Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

1:17 pm 30 Jan, 2013

Success is a formula that everyone wants to have but only a few can retain. The same can be said for any successful filmmaker-actor pair. Directors and actors often like to repeat a successful experiment. It can be safely said that behind a great actor, there is often a great director who gives the actors the opportunity and the mentoring to lead them onto a great acting career. Hollywood has seen some great director-actor pairs. Here are the top 10 most successful director-actor pairs of Hollywood.

10. Billy Wilder-Marilyn Monroe:

This great pairing was successful in creating amazing characters in movies like Some Like it Hot and Seven Year Itch. The two brought to life the true star that Marilyn Monroe was despite her inability to perfectly memorize her lines. Billy Wilder was instrumental in creating the movie star image in his films for Monroe. She, in turn, was most comfortable in working with him as he had gained her trust.

Top 10 Most Successful Director Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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9. Frank Capra-Jimmy Stewart:

Jimmy Stewart was one of the most well known actors of his time and he starred in three wonderful films of Frank Capra that have created a space in history for the duo. The two were a perfect fit for each other as the director also looked to portray the perfect antagonist for his idealistic American stories and Jimmy fitted into those shoes wonderfully well.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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8. Clint Eastwood-Morgan Freeman:

Clint Eastwood is a legendary actor and director. Morgan Freeman is a critically acclaimed actor. They came together for three films – Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby and Invictus – all of which left more than an impression with viewers and critics. Expect more from this legendary pairing as they are certain to make more films together. The two are also great friends off the screen as well.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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7. John Huston-Humphrey Bogart:

Humphrey Bogart was the perfect lead for John Huston’s films. The latter was almost at a depressive stage in his career when he met Bogart. The two made many successful films together like the Maltese Falcon, African Queen and Treasure of Sierra Madre to name a few. The actor and the director were known to be drinking buddies as they traveled to locations and shared some real-life adventures together.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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6. Tim Burton-Johnny Depp:

This dynamic duo, it seems, can do no wrong. Depp had only done five films before he met Tim and since the making of Edward Scissorhands, the two churned out successful films like Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeny Todd, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows. The duo is sure to make some more memorable films together in what has been a long lasting and a successful pairing.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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5. George Lucas-Harrison Ford:


Indiana Jones and Star Wars are two of the most successful film franchises ever made and they bear the stamp of both Lucas and Ford. Director George Lucas gave Harrison Ford a place in three of his four films out of which almost every one turned out to be a grand success. The unforgettable trilogies of the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones series are the best of what this pairing had to offer.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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4. Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio:

Among the most well known director-actor pairs, Scorsese and DiCaprio have a place of their own in history. Each of the four films the two made has been a success critically as well as commercially. Gangs of New York, The Departed, Aviator and Shutter Island established the two as a permanent fixture in all such lists.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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3. Elia Kazan-Marlon Brando:

A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most memorable films of all time made by a duo that a lot of people look up to. Marlon Brando was discovered by Elia Kazan who also made On the Waterfront with the legendary actor which is hailed as a historic, cultural and aesthetic masterpiece.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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2. Martin Scorsese-Robert De Niro:

In the eight films this legendary duo made, the world stood up and took notice. Films like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and The Goodfellas are regulars in any list of the top 50 movies in the world. The pairing had some of the best moments of their career together. Scorsese has collaborated frequently with great actors to make some great movies but De Niro overshadows them all.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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1. John Ford-John Wayne:

John Ford and John Wayne made a total of 21 films together and had a string of immense successes. The two had a similar kind of an approach to movies in general and together they gave shape to the Western as a movie genre. Some of the most well known films they made together are She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, How the West Was Won, Rio Grande and Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Top 10 Most Successful Director-Actor Pairs of Hollywood

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