DVD Release DateTop 11 Best Films Directed by a Star in 2023

Top 11 Best Films Directed by a Star in 2023

Top 11 Best Films Directed by a Star in 2023

The star has mesmerized audiences with their amazing talent for directing. They have created some of the most incredible films ever made, which are widely regarded as absolute masterpieces. From the timeless classic ‘Citizen Kane’ by Orson Welles to the captivating ‘Sling Blade’ by Billy Bob Thornton, this list showcases a collection of remarkable movies directed by actors who also took center stage. Join in the fun and immerse yourself in the world of cinema as you explore these extraordinary creations.

Now, you might be wondering if any actors have triumphed at the Academy Awards for directing a best picture they starred in. Well, a select few have achieved this extraordinary feat, solidifying their status as some of the greatest directors in the history of film. Clint Eastwood secured victories for both ‘Unforgiven’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ while Woody Allen triumphed with ‘Annie Hall’ and received nominations for other movies he also starred in (‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ and ‘Broadway Danny Rose’ spring to mind). In 1982, Warren Beatty took home the prestigious award for ‘Reds.’ While this accomplishment is rare, it is a testament to the exceptional talent possessed by these actors-turned-directors.

Included on this list are several Academy Award winners for Best Picture. Let’s give a thunderous round of applause to these remarkable individuals who effortlessly prove that their talents span both sides of the camera.

1. Unforgiven

Unforgiven, a multi-Oscar winning Western drama, takes us on a gripping journey through the final days of aging outlaw William Munny, brilliantly portrayed by Clint Eastwood. Once feared as a notorious killer and robber, Munny has now settled into a quieter life as a widowed pig farmer, raising his two children. However, the arrival of the young and eager gunslinger, The Schofield Kid, played by Jaimz Woolvett, sparks a new fire within Munny. The Kid persuades him to join forces and claim a bounty on two cowboys who brutally disfigured a prostitute.

In this quest for justice, Munny reunites with his old partner, Ned Logan, brought to life by the talented Morgan Freeman. Together, they set off on a perilous mission that forces Munny to confront the violence of his past and the merciless realities of frontier justice. Throughout the film, we are taken on a thought-provoking exploration of themes such as morality, redemption, and the harsh nature of violence.

“Unforgiven” is a cinematic masterpiece that captivates audiences with its powerful storytelling, exceptional performances, and stunning visuals. It invites us to delve into the complex psyche of a man torn between his violent past and his desire for a different future. As we witness Munny’s internal struggle unfold, we are compelled to reflect on our own notions of right and wrong, and the lengths we would go to seek redemption.

This extraordinary film not only entertains but also challenges our preconceived notions of justice and the consequences of our actions. It serves as a reminder that violence, even in the name of justice, often comes at a great cost. “Unforgiven” is a must-watch for any film enthusiast looking for a gripping tale that explores the depths of human morality and the complexities of the human spirit.

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett
Released: 1992
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

2. Braveheart

Hey there! So, have you heard of this movie called Braveheart? It’s a pretty awesome historical war drama that was directed by Mel Gibson. Oh, and get this – he also stars in it as the main character, William Wallace. The story takes place in Scotland during the late 13th century and it’s all about Wallace’s life, from his childhood to his role in leading the Scottish against the English.

Now, here’s the cool part – the movie has this amazing ensemble cast. You’ve got Sophie Marceau playing Princess Isabelle, and Patrick McGoohan as King Edward I. These guys really nailed their performances, let me tell you.

And get this, Braveheart actually won five Academy Awards. It scooped up Best Picture and Best Director, among others. What made it stand out were those epic battle scenes and the way the story was told. It’s definitely a movie you don’t want to miss!

Actors: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson
Released: 1995
Directed by: Mel Gibson

3. Gran Torino

Gran Torino
In the gritty drama Gran Torino, we meet Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood), a retired auto worker and Korean War veteran. Walt’s life takes a surprising turn when his young Hmong neighbor, Thao (played by Bee Vang), attempts to steal his beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Set in the Detroit suburbs, the film explores the tensions between neighborhood gangs and clashes of culture. Despite their initial differences, Walt and Thao form an unlikely bond that leads to moments of both tension and humor, as well as unexpected camaraderie. Gran Torino delves into thought-provoking themes of prejudice, redemption, and the power of community. It is worth noting that this film was directed by Eastwood himself, adding another remarkable accomplishment to his already illustrious career.

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Brian Haley
Released: 2008
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

4. Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves
In the sweeping epic Dances with Wolves, we follow Lieutenant John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) as he is reassigned to a remote western Civil War outpost. During his time there, he forms a bond with a tribe of Lakota Indians, including Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell). Immersed in their culture, Dunbar becomes deeply connected to the community and their fight for survival. This film has received praise for its authentic portrayal of Native American life and has even won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The breathtaking cinematography captures the raw beauty of the American frontier, while the story delves into themes of friendship, cultural exchange, and personal growth.

Actors: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman
Released: 1990
Directed by: Kevin Costner

5. The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales
Josey Wales, played by Clint Eastwood, witnesses the heartbreaking murder of his wife and child at the merciless hands of Union men under the command of Capt. Terrill, portrayed by Bill McKinney. Fueled by a burning desire for revenge, Wales decides to join the Confederate Army. However, when the war eventually comes to a close, he adamantly refuses to surrender like his comrades. Tragically, the soldiers who do surrender are ruthlessly massacred by Terrill.

