Entertainment

The Best Movies Directed by the Star  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Movies 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.
list ordered by
1
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
2
Citizen Kane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
3
Gran Torino is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
4
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
5
Unforgiven is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
6
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
PeteBoyle added Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs is a 1992 American ensemble crime film that depicts the events before and after a botched diamond heist. The film was the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino, and stars ...more
7
The Outlaw Josey Wales is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Clint Eastwood
The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 American revisionist Western film. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood, with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Sam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams. The film ...more
8
Million Dollar Baby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
9
Sling Blade is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
10
Annie Hall is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
11
Argo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
12
Rambo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Sylvester Stallone
Rambo is a 2008 American-German independent action film directed, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone reprising his famous role as veteran John Rambo. It is the fourth installment in ...more
13
City Lights is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Charlie Chaplin
City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin's Tramp as he falls in love with a blind ...more
14
Pale Rider is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Clint Eastwood
Pale Rider is a 1985 American western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the lead role. This movie bears a striking similarity to the classic Western Shane, as well ...more
15
Easy Rider: The Ride Back is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
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
16
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator is a 1940 American satirical political comedy-drama film starring, written, produced, scored, and directed by Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other ...more
17
A Bronx Tale is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Robert De Niro
A Bronx Tale is a 1993 American 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 teenager ...more
18
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
wiabux added 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
19
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
wiabux added Kenneth Branagh
Henry V is a 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name about King Henry V of England. The film stars ...more
20
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Leonard Nimoy
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a 1986 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth feature film based on Star Trek, and is a sequel to Star Trek III: The ...more
21
The Town is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Ben Affleck
The Town is a 2010 American drama film starring, co-written and directed by Ben Affleck. The film opened in theaters in the United States on September 17, 2010, at number one with more than $23 ...more
22
Rocky II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Sylvester Stallone
Rocky II is a 1979 American sports drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, and the second film in the series. Rocky (Stallone) struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed (Carl ...more
23
Life of Brian is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Trioxin245 added Terry Jones
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python, and directed by Jones. It tells the story of Brian ...more
24
Tropic Thunder is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Ben Stiller
Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film directed by Ben Stiller. Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become ...more
25
Rocky Balboa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Directed by the Star
Bootsdad added 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