50 Incredible Actor-Director Partnerships

James Cameron & Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Director/Actor Partnership: "Jim and I have had, for years, a great relationship," Schwarzenegger acknowledged just this year.

He would know - Cameron was almost single-handedly responsible for turning Schwarzenegger into a movie star, casting him as the killer cyborg in The Terminator. Over the years, Cameron also teased out the great Oak's comedy chops, opening up a whole new market for the star.

Collaborations: The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies.

If You Only Watch One : Terminator 2, naturally - it's funnier, more action-packed and just cooler than the on-the-fly original.

David Lean & Alec Guinness

The Director/Actor Partnership: Though they shared an often difficult relationship, Lean and Guinness produced some of their finest work together.

Their successes were so great that Lean frequently referred to Guinness as his "lucky charm".

Collaborations: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, The Bridge On The River Kwai, Lawrence Of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago.

If You Only Watch One: Really, take your pick - though River Kwai has Guinness on fantastic, Oscar-winning form as a British POW commanding officer.

Quentin Tarantino & Samuel L. Jackson

The Director/Actor Partnership: Tarantino may be able to write this shit, but only Samuel L. Jackson can say it.

Delivering Tarantino's exquisite rat-a-tat monologues with all the skill of a trained board-treader, it's like Jackson was born to recite the director's notoriously difficult dialogue. And he does it ridiculously well.

"I like what he says," Jackson says of his director. "I like how his characters talk about where they are, who they are, and how they feel. And they're always interesting and challenging characters.

Collaborations: True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained.

If You Only Watch One: Pulp Fiction, which gives Jackson loads of amazing dialogue - though Django Unchained features one of his most physically impressive performances.

Sergio Leone & Clint Eastwood

The Director/Actor Partnership: Leone may have joked that Eastwood's only two expressions were "one with the hat, one without it", but together they made a formidable pairing.

It was ambition that drove both of them, and though they (literally) didn't speak the same language, they etched indelible Western images into the cinematic landscape.

Collaborations: A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly,

If You Only Watch One:
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. A violent epic at three hours, this era-defining Western has both Leone and Eastwood at the tops of their games.

Alfred Hitchcock & Cary Grant

The Director/Actor Partnership: Hitchcock found the mystery in Grant, and Grant brought poise to Hitch's dark tales. Together, they delivered some fantastic thrillers - and Grant was rarely more alluring and shady outside of Hitchcock's viewfinder.

"It was a great joy to work with Hitch," Grant said. "He was an extraordinary man. I deplore these idiotic books written about him when the man can't defend himself. Even if you defend yourself against that kind of literature, it gets you nowhere."

Collaborations: Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch A Thief, North By Northwest.

If You Only Watch One : North By Northwest, with its man-on-the-run plot, twisty mystery and THAT breathtaking finale.

John Ford & John Wayne

The Director/Actor Partnership: After working together on Salute - which gifted stuntman John Wayne his first speaking role - these two "learned to share all the secrets of friendship".

They ended up making 18 movies together, most of them Westerns, and they saw themselves mostly as master and apprentice despite their friendship. Ford knew exactly how to deal with Wayne if he'd had too many drinks: "Act your age. You're not a prop boy any more. Go to bed."

Collaborations: Mother Machree, Salute, Stage Coach, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance, Donovan's Reef, Fort Apache, Three Godfathers, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Rio Grande, The Horse Soldiers, The Long Voyage Home, They Were Expendable.

If You Only Watch One: The Searchers is John Ford's epic masterpiece, and one that cannot be missed.

Billy Wilder & Jack Lemmon

The Director/Actor Partnership : "Lemmon, I would describe him as a ham, a fine ham, and with ham you have to trim a little fat," Billy Wilder was quoted as saying in his biography.

They obviously adored each other - they made seven films together.

Collaborations: Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Irma la Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Avanti!, The Front Page, Buddy Buddy.

If You Only Watch One: Some Like It Hot landed Lemmon a Best Actor award at Cannes, and is a frothy comedy with brings serious fun.

Wes Anderson & Bill Murray

The Director/Actor Partnership: Bonding over their love of dry wit, Anderson and Murray proved a match made in heaven when they met on Rushmore . So much so that they bunk together when they're making a film.

"He’s a great collaborator," says Anderson. "I love working with him, and I think he has fun, too. There’s nobody better to have on a movie set than Bill Murray."

Collaborations: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom .

If You Only Watch One: The Royal Tenenbaums is Anderson and Murray at their absolute best - dry, witty and laugh-out-loud funny.

Akira Kurosawa and Toshir Mifune

The Director/Actor Partnership: Kurosawa was a measured, scrupulous filmmaker, while Mifune had a cracker-jack energy - which, of course made them perfect partners for their 16 films.

"All the films that I made with Mifune, without him, they would not exist," said Kurosawa after Mifune's death, despite the fact that they had a falling-out on Red Beard.

Collaborations: Drunken Angel, The Quiet Duel, Stray Dog, Scandal, Rashomon, The Idiot, Seven Samurai, I Live In Fear, Throne of Blood, The Lower Depths, The Hidden Fortress, The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, High And Low, Red Beard.

If You Only Watch One: Seven Samurai just about has the edge thanks to its huge cultural impact, and the fact that it gave Mifune an opportunity to show he could be funny, too.

Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro

The Director/Actor Partnership: Introduced by a young Brian De Palma, these two worked together consistently for over 20 years.

They've not collaborated since 1995's Casino, but they're planning a re-team (with Al Pacino) on I Heard You Paint Houses.

Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casin o.

If You Only Watch One: Raging Bull has everything - Scorsese's taut visuals and a career-best performance from De Niro. Not that it makes for easy viewing, mind…

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.