50 Incredible Actor-Director Partnerships

David Lynch & Jack Nance

The Director/Actor Partnership: "He spoke his mind and had a dry wit - he often got into trouble," said David Lynch after the tragic death of Jack Nance, aged just 53.

"There's not another actor I can think of who could fill his shoes. I had roles in my head for future films that I was saving for Jack. I cannot think of anyone else who could do it."

The pair met on Eraserhead and worked together consistently over the next dew years, Nance the perfect mouthpiece for Lynch's bizarre daydreams.

Collaborations: Eraserhead, Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway.

If You Only Watch One: Eraserhead , a terrifying frightmare of a film.

Jean-Luc Godard & Anna Karina

The Director/Actor Partnership: While working as a film critic, Godard spotted a shot of Karina in a Palmolive ad and promptly cast her in Le Petit Soldat.

She went on to star in six more of Godard's films - then married him. "He uses very little film. I guess he never did over 15,000 meters of film," Karina has said. "Some people need a lot of film, but Jean-Luc would rehearse a lot and film very little."

Collaborations: Le Petit Soldat, A Woman Is A Woman, My Life To Live, Band Of Outsiders, Perrot le fou, Alphaville, Made In USA.

If You Only Watch One: A Woman Is A Woman , Godard's first colour film and a divine musical comedy.

Robert Rodriguez & Danny Trejo

The Director/Actor Partnership: Rodriguez cast Trejo as a silent assassin in Desperado, and the pair haven't looked back since.

"He's the most innovative director I've ever worked with," says Trejo. "Robert Rodriguez has done more for American cinema than any director I know in the past 15 years."

Collaborations: Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Grindhouse, Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World, Machete.

If You Only Watch One: Desperado is leagues ahead of Machete's silliness, particularly for that iconic moment when Trejo almost comes out on top against an armoured car.

Elia Kazan & Marlon Brando

The Director/Actor Partnership: There's no mystery surrounding why these two got on - both were controversy-courting blabbermouths who got themselves into loads of trouble on a weekly basis.

They also made some fantastic films, with Streetcar and Waterfront both career pinnacles for Brando.

Collaborations: A Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, Viva Zapata!

If You Only Watch One: A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando's imposing as hell, as are Kazan's directorial flourishes. A monolith.

Francois Truffaut & Jean Pierre Leaud

The Director/Actor Partnership: Truffaut cast Leaud in The 400 Blows when he was just 14 years old. It was to be a long and successful collaboration.

Truffaut spied similarities between them, noting that they shared "a certain suffering with regard to family". They worked together up until Truffaut's death.

Collaborations: The 400 Blows, The American Night, Stolen Kisses, Antoine et Colette, Love On The Run, Bed & Board, Two English Girls, La Nuit americaine, Day For Night.

If You Only Watch One:
Check out The 400 Blows , with a young Leaud delivering one of the finest child performances we've ever seen.

Tod Browning & Lon Chaney

The Director/Actor Partnership: United by their dual experiences - both suffered their fair share of tragedy - these two lit up the silent era with their strange but beautiful collaborations.

Collaborations: The Wicked Darling, Outside The Law, The Unholy Three, The Unknown, The Blackbird, The Road To Mandalay, London After Midnight.

If You Only Watch One: Watch The Unknown , which features a young Joan Crawford and casts Chaney as a carnival knife-thrower.

Wong Kar-Wai & Tony Leung

The Director/Actor Partnership: These two complement each other like night and day.

Kar-Wai's style is breathtaking, while Leung grounds the swoonsome visuals with genuine grit and humanity.

Collaborations: Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood For Love, The Grandmaster.

If You Only Watch One: In The Mood For Love , which is just beautiful. And heartbreaking.

Sam Raimi & Bruce Campbell

The Director/Actor Partnership : After becoming friends in high school, Raimi and Campbell have worked together steadily since the early 70s.

Campbell has a knack of popping up in a cameo role - mostly recently in Oz: The Great And Powerful.

Collaborations: It's Murder!, Within The Woods, The Evil Dead, Crimewave, Evil Dead II, Darkman, Army Of Darkness, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Oz: The Great & Powerful .

If You Only Watch One: Make it Evil Dead II , which is easily the best of the Evil Dead films.

Roberto Rossellini & Ingrid Bergman

The Director/Actor Partnership: After admiring two films by Rossellini, Bergman wrote to the Italian director and suggested they collaborate. They ended up making five films together, starting with Stromboli .

The pair fell in love and began an affair, with Bergman bearing a son by Rossellini - which caused such a scandal that she was denounced by the US Senate.

Collaborations: Stromboli, Europea '51, Viaggio in Italia, Giovanna d'Arco al roga, La Paura (Fear).

If You Only Watch One: Stromboli , a stellar example of Italian neorealism.

Federico Fellini & Giulietta Masina

The Director/Actor Partnership: A partnership in film and life, this one - Fellini and Masina married just a year after meeting and before they'd shot a single reel of film.

Masina became famous through her work with Fellini in the 1950s, in which she often played innocent and tortured outsiders.

"When he was working on an idea, I never asked him anything because he was very jealous about his work in the creative phase," she once revealed. "Afterward, however, he always came to look for me to show me his ideas, his scripts, his drawings, and asked me what I thought."

Variety Lights, The White Sheik, La Strada, The Swindlers, Nights Of Cabiria, Juliet Of The Spirits, Ginger & Fred.

If You Only Watch One: La Strada, in which her naïve naïf is bought by a man and introduced to his strange world.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.