Entertainment The Best Films Directed by Famous Actors  

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List Rules Only movies directed by famous ACTORS (or at least people who are known for their acting as much as for directing)

Several great films were directed by actors. Many of these films went on to win Academy Awards and others became summer blockbusters. When actors step behind the camera, great things can happen. Some actors have directed and starred as well. This list of the best movies directed by famous actors is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. 

Kevin Costner's fantastic directorial debut Dances with Wolves took home seven Oscars in 1990. Costner personally received statues for Best Director and Best Picture. Swingers actor Jon Favreau went on to direct the summer blockbusters Iron Man and Iron Man 2. He also directed the Christmas classic Elf.

Other great films directed by actors include Citizen Kane (Orson Welles), A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard) and Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood).

Are you surprised that so many great films are directed by actors? Vote up the films you think are the best below or add the movie you think is the greatest, that was directed by a famous actor or actress.

Want to vote on more films like these? Check out this list of The Best Directorial Debuts of Famous Actors.

list ordered by
1
2,290 579
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Clint Eastwood
Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's ...more
2
1,717 557
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Rob Reiner
Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more
3
2,037 974
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Mel Gibson
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more
4
1,600 579
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Ron Howard
Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more
5
1,565 581
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Harold Ramis
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story ...more
6
1,841 621
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Kevin Costner
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells ...more
7
1,010 527
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Orson Welles
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The picture was Welles's first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy ...more
8
1,877 595
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Jon Favreau filmography
Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film directed by Jon Favreau, based on the Marvel Comics character. After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Robert ...more
9
1,550 519
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Penny Marshall
Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more
10
1,791 479
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Clint Eastwood
Unforgiven is a 1992 American Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood with a screenplay written by David Webb Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw who takes on ...more
11
990 520
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Clint Eastwood
Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. ...more
12
1,011 542
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Robert Redford
A River Runs Through It is a 1992 American film directed by Robert Redford and starring Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd. It is a period drama based on the ...more
13
997 552
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Billy Bob Thornton
Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film set in rural Arkansas, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role. It tells the story of a man named Karl Childers with ...more
14
674 525
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Tim Robbins
This film is a 1995 American drama film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, and co-produced and directed by Tim Robbins, who adapted the screenplay from the non-fiction book of the same name. ...more
15
1,047 690
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Jon Favreau filmography
Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, and Zooey Deschanel. It was ...more
16
1,297 543
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Ron Howard
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more
17
1,212 657
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looksharp added Mel Gibson
The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American epic biblical drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ. It depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the ...more
18
1,597 528
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Penny Marshall
A League of Their Own is a 1992 American comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Directed by Penny Marshall, the ...more
19
1,272 568
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Clint Eastwood
Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an ...more
20
1,115 531
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Terry Gilliam
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group of Monty Python, and directed by Gilliam and Jones. It was conceived during the hiatus ...more
21
771 472
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Gary Sinise
Of Mice and Men is a 1992 film based on John Steinbeck's novella of the same name. Directed and produced by Gary Sinise, the film features Sinise as George Milton alongside John Malkovich as ...more
22
712 565
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Terry Gilliam
12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more
23
796 515
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Dennis Hopper, Dustin Rikert
Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through ...more
24
654 31
A Quiet Place is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Films Directed by Famous Actors
John Krasinski
A Quiet Place is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by John Krasinski. A family living on a farm hides from a supernatural evil attracted to sound by avoiding making sound and ...more
25
1,056 543
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looksharp added Ron Howard
Backdraft is a 1991 action thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen. The film stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, ...more