Eight Great Actor/Director Pairs

As with many professions, in film it’s nearly impossible to be successful all by yourself.    Just like an actor can’t always bring a movie to life without a great director, a great director can’t make a great film unless it’s acted out the way he/she wants it.

So that’s why when the formula works, sometimes it’s best to rinse and repeat.  And in some cases you’re rinsing and repeating quite often.

Check out these eight great actor/director pairs….

Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale

Well they’re not quite established yet as in they haven’t done tons of movies however the three that they have done kicked ass.   And clearly they’ll be doing more Batman work together so I wanted to start off this list with these two guys considering they’re both super talented.  I really hope that Nolan does more The Prestige type movies.  Obviously Inception was cool.  Whatever, I’m missing my own point here.  Whatever he does will be awesome.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese

As you’ll see later on in this list I paired up Mr. Scorsese with another actor (who I’m sure you know).  However said actor doesn’t really do too many good movies these days so clearly Scorsese was looking for another muse.  He certainly found one in DiCaprio.  These guys have been paired up four times if I’m not mistaken and will continue to make movies as long as Scorsese wants to do them.    Very curious to see how Sinatra will pan out.

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder

You didn’t think I’d forget comedy now did you?  Of course not!  We’re talking The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein.  It doesn’t get much more Brooks and awesome than that.   Man I wish these two would pair up for some old person comedy that would be the best thing since Grumpy Old Men.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

We all know the Helena Bonham Carter thing.  I mean she’s Tim’s wife.  But what about Johnny Depp?  6 Times these guys have been paired up?  Am I missing a movie because I bet I am.  It feels like every single movie that Burton directs involves Depp.  Let’s not forget that Johnny Depp is a really weird dude in real life so this pairing makes sense.

Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart

When you talk about old school you don’t forget these two.  Now that’s a pairing.

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese

Did you ever associate Robert DeNiro without Martin Scorsese back in his prime?  Not a chance.  When you’re talking Italian, tough, great roles, you think of these two.  And let’s not forget about how awesome Cape Fear was.  I’d like to see these two pair up again but it looks like Leonardo has taken over.

David Fincher and Brad Pitt

Fincher has never directed a bad movie and probably never will.   And I personally think that Brad Pitt is highly underrated as an actor.  I hope these two pair up many more times.   The count is at three and I’m thinking we’ll get to 6 in the next 10 years.

Coen Brothers and France McDormand

I had to add a woman.  And yes, even though McDormand is married to one of the Coen’s (Joel) it still warrants mention that she’s excellent in all their films.

*Should I add Jay and Silent Bob(himself) and Kevin Smith?

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  1. You left out Denzel Washington and Spike Lee in the early 90’s and Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe with Ridley-Scott Brothers. I’m not shure how many R. Crowe has done with the Scott Brothers but I know Denzel has done like 5-8 movies with those guys.
    Oh yeah, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks.

  2. Yay for including Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. Hitchcock loved to take Stewart’s “everyman” persona and make some really twisted characters out of it. “Oh, look, it’s Mr. Smith . . . peeping in someone’s window, having philosophical debates about murder with his students, and destroying a woman with his obsession.”

  3. Hanks and Spielberg? Hanks and Zemeckis? Hanks and Howard? 3 each for those pairs.

    Wes Anderson and anyone in his movies? Owen Wilson has been in all 6, Bill Murray in 5 and a handful of others in 3.

  4. You already did this exact post. Hell, it was featured in the sidebar for like 16 months…

    But yeah, no Scott/denzel, Scott/Crowe, Scott/Both of them is a bust. You can also add Sharlto Copley and Neill Blomkamp to that list (Blomkamp’s first three films, District 9, Elysuim, and District 10 will star Copley, as confirmed yesterday). You can also add Nolan and Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises).

  5. Late remark here but Tony Scott & Denzel Washington.

    Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,
    Deja Vu,
    Man on Fire (personal favorite),
    Crimson Tide.

  6. Bergman / Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Liv Ullman, Bibi Anderssen, Ingrid Thulin

    Anthony Mann / Jimmy Stewart

    Kurosawa / Mifune

    Melville / Delon

    Renoir and Carné / Gabin

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