‘Seven Samurai’ to ‘Anchorman’: The greatest actor/director teams in movie history

For many of you, “Inherent Vice” is opening this week after playing for the last month in limited release. The film, my personal favorite movie released last year, is the second film in a row for Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix as director and actor, and part of what dazzled me about it is seeing just how different this is than “The Master.”

One of the particular pleasures that I've always enjoyed about film is when we see the same people work together repeatedly, because it's fascinating to see what stays the same from film to film and what changes. There are relationships that last five or ten or even more films, and there are relationships that are defined in two or three movies. The best teams aren't just the ones who work together over and over… they're the ones who make each other better by collaboration.

I'm sure that for every name that's on this list, you can tell me another name that is just as important to you. But for me, these are some of the collaborations that I've found most rewarding as a viewer, and that inspire me as a critic.