Winning streak: Killer’s Kiss (1955), The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

It's damn near blasphemy-status not to say it—whenever a modern-day filmmaker is asked about his or her influences, the name Stanley Kubrick is practically required to be spoken. Of course, most people who claim to take cues from the late cinematic great couldn't have cleaned his camera's lens, but that's beside the point.

Kubrick, a New York City native, blessed the film world with inarguable all-time best movies in each of its biggest fanboy genres. For horror, he drained all optimism out of Stephen King's novel The Shining to concoct one of the creepiest, darkest explorations of supernatural insanity ever put to celluloid; sci-fi heads, for their part, have both the mind-numbingly hypnotic 2001: A Space Odyssey and the dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange by which to swear. Even dark comedy aficionadoes were given a slice of greatness courtesy of Kubrick, in the form of the sharp, scathing Cold War skewer-fest Dr. Strangelove.

A big reason why Kubrick's movies maintained such high levels of aptitude is that he notoriously shunned the Hollywood system; it was either his way or, as they say, the highway, and Kubrick made his pictures outside of the corporate system and with total creative control. When your finished products resemble the aforementioned classics, Tinsel Town execs would be foolish to ever interfere.