Entertainment
2.6k voters

The Greatest Actor / Director Teams Ever

Updated February 18, 2020 15.4k votes 2.6k voters 24.1k views67 items

In the movie business there are great actors and great directors; when two of these tremendously talented people come together to make a film, the result is often a classic. When a great actor/director team continues to pair up and make films, the result is a legend. To add to this list, click Info View.

From Scorcese & De Niro to Burton & Depp, there's no denying that certain actor/director teams have a unsaid spark between them (the director able to coax the best performance from the actor and he in turn being able to translate a director's vision into that stellar performance). Point is: there are some truly great director/actor combos out there.

Let's get something straight: this is not a list of all the best directors of all time or the best actors and actresses ever, this is a list of the all-time best actor/director collaborations. These are movie directors who work with the same actors over and over again because of the tremendous results they get. Now bear in mind, there are times when even the top actor/director duos slip up and make a less-than-epic film (*cough*The Terminal*cough*), but on the whole, these creative teams are behind many of the best movies of all time.

If your favorite director/actor team didn't make the list, feel free to add them and let others vote on their effectiveness at delivering great performances together. And before you ask, yes, Steven Spielberg/Harrison Ford and all the other actors/directors who are linked by sequels were intentional omissions. That's not a choice to work together, it's a contract. Now go forth and make your choices for the top actor and director collaborators.
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  • 1
    1,075
    211

    Steven Spielberg / Tom Hanks

    Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Band of Brothers, The Terminal
  • 2
    887
    201

    Ron Howard / Tom Hanks

    Apollo 13, Splash, The 'Burbs, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons
  • 3
    418
    254

    Quentin Tarantino / Samuel L. Jackson

    Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • 4
    649
    432

    Martin Scorsese / Robert De Niro

    Cape Fear, Casino, GoodFellas, Mean Streets, New York, New York, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy
  • 5
    234
    107

    Sergio Leone / Clint Eastwood

    A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
  • 6
    341
    205

    Tim Burton / Johnny Depp

    Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice in Wonderland
  • 7
    207
    105

    Francis Ford Coppola / Robert Duvall

    The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Godfathe: Part II
  • 8
    309
    184

    Alfred Hitchcock / James Stewart

    Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, and Rear Window
  • 9
    197
    102

    Wes Anderson / Bill Murray

    Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • 10
    210
    111

    Alfred Hitchcock / Cary Grant

    North by Northwest, Notorious, Suspicion, and To Catch a Thief
  • 11
    263
    142

    Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale

    Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, The Dark Knight, The Prestige
  • 12
    317
    199

    Clint Eastwood / Clint Eastwood

    Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Bridges of Madison County
  • 13
    176
    89

    David Fincher / Brad Pitt

    Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • 14
    180
    86

    The Coen Brothers / John Goodman

    Barton Fink, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, and The Hudsucker Proxy
  • 15
    184
    105

    Mel Brooks / Gene Wilder

    Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Blazing Saddles
  • 16
    180
    104

    John Ford / John Wayne

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, How the West Was Won, Stagecoach, Fort Apache
  • 17
    439
    327

    Martin Scorsese / Leonardo DiCaprio

    The Departed, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Shutter Island
  • 18
    178
    99

    Christopher Nolan / Michael Caine

    Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, The Dark Knight, The Prestige
  • 19
    215
    132

    Steven Spielberg / George Lucas / Harrison Ford

  • 20
    122
    53

    Billy Wilder / Jack Lemmon

    Avanti, The Front Page, The Apartment, Buddy Buddy, Irma la Douce, Some Like it Hot, and The Fortune Cookie
  • 21
    132
    56

    John Huston / Humphrey Bogart

    Across the Pacific, Beat the Devil, Key Largo, The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • 22
    134
    58

    Akira Kurosawa / Toshiro Mifune

    Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Throne of Blood, High and Low, The Hidden Fortress
  • 23
    126
    69

    The Coen Brothers / Frances McDormand

    Fargo, Burn After Reading, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Man Who Wasn't There, Barton Fink, Blood Simple.
  • 24
    146
    72

    Alfred Hitchcock / Grace Kelly

    Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief
  • 25
    140
    81

    Quentin Tarantino / Christoph Waltz

    Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds