The 10 Best Recurring Actor/Director Combos In Film

Chemistry is the common denominator.

Matt Branhamby Matt Branham

Inside some of the best Hollywood crews and greatest movies of all time lies ten of the best recurring actor-director combinations. This just goes to show that even in Hollywood, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Leonardo DiCaprio/Martin Scorsese
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
It would be rude not to make note of Scorsese’s impressive career with Robert De Niro — “Raging Bull,” “Cape Fear, “Tax Driver” — but currently the top-shelf director has made Leo his golden goose as of the late. Despite somehow having no Oscars under his belt, Leo has served as Scorsese’s go-to guy in five films, starting with “Gangs of New York,” leading into “The Aviator” and “The Departed,” and most recently “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Bill Murray/Wes Anderson
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
The brilliance of Wes Anderson is evident in his sets, scripts and ensembles, but a couple particular recurring actors step to the forefront of our mind, mainly Bill Murray. As early as “Rushmore,” leading toward “The Life Aquatic,” and up to more present films like “Moonrise Kingdom,” we get a new adventure each time with these two. Sometimes the role is ever present, and sometimes it’s as flash-in-the-pan as slap bracelets.

Paul Rudd/Judd Apatow
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
For every movie about real life’s awkward moments, Judd Apatow cleverly chose one of funniest, most seemingly normal guys in the “Wet Hot Actor” Paul Rudd. Between unplanned pregnancy in “Knocked Up,” going over the hill in “This Is 40,” and dealing with losing your virginity at a strangely late age in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” we get some quality Rudd time inside these classic Apatow comedies.

Melissa McCarthy/Paul Feig
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
Paul Feig is basically running the comedy scene with consistent comedies starring our favorite for the chuckles, Melissa McCarthy. Albeit she’s nothing like her celebrity sibling, McCarthy knows how to pack a few laughs into Feig’s films, which include “Bridesmaids,” “Spy” and “The Heat,” all of which have come out in the last four years. Now Feig is stepping into the Ecto-1 with McCarthy in next summer’s “Ghostbusters” reboot. Should be a spectacle.

Jennifer Lawrence/David O. Russell
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
It’s not that David O. Russell can’t make a film without Jennifer Lawrence nowadays — it’s probably that he just doesn’t want to do it without her, especially when he’s got Bradley Cooper to back her up. Between the highly successful “American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and the non-holiday film to see during the holidays, “Joy,” in the last three years we’ve see a pattern of Russell, Lawrence and Cooper becoming one of the most solid Hollywood crews.

Samuel L. Jackson/Quentin Tarantino
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
Of all the non-holidays films to see this holiday, Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight,” starring Sam “badass mother effer” Jackson, seems to be the tops. Tarantino and Jackson go way back to the days of “Jackie Brown” and “Pulp Fiction,” the hits right after his great directorial debut to more recent films like “Django Unchained.” Since then, Jackson in some way, shape or form has been a piece of each Tarantino puzzle, #1 in all for the actor-director couple.

Mia Farrow/Woody Allen
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
They met in 1979 during Woody’s peaking success with Diane Keaton in the days of “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan,” before Allen followed up with some Mia Farrow-driven movies like “Hannah & Her Sisters,” “Zelig” and “Radio Days.” The two worked together on 13 films in 12 years’ time and might have continued on if Allen hadn’t disturbingly married Farrow’s adopted daughter. Now they apparently don’t even speak.

Johnny Depp/Tim Burton
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
As far as dark and creepy go, Depp is Burton’s better half, especially in the realm of remakes, including “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Everyone knows “Edward Scissorhands” is one of the best films in history, even if they did collaborate on remake films like “Dark Shadows” and “Sweeney Todd.” Eight films in total the two have shared, but since Burton’s recent split with Helen Bonham-Carter, it’s hard to tell how fruitful the relationship will continue to be.

Bill Paxton/James Cameron
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
Paxton and Cameron were each there for each other’s peak moments, including their 1980s hits, “The Terminator” and “Aliens.” The actor-director combo would prove again worthy some years later in the 1997 classic, “Titanic.” Though Bill Paxton doesn’t stand out as a huge A-list actor, he’s provided strong roles in a lot of big films, including the Tom Hanks-Ron Howard hit, “Apollo 13.”

Tom Hanks/Ron Howard
The Best Recurring Actor-Director Couples in Film
Of all the movies celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2015, “Apollo 13” takes us back to the days where Hanks and Howard were both at their best and doing it together. They met on the set of Ron Howard’s “Happy Days” show before Howard had Hanks onto his 1984 “Splash” film. The couple went on to do a few blockbuster hits, including the Dan Brown book adaptations, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons.”

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