For centuries, actors have endured a unique position in society. After dazzling audiences with their talent on the silver screen or stage, many talented individuals move behind the camera to become directors. With this transition comes great respect from those who recognize their performances as an actor and their skills in directing films that capture hearts and minds worldwide in spectacular fashion.
We wanted to know which actors make up some of our favorite director-actor combinations. So we dove into IMDb’s extensive collection of movie ratings, searching for insight into history’s best actor-directors based on viewer opinion alone. What follows is ten beloved actor-directors who saw success on either side (or both!) throughout various stages throughout showbiz’ past decade: Charlie Day, Zoë Kravitz, and Chris Pine, among others, all turn out award-winning feature productions utilizing decades worth of experience knowing precisely what it takes to genuinely deliver something memorable even when under pressure working amongst high profile industry personnel and peers alike.
When making our list of top actor-directors for this article, we researched ratings on IMDb to determine which names are most popular amongst viewers. Our criteria allowed us an objective approach while guaranteeing high-quality choices when narrowing down the best in showbiz today!
10 Woody Allen
Best Known for – Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Deconstructing Harry
Highest IMDb Rating: 8.0/10 for Annie Hall
Woody Allen is renowned in filmmaking, with esteemed works like Annie Hall and Manhattan celebrated as timeless classics. His works have enormously impacted modern cinema, with their unique blend of comedy and drama resonating with global audiences.
His witty dialogue and relatable characters have gone down well with audiences worldwide, earning him the highest IMDb rating at 8 (for Annie Hall) to solidify his immense influence.
Using unique storytelling techniques while simultaneously acting and directing has gained Allen much respect over the years; it’s fair to say no other person has been able to accomplish what he did as an actor-director combination like Woody Allen.
[ Watch Annie Hall on Cinemax ]
9 Rob Reiner
Best Known for – All in the Family, This Is Spinal Tap, The Story of Us, The Wolf of Wall Street
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.1/10 for Stand by Me
Celebrated director and actor Rob Reiner has undoubtedly made a significant impact on the world of Hollywood. His capability as an artist is widely admired, leaving behind a legacy that won’t easily be forgotten.
His work on television programs such as “All In The Family” combined with his stellar direction of movies like “Stand By Me,” “The Princess Bride” and the cheeky mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap” has gained much acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
With an impressive IMDb rating of 8.1/10 for the best picture nominee film ‘Stand by Me,’ Rob Reiner demonstrates exceptional talent behind the camera lens. He’s one of the true greats in directing actors while capturing genuine human emotion throughout each story he puts on screen. Charming crowds worldwide with sharp humor coupled with moments that draw out deep sentimentality between characters, no matter how absurd they may be at first glance.
8 Terry Gilliam
Best Known for – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, The Meaning of Life, Brazil
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.2/10 for Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Terry Gilliam has undeniably left a lasting impression in the realm of cinema. He is renowned for his creative and masterful cinematic style, which shows off imaginative genius at its best.
His signature surrealism can be seen in the cult classic Monty Python films he was involved with, such as The Meaning Of Life and Holy Grail, the time-bending epic ‘Time Bandits,’ the psychological drama ‘Fisher King‘ and mind-bending sci-fi ‘Brazil.’
With meticulous detail to camera work and having cultivated his signatory style, Gilliam’s output continually delights audiences worldwide, garnering widespread acclaim from fans and critics.
He earned an 8.2/10 on IMDb for his masterpiece Monty Python And The Holy Grail, warranting him a permanent place among some of the film industry’s most original directors.
[ Watch Monty Python And The Holy Grail on Netflix ]
7 Kenneth Branagh
Best Known for – Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Murder on the Orient Express
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 7.7/10 for Hamlet (1996)
Kenneth Branagh is a respected English actor-director who has earned acclaim for his cinematic reimaginings of William Shakespeare’s iconic works. His exemplary directing efforts include Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and Murder on the Orient Express – all revered releases which have helped him consistently achieve high IMDb ratings.
Hamlet possesses an impressive 7.7/10 score from viewers. He is renowned (and highly praised) by many for skillfully conveying Shakespeare’s classic language & themes in ways that audiences can appreciate and thoroughly enjoy.
[ Watch Hamlet on Prime Video ]
6 Sam Raimi
Best Known for – The Evil Dead, Darkman, Army of Darkness, Spider-Man
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 7.7/10 for Evil Dead II (1987)
The works of Sam Raimi, the celebrated director behind such cult favorites as The Evil Dead and the hugely popular Spider-Man trilogy, are consistently marked by his remarkable eye for visuals. He leaves a lasting impression that few filmmakers can replicate. Horror was an early staple in Sam’s repertoire as he followed up with action flicks and superhero films that took the box office by storm.