In a desperate bid to escape the clutches of Terrill, Wales takes matters into his own hands and eliminates some of the men under Terrill’s command. Determined to start afresh, he seeks sanctuary in Texas and endeavors to forge a new life for himself. However, the constant threat posed by the substantial bounty on his head puts not only Wales but also his newfound surrogate family in grave danger.

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, John Vernon
Released: 1976
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

6. Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby
Million Dollar Baby is an absolutely captivating drama skillfully helmed by the renowned Clint Eastwood. The movie delves into the life of Maggie Fitzgerald (played brilliantly by Hilary Swank), an aspiring boxer determined to transcend her challenging upbringing. Reluctantly, Frankie Dunn (portrayed by Eastwood himself), a weathered boxing trainer, takes Maggie under his wing after some initial hesitation. Morgan Freeman delivers a truly compelling performance as Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, Frankie’s lifelong friend and former boxer. As Maggie’s career begins to soar, unexpected circumstances put their bond to the test in profound and unexpected ways. It’s worth noting that this critically acclaimed film garnered four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel
Released: 2004
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

7. Spaceballs

In the satirical science fiction comedy Spaceballs, we follow the adventures of Captain Lone Starr (played by Bill Pullman) and his trusty sidekick Barf (played by John Candy), who happens to be a half-man, half-dog. Their mission? To rescue Princess Vespa (played by Daphne Zuniga) from the clutches of the wicked Dark Helmet (played by Rick Moranis). Directed by the comedic genius Mel Brooks, this film offers a hilarious twist on well-known sci-fi franchises.

Set in a completely wacky universe, Spaceballs is filled with outrageous characters and peculiar spaceships that will have you in stitches. It’s a clever parody that gleefully pokes fun at the common tropes and clichés of the genre. The witty dialogue and unforgettable performances truly make this film a timeless classic in the world of comedy.

Actors: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga
Released: 1987
Directed by: Mel Brooks

8. Singin’ in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain
During Hollywood’s golden era, Singin’ in the Rain took the stage as a delightful musical that gracefully danced its way through the transition from silent movies to talkies. Don Lockwood, portrayed by the beloved Gene Kelly, finds himself grappling with the seismic shift in the industry alongside his co-star Lina Lamont, played by Jean Hagen, whose voice could easily shatter glass. As the film unfolds, we are introduced to Kathy Selden, portrayed by Debbie Reynolds, an aspiring actress who not only becomes Don’s love interest but also his saving grace.

Singin’ in the Rain has become famous for its iconic dance sequences and unforgettable tunes. It’s no wonder that Jean Hagen’s performance earned her a well-deserved Golden Globe. Even today, this timeless classic holds a special place in cinematic history.

Actors: Gene Kellyn, Joi Lansing, Kathleen Freeman, Bess Flowers, Douglas Fowley
Released: 1952
Directed by: Gene Kelly

9. Pale Rider

Pale Rider
In this movie, there’s this guy named Coy LaHood, who owns some property. He decides to hire a bunch of troublemakers to scare a group of small-town gold miners and force them to leave their territory. But then this mysterious man called “Preacher” comes to town. Preacher manages to defend the miners against the attacks and then decides to have a chat with LaHood himself. However, when the miners, led by Hull Barret, refuse to accept LaHood’s terms, things take a turn. LaHood brings in a guy named Marshall Stockburn to take down Preacher and the others.

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Chris Penn, Richard Dysart
Released: 1985
Directed by: Clint Eastwood

10. Sling Blade

Sling Blade
Mentally disabled Karl Childers, portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton, is finally set free from the mental hospital, where he had been confined for a significant portion of his life. Tragically, Karl had committed a horrifying act of taking his own mother’s life, as well as her lover’s. As fate would have it, Karl crosses paths with a young boy named Frank, played by Lucas Black, who has been grappling with the loss of his father due to suicide. A unique bond forms between Karl and Frank, leading to an unexpected turn of events.

Linda, Frank’s mother, portrayed by Natalie Canerday, extends her kindness by offering Karl a place to stay in their home. However, Linda’s boyfriend, Doyle, played by Dwight Yoakam, is far from compassionate. In fact, he harbors cruel intentions towards Karl and is determined to have him banished from their lives.

Despite facing adversity, Karl is resolute in protecting his newfound friend, Frank. He devises a plan to shield Frank from the ongoing abuse inflicted by Doyle. Karl’s determination and loyalty are put to the test as he strives to ensure Frank’s safety and well-being, ultimately seeking to spare him from years of suffering at Doyle’s hands.

Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black
Released: 1996
Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton

11. Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles, is a captivating drama that takes a deep dive into the life of Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper magnate. Through the recollections of those who were close to him, the story unfolds like a puzzle, offering a fascinating tale of ambition, power, and the search for love. From his modest beginnings to his extravagant adulthood, Kane’s life is unveiled through fragmented pieces. The film, renowned for its inventive techniques and narrative structure, received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Its distinctive storytelling style holds the attention of viewers all the way to the very end.

Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Ruth Warrick, Everett Sloane, Agnes Moorehead
Released: 1941
Directed by: Orson Welles