Top 10 Actor/Director Relationships

Directors and actors share a special bond, working endless hours together for months on end, thus creating a strong connection both on screen and off. It’s apparent in the cinematic world that certain directors have found their favorite actors to work with. If there’s perfect chemistry why not use it? Not only are the awesome partnerships beneficial for their careers, but many of these director/actor partners are inseparable outside of the film studio.

Below are the top 10 actor/director relationships. You can tell these pairs are all very close friends. There are thousands of actors for directors to choose from, but these directors have found their favorite. One thing is for sure… their friendship and business collaborations have resulted in some of the best films in the world.

10 Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant

Alfred Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939 and in a career spanning over six decades, managed to direct over 60 projects. Cary Grant got his start in Broadway and then moved to the big screen. He has been credited for acting in 77 projects.

They may be the oldest duo, but to some they are the most well-known director/actor pair in history.

Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant share 4 films together:

  • Suspicion- (1941)
  • Notorious- (1946)
  • To Catch a Thief- (1955)
  • North by Northwest- (1959)

Their relationship was admired by many. Grant was one of Hollywood’s top actors, and Hitchcock made it known that Grant was his favorite. According to imdb, Hitchcock stated "Grant is the only actor I ever loved in my whole life”.

9 Paul Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Director Paul Anderson made his first movie when he was just 8 years old. He continued on with his love of directing, made it to Hollywood in the early 1990’s, and has directed over 17 projects. Philip Seymour Hoffman started his acting career in the early 1990’s and had 63 acting appearances during his lifetime.

Director Paul Anderson met the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in 1992. Anderson was one of the first film directors to spot Hoffman's potential. They soon became close friends and collaborated on many projects. In fact Hoffman appeared in all of Anderson’s films but one. Before Hoffman passed away in early 2014, he had made an appearance in 5 of Anderson’s movies:

  • Hard Eight- 1996
  • Boogie Nights- 1997
  • Magnolia- 1999
  • Punch-Drunk Love- 2002
  • The Master- 2012

8 Jason Reitman and J.K. Simmons

Jason Reitman began directing in 2005 and soon found himself involved in many projects. Since 2005 he has directed 15 movies. J.K. Simmons has had significant roles in Broadway, film and television since the early 1990’s. Simmons has been credited with having over 140 acting appearances.

It’s been said that Simmons may be the secret to Reitman’s success. J.K. Simmons has appeared in all of Jason Reitman’s films to date:

  • Thank you for smoking- 2005
  • Juno- 2007
  • Up in the Air- 2009
  • Young Adult- 2011
  • Labor Day- 2013

7 James Cameron and Bill Paxton

James Cameron began directing in 1984 and his popularity began to rise quickly. He has directed over 22 movies, two of them being the biggest box office films of all time. Bill Paxton began acting in 1975 and has been credited with having over 88 acting roles.

Bill Paxton has become James Cameron’s go to guy, and this can be proved by their relationship. Bill Paxton’s first appearance in a James Cameron film was a small role in The Terminator. Their relationship grew tremendously as they worked on Titanic, which turned out to be the biggest film of both of their careers. Their partnership spans 20 years and includes 5 films:

  • The Terminator- (1984)
  • Aliens- (1986)
  • True Lies- (1994)
  • Titanic- (1997)
  • Ghosts of the Abyss- (2003)

6 Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

Martin Scorsese is a widely regarded film director who has been credited with directing over 57 films. Leonardo DiCaprio got his start in television and then made his film debut in 1991. He has since appeared in over 35 projects.

Leonardo DiCaprio gets to live his dream every day by working with director Martin Scorsese. DiCaprio calls Scorsese “his idol”. And it’s the same for Scorsese who is “inspired” by DiCaprio. Despite the three-decade age difference, the two have formed a powerful bond. What started out as a teacher/mentor relationship quickly turned into an equal partnership. This powerful duo has now worked on five films together, not to mention all great successes:

  • Gangs of New York- (2002)
  • The Aviator- (2004)
  • The Departed- (2006)
  • Shutter Island- (2010)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street- (2013)

5 Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson

Quentin Tarantino began his career as an independent film maker in 1992. As of 2014 he has directed over 17 films. Samuel L. Jackson got his start in theater and then moved onto films. He is credited with having roles in over 154 projects.

Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson’s relationship goes back 20 years. Jackson has appeared in more than 100 films, but his most memorable roles have been in Tarantino movies.

Here are 5 films that the pair share together:

  • Inglorious Basterds- (1978)
  • True Romance- (1993)
  • Pulp Fiction- (1994)
  • Jackie Brown- (1997)
  • Kill Bill- (2003)
  • Django Unchained- (2012)

4 Wes Anderson and Bill Murray

Wes Anderson got his start as a director in 1996 and he has since directed over 13 movies. Bill Murray first began as a comedian on Saturday Night Live. He later went on to star in over 74 projects.

Wes Anderson and Bill Murray have had an awesome relationship that’s spanned over a decade and a half. They share 7 adventures together. In fact the only film in which Murray does not have a part is Anderson’s first ever project, Bottle Rocket.

Here’s a list of the projects thus far that are shared between Wes Anderson and Bill Murray:

  • Rushmore (1998)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
  • The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  • Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

3 Ron Howard and Tom Hanks

Director Ron Howard got his start as “Opie Taylor” in The Andy Griffith Show. He continued to work as an actor before making his directorial debut in 1977. Since his debut he has directed over 35 films. Tom Hanks began his acting career in 1980 and it quickly skyrocketed when he met Ron Howard. Hanks has appeared in over 72 projects.

Ron Howard and Tom Hanks met on the set of Happy Days when Hanks made a one-time guest appearance. Howard asked Hanks to read for a part in Splash, which led to Hanks getting the lead role and staring in his very first motion picture. After working together in Splash, the duo continued on with a few awesome collaborations. After thirty years of working together there is no evidence that they are slowing down.

Here are a list of films the two have worked on together thus far:

  • The Da Vinci Code- (2006)
  • Angels and Demons- (2009)
  • Splash- (1984)
  • Apollo 13- (1996)

2 Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Ben Affleck first came on the scene as an actor and later leaned more towards directing and producing. He began directing in 2007 and has since been credited with directing 14 projects. Matt Damon’s career launched when he appeared in the drama Good Will Hunting that he co-wrote with Affleck. From there his career blossomed and he has been involved with at least 66 films.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were close childhood friends and may be known to most as best friends, but their friendship extends to the cinematic world. They have both appeared in many films together since Good Will Hunting. Affleck has been taking more of a directing route lately, but that’s not stopping the two from sharing the film screen together.

Below are a few of the many collaborations these two guys have shared together:

  • The Field of Dreams- (1989)
  • School Ties- (1992)
  • Glory Daze- (1996)
  • Good Will Hunting- (1997)
  • Chasing Amy- (1997)
  • Dogma- (1999)
  • Gone Baby Gone- (2007)
  • The Third Wheel- (2002)
  • Promised Land- (2012)

1 Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

Director Tim Burton is best known for his gothic horror and fantasy films. He has been credited so far with directing 28 films. Johnny Depp became an actor in his teens, quickly becoming a teen idol. He has since had at least 71 acting roles.

Maybe it’s their similar point of view and same desires, but Burton and Depp can really be called BFF’s! Tim Burton and Johnny Depp first met in 1989, and their likes in bizarre, dark humor have made them a perfect match. In fact, Johnny Depp has stared in every one of Burton’s films since 2005. They may seem more like brother’s with the amount of time they spend together, which is going on two decades. They currently share 8 films together:

  • Edward Scissorhands- (1990)
  • Ed Wood- (1994)
  • Sleepy Hollow- (1999)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- (2005)
  • Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride- (2005)
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street- (2007)
  • Alice in Wonderland- (2010)
  • Dark Shadows- (2012)

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