The 20 Greatest Cinematographers of Modern Film

The twenty greatest cinematographers in modern film history. Works that best typify each artist’s prowess are loosely ranked within.

  1.  Roger Deakins: The Shawshank Redemption, The Assassination of Jesse James, 1917, Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Skyfall, Sicario, Sid and Nancy, Prisoners, Blade Runner 2049, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn’t There, A Serious Man, Courage Under Fire, Kundun, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Doubt.
  2.  Vittorio Storaro: Apocalypse Now, Reds, The Last Emperor, The Conformist, Dick Tracy, Last Tango in Paris, Dune, The Sheltering Sky, Ishtar, Goya en Burdeos.
  3.  Gordon Willis: The Godfather, The Godfather II, All the Presidents Men, Manhattan, Pennies From Heaven, Annie Hall, The Parallax View, The Paper Chase, Zelig, Godfather III, Klute
  4.  Haskell Wexler: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, American Graffiti, In The Heat of The Night, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?Bound For Glory, Days of Heaven, The Thomas Crown Affair, Coming Home, Blaze, 61*, Colors.
  5.  Conrad Hall: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty, Cool Hand Luke, Road to Perdition, In Cold Blood, Searching For Bobby Fischer, A Civil Action, Marathon Man, The Day of the Locust, Tequila Sunrise.
  6.  Janusz Kamiński: Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, War of the Worlds, Lincoln.
  7.  Sven Nykist: Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Whats Eating Gilbert Grape, Chaplin, Crimes and Misdemeanors
  8.   Emmanuel Lubezki: The Revenant, Gravity, Children of Men, Birdman, The Tree of Life, Sleepy Hollow, Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Little Princess, Ali, The New World.
  9.  Robert Richardson: JFK, The Aviator, Hugo, Platoon, Salvador, The Hateful Eight, Born of the Fourth of July, Inglourious Basterds, Heaven and Earth, A Few Good Men, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, Snow Falling On Cedars, Django Unchained.
  10.  Vilmos Zsigmond: The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, The Black Dahlia, Images, The River.
  11.  John Toll: Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, The Thin Red Line, Almost Famous, Gone Baby Gone, Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai, Tropic Thunder, The Rainmaker, Breaking Bad pilot.
  12.  Robert Elswit: There Will Be Blood, Good Night and Good Luck, Punch Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Nightcrawler, Salt, The Town, Magnolia, 8mm, Inherent Vice.
  13.  Michael Ballhaus: Goodfellas, After Hours, Broadcast News, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Color of Money, Gangs of New York, The Last Temptation of Christ, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Age of Innocence, Quiz Show, Sleepers,  The Departed
  14.  Wally Pfister: Inception, The Dark Knight, Memento, The Italian Job, Moneyball, The Prestige.
  15.  William Fraker: Rosemary’s Bay, Bullitt, 1941, Tombstone, Looking for Mr Goodbar,  Heaven Can Wait, WarGames, Murphy’s Romance
  16.  Jordan Cronenweth: Blade Runner, Altered States, Peggy Sue Got Married, Gable and Lombard, Zandy’s Bride
  17.  John Seale: Mad Max: Fury Road, The English Patient, Rain Man, Witness, Dead Poet’s Society, The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain
  18.  Dean Cundey: Halloween, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, The Thing, Apollo 13
  19.  Chris Menges: The Killing Fields, The Mission, Michael Collins, The Boxer, The Reader, Local Hero, Comfort and Joy, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  20.  Douglas Slocombe: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Julia, Travels With My Aunt, The Great Gatsby, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,  Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion in Winter, The Italian Job

Honorable Mentions: Christopher Doyle, Nestor Almendros, Michael Chapman, Caleb Deschanel, Jack Green, Rodrigo Prieto, Laszlo Kovacs, Ernest Dickerson, Dante Spinotti, Victor Kemper, Claduio Miranda, Dean Semler, Robby Muller, Matthew Libatique, Owen Roizman, Bill Butler, John Alcott, Harris Savides, Philippe Rousselot, Jeff Cronenweth, Gilbert Taylor, Freddie Francis, Geoffrey Unsworth, Mauro Fiore, David Watkin, Tonino Delli Colli, Tak Fujimoto, Henri Alekan, John Alonzo, Bill Pope, Adrian Biddle, Andrzej Sekula, John Mathieson, Allen Daviau, Frederick Elmes, Richard Kline, Edward Lachman, Darius Khondji, Russell Carpenter, Hoyt Van Hoytema, John Bailey, Stephen Burum, Fred Koenekamp, Joseph Biroc, Anthony Dod Mantle, Andrew Lesnie

Golden Age Titans: Freddie Young, Billy Blitzer, Gregg Tolland, Jack Cardiff, James Wong Howe, Kazuo Miyagawa, Robert Burks, Charles Lang, Robert Surtees, Arthur Miller, Ernest Haller, John Alton, George Folsey, Charles Rosher, Karl Struss, Stanley Cortez, Russell Metty

*Academy Award winners for Best Cinematography in italics.