Although it’s happening less and less frequently these days, the concept of a director making a cameo appearance in his own film was quite popular among the most recognizable names and faces in the industry. Many of the most famous and acclaimed directors have made cameo appearances in their works, and eagle-eyed fans often like to spot them.
Ranker voters have put together a collection of the best examples of directors making cameos in their own works, ranked by how “cool” site users think they are. Cameos can often be an unspoken way for the director to convey his appreciation to his dedicated fans, so many of these examples are extremely fun to see.
Note: Ranking lists are live and continue to accumulate votes, so some rankings may have changed after this posting.
ten Todd Phillips in The Hangover (2009)
Stream on HBO Max
The Hangover Trilogy is one of the most popular comedy series of all time, and the first episode is widely considered a perfect example of how to do this kind of comedy between friends effectively. The films lean heavily on the chemistry between Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper – three fantastic comedic actors who work brilliantly together.
In the first film, director Todd Phillips briefly appears near the start of the film as an unnamed man getting intimate with a woman in an elevator. It perfectly sets the tone for the upcoming film, while proving Phillips’ own sense of humor.
9 Alfred Hitchcock in The Birds (1963)
Rent on Apple TV
The birds is often cited as one of the earliest examples of a mainstream horror film, even though it doesn’t quite take itself as seriously as many modern horrors. Hitchcock is famous for making appearances in his own films, but his appearance in The birds is undoubtedly one of the best.
Hitchcock’s appearance occurs just two minutes later The birds, as he walks out of a pet store with two adorable terriers on leashes. It’s a perfect example of how Hitchcock was willing to have fun with his own films, acting as a subtle nod to his longtime fans.
8 Stanley Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stream on Hulu
1999 Eyes wide closed chronicles the complicated and failed marriage of two dissatisfied intellectuals as they navigate the holes in their relationship. Tom Cruise plays the protagonist, Bill Harford, as he explores the city’s underground sex scene in an effort to rekindle the flame of his marriage.
For the majority, Eyes wide closed is widely considered one of Kubrick’s finest films, though its cameo is admittedly very subtle. Not drawing attention to his cameo like many other directors do – eagle-eyed viewers can see him briefly in the background as Bill meets up with his old friend Nick at a nightclub.
seven Martin Campbell in Casino Royale (2006)
Stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime
Campbell’s soft reboot of the franchise in Casino Royale resulted in one of the most original and least formulaic James Bond movies in a long time. The film explores Bond’s deadly rivalry with a professional gambler named Le Cipher, who poses a serious threat to Bond’s job.
Although Campbell’s cameo was only a small one, he still managed to get thrown into the middle of the action as a tanker truck driver who gets caught up in one of the intense action sequences. of Bond. The cameo proves that Campbell is ready to have fun with his spy thriller, giving it an added dimension of entertainment.
6 Sam Raimi in Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Stream on IndieFlix
The evil Dead The franchise is among Sam Raimi’s most popular and prolific works, so it’s no surprise that he also wanted to get involved on camera. Raimi’s films all have a very distinct style and tone, and his cameo certainly fits in.
The director appears at the end of evil death 2 when Bruce Campbell’s character Ash is sent back in time through a magical portal. He plays one of the medieval knights who greets Ash upon his arrival, leaving his character only to be credited with “Knight Hailing Ash”.
5 Robert Rodriguez in Sin City: A Lady to Kill For (2014)
Stream on Starz
There’s no denying that Robert Rodriguez had a huge influence on comic book film with his 2005 hit. city of sin, but its wildly inventive sequel isn’t talked about as much, unfortunately. A lady to kill for may not be as groundbreaking and acclaimed as its predecessor, but it still has a few hours of fun nonetheless.
Rodriguez managed to slip the two cameos for himself and the film’s writer, Frank Miller, into his superhero sequel. They appear side by side in a fake gangster movie which is watched by one of the movie’s protagonists – making them actors in a movie in a movie.
4 Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver (1976)
Stream on Netflix
Not only is Martin Scorsese one of the greatest directors of all time, but he also has an acting history that has landed him many popular roles in the past. It’s because of this acting background that his iconic cameo in Taxi driver feels so natural and fitting for the story.
1976 Taxi driver is full of Martin Scorsese’s trademarks, so it should come as no surprise that he wants to include a few cameos as well. Most notable comes when he plays one of Travis Bickle’s taxi passengers, who tells the protagonist all about his plans to kill his unfaithful wife.
3 David and Jerry Zucker on the plane! (1980)
Rent on Vudu
Alongside Jim Abrahams, the Zucker Brothers are responsible for directing the 1980 comedy classic, Plane! – a film that many members of a certain generation consider to be the funniest film of all time. It’s one of the sharpest and smartest comedy storylines ever, brought to life by an outstanding performance from Leslie Nielsen.
David and Jerry Zucker both appear early in the film as members of the airport ground crew, and even end up being the reason the film’s disastrous events take place. This is one of the least visible cameos on this list – unless you know what you’re looking for.
2 Wes Craven in Scream (1996)
Rent on Apple TV
The Scream Franchise killers may often be hiding in plain sight, but Wes Craven’s cameo in the original film certainly isn’t. It’s an appearance most viewers would easily miss, but once you know it’s there, it’s one of the most entertaining on this list.
Craven appears just before the gruesome death of Henry Winkler, taking on the role of a high school janitor who bears an uncanny resemblance to another of Craven’s most iconic characters, Freddy Krueger. It’s an effective little nod to longtime Craven fans – and one that makes for a hilarious and subtle joke in the movie.
1 George Lucas in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Stream on Disney+
George Lucas always wanted to have a little fun with his movies, but his bizarre appearance in Revenge of the Sith proves it even more. While the sequel trilogy may not be the most acclaimed area of star wars, it certainly features some of the funniest moments.
Lucas appears briefly in Revenge of the Sith as Baron Papnoida, a Pantora moon man with a unique sense of fashion and dark blue skin. He shows up when Anakin visits Palpatine at the opera, though you’d be forgiven for not recognizing him in the costume.
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