Akira Kurosawa is the only director on this list who did not work primarily in English. There's much to be said about other foreign language director's, and strong arguments can be made about many of them for their inclusion here. But none of them encapsulated the director's art quite the way Kurosawa did.
Yojimbo 1961 dir. Akira Kurosawa starring Toshirô Mifune Tatsuya Nakadai
Of all the director's on this list, none except Kubrick were as skilled at as many different types of films. He's well remembered for his samurai films, but he was just as skilled at crime stories, dramas and even comedy.
Though "The Seven Samurai" and his other samurai films are probably the most well known, his influence among filmmakers and their films was far more wide ranging, from western and adventure directors to surrealists like Fellini. Other directors on the list were as practiced in pure cinema storytelling, but no one else was quite as good at it. Besides unifying certain techniques that we take for granted now--like slow motion, weather for atmosphere, and the frequent use of long lenses--he told stories through images in a way no one else could ever quite match. Which is probably why so many different types of filmmakers have found so much to be inspired in by him.
WATCH TOP 5 AKIRA KUROSAWA MOVIE SCENES
5.DREAM - "DREAMS" a film by Akira Kurosawa 1990 with Lucas Film & Martin Scorsese Montage by Drogo music by Enya