50 Incredible Actor-Director Partnerships

Paul Thomas Anderson & Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Director/Actor Partnership: "Paul Thomas Anderson is incomparable," says Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The long-time buddies have collaborated on five films, all of them slam-dunks. We can't wait to see what they'll do next.

Collaborations: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master.

If You Only Watch One : The Master got some flack, but it's still a masterpiece in measured storytelling and glittery-eyed menace.

Quentin Tarantino & Christoph Waltz

The Director/Actor Partnership: After working together on Inglourious Basterds, these two became so inseparable that Tarantino turned to Waltz for help/inspiration/sounding off on his Django Unchained script.

The result? Two awesome movies, two Oscars for Waltz - plus Django contains some pleasingly European quirks.

Collaborations: Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained.

If You Only Watch One: Inglourious Basterds , if only to see Waltz in the role that landed him his first Oscar - and for that blinding opening scene.

John Carpenter & Kurt Russell

The Director/Actor Partnership: Kurt Russell likened John Carpenter to a "smarter older brother", and it's not hard to see why - with Carpenter's guidance, Russell nailed three of his most iconic roles.

Sadly, they've not worked together in almost 20 years.

Collaborations: The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From New York.

If You Only Watch One : Escape From New York gave Russell a career-defining role (as eye-patch-wearer Snake Plissken), and also showed that Carpenter could go big - like REALLY big. All post-apocalyptic movies wish they were this good.

Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg/Nick Frost

The Director/Actor Partnership: A triumvirate of titillation, these three bonded over Spaced and then launched themselves at the big screen with the kind of Brit humour that cinema was sorely missing.

They're completing their Cornetto Trilogy this month with The World's End.

Collaborations: Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End.

If You Only Watch One:
We can't vouch for the awesome-looking World's End yet, but if we had to pick one, it'd be Shaun Of The Dead - bloody and bloody funny.

Nicolas Winding Refn & Ryan Gosling

The Director/Actor Partnership: "When you work again and again with the same people," Nicolas Winding Refn told Total Film recently, "there is a very intimate connection between you. [ Ryan Gosling ] is the fucking best."

Next up, they're planning on making a comedy. We'll believe that when we see it.

Drive, Only God Forgives.

If You Only Watch One:
Drive is a masterpiece. Between Gosling's scorpion jacket, the artery-spurting violence and the cooler-than-hell soundtrack, it's simply unmissable.

Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio

The Director/Actor Partnership: "I don't have an exciting term for it other than we have a good time working together and we have similar tastes as far as the films we like," says Leonardo DiCaprio of his frequent partnerships with director Martin Scorsese.

"He certainly has broadened my spectrum as far as films that are out there in the history of cinema and the importance of cinema. It really brought me to different levels as an actor. I look at him as a mentor.” Next up, they're making The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Collaborations: Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, Wolf Of Wall Street.

If You Only Watch One: The Departe d is as gripping as anything either of them have ever done - stylish, tense as hell and really well acted.

The Coens & Steve Buscemi

The Director/Actor Partnership: "They're really low key guys, they really enjoy what they do," says Steve Buscemi. "Often they're on the side of the camera, laughing. You can hear them laughing during a take."

Sure, the Coens love Frances McDormand, but they arguably love Steve Buscemi even more, having directed him in five movies. He's the ideal odd-guy for their convention-busting tales.

Collaborations: Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski.

If You Only Watch One: The Big Lebowski. Why? Buscemi goes quiet and introspective, putting a leash on the crazy routine. And rocks it.

Steve McQueen & Michael Fassbender

The Director/Actor Partnership: “What’s most compelling about Michael is his femininity,” reckons Steven McQueen. "A lot of movie stars are not human… but Michael has a fragility."

McQueen knows his stuff. He's directed Fassbender through two of his best films, helping him get down to the naked truth of a character for something gritty, grubby and beautiful all at once.

Collaborations: Hunger, Shame.

If You Only Watch One: Shame . By now, McQueen and Fassbender are so assured in what they're doing that their film fair sings from start to finish. Painful, eye-opening stuff.

Adam McKay & Will Ferrell

The Director/Actor Partnership: Ferrell loves improv. And McKay loves anything that's funny.

They have a perfect working relationship - McKay gives Ferrell the room he needs to tap into his inner comedian, and gives him nudges in the right direction whenever he needs it. Brilliant.

Collaborations: Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Anchorman 2.

If You Only Watch One: Anchorman , which assembled a perfect team of funny guys (and gal) and then just let them do their thing.

Frank Capra & James Stewart

The Director/Actor Partnership: These two got on so well they should've just gotten a room.

"Capra's a classic example of what a motion picture director should be. He had this tremendous sense of story, and underneath everything that happened was a basic, wonderful humor," said Stewart.

Fitting that their final collaboration was their best…

Collaborations: You Can't Take It With You, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, It's A Wonderful Life.

If You Only Watch One:
It's A Wonderful Life is as uplifting as they come, and Stewart's on top form.

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.