List of the 281 Best Films Directed By Women – Staff Picks

Rosy O'Donnell and Penny Marshall

We asked Popoptiq writers to submit their list of what they consider to be the best films directed by women.  Here it is.

Justine Smith

  • Bright Star, Jane Campion
  • Orlando, Sally Potter
  • Trouble Every Day, Claire Denis
  • Cleo 5 a 7, Agnes Varda
  • A New Leaf, Elaine May
  • The Night Porter, Liliana Cavani
  • American Psycho, Mary Harron
  • Anatomy of Hell, Catherine Breillat
  • Point Break, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Everyone Else, Maren Ade

Ricky D

  • Connection, Shirley Clarke
  • Wuthering Heights, Andrea Arnold
  • 35 Shots of Rhum, Claire Denis
  • Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Derin
  • Seven Beauties, Lina Wertmuller
  • The Hitch-Hiker, Ida Lupino
  • Lina Wertmuller- Swept Away
  • Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt
  • Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel
  • XXY, Lucía Puenzo

Special mention: 

  • Skyscraper – Shirley Clarke
  • Wasp – Andrea Arnold
  • On Dangerous Ground – Ida Lupino (uncredited)
  • Wanda

Chris Clemente

  • Little Miss Sunshine, Valerie Faris
  • American Psycho, Mary Harron
  • Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay
  • Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold
  • Monster, Patty Jenkins
  • A League of Their Own, Penny Marshall
  • Wayne’s World, Penelope Spheeris
  • Clueless, Amy Heckerling
  • Point Break, Kathryn Bigelow

Joshau Youngerman

  • The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Cleo 5 a 7, Agnes Varda
  • An Education, Lone Scherfig
  • Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Amy Heckerling
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay
  • Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl
  • Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold

Bill Arceneaux

  • The Woodsman – Nicole Kassell
  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow
  • Real Genius – Martha Coolidge
  • Lost in Yonkers – Martha Coolidge
  • Monster – Patty Jenkins
  • The Decline of Western Civilization – Penelope Spheeris
  • Wayne’s World – Penelope Spheeris
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know – Miranda July
  • American Psycho – Mary Harron
  • She-Devil – Susan Seidelman

Zornitsa Staneva

  • The Piano, Jane Campion
  • Night Porter, Liliana Cavalli
  • Red Road, Andrea Arnold
  • Romance, Catherine Breillat
  • Or, Keren Yedaya
  • To Take a Wife, Ronit Elkabetz
  • Salt White, Ketevan Machavariani
  • Women Without Men, Shirin Neshat
  • Caramel, Nadine Labaki
  • In Darkness, Agnieszka Holland

Laura Holtebrinck

  • Ratcatcher – Lynne Ramsay
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Amy Heckerling
  • Europa, Europa – Agnieszka Holland
  • The Virgin Suicides – Sofia Coppola
  • Beyond Silence – Caroline Link
  • My Life WIthout Me – Isabel Coixet
  • An Education – Lone Scherfig
  • American Psycho – Mary Harron
  • Away From Her – Sarah Polley
  • Nowhere in Africa – Caroline Link

Robert Simpson

  • Lynne Ramsay, Rat Catcher
  • Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
  • Lone Scherfig, Italian for Beginners
  • Agnieszka Holland, Europa-Europa
  • Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
  • Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
  • Anne Hui, A Simple Life
  • Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will

Ody Constantinou

  • Werckmeister Harmonies, Agnes Hranitzky/Bela Tarr (co-director)
  • The Turin Horse, Agnes Hranitzky/Bela Tarr (co-director)
  • Mickey and Nicky, Elaine May
  • The Heartbreak Kid, Elaine May
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July
  • Monster, Patty Jenkins
  • Microcosmos, Claude Nuridsany/Marie Pérennou

Scott Patterson

  • Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola
  • American Psycho – Mary Hannon
  • Monster – Patty Jenkins
  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow
  • Big – Penny Marshall
  • The Piano – Jane Campion
  • Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik
  • An Eductation – Lone Sherfig
  • Boys Don’t Cry – Kimberly Pierce
  • Strange Days – Kathyrn Bigelow

Michael Ryan

  • Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues
  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Penelope Spheeris, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
  • Jennifer Lynch, Chained
  • Patti Jenkis, Monster
  • Lisa Cholodenka, The Kids are Alright
  • Deepa Mehta, Bollywood, Hollywood
  • Amy Heckerling, Clueless
  • Penny Marshall, A League of Their Own
  • Shari Springer Berman, American Splendor
  • Honourable Mention:
  • Caroline Leaf, The Street

Tressa Eckermann

  • The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Somethings Gotta Give, Nancy Meyers
  • Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Lords of Dogtown, Catherine Hardwike
  • Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik
  • Wayne’s World, Penelope Spheeris
  • Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold
  • Me, You, and Everyone we know, Miranda July
  • 2 Days in Paris, Julie Delpy
  • The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola

Katie Wong

  • Thirteen – Catherine Hardwicke
  • Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola
  • Virgin Suicides – Sofia Coppola
  • Clueless – Amy Heckerling
  • The Piano – Jane Campion
  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow
  • Point Break – Kathryn Bigelow
  • Monsoon Wedding – Mira Nair
  • Bend it like Beckham – Gurinder Chadha
  • Waitress – Adrienne Shelly

Edgar Chaput

  • Je, tu, il, Elle, Chantal Akerman
  • La pointe courte, Agnes varda
  • Beau travail, Claire Denis
  • American Psycho, Mary Harron
  • The Hitch Hiker, Ida Lupino
  • Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik
  • Chained, Jennifer Lynch
  • Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt

