Greatest Film Director Cameos
(in films of others)

Part 1

Greatest Film Director Cameos (in their own films)
(alphabetical, by film title)
Part 1 | Part 2

Greatest Film Director Cameos (in films of others)
(chronological, by film title)
Part 1 | Part 2

Greatest Film Director Cameos: Many established directors have made memorable appearances (cameos or bit parts and sometimes more extensive supporting or lead appearances) as actors in films not directed by themselves. Herein are a few examples (in chronological order).

Greatest Film Director Cameos (in films of others)
(chronological - Part 1)
Part 1 | Part 2
Film Title
Description of Appearance
D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) BIT PART: John Ford as a Klansman  
Kenneth Hawks' Big Time (1929) CAMEO: John Ford as Himself, a film director  
W.S. Van Dyke's San Francisco (1936) BIT PART: D.W. Griffith as an orchestra conductor
Anatole Litvak's City For Conquest (1940) CAMEO: Elia Kazan as "Googi" Zucco  
Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) SUPPORTING: Orson Welles and his iconic role as Harry Lime
Joseph L. Mankiewicz' All About Eve (1950) SUPPORTING: Gregory Ratoff as producer Max Fabian
Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950)

SUPPORTING: Erich von Stroheim as butler/valet Max Von Mayerling

CAMEO: Cecil B. DeMille as Himself

Luigi Comencini's Bread, Love and Dreams (1953) (aka Pane, Amore e Fantasia) LEAD: Vittorio De Sica as The Marshal  
Max Ophuls' The Earrings of Madame De... (1953, Fr.) LEAD: Vittorio De Sica as diplomat Baron Fabrizio Donati
Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 (1953) SUPPORTING: Otto Preminger as sadistic POW camp commandant Oberst Von Scherbach
Roy Ward Baker's Passage Home (1955) BIT PART: Bryan Forbes as Shorty  
Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957, Sw.) LEAD: Swedish director Victor Sjostrom as Prof. Borg
George Abbott's and Stanley Donen's Damn Yankees (1958) CAMEO: Bob Fosse as Mambo Dancer  
Otto Preminger's The Cardinal (1963) SUPPORTING: John Huston as Cardinal Glennon  
Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt (1963, Fr.) SUPPORTING: Fritz Lang as Himself, a film director  
Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou (1965, Fr.) CAMEO: Samuel Fuller as Himself, a film director  
Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me (1971) CAMEO: Don Siegel as Murphy (as Donald Siegel), the bartender friend of Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) who was always up for a round of an absurd game called Cry Bastion
Herbert Ross' Play It Again, Sam (1972) LEAD: Woody Allen as Humphrey Bogart-obsessed Allan Felix
J. Lee Thompson's Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) CAMEO: John Huston in the pivotal role as The Lawgiver
Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973) CAMEO: Mark Rydell as bottle-wielding gangster Marty Augustine  
Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974) SUPPORTING: John Huston as villainous water magnate Noah Cross
John Schlesinger's The Day of the Locust (1975) CAMEO: William Castle as Director (as William C. Castle)  
Martin Ritt's The Front (1976) LEAD: Woody Allen as Howard Prince
Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) BIT PART: Albert Brooks, in his feature film debut, appeared as campaign worker Tom - Betsy's (Cybill Shepherd) concerned co-worker
Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) SUPPORTING: Francois Truffaut as French UFO researcher Claude Lacombe
William Sach's The Incredible Melting Man (1977) CAMEO: Jonathan Demme as Matt, a mustached white-trash husband killed by the film's creature in this Z-grade horror/sci-fi film  
  Roger Corman has often had CAMEOS in many of his protégés' films, such as Joe Dante's The Howling (1981) as a Man in a Phone Booth, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Part II (1974) as a Senator, Paul Bartel's Cannonball (1976) as a DA, Wim Wender's The State of Things (1982, Sw.) as a Lawyer, in four Jonathan Demme films (including The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as the FBI director), Ron Howard's Apollo 13 (1995) as a Congressman, and Wes Craven's Scream 3 (2000) as a Studio Executive

Corman in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) LEAD: Nick Castle as "The Shape", the unstoppable mask-wearing killer Michael Myers
Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) CAMEO: Don Siegel as a cab driver in the remake of the classic film that he directed  
Robert Altman's A Wedding (1978) CAMEO: John Cromwell as Bishop Martin  
James Frawley's The Muppet Movie (1979)

CAMEO: Orson Welles as film producer Lew Lord who gave Kermit the Frog "the standard rich and famous contract"

CAMEO: Mel Brooks as insane German scientist Prof. Max Krassman

Allan Arkush's Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) BIT PART: Paul Bartel as music teacher Mr. McGree  
Albert Brooks' Real Life (1979)
Modern Romance (1981)

CAMEO: James L. Brooks as an Evaluator

CAMEO: James L. Brooks as David - a details-obsessed director of a space adventure film

  As with other actors who turned directors, Rob Reiner was first known for his long, accomplished acting career - his most famous CAMEOS included the following: in father Carl Reiner's The Jerk (1979) as a truck driver who picked up Navin (Steve Martin), in son Lucas Reiner's The Spirit of '76 (1990) as Dr. Cash, in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994) as obnoxious artist Flender, and in Danny De Vito's Throw Momma From the Train (1987) as Billy Crystal's agent  
Star Wars films (5)

Frank Oz, known for his masterly portrayal and voice of the Jedi Master Yoda (puppet, then CGI) in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), and then in the three prequels: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).
John Landis' The Blues Brothers (1980)

CAMEO: Steven Spielberg as the clerk in the Cook County Assessor's office

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