Film Directors Comparison Timeline: Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Cameron

Film Directors Comparison Timeline

By combining and colour coding existing timelines we created a film directors comparison timeline to compare four of the greatest directors in history.




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Francis Ford Coppola


Martin Scorsese


Steven Spielberg


James Cameron

HISTROPEDIA TIMELINES: Our timelines are created automatically (and improved manually) using Wikipedia and Wikidata. There are over 300,000 timelines and 1.5 million events available for free, and published under an open license. Learn more here

A Comparison of Greatness

Between them Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron have directed many of the most famous and important films in history. Using our newly colour coded timeline we take a quick look at the films of these great directors to see how their careers have changed over the years.

Francis Ford Coppola at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International. Wikipedia

Francis Ford Coppola was busiest during the 60’s and 70’s with … The Godfather, The Godfather part II and Apocalypse Now

Recommended Timeline: Films directed by Francis Ford Coppola

As you might expect Francis Ford Coppola’s was busiest during the 60’s and 70’s with many classics including The Godfather, The Godfather part II and Apocalypse Now. (you need to zoom in a bit to see all the events)

Although Coppola continued to released films in the 80’s and 90’s he never reached the success of his earlier work and you will have to zoom in quite far to reveal the lower ranked films directed by Coppola in the 90’s.

Scorsese at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Wikipedia

Scorsese classics like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver in the 70’s or Goodfellas and Casino in the 90’s.

Recommended Timeline: Films directed by Martin Scorsese

Because there are so many big box office films on the timeline, Martin Scorsese’s films don’t rank as high as I believe they should. You have to zoom in quite far to see Scorsese classics like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver in the 70’s or Goodfellas and Casino in the 90’s. His later films (especially those featuring DiCaprio) rank better and it does appear that he is making more films now than he has since the 70’s. As a huge fan I am always looking forward to the next Scorsese film.

Spielberg at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Wikipedia

Steven Spielberg is in many ways the winner of this comparison

Recommended Timeline: Films directed by Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is in many ways the winner of this timeline, with high ranking films from the mid 70’s to the present day, although his most famous films came out before the year 2000. Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the 70’s, Indian Jones and E.T in the 80’s and Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan in the 90’s. At first glance it may appear that Spielberg has many more films on this timeline than the other directors, but this is only because his films are all so highly ranked. He does have the most films on the timeline, but only by 1 with 31 films compared to Scorsese with 30 and Coppola with 28.

Cameron in June 2012. Wikipedia

James Cameron has the two highest ranking films on the timeline, which are also the highest grossing films in the world (Titanic and Avatar)

Recommended Timeline: Films directed by James Cameron

James Cameron has by far the fewest films on the timeline with only 10 films, and although this can partly be explained by the fact that he is the youngest of the four directors, it is more to do with the long periods of time between his films. Looking at how James Cameron’s films rank on this timeline it would appear that he is going for quality over quantity. He has the two highest ranking films on the timeline, which are also the highest grossing films in the world (Titanic and Avatar) and in general his films outrank most other films near them. After directing the first two Terminator films and Aliens in the 90’s James Cameron slowed down and last two films Titanic and Avatar were released in 1997 and 2009. His next film, A sequel to Avatar is due out in at the end of 2017, let’s see if he can continue his run and direct the highest grossing film of all time for a third time in a row!

Did you find any interesting correlations between directors?

Which directors would you like to see us compare next?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!


Sean McBirnie

Co-Founder at Histropedia

Latest posts by Sean McBirnie (see all)


  • Four greatest directots in history? Don’t you think Kubrick deserves to be on the list?

    • Fair point, Kubrick should be on any list of the greatest directors in history! But choosing the 4 greatest directors in history would be hard, so I cheated and chose 4 of the greatest, and I’ll be honest the distribution of films and how they stack up against each on the timeline was a big part of my decision. 🙂

      Also who would you remove? I guess Cameron? but he has directed the two highest grossing films ever (back to back) to I guess he deserves some recognition

      Of course you we do also have a films directed by Stanley Kubrick timeline as well

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