Prev: «   |   Next: »
  • mariuss72

    What about Tarantino? He played in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Inglorious Basterd and Django Unchained.

  • Pop

    Yeah, Tarantino should have been on the list.

    • watsoned

      And Kenneth Branagh. Though he likes to direct himself in starring roles.

  • Jim Ciscell

    Mel Brooks was the first one that came to mind for me.

    • Orrin K (article’s author)

      Mel Brooks could fit, now that I think about it. Honestly I’ve only seen one Quentin Tarantino film from start to finish. Been meaning to watch Django Unchained so that will be two.

  • Ed

    Complete FAIL: Not only do I agree with Tarantino and Brooks being misses (as listed above)….Does CLINT EASTWOOD come to mind? Won Best director in films he acted in…and Ben Affleck too.

    • Ed

      I guess Clint’s roles were not secondary…he usually was the central character.

    • Complete FAIL? That means not one of these directors should be on this list. Can you provide the full list of 10 that doesn’t include any we already listed?

    • Orrin K (article’s author)

      Exactly, Clint and Ben weren’t secondary. WI’m talking about the guys outside of the Costner/Gibson/Beatty realm

  • Nick

    I thought Tarantino would be #1. Also thought Scorcese deserved a mention particularly in his older films like Taxi Driver

  • Ronnie

    Why would you include polanski on this list knowing what he is guilty of?

    • Borten

      Because he still complies with the criteria of the list…

      • Ronnie

        This may be just some irrelavent list for our amusement, but it still galls me that he would be mentioned regardless. I guess you are ok with his crimes.

        • bodymaster

          That’s ridiculous. The man is a filmmaker. How does acknowledging that fact equate with being ok with his crimes? You’re going to have to talk us through your train of thought here.

    • bodymaster

      Because it’s irrelevant. Are you suggesting all his work should be erased from history?

  • Jim Ciscell

    I have thought about this one all day. Usually, I do not even comment on my own lists, much less twice on someone elses. I do think that that both Sydney Pollack and Rob Reiner should at least earn some sort of discussion in the comments sections. I actually agree with Polanski and a number one of Hitchcock. I just think that there are a lot more recent mentions on here. Woody Allen was a good selection as well.

    • Orrin K (article’s author)

      Hey, thanks, Jim! Thought provoking is the best reaction I can get. And we’ve done an article together, remember? I’m somewhat limited by what I’ve seen and what I haven’t seen when devising these lists and I’ve seen 5 Sydney Pollack films-Sabrina, Out of Africa, Slender Thread, Tootsie, and The Interpreter-only one of which he appeared in. His best acting roles, like Michael Clayton, were for films he didn’t direct. Rob Reiner’s best acting roles like Bullets Over Broadway or All in the Family wasn’t for stuff he directed either

  • bodymaster

    Most of these aren’t even secondary roles, they’re cameos. Given that, how can you justify having Kevin Smith (who has made arguably one good movie) on this list and not having Martin Scorcese on a list of “top 10 directors…”? What’s the measure of success here? Though I guess we should be thankful Peter Jackson isn’t on the list.

    • Orrin K (article’s author)

      I’ve seen 10 Scorsese films (which I think is a decent number) and he was in zero of those films I saw. I start from my own experiences as a viewer to devise ideas for names on the list. If Scorsese was in none of the films I saw, why would even put his name through imdb to see how many of his own films he’s starred in.

      When I think of Scorsese’s acting career, the first two things that pop in my head are Akira Kurosawa’s film and Shark Tale, neither of which he directed.

      • Bodymaster

        Taxi Driver is a pretty well regarded, famous film. I assumed somebody writing an article on popular film would have seen it. I guess not.

        • Orrin K (article’s author)

          Not that your criticism is invalid, but this is generally the kind of comment that makes me regret breaking from the standard internet writer practice of not going into the comment section.

          As for you, I’d recommend making less assumptions and you’ll enjoy these lists (or at least this specific one) more or make your own list?

          I could argue that Kevin Smith would be more deserving of Marty Scorsese, That’s not an implication that Smith is a better director but it IS possible to make a top ten list on film that Kevin Smith would be on and Scorsese wouldn’t be on. I think Smith’s insertion into his own films is pretty clever: Especially the irony that he’s a loudmouth in real life and he barely ever talks in his films, not to mention the couple times he does talk, he sounds highly intelligent which I think makes for a nice twist.

