Over the years, there have been a ton of famous actors who have turned into movie directors, with mixed levels of success. Many of them direct themselves regularly, while some have even directed films that they aren’t taking part in. Either way, often times actors have a keen eye for film making, having been a part of it for years. Here is Movie Melt’s list of the best movie directors who are also famous actors.
Clint Eastwood is certainly one of the most famous actors of all time, but he has had just as much success directing. He is probably the best example of an actor turned director and has made over 30 movies, so I can’t list them all. But he won Best Director and Best Picture for ‘Unforgiven‘ and ‘Million Dollar Baby‘ and was nominated for ‘Mystic River‘ and ‘Letters from Iwo Jima.’ Other notable titles include ‘Gran Torino,’ ‘Changeling,’ ‘Flags of our Fathers‘ and ‘Invictus.’
Ben Affleck is a guy who has been through a number of phases in his acting career, from up and coming star, to ridiculed disaster, to respected veteran actor. But one thing can be said about him, and that he always gets it right as a director, proven recently by his ‘Best Picture’ win for ‘Argo‘ (he was robbed of Best Director!). He has also directed two modern classics in ‘The Town‘ and ‘Gone Baby Gone.’
It has been a rocky road in recent years for Mel Gibson, with some well known issues in his personal and professional life. A great actor, Mel has also directed some fantastic films. He won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for ‘Braveheart‘ but he also had massive success with ‘The Passion of the Christ‘ and ‘Apocalypto.’ It has been quality but not quantity as a director.
Another famous old time famous actor who has director a solid number of movies, Redford won the Best Picture and Best Director Academy Award for ‘Ordinary People‘ and received a nomination for ‘Quiz Show.’ He also directed great movies like ‘A River Runs Through It‘ and ‘The Conspirator.’
Ben Stiller is mainly famous for his comedy roles as an actor, but many don’t realize he has some directorial talent. He directed well received comedies ‘Tropic Thunder’ and ‘Zoolander’ and his upcoming film ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is expected to be a massive hit.
Kevin Costner is a very famous actor who many people forget has been in the rank of best movie directors for a while now. However, he has had a mixed bag. He won the Academy Awards for the wonderful ‘Dances With Wolves‘ and also delivered with ‘Open Range‘ but had his struggles with ‘The Postman‘ and ‘Waterworld.’
In the world of action movies, and boxing dramas, Stallone is one of the most well known and famous actors in the history of Hollywood, still doing big things into his 60’s. He’s also directed a number of big hits though, such as ‘Rocky Balboa,’ ‘Rambo‘ and of course his recent ‘The Expendables‘ which is certainly not an acting masterclass, but is an entertaining thrill ride that is directed very well within it’s genre.
Granted, he is the least famous actor on the list, but he is a pretty well known face as a character actor who adds comic relief to blockbusters quite often. But he is better as a director, where he has pumped out big budget winners such as ‘Elf,’ ‘Cowboys and Aliens‘ and of course the ‘Iron Man‘ franchise.
While he hasn’t directed many big name movies, Sean Penn is certainly worth a mention, as his films were actually very good despite their lower stature. ‘The Crossing Guard’ and ‘The Pledge’ are both very dark and gritty thrillers, while ‘Into The Wild’ was also a really solid movie.