20 Best Actor – Director Combinations in World Cinema

John Carpenter - Kurt Russell

Combination is a big success player. Be it the opening partners in Cricket, pair of school kids in a Quiz team, two pieces of Lego toy or a rock band! Such is the case when a talented director meets a talented actor. When the right jugalbandi works, they end up releasing a series of terrific films. After loads of study and some help from Dev K. Gupta, here I present such director-actor collaborations that left a mark in world cinema.

20. Sergio Leone – Clint Eastwood

Total- 3

Noted: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sergio Leone – Clint Eastwood

3 films together and a moral set for the future. When Leone casted Eastwood in his Dollar Trilogy, we saw three of the finest films that serve as a study material till date. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is possibly one of the best flicks of all time and hailed by the likes of Scorsese and Tarantino themselves.

19. John Ford – John Wayne

Total- 21

Noted: Stagecoach, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man

John Ford - John Wayne

21. No one just comes together, makes 21 films and earn it! I mean D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish made 20 films in 2 years but a record doesn’t make a success story. Success story comes when John & John make it. This duo made a huge number of classic westerns together and it started with Mother’s Machree but it was Stagecoach that concreted their pillar of success and they worked together over 30 years to bring some of the most memorable classics.

18. Ingmar Bergman – Liv Ullmann

Total- 8

Noted: Persona, Cries and Whispers, Saraband

Ingmar Bergman - Liv Ullmann

Ingmar Bergman is one of the greatest directors of all times and Liv Ullmann played a great part of it. Liv being Bergman’s muse, first appeared in Persona in 1966 and mesmerized everyone with her performance. This success story followed and they made 8 films and one TV series over a decade.

17. Federico Fellini – Marcello Mastroianni

Total- 6

Noted- La Dolce Vita, 8(1/2), Ginger e Fred

Federico Fellini - Marcello Mastroianni

This Italian combination dates back to the 60s when Fellini fought to bring Mastroianni to the lead role and after the success they went on to deliver another five hits. Classic pioneers of Italian cinema.

16. Elia Kazan – Marlon Brando

Total- 3

Noted: On The Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire

Elia Kazan - Marlon Brando

Though people know Marlon Brando as the coveted Vito Corleone in Godfather, his initial fame came while working with Elia Kazan. 3 films together and Brando made a startling debut with Oscar nominations in all the three films and winning it for On The Waterfront. Though a short ride, this pair through relations sweet and sour, have created triple masterpieces.


Nilotpal Singha

A professional graphic web designer, blogger, writer.

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