Shrek, Vicky Jenson, Andrew Adamson
This is the only movie included in this list not solely directed by a woman, but its timelessness and impact on the cultural landscape cannot be overstated. Not only was Shrek a not-so-subtle attack on Disney by its former employees, it also beat out Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. for the first-ever Best Animated Feature Film award at the Oscars in 2002.
Selma, Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay is powering her way into the cinematic world’s consciousness, not only because of her incredible job directing this movie featuring Martin Luther King Jr. and the voting rights marches, but also because of 13th, her documentary looking into the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States. With A Wrinkle in Time set to come out in March 2018, DuVernay is primed to deliver a one-two-three punch of great movies.
The Producers, Susan Stroman
Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman took on directorial duties for the movie and did an incredible job with Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan’s musical adaption from Brooks’ original version of The Producers released in 1967. While the original, which was Brooks’ Oscar-winning directorial debut, is a great movie, this version set a new standard for greatness.
Clueless, Amy Heckerling
Adapting Jane Austen novels is a good way to make a great movie, and Amy Heckerling took full advantage of that with the Beverly Hills version of the 1815 novel Emma. Clueless was also Paul Rudd’s big-screen acting debut, and he somehow looks exactly the same age now as he did in 1995.
Wayne’s World, Penelope Spheeris
Saturday Night Live sketches don’t always translate into successful movies, but Wayne’s World absolutely does. Despite reportedly having struggles with Mike Myers while on set, Penelope Spheeris helmed one of the most heavily quoted movies in existence.
Big, Penny Marshall
Who wouldn’t want to wake up one morning and suddenly discover that you’ve turned into a young Tom Hanks? Big was the fourth highest-grossing movie in 1988, as well as the first movie directed by a woman to crack $100 million at the box office. Penny Marshall would go on to direct a number of other great movies, including A League Of Their Own, Awakenings and The Preacher’s Wife.
Billy Madison, Tamra Davis
Once upon a time, Adam Sandler pumped out great movies one after the other. Billy Madison is where it all started, and director Tamra Davis, who made a name for herself directing music videos for bands such as the Smiths, Sonic Youth and Young MC, took on this project and helped turn it into a success. She also would go on to direct the classic stoner comedy, Half Baked.
Bend It Like Beckham, Gurinder Chadha
Without Bend It Like Beckham, Keira Knightley may never have found the same breakout success she now enjoys; however, she is far from the main focus of this movie. Gurinder Chadha, who also co-produced and co-wrote the script, used the movie to take a closer look at what life can be like for an Indian family living in England.
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