Ten of the Greatest Working Duos in Film

I.A.L. Diamond & Billy Wilder

The second major working collaboration of Billy Wilder was with I.A.L. Diamond. His first was with writer Charles Brackett which lasted for 12 films (but I did not include it on this list because I felt Diamond’s collaboration with Wilder had better results). In 1950 after Brackett left Paramount Pictures to go work at 20th Century Fox, Wilder sought out the assistance of another writer. Wilder became interested in I.A.L. Diamond, who was an independent screenwriter at the time, after reading an article he wrote. Together they would work on what is widely considered to be one of the best romantic comedies ever made. It is claimed that the friendly bickering made famous in their films was based on their own real-life relationship. 

Relationship: Writer/Director

Number of Films: 12

Love in the Afternoon

Some Like it Hot

The Apartment

One, Two, Three

Irma la Doce

Kiss Me, Stupid

The Fortune Cookie

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes


The Front Page


Buddy Buddy


1 Oscar Win – Best Writing

1 Oscar Win – Best Direction

1 Oscar Win – Best Picture

1 Oscar Nomination – Best Direction

2 Oscar Nominations – Best Writing

1 Golden Globe Nomination – Best Screenplay

6 Writers Guild of America Nominations for Best Written Film

3 Writers Guild of America wins for Best Written Film

1 Writers Guild of America (Career Accomplishment) win for Recognition of their Collaboration

Toshiro Mifune & Akira Kurosawa

Mifune and Kurosawa’s work together has resulted in some very highly-regarded films, including two of which are now considered to be among the best ever made. So don’t take the lack of awards nominations/wins into account when determining whether or not this relationship is one of the most fruitful. Indeed, if it weren’t for a fallout during production of Red Beard, who knows what these two could have accomplished. It is one of the greatest falling-outs in the history of cinema because of what each of these two men gave the other’s work. It was a perfect pairing, and we are very fortunate to have had such a prolific and impressive output from them when they collaborated. 

Relationship: Actor/Director

Number of Films: 16

Drunken Angel

The Quiet Duel

Stray Dog



The Idiot

Seven Samurai

I Live in Fear

Throne of Blood

The Lower Depths

The Hidden Fortress

The Bad Sleep Well



High and Low

Red Beard


2 Japanese Academy of Film Honorary Awards (Lifetime Achievement, Career Award)

1 Honorary Oscar Award for Kirosawa’s Cinematic Accomplishments

John Wayne & John Ford

John Wayne is an iconic American actor who is famous for his work in Westerns. John Ford is an iconic American director, who is known for helping to make Westerns popular in the first place. Together, they were an unparalleled cinematic tour de force during Hollywood’s golden era. Ford helped to make John Wayne the most popular actor in the world, and John Wayne made Ford’s style unforgettable. Indeed, many of the greatest filmmakers have said how much they looked up to and appreciated John Ford’s work, and some of that influence is because of this wonderful collaboration. 

Relationship: Actor / Director

Number of Films: 21

Mother Matree

Four Sons

Hangman’s House

The Black Watch

Men Without Women

Born Reckless



The Long Voyage Home

They Were Expendable

3 Godfathers

Fort Apache

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Rio Grande

The Quiet Man

The Searchers

The Wings of Eagles

The Horse Soldiers

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

How the West Was Won

Donovan’s Reef


1 Oscar Win – Best Director

1 Oscar Nomination – Best Director

1 Oscar Nomination- Best Picture

1 Golden Globe Win – Best Director

1 Director’s Guild Award Win – Outstanding Achievement in Direction

2 Director’s Guild Awards Nominations – Outstanding Achievement in Direction

John Williams & Steven Spielberg

John William’s world record for most copies sold of an instrumental song may not be a song from a Steven Spielberg film, but the relationship between the two legendary artists stands on its own. Just look at all of the awards they have won on the films they have worked together, and consider the consistent quality of their work. No duo is as recognizable in their work as these two in popular mainstream cinema. While each of their work is great on its own, this collaboration brings their films to a whole new level where they have enjoyed unprecedented success. (Note: Kathleen Kennedy was also a crucial collaborator with Steven Spielberg as his producer, but I left her off this list because I felt William’s collaborations were more readily apparent)

Relationship: Composer & Conductor/Director

Number of Films: 26


Close Encounters of the Third Kind


Raiders of the Lost Ark

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Empire of the Sun

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


Jurassic Park

Schindler’s List

The Lost World: Jurassic Park


Saving Private Ryan

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Minority Report

Catch Me If You Can

The Terminal

War of the Worlds


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Adventures of Tintin

War Horse



The Post


3 Oscar Wins – Best Original Score

2 Oscar Wins – Best Direction

1 Oscar Win – Best Picture

13 Oscar Nominations – Best Original Score/Best Achievement in Music

5 Oscar Nominations – Best Direction

6 Oscar Nominations – Best Picture

2 Golden Globe Wins – Best Original Score

2 Golden Globe Wins – Best Direction

1 Golden Globe Award – Honorary Career Achievement

8 Golden Globe Nominations – Best Original Score

9 Golden Globe Nominations – Best Direction

1 Golden Globe Nomination – Best Screenplay

4 BAFTA Awards Wins – Award for Film Music

1 BAFTA Awards Win – Best Direction

1 BAFTA Awards Win – Best Picture

6 BAFTA Awards Nominations – Award for Film Music

4 BAFTA Awards Nominations – Best Direction

3 BAFTA Awards Nominations – Best Film

1 BAFTA Awards Nomination – Best Screenplay

1 BAFTA Awards Nomination – Best Animated Film

1 BAFTA Awards Nomination – Best Film, Kids Vote

5 Saturn Awards Wins – Best Music

4 Saturn Awards Wins – Best Director

1 Saturn Awards Win – Best Writing

6 Saturn Awards Nominations – Best Music

8 Saturn Awards Nominations – Best Director

1 Saturn Awards Nomination – Best Writing

2 Directors Guild Award Wins – Outstanding Achievement in Direction

8 Directors Guild Award Nominations – Outstanding Achievement in Direction

14 Grammy Awards Wins for his work on Spielberg Films

17 Grammy Awards Nominations for his work on Spielberg Films