What makes him stand out from other actor-directors?
His capacity to mix horror elements with comedy creates a distinct aura that is hard not to notice! It may be difficult for some directors to achieve such fidelity between genres – thriller + laughter = success. Raimi scored a 7.7/10 IMDb rating due to the second installment movie series, Evil Dead II, aptly proving yet again why this multifaceted talent has gained unprecedented fame nationally & around the world.
[ Watch Evil Dead II on MovieSphere ]
5 Clint Eastwood
Best Known for – Unforgiven, The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.2/10 for Unforgiven (1992)
Clint Eastwood is a well-renowned actor and filmmaker who has created impressive filmography in the cinematic industry. Think of every greatest Western ever made; he was a part of them.
An experienced director, producer, and actor, his contribution to cinema have been immense over decades. His films are characterized by their realism, captivating imagery, and masterful performances from the actors he directs.
He frequently places challenging moral questions at the center of his stories – especially those westerns for which he is best known, such as Unforgiven (which won four Academy awards, including Best Picture).
Other projects where Clint was director include Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby, and Mystic River, all hallmarks of directing prowess and creativity that have earned him high honors over time: 4 Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globe wins.
[ Watch Unforgiven on HBO Max ]
4 Roman Polanski
Best Known for – Chinatown, The Tenant, The Ghost Writer, Carnage
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.5/10 for The Pianist (2002)
The world-renowned filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter has delighted viewers around the globe with his unique projects. From eerie masterpieces like Chinatown to disturbing stories such as The Tenant, he had deftly crafted creations that have stirred emotions of fear, comedy, drama, and suspense alike.
Polanski achieved a Best Director Oscar in 2003 for his film The Pianist, which remains highly esteemed by audiences across the planet, earning an 8.5 rating on IMDb. He is considered among the most influential directors ever. But through personal tragedy and legal turmoil during some challenging moments throughout life’s journey — his work still shines brilliantly countless decades after because art can never be replaced or forgotten – captivating us moment by moment with its power.
[ Watch The Pianist on Prime Video ]
3 Ron Howard
Best Known for – Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Arrested Development, Frost/Nixon
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.2/10 for A Beautiful Mind
Howard’s career, spanning both acting and directing, has significantly impacted the industry. Starting as a child actor on iconic shows such as The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, he later transitioned to behind the camera with complicated true stories like Apollo 13 or the Academy Award-winning drama film A Beautiful Mind coming alive through his direction.
His achievements are not limited to movies; television series include popular titles like Arrested Development and the Emmy award-winning show Genius. What sets him apart from others is how Howard brings his combined expertise of being an actor & director into every project bringing life to characters and creating compelling viewing experiences for audiences.
[ Watch A Beautiful Mind on Prime Video ]
2 Martin Scorsese
Best Known for – Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.7/10 for Goodfellas (1990)
With a staggering body of work spanning several decades, his highest-rated film on IMDb remains the epic crime drama Goodfellas at 8.7/10 – firmly cementing its place as one of history’s greats. Allowing viewers to dive deep into characters plus stellar direction from Scorsese has meant that it lives long in our memories even today.
The highly esteemed artist also garners significant awards, including multiple Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. Furthermore, he stars in many features, showing fans how tenacious an actor he can be alongside famous faces such as Robert De Niro or Joe Pesci, who are part of unforgettable scenes propelling him forward within Hollywood circles like no other quite could elsewhere before or since.
[ Watch Goodfellas on HBO Max ]
1 Quentin Tarantino
Best Known for – Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Highest Director IMDb Rating: 8.9/10 for Pulp Fiction (1994)
From Reservoir Dogs to Pulp Fiction, Quentin’s unique style continues to challenge viewers and push boundaries in cinema. His characters are some of the most memorable modern creations, while The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have further wowed critics worldwide.
Pulp Fiction remains one of Quentin’s highest-rated (8.9/10) movies that explore themes such as morality and justice amidst thrilling action sequences infused with pop culture references and masterful dialogue delivery from its award-winning cast members – an absolute must-watch for any fan!
With his creative vision continuing to evolve, it’s no wonder why people consider him one of the greatest filmmakers ever alive today – unafraid yet subtle enough to create unforgettable experiences across genres onscreen throughout every single release under his helm, making him undoubtedly an iconic figure within art cinematic canon.