Skip to main content

12 Directors Who Love Working With the Same Actors

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.

Directors and their favorite actors, who always work together

Directors and their favorite actors, who always work together

In Hollywood, it is normal for directors and actors to work alongside one another in multiple films. Whether it's because they're close friends, romantic lovers, or simply box-office gold, a repeat of collaborations is normal. Let's take a look at 12 directors who love working with the same actors.


Tim Burton & Johnny Depp

Gothic and ultra eccentric director Tim Burton has collaborated with character actor Johnny Depp on an impressive 8 films. Their first project together was in the 1990's Edward Scissorhands, and from that point on they become constant partners in the cinema. Many of their movies have garnered both critical and commercial successes, with Alice in Wonderland being their highest box office project. The duo's most recent collaboration was 2012's Dark Shadows, a remake of the Gothic television soap opera. Burton and Depp also often team up alongside the director's past partner, Helena Bonham Carter.

Films: Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Dark Shadows (2012)


Woody Allen & Mia Farrow

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow first met in 1979 and began a relationship in 1980. During their romance they would collaborate on a whopping 13 films together, spanning a decade. When they met, Farrow had 7 children and together they adopted a daughter Dylan and had a son, Ronan. The pair's biggest joint projects include Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). They separated in 1992 after Allen began a highly-controversial relationship with his then step-daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

Films: 13 movies together from 1982 to 1992, including Zelig (1983), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Husbands and Wives (1992)


Alfred Hitchcock & Jimmy Stewart

The "Master of Suspense" directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, and was known for using the same actors in his projects. Among these frequent collaborators were Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Jimmy Stewart. Together, Hitchcock and Stewart joined forces on 4 very successful films, including the cult classics Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958). Their partnership in movies spanned over 10 years and helped propelled both of their careers to even grander heights.

Films: Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958)


Quentin Tarantino & Samuel L. Jackson

Quentin Tarantino is known for his wild, violent and unique film style, and during his career, he has garnered both critical and commercial success. The director has a long list of frequent collaborators that he utilizes in many of his films, working often with actors like Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and, most notably, Samuel L. Jackson. Together the pair have joined forces on 6 movies that Tarantino directed, as well as a seventh he wrote, True Romance (1993). Their first project was the cult classic Pulp Fiction (1994), in which Jackson was nominated for an Oscar. Most recently he appeared in 2015's The Hateful Eight.

Films: Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012) and The Hateful Eight (2015)


Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro

Critically-acclaimed director Martin Scorsese is famous for his many films that feature violence, crime and a lot of machismo. Robert De Niro is definitely his most frequently featured player, as the veteran actor has starred in 9 feature films and one short film since 1973. Their first partnership was in Mean Streets (1973), and from that point onward the duo has continuously worked together on successful films. The neo-noir psychological thriller Taxi Driver (1976) is a fan favorite, as are Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). They will join forces once more in the upcoming crime drama The Irishman.

Films: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Casino (1995), The Audition (2015) and The Irishman (2019)


Steven Soderbergh & George Clooney

Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney teamed up for the popular and critically-successful Ocean's trilogy and film franchise. Three movies were made with Clooney leading the A-list cast, and all of them were box office smashes, earning over $1.1 billion. Prior to the first Oceans film being released in 2001, the actor appeared in Soderbergh's 1998 crime comedy Out of Sight. Clooney also starred in 2002's Solaris and The Good German (2006), each directed by Soderbergh.

Films: Out of Sight (1998), The Ocean's Trilogy (2001-2007), Solaris (2002) and The Good German (2006)


Ridley Scott & Russell Crowe

English filmmaker Ridley Scott is known for his impressive directing resume, including works like Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise and The Martian. He frequently joins forces with the talented Russell Crowe, beginning first in the 2000's historical film Gladiator. The epic drama earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe. Scott and Crowe would go on to appear in four more films together: A Good Year (2006), American Gangster (2007), Body of Lies (2008) and Robin Hood (2010).

Films: Gladiator (2000), A Good Year (2006), American Gangster (2007) Body of Lies (2008) and Robin Hood (2010)


Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks

Arguably one of the most iconic and renowned filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is known for directing critically-acclaimed and blockbuster hits. Aside from his famous films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park, the director has released many renowned movies featuring the talented Tom Hanks. Their first collaboration was in the Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan (1998), which earned five Academy Awards including Best Director for Spielberg. Their other joint efforts were Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), Bridge of Spies (2015) and most recently in 2017's The Post.

Films: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), Bridge of Spies (2015) and The Post (2017)


Dennis Dugan & Adam Sandler

Powerhouse comedy duo Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler have worked together on a whopping 8 films since their first pairing in 1996's Happy Gilmore. The director is famous for working with comedic actor Sandler, and they have a long resume of hilarious and successful films together. With works like Big Daddy (1999), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) and Grown-Ups (2010), Dugan and Sandler have truly made a dream team in the comedy world. Their most recent joint venture was in 2013's Grown-Ups 2.

Films: Happy Gilmore (1996), Big Daddy (1999), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), Grown Ups (2010), Just Go With It (2011), Jack and Jill (2011) and Grown Ups 2 (2013)


Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio

Director Martin Scorsese is not only a fan of featuring Robert De Niro in his films but also seasoned actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Together, Scorsese and DiCaprio have made a total of five movies together and one short film, beginning in 2002's Gangs of New York. The two would go on to create four more films together, including the star-studded American crime film The Departed (2006). It won four Academy Awards, specifically Best Director for Scorsese and Best Picture. Their most recent joint venture was in the 2013's Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street, and the short film The Audition.

Films: Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and The Audition (2015)


Robert Rodriguez & Danny Trejo

Renowned filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is famous for his "Mariachi-style" directing technique, having been making films since 1992. A frequent actor who appears in his films is Danny Trejo; he has starred in 11 of Rodriquez's films, starting back in 1995 with Desperado. Trejo is a constant presence in the director's projects, specifically for his roles in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), the Spy Kids series (2001-2011) and Machete (2010).

Films: Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), the Spy Kids series (2001-2011), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Grindhouse (2007), Planet Terror (2007), Machete (2010) and Machete Kills (2013)


Christopher Nolan & Michael Caine

Christopher Nolan is an English-American director known for exploring metaphysical themes, the construction of time as well as personal identity. His ten films have grossed $4.7 billion and have earned 10 Academy Awards. An actor Nolan enjoys frequently working with is the talented and decorated Michael Caine; the two have done seven films together with an upcoming eighth in the works. Beginning with Batman Begins in 2005, Caine appeared in its two mega-successful sequels, 2006's The Prestige and the Oscar-winning science-fiction hit Inception (2010). Caine also joined Nolan in Interstellar (2014) and most recently in an uncredited voice cameo in Dunkirk (2017). He will appear in Nolan's action thriller Tenet in 2020.

Films: The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012), The Prestige (2006), Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017) and Tenet (2020)

© 2019 Rachel M Johnson


Jacqueline G Rozell on August 28, 2019:

The first time I heard of the magic of pairing directors and actors was when I read articles of the legends John Ford and John Wayne. Being a Philistine, the director of a movie used to have no impact on me... the actors were the be-all and end-all, with the location shooting a distant second. My interest in and appreciation for directing awakened when I read of so many actors who appeared to want to step behind the camera as in front of it.