          The criteria is two fold: 1) people who impressively inserted themselves into their movies (for me Shamylan fits that bill because he either failed or succeeded spactacularly) and 2) if they make an interesting story. My goal, above all, is to be interesting and
          informative. That’s why Dennis Dugan (whom I thought you would have taken an issue before Kevin Smith), who by all accounts is an awful director, is on this list, because I felt there was a narrative there about how he failed as an actor and stumbled into directing.

          Upon checking imdb, I have now learned that he is indeed in a number of his films in uncredited roles I’ve seen but I don’t see anything particularly impressive about most of Scorsese’s roles that I can directly remember like doing the voiceovers on Color of Money or on Aviator and I see Gangs of New York practically every time it pops up on TV because I love that filmn TV and have NEVER noticed Martin Scorsese’s role as an uncredited “wealthy land owner.”

          I will say this:
          If I magically went back in time and redid this list, Tarantino would be a glaring omission that I would fix. Scorsese’s somewhere in the realm of I’d look into it more and consider it.

          As for Taxi Driver, congratulations, you have uncovered the dark secret that TopTenz does not screen out all writers who have not seen Taxi Driver, the 52nd greatest film in the history of America cinema according to a massive poll conducted by the American Film Institue, before selecting contributors. I would say that I’m qualified to write articles on filmbecuase I’m familiar with Taxi Driver and its historical context and every other notable film in American cinema (, for example, published a list of top 300 and I’m familiar with all of them) so that if I were to make any of the following lists, I would be aware that Taxi Driver belongs on it: Top ten Jodi Foster movies, top ten Robert De Niro movies, top ten movies featuring child actors, top ten Marty Scorse movies, top 1 Cybill Shephard movie, top ten counterculture films of 1976, top ten films featuring taxi drivers, top ten films written by Paul Schrader, top ten lines delivered by Robert De Niro talking to
          a mirror, etc etc etc.

          Congrats on evoking the longest comment I’ve ever written in response to a comment on one of my articles

          I would imagine the one people have a problem with is Dennis Dugan who is a terrible director.

  • Jonathan

    I love this site, but i think that this is a flawed list. Not only is Tarantino a glaring omission but Hitchcock entry is dubious at best as he didnt have roles, but cameos. i guess it depends on what you classify as a “role” . But since he never had any lines, i would say that he should be disqualified. However, this is still one of my favorite sites.. Even Michael Jordan didn’t hit every shot! 😉

  • rudy.elgato

    Poor, poor list…. How the heck can you call Hitchcock’s cameos “secondary” roles? Woody Allen spent 3 and a half decades writing and making sure the camera was focused on himself. Spike Lee is right there as well. Sheesh, I’d hardly describe the roles those 2 wrote and directed themselves in as being secondary roles. Mike Schur? Really? What “movie” did he direct himself in? I mean, the title of this list is “Top 10 Directors Who Played Secondary Roles In Their Own Movies”, isn’t it? Egad…. What a poor list…

    • Orrin K (article’s author)

      Actually, Mike Schur did direct episodes of Enlightened. I’m not sure why the editor took that out. I recommend you watch Enlightened if you want to understand that decision

      • Orrin K (article’s author)

        I meant Mike White directed Enlightened. Mike Schur has also directed TV episodes.

  • Brian E

    You have a great list here! I have always thought the topic of directors playing parts in their own films is underserved in the cinematic and academic world. I’m going to to watch some of these!

  • Emily R

    Normally I wouldn’t comment on an article whether I liked it or not, but I feel that amidst all of the negative feedback I should say that I found this article rather interesting. As the kind of person that pays way more attention to the actors in a film than the director, it was very interesting to realize that some of the directors of my favorite movies were actually actors IN them.

  • shekkie

    #8 Mike White looks like Mr. Roper.

  • Twinkie Bandit

    Just a little correction, Hitch is not buying birds in the pet shop, but walking out with two poodle dogs. He also misses a bus in North by Northwest, not a cab.

    Other than that, interesting list.