All-time greatest actors turned directors: Woody Allen, Sarah Polley, Clint Eastwood

The longstanding cliche about Hollywood screenwriters is they’re really dying to tell anyone who will listen, “but I really want to direct.” Turns out some of the actors in front of the camera wouldn’t mind ruling the roost either.

This year alone we’ve seen a bumper crop of relatively new actors turned directors bring new works to the screen. James Franco has debuted two films within five months (granted, an anomaly), Fox Searchlight had a hit comedy from familiar faces Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the second effort from Ralph Fiennes hit Telluride and Toronto, Seth Rogen’s “This is the End” was a smash, Lake Bell brought us “In a World…,” Jason Bateman made some noise with “Bad Words” at Toronto and next week Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Sundance smash “Don Jon” finally hits theaters.  Granted, it would be nice if that list of actors was a tad more female and perhaps ethnically diverse, but there certainly seem to be a lot of actors looking to spread their wings.

With that in mind, HitFix’s editorial team, including In Contention’s Kristopher Tapley and Guy Lodge, ranked their all-time top 10 actors turned directors.  Some of them you’ll recognize, a few you may not and it will likely stir some debate on who is missing. You can view the entire top 10 in the embedded story gallery in this post.  Afterward, make sure to rank your own top 10 in the poll below.

[Yes, we’re aware we couldn’t fit in every option in the poll, but it should be diverse enough – we hope.]