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Top 10 Actor/Director Collaborations

The relationship between a Director and an Actor can be a very sacred one. Throughout the history of cinema, there have been various relationships that have made an incredible impact on the filmmaking process and have invigorated movie fans from all over the world. This weekend marks the release of Only God Forgives, the second collaboration between Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling, the duo behind 2011's Drive. While there are certainly way more than ten brilliant collaborations, here's a list of EF's top ten collaborations between an actor and a director that have left cinematic impressions onto all of us.

10. John Ford and John Wayne

If anyone's a classic Western fan, these are the two names that are synonymous with the classic film genre. From Stagecoach to Donovan's Reef, both Ford and Wayne made huge impact and collaborated on screen for 24 years. Just watch films like The Searchers or The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance and see why people have loved these iconic figures of American cinema.

Films to check out with John Wayne and John Ford: The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance.

09. Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman

From his very first film, to his most recent endeavor, Pacific Rim, Del Toro has made it a point to utilize Ron Perlman in any way he can. The story goes that when Del Toro was courting Mike Mignola to make Hellboy into a movie, Mike said the he had only one person in mind to cast as the character. Del Toro said that he too only had one person in mind and there was to be no substitute. They both agreed to say at the same time who they thought should play the part and both men uttered the words, Ron Perlman. Years later, that dream would be realized and helped Ron Perlman boost his career to a whole new high.

Films to check out with Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman: Cronos, Hellboy and Pacific Rim.

08. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks

While they've only made three films together, the collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks is one that is seen both on and off screen. After completing Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg and Hanks wanted to continue exploring history in World War II and created two HBO TV miniseries, Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Anyone that's seen Catch Me if you Can and The Terminal can definitely see how these two men make magic together.

Films to check out with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks: Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if you Can and The Terminal.

07. Bill Murray and Wes Anderson

Bill Murray has done everything in his power to stray away from comedy and prove himself as a serious actor, but his films with Wes Anderson are an absolute delight. From Rushmore's Herman Blume to The Life Aquatic's Steve Zissou, Anderson has managed to make Bill Murray retain his credibility as a comedic actor and elevate his status, at the same time.

Films to check out with Bill Murray and Wes Anderson: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

06. John Goodman and The Coen Brothers

John Goodman isn't in every Coen Brothers film, but when he is, the man commands the screen and proves himself as an incredible actor. From his hilarious performance as Walter in The Big Lebowski, to the tour de force that is Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink, Goodman manages to ignite the screen, every time he's given direction by the brotherly duo. His introduction in Raising Arizona, is one of the most ridiculous prison escapes ever put to screen and pretty damn hilarious.

Films to check out with John Goodman and The Coen Brothers: Raising Arizona, Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski.

05. Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock

A majority of Alfred Hitchcock's filmography can be used as a master class in suspense, but his work with Jimmy Stewart is pretty exceptional. Rear Window was made into a successful remake in D. J. Caruso's Disturbia and most recently Vertigo made number one on Sight and Sound's 100 greatest films of all time, dethroning Citizen Kane, which held the spot for the longest.

Films to check out with Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window and Vertigo.

04. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell

While its very strange that John Carpenter wasn't able to transition out of the 1980's, unlike many of his other contemporaries, the films that he made at that time are pretty timeless. The one's that stand out the most are his collaborations with Kurt Russell, with things like Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China. Hell, if we didn't have a character like Snake Plissken, Solid Snake and the Metal Gear series would be nothing but a fantasy.

Films to check out with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell: Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China.

03. Alain Delon and Jean Pierre Melville

Jean Pierre Melville and Alain Delon's collaborations are the epitome of cool. Melville wanted to work with Delon for a long time, but their schedules conflicted often and rarely had the opportunity to do so. When Melville had contacted Delon one day, saying that he wrote an original script for him and him only, Delon jumped at the opportunity. They read the script together in Delon's home and after seeing that there was no dialog for the first several minutes, Delon agreed to do the project. Delon asked him what the name of the film was, to which Melville replied Le Samouraï. Delon stopped in his tracks and waved with his finger to follow him. They went to his bedroom and Melville had found a Japanese katana blade hanging over his bed frame. The rest they say is history...

Films to check out with Alain Delon and Jean Pierre Melville: Le Samouraï, Le Circle Rouge and Un Flic.

02. Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese

It's very much arguable, but these two men together made some of the best films of the 70's, 80's and 90's in cinema. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas are some of the best performances by DeNiro put to the screen and some of the best films that Scorsese has under his filmography. While they haven't worked together in a very long time, its extremely easy to say that these two men have defined a generation of filmmakers, in their respected crafts.

Films to check out with Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas.

01. Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune

Some people might balk at this list and wonder why there are two Japanese men that have made it to the number one spot. In one sentence, I can easily justify why these two men collaborating in film have changed cinema forever. The Hidden Fortress is a film that inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars. While it isn't the best example of their collaboration, I'd give that to films like Throne of Blood or Rashomon, it's a shining example of why these two legends of cinema, matter. Their bond led them to make 16 films together, that inspired countless of filmmakers, like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, to realize their visions and change film forever.

What do you think of the list? Do you think you can name off a few people that didn't make the cut, that are just as phenomenal as these collaborators? Let us hear your voice in the comments below!


Meet the Author

About / Bio
Ruben Rosario is the head editor of the Movie Department at Entertainment Fuse. He co-hosts The Plot Hole, with Simon Brookfield and has a major love for cinema, comics and anime.

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