20 Movies You Might Not Know Were Directed By Famous Actors

7. Big

big 1988 movie

Directed By: Penny Marshall

The movie: A comedy favorite of a 12-year-old kid who wishes he were “big” and wakes up as Tom Hanks…off to explore the big city.

Where you’ve seen them: Penny was half of the famous “Laverne and Shirley” TV show, a spin-off of her character from “Happy Days” which featured another famous actor turned director Ron Howard.


6. Stir Crazy


Directed by: Sidney Poitier

The movie: The Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor film with them in bird suits. Famously grossing over $100 million in 1980! And also the first film directed by and African-American to do so…

Where you’ve seen them: Sidney Poitier… Mr. Tibbs himself. Part of the Hollywood elite thespians, has directed 9 films, and has starred in seminal classics such as “In the Heat of the Night”, “Blackboard Jungle”, and “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”.


5. The Jerk

The Jerk

Directed by: Carl Reiner

The movie: Steve Martin’s idiot stumbles through St. Louis trying to make it in the world in this landmark comedy.

Where you’ve seen them: Carl Reiner, father to Rob Reiner. Has been a Hollywood legend for years and years, writing, directing, and acting. Carl has been in multiple generations of entertainment; most recently joining Danny Ocean’s team in the “Ocean’s Eleven” films as Saul Bloom the aging con man.


4. Frailty


Directed by: Bill Paxton

The movie: Their father tells his two sons that demons are real and are hiding inside people and God has told them to kill them, in this twisting and highly intelligent horror film.

Where you’ve seen them: “Game over, man! GAME OVER!” His famous line from the hit “Aliens” was just the first of many memorable scenes for Bill. He has become a familiar face among fans as a solid supporting lead actor in many action and drama films. Including “True Lies”, “Apollo 13”, and “Tombstone”. Bill shined in the short great role of “Chet” the older and menacing yet hilarious brother from “Weird Science”.


3. The Great Debaters


Directed By: Denzel Washington

The movie: Based on a true story. A Texas college professor in 1935 inspires the students to create the schools first debate team, ultimately challenging the great Harvard debate team

Where you’ve seen them: I think it’s safe to say we know where we’ve seen this guy. This being Denzel’s second directing gig, and being another intimate story about people. We can see Denzel sticking with acting on a full time basis, but has very capable directing chops.


2. Colors

Colors movie

Directed by: Dennis Hopper

The movie: Rookie cop, Sean Penn, gets teamed up with LAPD veteran, Robert Duvall keeping the streets of East LA safe from the increasing gang population.

Where you’ve seen them: Good ole’ Dennis Hopper. You’ve seen him as crazy Frank in “Blue Velvet”, a hippie motorcycle traveller in “Easy Rider”, or crazy tripping AWOL soldier in “Apocalypse Now”. Hopper is a legend plain and simple. RIP.


1.The Two Jakes


Directed by: Jack Nicholson

The movie: The sequel to the immeasurably great “Chinatown”, found Jake Gittes investigating adultery and murder surrounding the money from Oil industry involving an “Orange grove” that Jake is all too familiar with.

Where you’ve seen them: The star, the legend. Took up the directing reigns of this sequel after writer Robert Towne decided to bow down. Jack needs no write up. Although this film flopped with critics and box office, his star power remains absolute.

Author Bio: Michael James Edwards is a California native, he moved to NYC to work in audio before realizing his passion for cinema was too great to ignore. Now he’s living in Los Angeles working in film festival operations and writing about cinema here and on his own blog, forreelsreviews.blogspot.com.