1 Directors: Careers–Output (Longevity, Prolific)

Research in Progress: October 2, 2021

Directors: Careers–Output (Prolific)

In analyzing directorial careers, it’s impossible to conduct a film-by-film evaluation of each director’s output for several reasons.

First, not all films are of equal interest or of equal worth.

Second, if the filmmakers’ output is large, it’s impossible to do each film justice.

My study concentrates on the critical evaluation of the films themselves, rather than on interviews with the directors.

Interviews are useful when one writes a biography, as they shed light attention on the creators of the work, rather than on the creation itself.

Setting priorities

Studies should first focus on the films themselves as art works and commercial products, then their creators (directors and others), then the audience, and finally the film critics, who mediate between the work and its public.


Directors with Lengthy Careers and Good Work Up to the End:

Bergman, Ingmar (Fanny and Alexander, 1983; age 65)



Ford, John

Hawks, Howard



Ophuls, Max

Ophuls made his masterpieces at the end of his career: La Ronde, Le Plaisir, The Earrings of Madame  De..


Prolific directors of the studio era, with large bodies of work:

George Cukor

Michael Curtiz

John Ford

Henry Hathaway

Howard Hawks

Alfred Hitchcock

Mervyn LeRoy

King Vidor

Raoul Walsh

William Wellman


Indie Directors



Foreign Directors (Prolific)



Thus, measured in terms of quantity of output, Peckinpah might appear to fall outside the circle of major American directors

Part of what gives Ford and Hawks their measure  and status is, in fact, a measure of quantity, a large number of accomplished films