The 20 Best Actors Turned Directors

20
Clint Eastwood
Eastwood's directorial record is hardly spotless (especially in recent years), but we'd be remiss to forget about 'Unforgiven,' 'Josey Wales,' and 'Million Dollar Baby.'
19
Jon Favreau
Though his big budget exploits might be more miss than hit, Favreau's smaller, softer pictures ('Made,' 'Elf,' and 2014's 'Chef') are exceptional treats.
18
Julie Delpy
Delpy is still sharpening her skills behind the camera, but her wit peers through in the slice-of-life 'Two Days' couplet.
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17
James Franco
If nothing else, Franco is an intriguing creative force, and one we're glad to have creating films and projects like 'Francophrenia' and 'Interior. Leather Bar.' ... and at such an energized rate.
16
Jodie Foster
After a directing hiatus through the '00s, Foster appears to be back in full swing, helming interesting (if not entirely perfect) films like 'The Beaver' as well as 'Orange Is the New Black' episodes.
15
Dennis Hopper
The late Hopper got into the directing game rather quickly and hit his stride even quicker with the classic piece of Americana that is 'Easy Rider.'
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14
Bobcat Goldthwait
Like Franco, Goldthwait is noteworthy less for the quality of his work than for the nature of it. A twisted satirical voice emerges in films like 'God Bless America' and 'World's Greatest Dad.'
13
Ben Stiller
Though our connotations with Stiller may be less than favorable these days, the comedic mainstay has turned over some worthwhile movies: 'Reality Bites,' 'Zoolander,' and the underrated 'Cable Guy.'
12
Penny Marshall
It's been a while since Marshall helmed a feature, though she did try her hand at TV a few years back. But to this day we celebrate everything between 'Big' and 'Riding in Cars with Boys.'
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11
Richard Ayoade
The former 'IT Crowd' star is still only at the precipice of his directing career, but both 'Submarine' and 'The Double' leave us hungry for his kooky, sharp voice.
10
George Clooney
Yes, 'Monuments Men' was a snooze, but Clooney is no slouch when it comes to thrilling dramatic features: 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' and 'Good Night, and Good Luck' were both terrific.
9
Sarah Polley
Another relative newbie to the game, Polley has proved herself worthy of attention as both a feature filmmaker ('Take This Waltz' was a gem) and a documentarian ('Stories We Tell' was a masterpiece).
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8
Rob Reiner
We can look past Reiner's 2014 disaster 'And So It Goes,' and jump straight back to his golden years: the era of 'When Harry Met Sally,' 'A Few Good Men,' 'Princess Bride,' and 'Spinal Tap.'
7
Ron Howard
He made us feel good as Opie, he made us feel good as Richie, and he made us feel good with 'Splash,' 'Apollo 13,' 'EdTV,' and so on.
6
Christopher Guest
The unofficial patron saint of the mockumentary format, Guest's line of comedy films from 'Waiting for Guffman' on are a unique force of consistent hilarity.
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5
Richard Attenborough
The recently deceased genius Attenborough was in the acting and directing world for what seemed like an eternity, giving the world triumphs like 'Gandhi,' 'Chaplin,' and 'A Bridge Too Far.'
4
Robert Redford
Redford's best ventures might be his earliest ones, like 'Ordinary People,' 'A River Runs Through It,' and 'Quiz Show,' but he remains as vital a cinematic force as ever no matter what hat he dons.
3
Sofia Coppola
One of the greatest young directors in the business today, Coppola more than made up for her lackluster acting career with 'Virgin Suicides' and 'Lost in Translation,' and continues to deliver genius.
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2
Terry Gilliam
There are few working directors, especially of those who began in front of the camera, with the visual command that Gilliam displays in 'Brazil,' the Monty Python movies, and 'Twelve Monkeys.'
1
Harold Ramis
The purveyor of some of the greatest comedy films in history, including 'Caddyshack,' 'Groundhog Day,' and 'Vacation,' Harold Ramis is easily our favorite actor-turned-director.

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