Francis Ford Coppola

Filmmakers Whose Work Stands the Test of Time

There are occasionally filmmakers who break all barriers, whose work stands the test of time and continues to captivate audiences and critics even decades later. If you’re looking for a master class in original, timeless filmmaking, check out these filmmakers whose originality stands the test of time and offers experiences that are still relevant, riveting, and righteously entertaining.

Alfred Hitchcock

It’s impossible to have a list of enduring filmmakers without including Hitchcock. His silent film roots allowed him to innovate in the area of visual storytelling by mastering mise-en-scène, captivating use of music, and wise editing.

Hitchcock is perhaps best known for his innovative camera movement, and his knack for persuading audiences to feel as if they are a part of the story through the clever manipulation of perspective through close-ups, long takes, and more.

Click here to read more about why we think Hitchcock’s work will be enjoyed for years to come.

Timeless Hitchcock films to watch asap:

  • Notorious (1946)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • North by Northwest (1959)
  • Psycho (1960)

Akira Kurosawa

Posthumously named “Asian of the Century” in in 1990 by AsianWeek, Kurosawa’s work did more than just put the Japanese film industry on the international map. His superb screenwriting abilities, dynamic style, and innovative techniques went on to influence all of Western cinema, including The Magnificent Seven, a reimagining of Kurosawa’s masterpiece Seven Samurai. From Americans like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to fellow Asian filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki and John Woo, countless notable filmmakers have expressed their admiration for Kurosawa’s cinematographic achievements.

Timeless Films

  • Rashomon (1950)
  • Ikiru (1952)
  • Seven Samurai (1954)
  • Kagemusha (1980)
  • Ran (1985)

Steven Spielberg

If there’s one reason Spielberg will be esteemed for ages to come, it’s for his versatility. From intense war stories and terrifying thrillers to adventure movies fun for the whole family, this man has probably done it all — and done it marvellously. While most directors find their niche and stay put, Spielberg’s storytelling prowess has been proven across an amazing range of genres while somehow still expressing his signature style. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love at least one film from this iconic director who, at the ripe age of 71 in of 2018, is still behind the camera.

Timeless Films

  • Jaws (1975)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  • Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Spike Lee

This African-American filmmaker began impressing critics and viewers alike with his first feature film “She’s Gotta Have It,” a comedy drama shot in two weeks with a budget of $175,000. When it grossed over $7 million in America, people knew Lee was something special. He has since then delivered several classics that have earned him numerous accolades over the years. Many of his projects are renowned for examining important issues such as race relations, urban poverty, and discrimination even among black communities.

Timeless Films

  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
  • 25th Hour (2002)
  • Inside Man (2006)

Stanley Kubrick

The late, great Kubrick made an impact on the film industry in a way few other directors have. His constant striving for perfection and mastery of the technical side of filmmaking allowed him to craft cinematic experiences that transcended genre and changed everything that followed. Along with working closely and intensely with his writers and performers, Kubrick was also known for requiring as many takes as it took in order to find what he called “the magic.”

Timeless Films

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Francis Ford Coppola

This American filmmaker is responsible for one of the most overwhelmingly praised trilogy of films ever to hit the big screen: The Godfather alone won nearly a dozen Oscars and is #2 in American Film Institute’s list of best American films. The trilogy’s influence inspired the creation of other notable gangster films such as Goodfellas and TV shows like The Sopranos.

Timeless Films

  • The Godfather (1972)
  • American Graffiti (1973)
  • The Godfather: Part II (1974)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Sofia Coppola

The daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia has emerged as one of the most talented female directors of all time. She was the first American woman to win Venice Film Festival’s top prize and receive a Best Director nomination at the 2003 Academy Awards, while also serving as the second woman to win best director at Cannes Film Festival. Her Oscar-winning Lost in Translation a great starting point for film fans to witness Coppola’s impressive ability to balance humor and drama.

Timeless Films

  • The Virgin Suicides (1999)
  • Lost in Translation (2003)
  • Marie Antoinette (2006)
  • The Bling Ring (2013)
  • The Beguiled (2017)

Orson Welles

What’s there to say about Welles that hasn’t been said before? The legendary director changed the game with Citizen Kane, a film ranked by many as the best of all time. The 1941 drama went on to influence even the most prominent directors with its nonlinear storytelling, powerful use of themes and motifs, and phenomenal cinematography. Welles would go on to direct several more films, many of which are also worthy of viewing almost a century later.

Timeless Films

  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
  • The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
  • Touch Of Evil (1958)
  • Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Up-and-Coming Timeless Filmmakers

Christopher Nolan

Still arguably near the beginning of his illustrious career, Nolan came into prominence at the turn of the millenium with Following, a neo-noir crime thriller he funded personally. Since then, the English filmmaker has made a name for himself by producing hit after hit, making him one of the highest-grossing directors of all time. His use of nonlinear storytelling and enticing themes surrounding human morality and identity have allowed him to create films that will likely be watched in film classes for a long time.

Timeless Films

  • Memento (2000)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • Inception (2010)
  • Interstellar (2014)
  • Dunkirk (2017)

Catherine Hardwicke

Hardwicke got her start in the business as a production designer, where she was able to study the techniques of skilled directors like Cameron Crowe. She first proved her own directing talents with 2003’s Thirteen, which won six awards and nearly a dozen nominations. Highly successful films like Twilight and The Nativity Story have only helped cement Hardwicke’s legacy as one of the best female directors of all time.

