15 Solid Movies Directed by Well Known Actors

17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Press Room

There must be a flame that is ignited in an actor when they stand in front of the camera. A sort of bug that bites them. I don’t think every actor gets the “bug”, but the ones who do want to also know what it is like behind the camera. What it is like to be the guy framing the angles and calling the shots. While it could be said that many actors have tried directing and failed, there are a handful who have gone on to make some really solid movies. Here is a list of those actors, in no particular order.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

'Captain Phillips' - Opening Film - Red Carpet Arrivals: 57th BFI London Film Festival

Tom Hanks: That Thing You Do

Here is the thing about Tom Hanks. Every movie he has been in has been a solid movie, and every one he has made has been a solid movie. He is just one of those guys who just must be good at everything he does. Speaking of everything he does, That Thing You Do was a great movie about the music industry with some great young talent on board. Want to really have your mind blown? Tom Hanks also wrote the main song and theme from that movie. Jeez Hanks. Way to make us all look bad.

(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

16th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Backstage And Audience

Ben Affleck: Argo

While we are actually more fans of The Town than Argo, all the movies Ben Affleck has directed so far have been surprisingly good. But we would be foolish not to mention Argo. Argo was the movie that really got him the accolades as a film maker. Many thought this meant he would be staying behind the camera…then we found out he was playing Batman. We will keep our mouths shut and reserve judgement for now.

(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

"Lone Survivor" New York Premiere - Arrivals

Peter Berg: Hancock and Friday Night Lights

Peter Berg may have started out as an actor (I used to call him the D-level Bill Paxton. Boy was I off), but he has actually gone on to direct quite a few solid movies. Lone Survivor was great, but his best cinematic ride so far has to be Hancock. A great, original super hero movie. By the way, if you liked Hancock, you should read the original script before Will Smith had it all re-written. All I will say is this, the original far surpasses what you ended up seeing. Still a great flick from an actor turned director.  P.S. he also directed Friday Night Lights.

(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

10th Anniversary LA Police Protective League's Eagle & Badge Foundation Gala - Inside

Warren Beatty: Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty is renowned in cinema for a lot of reasons. One, he has starred in some true classics. Two, the man is said to be  womanizer of unbelievable proportions. Last, the fact that has transitioned from actor to director and made some really solid films. While Bulworth was fun, few can argue that Dick Tracy was his best work. Bright, colorful, and perfectly capturing the feel of the old comic. Plus it had Al Pacino. Everything is a little better with Pacino.

(Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

39th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Morgan Freeman - Show

Tim Robbins: Dead Man Walking

It is funny, out of all the actors on the list, Tim Robbins is the one the least amount of people seem to know has turned to directing on a few occasions. Quite successfully, too. The best and most memorable example of this being Dead Man Walking. The brilliant Sean Penn starring (more on him later) film that was inspired by true events and asks the question of morality about the death sentence. His lovely ex-wife, Susan Sarandon was also a big part of what helped make that movie so memorable.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)

Premiere Of The HBO Documentary "His Way" - Arrivals

Sylvester Stallone: Rocky

Though we really enjoyed the most recent Rambo film (which he directed), we had to give it up to Stallone for Rocky. a movie he wrote, directed, and starred in. A movie people quote to this very day, decades later. A movie that still inspires people to push themselves further. And if you knew how many studios turned him down first, you would be even more impressed. Stallone still directs, but nothing has had the impact (like a punch to the gut) like Rocky has.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals

Ben Stiller: Tropic Thunder

Ben Stiller had directed quite a few movies by the time he directed Tropic Thunder, but they pale in comparison to that brilliant movie. From perfect casting to perfect dialogue, the movie is just an epic, twisted, hilarious look at the movie industry (and the horrors of war, kind of). Though his recent Walter Mitty movie threw some people off, Stiller has a good eye behind the camera, and we are sure we can expect some more gems from him.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

'Haiti Carnaval In Cannes' Photocall - 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Sean Penn: Milk

Sean Penn is an uber-serious guy. He always seems like he is pushing causes and slightly upset about something. And when he puts that angst on screen, magic happens. But as we have seen from what happens when he puts that angst behind the scenes, magic also happens. Milk is a perfect example of him being behind the camera and in front of it, and the end result is a wickedly powerful movie that will stay with you for a long time. Note he is good friends with Both Ben Stiller and Tim Robbins. Seems that ambition runs in that group.

