In one of my broadcasting classes, my professor asked us to name some famous directors. My classmates all started listing off the biggest names in Hollywood: Scorsese, Woody Allen, Kubrick, Spielberg, George Lucas Spike Lee. The list went on and on, but I realized that not one person, myself included, named a female director. Even worse, my mind drew a blank when I tried to think of any female director. In hopes that we give more women the recognition they deserve, here are some major blockbusters brought to us by female directors.
1. The Hurt Locker | Kathryn Bigelow
Bigelow is probably one of the most iconic female directors out there. This project won her the Academy Award for best director, making her the first female to ever win the award.
2. Across the Universe | Julie Taymor
Taymor is a multi-talented director who should most definitely be a household name. She has been breaking glass ceilings her whole life. She was the first female to win a Tony Award for best direction of a musical in 1998 for her work on The Lion King on Broadway and she brought that same musical genius to this Beatles jukebox musical film.
3. Whip it | Drew Barrymore
In her feature film directorial debut, Barrymore not only directed, but acted in this fun girl power movie.
4. The Iron Lady | Phyllida Lloyd
Speaking of girl power, this film is the definition of girl power. It stars female icon Meryl Streep; tells the story of the first female prime minister of the U.K., Margaret Thatcher; and is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, a famous British director.
5. Lost in Translation | Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola became one of only four females to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for best director for her work on this film starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson . It gained critical acclaim and audience praise when it came out in 2003.
6. Selma | Ava DuVernay
DuVernay is an advocate for female representation in Hollywood and brought this amazing historical piece on Martin Luther King’s fight for equal voting rights to life.
7. Sleepless in Seattle | Nora Ephron
We all know Ephron as the incredible screenplay writer of some of our favorite rom com’s like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, but she is also an acclaimed director for a few of these films, as well. Is there anything she can’t do?
8. The Matrix | the Wachowskis
Lana and Lilly Wachowski are trans women siblings and directing partners breaking barriers throughout Hollywood. They’ve directed films for years including The Matrix, V for Vendetta and The Cloud Atlas.
9. Big | Penny Marshall
Who knew that Tom Hanks’s lovable man-child was directed by the same woman who brought us Laverne of Laverne & Shirley? If you haven’t seen this film, you are missing out on a giant piano and lots of laughs.
Women in Hollywood are directing some serious blockbusters, so we should all be working to make these directors household names.