Timeless Films

  • Thirteen (2003)
  • Lords of Dogtown (2005)
  • The Nativity Story (2006)
  • Twilight (2008)
  • Red Riding Hood (2011)

Ava DuVernay

Leading the new generation of great African American filmmakers is DuVernay, who in less than two decades has already made a name for herself behind the camera. This includes being the first black woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s directing award. She is also the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Golden Golden Globe award and Academy Award for Best Picture. With so many accomplishments at the ripe age of 45, we’re confident that DuVernay’s best work is yet to come.

Timeless Films

  • Saturday Night Life (2006)
  • I Will Follow (2010)
  • Middle of Nowhere (2012)
  • Selma (2014)
  • 13th (2016)

What other directors would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below, and learn more about Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.


5 Patriotic Films to Commemorate Memorial Day

This upcoming Monday marks Memorial Day, a holiday honoring the brave veteran men and women who have served our nation. For many of us the day involves BBQs and gatherings with friends and families, but for some of us the bonus day off is a time to unwind, relax and catch up on some classic films. If you’re in that boat, we thought we’d highlight some of the films that best commemorate this special day.

Independence Day

Nothing screams American Hollywood blockbuster more than a Roland Emmerich action-packed film, involving the White House getting blown up by a giant spaceship and Will Smith actually punching a space alien in the face. When the common enemy comes from outside this world, it’s up to Bill Pullman, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, and the American military to fight off the invading aliens. Together with its inspirational speeches, explosions, romance, and 90’s special effects, this modern classic has everything you could want in a Memorial Day flick. If you still haven’t seen this, be sure to check it out before its long-awaited sequel is releases this upcoming Fourth of July.


If you’re still paying for cable and just so happen to be flicking through the channels, chances are you’ll land on a Rocky marathon this Memorial Day weekend. Nobody stands the test of time more than the iconic hero, Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone. With his underdog, South Philly charm and American flag boxer trunks, Rocky can win over any crowd and any generation—even the Cold War Russians as we saw in Rocky 4. With Bill Conti’s unforgettable original score and Burgess Meredith’s rousing speeches, there’s nothing that’ll get you more motivated this holiday weekend than a healthy dose of the Italian Stallion.


Earning George C. Scott an Oscar for Best Actor, this 1970 biopic of American General George S. Patton showcases its patriotism from the very beginning of the film as Patton delivers an inspirational speech to his soldiers in front of a giant U.S. flag. Few may know that the screenplay was written by The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Franklin Schaffner, who was behind the original Planet of the Apes. Coming in on close to three hours in length, this WWII epic chronicles the battles led by the controversial figure, Patton, a man who stops at nothing to defeat his enemies. Not without his flaws, the General exemplifies America’s military strength and confidence during its ultimate defeat of Nazi Germany.

The Hunt for Red October

New York Film Academy founder, Jerry Sherlock, produced this 1990 hit, based on Tom Clancy’s best-selling novel. Starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, the film is set during the late Cold War era and involves a rogue Soviet naval captain who wishes to defect to the United States with his officers and the Soviet Navy’s newest and most advanced nuclear missile submarine. The question is: is he really trying to defect or is he out to start war with the US? For a “war” that involved no real battles, this thriller creates a scenario in which the Cold War could ultimately erupt in an underwater confrontation. That is unless Jack Ryan can save the day.

Born on the Fourth of July

Considered one of Tom Cruise’s most memorable performances and earning him his first Oscar nomination, this captivating Oliver Stone film surrounds the life of Ron Kovic, who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. Kovic, played by Cruise, becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for. Battling obstacles both with his own mind and body, as well as against the country he once fought for, the film captures the tragedy and difficulties many of our armed servicemembers face when returning home.

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford CoppolaName: Francis Ford Coppola

Essential DVDs: The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), The Godfather: Part III (1990)

Oscars: Best Screenplay (Patton, 1971); Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture (The Godfather, 1973); Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, (The Godfather Part II, 1975)

In His Own Words: “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.”

Age 35, Francis Ford Coppola departed the 1974 Academy Awards clutching statuettes for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, a place in film history assured. At the forefront of a precocious pack of film school auteurs — Scorsese, Bogdanovich and Lucas were his acolytes — Coppola had just directed three back-to-back classics: the elegant and epochal The Godfather (which, at the time, became the biggest grossing film in history); taut post-Watergate paranoia trip The Conversation; and the sublimely orchestrated sequel The Godfather Part II. His next film, the feverish Vietnam fable Apocalypse Now, would apply indelible gloss to his entry in Hollywood’s pantheon.

Come 1992, and the director/producer was filing for his third bankruptcy, a golden seventies having been sullied by a disastrously leaden eighties. High-budget follies One From The Heart and The Cotton Club had destroyed his bank balance and ruptured his once watertight credibility. Whether it was the ravages of battling executives, egos and the elements during the five-year making of Apocalypse Now, or the obsessional — many would say megalomaniac — quest to carve out his own empire with the ill-fated studio-cum-artistic-haven American Zoetrope, Coppola was never the same director once the seventies drew to a close.

But those four consecutive era-defining classics alone staked his claim for greatness. They combined majestic productions with themes that underpinned the post-war American experience: immigration (Coppola was the son of Italian migrants); family in a baby-boomer nation; political corruption following Watergate; and the war in Vietnam. Coppola stands as a cornerstone of Hollywood’s sadly short-lived seventies golden age.