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The Best Movies Directed by the Star

Updated November 1, 2019 25.6k votes 2.6k voters 100.9k views92 items

List RulesMovies must have been directed by the person starring in it.

The best movies directed by the star include some of the greatest films ever made. Many of the films listed here are considered some of the best movies of all time. From Orson Welles' eternal classic 'Citizen Kane' to Billy Bob Thornton's 'Sling Blade,' this list represents some of the finest examples of movies directed by the actor, or actress, who also starred in the film. Vote for the movies you think deserve the highest ranking, vote down any you don't like and be sure to rerank this list anyway you like - your reranks will affect the final tally.

Have any actors also won Academy Awards for directing a best picture they starred in? Yes, a handful have, and they are undoubtedly among some of the greatest directors in movie history: Clint Eastwood won for 'Unforgiven' and 'Million Dollar Baby,' Woody Allen won for 'Annie Hall' and was nominated for several other movies he also starred in ('Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'Broadway Danny Rose' come to mind immediately), and Warren Beatty won for 'Reds' in 1982. It can be done, but it's rare that it actually happens. Ask Ben Affleck. His film, 'Argo,' won Best Picture at the Oscars in 2013, but he failed to garner a Best Director nomination -- a truly egregious snub.

Several Academy Award winners for Best Picture are listed here, so hats off to the actor/directors who prove without a doubt that they are equally as talented behind, or in front of, the cameras.
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  • 26
    That Thing You Do!
    219
    161

    ActorsCharlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Liv Tyler, Bryan Cranston, Clint Howard

    Released1996

    That Thing You Do! is a 1996 American musical comedy drama film written, directed by, and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 27
    Life of Brian
    167
    125

    Life of Brian

    Terry Jones

    ActorsGeorge Harrison, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin

    Released1979

    Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 28
    Singin' in the Rain
    119
    59

    ActorsGene Kellyn, Joi Lansing, Kathleen Freeman, Bess Flowers, Douglas Fowley

    Released1952

    Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 29
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    ActorsWilliam Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Catherine Hicks, DeForest Kelley

    Released1986

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a 1986 American science fiction film released by Paramount... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 30
    Tropic Thunder
    312
    265

    Tropic Thunder

    Ben Stiller

    ActorsBen Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Steve Coogan, Jay Baruchel

    Released2008

    Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film directed by Ben Stiller. Through a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 31
    City Lights
    196
    194

    City Lights

    Charlie Chaplin

    ActorsCharlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Virginia Cherrill, Hank Mann, Harry Myers

    Released1931

    City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 32
    Chef
    152
    109

    Chef

    Jon Favreau

    ActorsJon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt

    Released2014

    Chef is a 2014 American comedy-drama film directed by Jon Favreau. After a public altercation... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 33
    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    ActorsWilliam Shatner, Christopher Lloyd, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Frank Welker

    Released1984

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a 1984 American science fiction film released by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 34
    History of the World, Part I

    ActorsMel Brooks, Orson Welles, Hugh Hefner, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn

    Released1981

    History of the World, Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 35
    The General
    98
    84

    The General

    Buster Keaton

    ActorsBoris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender, Frederick Vroom, James Farley

    Released1926

    The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. Inspired by the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 36
    A Perfect World
    161
    159

    A Perfect World

    Clint Eastwood

    ActorsClint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Laura Dern, Bruce McGill, Bradley Whitford

    Released1993

    A Perfect World is a 1993 adventure drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Kevin... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 37
    Pollock
    175
    140

    Pollock

    Ed Harris

    ActorsJennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Stephanie Seymour, Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden

    Released2000

    Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 38
    Play Misty for Me
    94
    91

    Play Misty for Me

    Clint Eastwood

    ActorsClint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter, Don Siegel, Cannonball Adderley

    Released1971

    Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 39
    The Horse Whisperer
    109
    97

    The Horse Whisperer

    Robert Redford

    ActorsScarlett Johansson, Kate Bosworth, Robert Redford, Sam Neill, Kristin Scott Thomas

    Released1998

    The Horse Whisperer is a 1998 American drama film directed by and starring Robert Redford,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 40
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    ActorsSean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Conan O'Brien, Shirley MacLaine

    Released2013

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a 2013 romantic adventure comedy-drama cult film directed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 41
    Life Is Beautiful
    64
    77

    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni

    ActorsRoberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel, Marisa Paredes, Omero Antonutti

    Released1997

    Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 42
    A Quiet Place
    48
    37

    A Quiet Place

    John Krasinski

    ActorsJohn Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds

    Released2018

    A Quiet Place is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by John Krasinski. A family... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 43
    Modern Times
    125
    171

    Modern Times

    Charlie Chaplin

    ActorsCharlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Edward LeSaint, Chester Conklin, Richard Alexander

    Released1936

    Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin in which his iconic... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 44
    Annie Hall
    214
    325

    Annie Hall

    Woody Allen

    ActorsWoody Allen, Diane Keaton, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Walken, Paul Simon

    Released1977

    Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy film directed by Woody Allen. Neurotic New York... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 45
    This Is the End
    146
    185

    This Is the End

    Seth Rogen

    ActorsJames Franco, Jonah Hill, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride

    Released2013

    This Is the End is a 2013 American disaster comedy film directed by Seth Rogen and Evan... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 46
    A Star Is Born
    16
    1

    A Star Is Born

    Bradley Cooper

    ActorsBradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle

    Released2018

    A Star Is Born is a 2018 American musical romantic drama film directed by Bradley Cooper. A... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 47
    The Two Jakes
    66
    79

    The Two Jakes

    Jack Nicholson

    ActorsJack Nicholson, Tom Waits, Madeleine Stowe, Harvey Keitel, Eli Wallach

    Released1990

    The Two Jakes is a 1990 American Neo-noir mystery film, and the sequel to the 1974 film... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 48
    Much Ado About Nothing
    100
    126

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Kenneth Branagh

    ActorsKate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton

    Released1993

    Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 British/American romantic comedy film based on William... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 49
    Light of My Life
    4
    1

    Light of My Life

    Casey Affleck

    ActorsCasey Affleck, Anna Pniowsky, Elisabeth Moss, Tom Bower, Timothy Webber

    Released2019

    Light of My Life is a 2019 American drama film directed by Casey Affleck. A father (Casey... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 50
    Do the Right Thing
    139
    202

    ActorsSamuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee, John Turturro, Rosie Perez

    Released1989

    Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button