Filmmaking is a team effort. No one can put an epic story onto the Big Screen alone. Truth is, filmmakers have a lot of help from people with titles like Assistant to the Assistant Director and Best Boy and Flower Girl and… oh wait. But you get the idea.
And aside from good old-fashioned teamwork, Hollywood also runs on good old-fashioned nepotism. You know: some executive producer casts their dead-beat brother in a non-speaking part as Zombie Victim #10 just to get his mother off his back. But I’m not talking about that.
No, I thought I’d take a moment to celebrate some successful brother or sister filmmaking duos at the top of their game.
Ridley Scott and Tony Scott
While not a filmmaking team like others on this list, the two do collaborate on various productions together from time to time and so are worthy of mention.
Here’s a duo that have made some of the most iconic films in Hollywood history. Ridley Scott, the older of the two brothers, has arguably a more sweeping and epic style giving us such classics as Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, Thelma & Louise – and more recently: American Gangster and, of course, Prometheus.
Younger brother, Tony Scott, has a more energized, frenetic style. His films include: Top Gun, True Romance, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, and Unstoppable. Both have inspired countless filmmakers and helped to write the vocabulary for shooting modern action films.
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen have been effortlessly slipping in and out of every genre imaginable for over 30 years. Turning out one classic after the other.
The Coens work in true collaboration on all of their films sharing writing, directing and even editing responsibilities. In fact, a bit shy about loading the front of their films with all of those credits, the brothers use the pseudonym, Roderick Jaynes, as their editor. A tradition tested when the fictitious person received an Academy Award nod for Best Editing for both Fargo and No Country for Old Men!
Indisputably, The Coen brothers have left an indelible stamp on American cinema with their unique, often quirky take on classic crime dramas, westerns, romantic comedies, and much more. But come on now. We all know The Big Lebowski is their crowning achievement, right? Right.
Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
For those still unaware: Yes, Larry Wachowski has transitioned to Lana Wachowski and has quietly announced herself as being transgender. So let’s just move on.
The Wachowskis came onto the scene in the 1990’s with a stylish and sexy neo-noirish tale called Bound. And while it was a decent little Indie film, nothing about it indicated that just a few short years later they would create the cultural phenomenon that is The Matrix.
Arguably as much a milestone in ushering the next generation of filmmaking techniques as Star Wars was some 20 years before it, The Matrix, played around with the physics and time of a scene to mind-bending extremes – drawing from a healthy dose of Anime and the emerging sophistication of video games.
Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron
Nora and Delia Ephron are responsible for a lot of classic romantic comedies.
The two sisters are both accomplished writers and producers, but Nora Ephron is perhaps the better known having directed the classics Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998).
As a team, the two have shared writing or producing credits on films like Michael (1996), You’ve Got Mail (1998), Hanging Up (2000), and Bewitched (2005). The Ephron sisters’ hilarious take on relationships and the constant struggle between the sexes to understand one another have touched us as moviegoers and created a blueprint for future filmmakers looking to tap into the funny side of love.
Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes
The double threat of filmmaking twins Albert and Allen, often referred to as The Hughes Brothers, brought a gritty realism to their classics, Menace II Society (1993) and Dead Presidents (1995).
Putting a hard focus on inner-city struggles quickly won them acclaim, and they have continued to push into compelling new territories with the creepy 2001 Jack The Ripper crime drama, From Hell, and the post-apocalyptic Mad Max versus Reading Is Fundamental, future-shocker The Book of Eli.
The Hughes Brothers adept story-telling style continues to grow and we can expect a lot more to come from the two, no doubt.
Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
The Farrelly’s style can probably best be described as “gross-out humor with heart”. Respected screenwriter William Goldman has even praised their writing—and he wrote The Princess Bride, you know? So his opinion is worth more than the Pope’s at this point.
The brothers have enjoyed success from a string of crowd-pleasing, infinitely quotable comedies the likes of which include Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass, and The Three Stooges biopic.
What’s perhaps their biggest asset is the ability to get big name actors to embrace their “inner stupid” for the sake of a good, honest laugh. They seem to be big fans of the road trip story and often give friends and family small acting parts in their productions.
The Farrelly’s probably hold the distinction of being the last to get a classic, wise-ass, 1980’s-era comedy performance out of Bill Murray in the underrated 1996 gem Kingpin–you know, before Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola got him to embrace the fine art of sophisticated subtleness.