Dan Heaton

  • Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola
  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow
  • After the Wedding – Susanne Bier
  • Wendy and Lucy – Kelly Reichardt
  • Cleo from 5 to 7 – Agnes Varda
  • Big – Penny Marshall
  • American Psycho – Mary Harron
  • Lovely and Amazing – Nicole Holofcener
  • Harlan County, USA – Barbara Kopple
  • Triumph of the Will – Leni Riefenstahl

Josh Slater-Williams

  • Bright Star, Jane Campion
  • Can Go Through Skin, Esther Rots
  • Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola
  • Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow
  • One Two One, Mania Akbari
  • Somersault, Cate Shortland
  • Vendredi soir, Claire Denis
  • The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay
  • White Material, Claire Denis

Erik Bondurant

  • Bend It Like Beckham, Gurinder Chadha
  • Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold
  • The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Innocence, Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • The Night Porter, Liliana Cavani
  • A Time For Burning, Barbara Connell & Bill Jersey
  • Where Are My Children?, Lois Weber
  • Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik
  • The Woodsman, Nicole Kassell
  • XXY, Lucia Puenzo

John McEntee

  • Near Dark – Kathtyn Bigelow
  • Oscar & Wendy – Kelly Richardt
  • The Hitch Hiker- Ida Lupino
  • Bright Star – Jane Campion
  • The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things – Asia Argento
  • Red Road – Andrea Arnold
  • On Dangerous Ground – Ida Lupino
  • Lost In Translation – Sofia Coppola
  • Morvan Callar – Lynne Ramsay
  • Pet Semetary – Mary Lambert

Shayne Ramirez

  • The Piano, Jane Campion
  • Point Break, Kathryn Bigalow
  • Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola
  • Ravenous, Antonia Bird
  • Beau Travail, Claire Denis
  • Titus, Julie Taymor
  • Harlan County, USA, Barbara Kopple
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin, Lynne Ramsey
  • American Psycho, Mary Harron
  • Half Nelson, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
  • Honorable Mentions:
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July
  • Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt
  • After the Wedding, Susanne Bier
  • Wayne’s World, Penelope Spheeris

Ryan Clagg

  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Amy Heckerling
  • Sita Sings The Blues – Nina Paley
  • Half Nelson – Anna Boden (co-director)
  • Meshes of the Afternoon – Maya Deren
  • Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik
  • Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi (co-director)
  • Mad Hot Ballroom – Marilyn Agrelo
  • American Psycho – Marry Harron
  • The Virgin Suicides – Sofia Coppola
  • Waitress – Adrienne Shelly

Justin Li

  • Friday Night (Vendredi Soir) – Claire Denis
  • Marie Antoinette – Sofia Coppola
  • Morvern Callar – Lynne Ramsay
  • Hearts of Darkness – Eleanor Coppola
  • Father of My Children – Mia Hansen-Love
  • Old Joy – Kelly Reichardt
  • Fat Girl – Catherine Breillat
  • Fish Tank – Andrea Arnold
  • A Simple Life – Ann Hui
  • Scarlet Diva – Asia Argento

Neal Dhand

  • The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel
  • Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren
  • Cleo from 5 to 7, Agnès Varda
  • Friday Night, Claire Denis,
  • Point Break, Kathyrn Bigelow
  • Beau Travail, Claire Denis
  • Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat
  • Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman
  • The Night Porter, Liliana Cavani
  • Ratcatcher, Lynne Ramsay

Seema

  • Vendredi Soir, Claire Denis
  • The Asthenic Syndrome, Kira Muratova
  • Morvern Callar, Lynne Ramsay
  • Innocence, Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • Cleo From 5 to 7, Agnes Varda
  • Everyone Else, Maren Ade
  • Daisies, Vera Chytilova
  • Sweetie, Jane Campion
  • A New Leaf, Elaine May
  • Dave Robson
  • Triumph of the Will – Leni Riefenstahl
  • Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola
  • Bright Star – Jane Campion
  • Wuthering Heights – Andrea Arnold
  • Titus – Julie Taymor
  • Sita Sings the Blues – Nina Paley
  • Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik
  • Boys Don’t Cry – Kimberly Peirce
  • Water – Deepa Meta
  • Monsoon Wedding – Mira Nair

Bill

  • Red Road, Andrea Arnold
  • Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel
  • A New Leaf, Elaine May
  • Swept Away, Lina Wertmuller
  • Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt
  • 35 Shots of Rum, Claire Denis
  • Wuthering Heights, Andrea Arnold
  • XXY, Lucía Puenzo
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Ackerman
  • Sita Sing The Blues, Nina Paley

Temitope

  • Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola
  • Beau Travail, Claire Denis
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles , Chantal Akerman
  • Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt
  • Swept Away, Lina Wertmüller
  • Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl
  • The Hitch-Hiker, Ida Lupino
  • Sans toit ni loi/Vagabond, Agnès Varda
  • Seven Beauties, Lina Wertmüller
  • La Cienaga, Lucrecia Martel
  • Honourable Mentions:
  • Le Bonheur, Agnès Varda
  • Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren
  • Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat
  • Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold
  • Ratcatcher, Lynne Ramsay

Simon Howell

  • Point Break, Kathryn Bigelow
  • Trouble Every Day, Claire Denis
  • The Virgin Suicides, Sophia Copolla
  • Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren
  • Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt
  • Seven Beauties, Lina Wertmüller
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay
  • The Decline of Western Civilization, Penelope Spheeris
  • Elegy, Isabel Coixet
  • Persepolis, Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi

 

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