Among many great names in acting and directing, you will find some listed in both categories. The stars you know from some of the biggest roles in film history have broken out and placed themselves behind the camera, directing some of the best films of all-time, or at least of their time.

1 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

While many know this film for the amazing performance of Oscar-winning Sam Rockwell, this bio-pic was directed by the E.R. doc himself, George Clooney. Incorporating his own experience with that of some of his directorial heroes, Clooney makes a film whose camerawork and production design create one heck of a ride.

2 – Garden State

Zach Braff stepped behind the camera I the middle of his Scrubs fame to write and direct Garden State. The film captured everything that was hip in its time, while accompanying the unique story with an even trendier soundtrack.

3 – Away from Her

If you watched movies in the 90’s, you definitely saw Sarah Polley somewhere on-screen. In 2006, she stepped behind the camera to make Away from Her, a tragic tale of love forgotten and the reality of Alzheimer’s. The film won multiple awards and set her on a path of directorial success.

Garden State

4 – Play Misty for Me

Clint Eastwood has moved back and forth between actor and director so many times, he may have whiplash, but his directorial debut, following his Dirty Harry days, is nothing short of amazing. It tackles mental illness and captures a time that you cannot forget after viewing this masterpiece.

5 – Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his directorial debut with this unique story of lea4rning what love is while facing a potential sex-addiction. Starring as well, his work got him nominated for many awards and was the buzz of Sundance.

6 – Gone Baby Gone

Widely anticipated from its popular book by the same name, this film did not disappoint. The reason behind the huge success was the directorial choices of famed heart-throb, Ben Affleck, who both directed and starred in the film.

7 – The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Tommy Lee Jones took his sweet time acting for decades before stepping behind the camera to make this work of art. Often over-looked due to its poor box office release, critics everywhere hail the film as absolutely amazing and necessary to watch.

8 – I’m Still Here

In an homage to the late Andy Kaufman, Casey Affleck made his directorial debut just like his brother, in 2010 with this documentary-style film about Joaquin Phoenix essentially breaking down. All of the real-life moments had been staged for a period of nearly two years to put together the project.


9 – That Thing You Do

Capturing the fun times and real drama of a classic doo-wop group, Tom Hanks made his directorial debut with the 90’s classic That Thing You Do. Afterwards, he went back in front of the camera until 2011 when he made Larry Crowne.

10 – Throw Momma from the Train

Danny Devito directs this classic dark comedy that is beloved by film buffs everywhere. Alongside Billy Crystal, this near-parody of Strangers on a Train is great!