actors 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.
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Gran Torino 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
1,673 543
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Stand by Me 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
1,985 957
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Braveheart 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
1,561 564
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Apollo 13 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
1,521 572
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Groundhog Day 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

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1,811 607
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Dances with Wolves 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
1,838 576
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Iron Man Jon Favreau filmography Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the first installment ...more

8
972 512
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Citizen Kane 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

9
1,517 508
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Big 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
1,757 472
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Unforgiven 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 and killer ...more

11
995 533
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A River Runs Through It 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

12
960 511
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Mystic River 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

Actors Who Almost Got the Part in a Marvel Film

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Sling Blade 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
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Dead Man Walking Tim Robbins Dead Man Walking is a 1995 American crime 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 ...more

15
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Elf 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
1,267 535
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A Beautiful Mind 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
1,190 645
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looksharp added The Passion of the Christ 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

The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

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1,574 521
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A League of Their Own 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
1,243 563
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Million Dollar Baby 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
1,089 529
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Monty Python and the Holy Grail 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
788 505
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Easy Rider: The Ride Back 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

22
757 465
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Of Mice and Men 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

The Best Movies Directed by Women

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12 Monkeys 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

24
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looksharp added Backdraft 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

25
1,310 541
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Caddyshack Harold Ramis Caddyshack is a 1980 American sports comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It stars Michael O'Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, ...more

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The Princess Bride Rob Reiner The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The ...more

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Argo Ben Affleck Argo is a 2012 American political thriller film directed by Ben Affleck. The film is adapted from U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operative Tony Mendez's book The Master of Disguise and Joshuah ...more

The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents

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A Bronx Tale Robert De Niro A Bronx Tale is a 1993 American crime drama film set in the Bronx during the turbulent era of the 1960s. It was the directorial debut of Robert De Niro that follows a young Italian-American ...more

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RussellHinsley added A Few Good Men Rob Reiner A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore, with Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh, ...more

30
864 567
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looksharp added Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone Rocky Balboa is the sixth installment in the Rocky franchise, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone who reprises his role as the title character. The sixth film in the Rocky ...more

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Out of Africa Sydney Pollack Out of Africa is a 1985 American epic romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The film is based loosely on the autobiographical ...more

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Apocalypto Mel Gibson Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson. It was written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Set in pre-Columbian Petén, Guatemala, around the year ...more

Bad Movie Extras and Actors Who Almost Ruined Films

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Tropic Thunder Ben Stiller Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film written, produced and directed by Ben Stiller.

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Vacation is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Films Directed by Famous Actors
Vacation Harold Ramis National Lampoon's Vacation, sometimes referred to as Vacation, is a 1983 Technicolor comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron, ...more

35
829 515
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The Firm Sydney Pollack The Firm is a 1993 American legal thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Hal Holbrook, and David Strathairn. ...more

36
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Tootsie Sydney Pollack Tootsie is a 1982 American comedy-drama film that tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to adopt a new identity as a woman to land a ...more

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Rush is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Films Directed by Famous Actors
looksharp added Rush Ron Howard Rush is a 2013 biographical sports film directed by Ron Howard. The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).

The Worst Qualities in a Woman

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That Thing You Do! Tom Hanks That Thing You Do! is a 1996 American musical comedy drama film written, directed by, and co-starring Tom Hanks. Set in the summer of 1964, the movie tells the story of the quick rise and fall ...more

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The Way We Were Sydney Pollack The Way We Were is a 1973 American romantic drama film, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, and directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay by Arthur Laurents was based on his college ...more

40
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The War of the Roses Danny DeVito The War of the Roses is a 1989 American black comedy film based upon the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. The film follows a wealthy couple with a seemingly perfect marriage. ...more

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jets2008 added Play Misty for Me Clint Eastwood Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, in his directorial debut. Jessica Walter and Donna Mills co-star. The original music ...more

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The Town Ben Affleck The Town is a 2010 American crime drama film starring, co-written and directed by Ben Affleck adapted from Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. The film opened in theaters in the United States ...more

The Greatest Actor Characters in Film

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Parenthood Ron Howard Parenthood is a 1989 comedy-drama film with an ensemble cast that includes Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Joaquin Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, ...more

44
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looksharp added Cinderella Man Ron Howard Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by ...more

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AntiFlav added Colors Dennis Hopper Colors is a 1988 American police procedural action crime film starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, and directed by Dennis Hopper. The film takes place in the gang ridden neighborhoods of South ...more

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carlybobarly added Zoolander Ben Stiller Zoolander is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Ben Stiller and, starring Stiller and Owen Wilson. The film contains elements from a pair of short films directed by Russell Bates and ...more

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looksharp added The Man Without a Face Mel Gibson The Man Without a Face is a 1993 American drama film starring and directed by Mel Gibson, in his first film as a director and actor. The film is based on Isabelle Holland's 1972 novel of the ...more

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AntiFlav added This Is Spinal Tap Rob Reiner This Is Spinal Tap is an American 1984 rock music mockumentary written, scored by, and starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer. The film portrays the fictional ...more

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Clerks Kevin Smith Clerks is a 1994 American black-and-white comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also appears in the film as Silent Bob. Starring Brian O'Halloran as Dante Hicks and Jeff Anderson ...more

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Annie Hall Woody Allen Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen from a screenplay he co-wrote with Marshall Brickman. Produced by Allen's manager, Charles H. Joffe, the film stars Allen as ...more