With Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone teaming up once again for La La Land, we got to thinking about partnerships with undeniable chemistry. Stone and Gosling first got together on screen in 2011 with Crazy, Stupid, Love, then again in 2013 with Gangster Squad. From there we started thinking about what stars have shown up in a lot of movies together. Obviously, back in the early days of cinema, there were like 13 working actors, so we’ve done our best to keep this list modern. Sorry Laurel and Hardy. It’s much more newsworthy nowadays when stars continue to work together. We’ve also tried to stick with actors who show up in English films, simply for recognizability. Unfortunately, dynamic duos like Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill and their 18 or so films together miss out making the list because of this. We’ve also omitted documentaries because feature films are more exciting. Oh, and sequels too. We’ve decided to ignore sequels in our counts, at least in sagas where it exaggerates the partnerships, like the Harry Potter Franchise actors, for example.
So, where does this leave us? Well, it leaves us with a list of the most commonly seen acting duos in Hollywood. These pairs of actors are the ones who have shown up in the most stand-alone films together, sometimes in starring roles, sometimes only cameos. Most of the time, these pairs of actors have come to be seen as a partnership. We associate one with the other. It’s hard not to think of them this way when they show up in so many films together. There are such strong bonds among certain actors out there that we’ve had to leave out some wonderful pairs like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy, and Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson. Here are 15 power duos who have done the most movies together.
15. Lawrence and Cooper – 4 Films
Compared to most of the duos on this list, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s partnerships are not nearly as plentiful. Hell, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy have been in seven films together, but, in an effort to make the list more modern, those two got cut. But let’s not downplay the significance of the movies that Cooper and Lawrence share together either. This match made in heaven first played itself out with Silver Linings Playbook in 2012. Both Cooper and JLaw were nominated for Best Actor/Actress and Lawrence won her category. The following year, they did American Hustle together and both got Best Supporting nominations. The year after that was Serena, and the year after that was Joy. Now three of these were David O. Russell films, but that doesn’t change the impact this partnership has had on film over the past five or so years. These are two of the best in the business and they’ve become a powerful one-two punch.
14. De Niro and Pesci – 6 Films
One of the most incredible on-screen duos in the entire history of film has shined in front of us over the past 30 years. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci have been in some of the most thrilling and monumental films ever, and they’ve done it together. It began with Raging Bull in 1980 where they played brothers. After that came Once Upon a Time in America, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale, Casino and The Good Shepherd. Now, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese and trying to reunite this dream team once more with the long-awaited film, The Irishman. It’s unclear if Pesci is going to go through with the film because he doesn’t act much these days, but one thing is for certain. If Joe Pesci is going to come back to make a film for anyone, it’s going to be for his pal De Niro.
13. Depp and Bonham Carter – 7 Films
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter films catch a lot of flack from the haters, largely because they have similar themes and qualities to them. Most of that stems from the fact that they’re all directed by Tim Burton, with the exception of The Lone Ranger. Still, these two actors have done some amazing work together. Back in 2005, Depp and Bonham Carter started their journey in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride. From there, they would join forces again in 2007 with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Flint Street. Since then, Depp and Bonham Carter (and Burton) have also done two Alice films, Alice in Wonderland in 2010 and the sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, in 2016. Don’t be surprised and don’t be so bitter if these two continue to show up in films together. If you find yourself bothered with more of the same thing, close your eyes.
12. Vaughn and Favreau – 7 Films
When Jon Favreau landed his first role in a film in 1993 with Rudy, he met a guy that would become one of his best friends and one his favorite co-stars, Vince Vaughn. A few years later, these two would join forces again and create Swingers. They’ve also done Made, The Break-Up, Four Christmases and Couples Retreat together. Earlier in 2016, Vaughn and Favreau brought their total to seven films with Term Life (not including Wild West Comedy Show). Early on, Vaughn was the clear top dog in their partnership, but, while Vaughn is still the bigger named actor, Favreau has very quietly become one of Hollywood’s top directors.
11. Murray and Schwartzman – 7 Films
Maybe the quietest or most subtle of the pairings on this list, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman owe the majority of their partnership to director Wes Anderson. In total, these two have appeared in five of Anderson’s films together, beginning with Rushmore back in 1998. Then, between 2007 and 2014, Murray, Schwartzman and Anderson teamed up for The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. The other two films they’ve done together were A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and A Very Murray Christmas. It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but these two work really well together.
10. Pegg and Frost – 7 Films
The two best friends that anyone could have, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have been attached at the hip for years. Now technically we said we’re not counting sequels, but the so-called “Cornetto Trilogy” of Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End don’t count. Right after these two goofballs did Hot Fuzz together, they went and shot a quick and hilarious cameo for Grindhouse. In 2011, they both did Paul and The Adventures of Tin Tin. The following year, it was Ice Age: Continental Drift and then in 2014, The Boxtrolls. Frost and Pegg are the kind of duo that you just want to be friends with. They make the creation process of movies look fun and we just hope their joint films up to this point are only the beginning of the work they do together.
9. Haim and Feldman – 10 Films
There was a time when it was difficult to find a movie that didn’t have either Corey Haim or Corey Feldman in it. They were both massive child stars and both had successful careers into their teenage years. Though these two were in huge movies in the 80s, it wasn’t until they teamed up on The Lost Boys in 1987 that their partnership, the two Coreys, truly formed. They became real-life best friends and ended up doing a total of 10 films together (including three sequels). Their final appearance together in film came with 2010’s The Lost Boys: The Thirst, released the same year Haim died.
