15 Greatest Actor-Director Partnerships Of All Time

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON February 15th, 2016

15 Greatest Actor-Director Partnerships of All Time

As the saying goes, there is no I in teamwork and the cinema industry has seen dozens of times when actor director relationship dominate the box office and give stiff competitions to others. Take a look at 15 greatest actor-director partnerships of all time:


15. Philip Seymour Hoffman & Paul Thomas Anderson

Philip Seymour Hoffman & Paul Thomas Anderson

Among his frequent collaborators referred as “my little rep company”, prolific actor Philip Seymour Hoffman appeared in the very first four films of director Paul Thomas Anderson and another one a decade later.

“Paul Thomas Anderson is incomparable,”

says Hoffman. Unfortunately, the team of Hoffman and Anderson will never make another movie again as the former died back in 2014 because of mixed drug intoxication involving cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines and amphetamine.


14. Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder

Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder Actor Director Partnership

Image Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder simply adored each other and collaborated on seven films together with most notable being Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe.

“Lemmon, I would describe him as a ham, a fine ham, and with ham you have to trim a little fat,”

stated Wilder in his biography. The two openly shared a bond that was beyond their professional relationship. With a career spanning more than sixty years, Wilder worked with several actors but Lemmon had always been his personal favorite.

Happiness is working with Jack Lemmon,”

reveals the director.


13. Denzel Washington & Spike Lee

Denzel Washington & Spike Lee

Together, Denzel Washington and Spike Lee have not only made some great movies but also paved the way for several African-American performers who dared to make it big in the movie industry.

“Spike’s movies always have a lot of layers. That’s what makes them interesting,”

states Washington. Having collaborated for four times, the best movie the actor-director duo came up with is none other than Malcolm X which received immensely positive reviews.


12. Shahrukh Khan & Karan Johar

Shahrukh Khan & Karan Johar

Though tradition team-ups between a prolific actor and director is uncommon in Bollywood, it is Shahrukh Khan and Karan Johar who have been making a difference.

Whether it was a romantic comedy or a drama movie, the actor-director duo has always received tremendous success and the bromance between the two Bollywood juggernauts has always been visible.

“There has never been an actor like him. Personally, for me he is my god, my hero and brother,”

states Johar on Khan. The A-lister has starred in four of Johar’s movies with each of them receiving immensely positive reviews.


11. Russell Crowe & Ridley Scott

Russell Crowe & Ridley Scott

Copyright: Universal Studios

Ridley Scott could not have described his professional relationship with actor Russell Crowe in any way better when he stated,

“He’s angry all the time and I’m angry all the time as well.”

Though two of their five movies have received mixed to negative reviews, their partnership has released the greatest movie of epic historical drama genre of all time, Gladiator.

As a career-defining movie for both of them, the movie was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won five including Best Director and Best Actor for Scott and Crowe, respectively.


10. Christian Bale & Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan

After Joel Schumacher killed the Batman franchise with the awful Batman & Robin, director Christopher Nolan brought the legend of Batman back to the silver screen with his leading man Christian Bale.

Creating three masterpieces that changed the entire landscape of superhero movies, The Dark Knight Trilogy showcases the wonders both can make when they team up. Bale says on Nolan:

“He’s one of the best around. He’s out there, yeah.”

Their teamwork goes way back before Batman Begins as the two made The Prestige back in 2006 and it will not be a surprise if they reunite again in the future.


9. Cary Grant & Alfred Hitchcock

Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock

Hailed as the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock understood that not every actor can leave the audience mystified with his visionary tricks and making them wanting for more. That is where Cary Grant came in as the actor collaborated with the British film-maker on four separate occasions. Grant said:

“It was a great joy to work with Hitch. He was an extraordinary man. I deplore these idiotic books written about him when the man can’t defend himself.  Even if you defend yourself against that kind of literature, it gets you nowhere.”


8. Johnny Depp & Tim Burton

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton

It is no secret that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are like two peas in a pod. Burton says on Depp:

“He is a brother, a friend, my godson’s father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me,”

Depp is Burton’s most frequent collaborator. The two engaged in a strong bond after making Edward Scissorhands way back in 1990 and that was just the start of something special as Depp starred in Burton’s seven more movies.