(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

DC Rally Protests Sudanese Regime's Food Blockade

George Clooney: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

George Clooney is one of those guys who just seems that (besides his one turn as Batman), he can do no wrong. Though he has directed quite a few memorable movies, we think his first is the one that sits most with us. Maybe because Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was one of the first movies to put Sam Rockwell as the lead, and Sam Rockwell might be the best actor of our generation. Outside of that, the movie was fun, irreverent, a little dark at times, and thoroughly enjoyable. Showing us George Clooney was much more than just a good actor and a handsome face.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Danny DeVito: Death to Smoochy

Alright, we may catch some heat for this one. Though Danny DeVito may be best known now for his role as Frank on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he has been in some truly classic cinema (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and has done some directing, too. It may have been too dark for some, but Death To Smoochy was a brilliant satire about the world of kid’s TV and the weirdos who probably inhabit it. The cast of that movie alone shows you how good it is. The world is just slow to catch on with this one.

(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Jameson)

Ceremony - Cesar Film Awards 2013

Kevin Costner: Dances With Wolves

We know what many of you must be thinking right now. Yes, Dances with Wolves was a solid movie, but what about some of his epic bombs? Like, for example, Waterworld? One of the most expensive failures ever committed to film? Okay, true. But the title of the list says solid movies by well known actors, and Dances won Oscars and stuff, so we stand behind our choice to include him. Granted, dictatorially he has gone downhill since.

(Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images)

12th Annual AFI Awards - Reception

Clint Eastwood: Unforgiven

Though we almost went with Mystic River (one of the most depressing movies ever made), we had to go with Unforgiven when bringing up Clint Eastwood as a director. The man who was known for acting in westerns goes on to make one of the greatest westerns of all time. And he casts himself in it, which makes it work even better. Million Dollar Baby should be mentioned, too. Wow, it just hit us all his movies are devastatingly depressing.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)

2013 NBC Upfront Presentation Red Carpet Event

Jon Favreau: Iron Man

Yes, this man was awesome in Swingers (among others), but once we saw Elf and Iron Man, it was pretty clear what his true calling was. Heck, he was even smart enough to cast Kristen Stewart in Zathura and then freeze her in a block of ice for 90% of the movie. If that is not genius directing, I don’t know what is. But we all need to be honest. As fun as Elf is, and as cool as his new movie, Chef, is, nothing can top Iron Man. It might be one of the best comic book movies of all time, with nary a flaw in site. Pretty impressive if you consider comic book movies up to that point.

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

25th American Cinematheque Award Honoring Robert Downey, Jr. - Show

Mel Gibson: Braveheart

Yes, everyone may hate him now because he has shown his bipolar nature and scared a lot of people off with some hateful words. But anyone who wants to argue that Braveheart is not an epic and moving (and exaggerated) story can meet me in a field in Scotland, we will battle with swords. Also remember, Braveheart comes from a time before Game of Thrones. Epic battles and real castles and brutal gore may be cool and mainstream now, but it wasn’t back when he did it. That is the very definition of a solid movie.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Dennis Hopper: Colors

Though many may not know it, the gritty urban gang war movie, Colors, was directed by Dennis Hopper. Note, Sean Penn is in that movie. If you go through the whole list, you will realize a lot of these actors were close friends and confidants who spent much time working together. Dennis Hooper was an unbelievable actor, and with movies like Colors under his belt, he showed he had some real skills behind the camera, too. So there you have it. 15 solid movies directed by well known actors. Who did we miss? Take to our comments and let us know!

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for CineVegas)

Add Comment

Basketball Wives Big Brother Dancing With the Stars Keeping Up with the Kardashians Love and Hip Hop Hollywood Married to Medicine Million Dollar Listing Mob Wives Real Housewives Shahs of Sunset The Voice Top Chef Vanderpump Rules WAGS
Getting to Know the Cast of Going off the Menu
Getting to Know the Cast of Don’t Be Tardy
No Preview
Getting To Know the Cast of Below Deck
Celebrity Gossip Entertainment
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Colleen Crowley
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Rebecca Silvera
Whatever Happened To Kyle Schmid?
Charles Barkley Net Worth
Don King Net Worth
Five Under the Radar Celebrities With Huge Net Worths
Brad Pitt Net Worth
Daisy Ridley Confirms Talks about Starring in Lara Croft Reboot
No Preview
10 Great Actors Who Appeared in Cheesy 80s Comedies
No Preview
10 Actors Who Cry All The Time In Movies
No Preview
Whatever Happened to All the Actors from the Movie Parenthood?
How Much are TV Stars Actually Paid?
No Preview
The 10 Best Jon Stewart Daily Show Moments of All-Time
No Preview
Whatever Happened to The Cast of Beverly Hills 90210?
No Preview
Where Are They Now? The Cast of One Tree Hill