8. Stiller and Wilson – 12 Films
Originally, they were part of a group called “The Slacker Pack,” but that was changed when it was deemed too offensive… Either way, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller have been popping up in each other’s movies for a long time. Back in 1998. The two comedians took on minor roles in The Cable Guy and then much larger roles in Permanent Midnight. In 2000, there was Meet the Parents, which led to the sequels Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers. In 2001, Stiller and Wilson did probably their best shared work in Zoolander (the 2016 sequel was not nearly as good). There was also The Royal Tenenbaums, Starsky and Hutch and The Night at the Museum franchise. In total, they’ve done 12 movies together, but, since five of those were sequels, they technically have only been in seven for our purposes.
7. Rogen and Franco – 10 Films
With eight films already released and two more ready to go, Seth Rogen and James Franco look to move up on this list if we ever do it again. Though they seem like they’ve been making movies together forever, their first wasn’t until Knocked Up in 2007. Fans of Freaks and Geeks will remember these two together since back in the late 90s, but we’re talking film here, so shush your mouths. Since 2007, Rogen and Franco have both appeared in Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet, This is the End, The Interview, The Sound and the Fury, The Night Before, and Sausage Party. Their upcoming films The Masterpiece and Zeroville will bring their total to 10 films. Actually, since 2013, Rogen and Franco have appeared in at least one movie together every year, which is important to keep the bromance fresh in our minds.
6. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau – 13 Films
Way back in 1966, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon teamed up to do The Fortune Cookie and Hollywood loved what they saw. Two years later, the studios had them together again in The Odd Couple and a beautiful partnership was formed for life. These two would go on to star in The Front Page in 1974 and Buddy Buddy in 1981. Then there was a long break for the two. Maybe it was their small roles in the 1991 film JFK, that reminded people of how great these two were because, not long after, in 1993, we got Grumpy Old Men. Both The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men would get sequels in the 90s, plus we got similar buddy films, The Harp Grass and Out to Sea. The love/hate shtick between these legendary comedians never did get tired. Sadly, the comedian giants would die within a year of each other at the beginning of the millennium.
5. Damon and Affleck – 9 Films
One of the true loving partnerships in the film industry, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon haven’t just appeared in nine movies together, they’ve also written, directed and produced several others. Appearing in films together started back in 1989 with Field of Dreams where both Affleck and Damon are said to be extras at Fenway Park (though we’ve never actually seen photo proof of this). In the 90s, there was School Ties, Glory Daze, Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting and Dogma. Even after Y2K shut down all the computers around the world, we still saw Affleck and Damon in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Third Wheel and Jersey Girl. If you’re counting, you’ve realized that we’re at nine now. That means that the last movie these two were in together was Jersey Girl. We’re not saying that film caused them to rethink their partnership, but maybe they were right to call it quits if that’s what comes out of it.
4. John and Joan Cusack – 10 Films
Both John Cusack and his sister Joan Cusack were big stars in the 80s. In total they have been in 10 films together, including some massive hits like Sixteen Candles, Say Anything…, High Fidelity and Grosse Point Blank. But what might be more interesting is that John Cusack has also been in nine films with his one-time best friend Jeremy Piven. It seems that John, back in the day, liked to share the screen with his family and friends as often as he could. That being said, John and Piven haven’t been in a film together since 2003’s Runaway Jury and he and Joan haven’t done anything since War, Inc. in 2008. Maybe things have changed.
3. Martin and Lewis – 17 Films
It would be impossible not to mention the amazing duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in this list, even if they are from a time long gone. The two performers met in 1945 and did an act together on stage. Though this particular bit wasn’t loved, it still led to a number of television performances for the two. The first film they ever did together was My Friend Irma in 1949. After that, they would go on to do a total of 17 films together (including one sequel) and became known as one of if not the most famous duo in the history of show business. When asked about what made them so successful, Lewis once said, “Who were Dean’s fans? Men, women, the Italians. Who were Jerry’s fans? Women, Jews, kids. Who were Martin and Lewis’ fans? All of them… You had fans that didn’t care that Jerry was on or that Dean was singing. Because if Dean was singing, that was Martin and Lewis. If Jerry was goin’ nuts, that was Martin and Lewis.”
2. Sandler and Schneider – 18 Films
The two actors, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider, may be laughed at more today than they are laughed with, but these two still hold the modern-day record for appearances in film together with 17 total, and that’s amazing no matter how miserable you are. It all began with Rob Schneider’s brief cameo in The Waterboy in 1998. From that one little moment came 16 more films: Big Daddy, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo, Little Nicky, The Animal, Mr. Deeds, The Hot Chick, Eight Crazy Nights, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups, Jack and Jill and The Ridiculous Six. Interestingly, between 1998 and 2011 there were only two years (2003 and 2009) that didn’t get at least one film with both Sandler and Schneider in it. Assuming that the upcoming Sandy Wexler film goes off without a hitch, their number is going to increase to 18 films.
1. Abbott and Costello – 36 Films
Though we wanted to keep this modern, we just couldn’t ignore the great Abbot and Costello. These two have been in 36 feature films together! More than doubling what Sandler and Schneider have done. The comedy team was first performed together in 1935 on stage, then on the radio in 1938. It was the 1940 film, One Night in the Tropics, that got them started in cinema. Sure, most of these films are technically sequels, but not in the standard sense. Plus, they did at least one film a year for 16 years and, in most of those years, they released several. There will probably never be another partnership like this again, so it’s unlikely that this record is ever broken.
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