" hit the big screen under the tutelage of this director. Who is she?

Patty Jenkins had a huge hit in 2003 when her film "Monster" hit the big screens. Though she had several other projects on the back burner, including one starring Ryan Gosling, she wouldn't direct another movie until "Wonder Woman" in 2017.


Often dealing with the flaws found in humans in his films, which director do you see here?

Paul Thomas Anderson's film "There Will Be Blood" competed directly against the Coen Brothers' film "No Country for Old Men" at the Oscars. An odd aside to this rivalry: Both of the films were shot in Marfa, Texas, and at one point, a fire from Anderson's set caused the Coens' brother set to shut down for a day.


Not one to shy away from political issues, do you know this award-winning filmmaker?

To create a realistic football movie with "Any Given Sunday," Oliver Stone used real professional players and coaches. Some of the names that appeared in the movie are Lawrence Taylor, Pat Toomay, Warren Moon and Emmitt Smith.


Are you familiar with this film director who got her start filming a documentary?

Dee Rees has been offered the opportunity to work on studio films, but she prefers to stick with her own independent projects. With award winning films like "Mudbound," she seems to be making the right choice for her career.


How well do you know this filmmaker who was one of the earliest stars in the business?

An Italian immigrant who came to the United States at the start of the 20th century, Frank Capra's story is the definition of the American dream. Struggling throughout his youth, Capra is the only one of his siblings to attend college, though his degree in chemical engineering would be put aside when he discovered film.


Special effects are a staple for this director's style. Who is he?

Michael Bay has never been one to shy away from big-budget films, evident by his decision to take on the "Transformer" series, which has grossed over $7 billion. His love of special effects can be seen not only in that series but also in films like "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor."


Identify this director who specializes in capturing the emotions of adolescence.

Catherine Hardwicke started her film career as a production designer, working on movies like "Tombstone," "The Newton Boys" and "Three Kings." She made her directorial debut in 2003 with the film "Thirteen," which she cowrote with 14-year-old Nikki Reed.


Some of the most violent films in the history of cinema were created by which director shown here?

One of Brian De Palma's earliest films was "Carrie," based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. Despite its release in 1976, critics claim "Carrie" is one of the best adaptations of a King novel to date.


A filmmaker known for his ability to work with actors, which director is this?

Sidney Lumet was a hit in the film industry from the moment he stepped behind the camera, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Director for his first film, "12 Angry Men." He was nominated several more times for the award, though he never actually received it.


Can you name this director who released her first film, "Nowhere Boy," in 2009?

Sam Taylor-Johnson was put in charge of directing "Fifty Shades of Grey," which was a major success at the box office. However, Taylor-Johnson was not happy with the final product, and she decided to not return for the next movie. She continues to make films despite the setback.


What's the name of this director who has established himself as one of the biggest names in the business?

Lee Daniels is proof that a director doesn't need to go to film school to be successful. Instead, Daniels learned on the fly while working on sets, managing actors. He credits this time with helping shape how he builds relationships with other performers.


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