10 films we love directed by women

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You may have seen the BFI are currently promoting their October issue of Sign and Sound “The Female Gaze”, discussing 100 overlooked films directed by women.


Filmmaking is still a grossly male-dominated industry, especially within direction, films being directed by women being sparse. Here at engine House, we can’t wait for the first female director of a new action franchise. When is a woman going to direct the new Star Wars or Jurassic Park or Bond?


We decided to join in with this celebration of female directors and so thought we’d choose ten of our favourites. (Some may also come as quite a surprise!)


  1.     American Psycho – Mary Harron

Yes that’s right, this story of Wall Street business man come serial killer was directed by Mary Harron. Her other works include “I Shot Andy Warhol” and “The Notorious Bettie Page”.  

american psycho film

  1.     Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola

Probably one of the most famous examples, as this film gained Sofia Coppola her Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture nominations, ultimately winning Best Screenplay.   

lost in translation film


3.     The Hurt Locker – Katherine Bigelow

One of the most well known female directors currently working within the industry, Katherine Bigelow’s filmography is as extensive as it is impressive. We chose The Hurt Locker simply for its seemingly never-ending list of awards and nominations, most with Bigelow’s name on them.

the hurt locker

  1.     Big – Penny Marshall

Not only was this film directed by a woman (Penny Marshall who also directed Jumpin’ Jack Flash amongst others), but was co-written by Steven Spielberg’s sister Anne. It is her only credit, though she is also an uncredited writer for Small Soldiers.

big film

  1.     Monster – Patty Jenkins

Patty Jenkins wrote and directed this film, based on the true story of Aileen Wuornos and Charlize Theron won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of her. Jenkins has also directed an episode of Arrested Development and two episodes of The Killing.

monster film

  1.     Deep Impact – Mimi Leder

Having also directed Pay it Forward and TV series John Doe (amongst many others), Leder is no stranger to working on large productions with big names. Starring everyone from Robert Duvall to Elijah Wood to Morgan Freeman, the film also credits Spielberg as an executive producer.

deep impact film

  1.     An Education – Lone Scherfig

Lone Scherfig, who is also responsible for the adaptation of David Nicholls’ One Day, directs this 60s-set coming of age drama. Scherfig has also been involved with the avant-garde filmmaking movement Dogme 95, which focuses on creating high levels of realism using the traditional values of storytelling without the use of special effects.

an education film

  1.     Sleepless in Seattle – Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron was a busy woman, and not only directed Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Julie and Julia and more, but was also the screenwriter for all of the above, When Harry Met Sally and a whole string of other successful movies.  


  1.     Wayne’s World – Penelope Spheeris

Surprising! Wayne’s World was indeed directed by a woman, and she comes in the shape of Penelope Spheeris – director, producer and screenwriter. Spheeris was also offered the chance to direct This is Spinal Tap, but turned it down.

waynes world

  1. Clueless – Amy Heckerling

The cult classic Clueless was directed by Amy Heckerling, whose other films include; Look Who’s Talking, National Lampoon’s European Vacation and Baby Talk. She has won several awards, including the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who have helped expand the role of women within the industry.

clueless film