George Clooney’s: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

Everyone knows the textured Hollywood actor George Clooney, good at playing authoritative men in dynamic films, winner of two Oscars and 4 Golden Globes, known for his philanthropy. But are you familiar with his directorial hypostasis?

In 2002, he first got comfortable in the director’s chair, and since then he has given the lovers of good cinema a dozen of quality works, with which we would like to introduce you.

The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat
  • Genre: Drama, Military, Biography, Sports
  • Production: USA / 2023
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Joel Edgerton, Chris Diamantopolos, Callum Turner, Courtney Hengeler, Peter Guinness, James Wolk, Alec Newman, Hadley Robinson, Jack Mulhern, Sam Strike

An inspirational sports-biographical drama based on J.D. Brown’s best-selling novel of the same name, scheduled for release in December 2023. It is the story of the University of Washington’s eight rowing team that represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics and won the Gold Medal.

The victory has two backstories. One tells the story of the rowers who had to scrounge for money to study and survive during the Great Depression. The second is the story of Hitler’s construction of the impressive athletic fields where the Olympics were to be held. Incidentally, the German rowing team was considered the favorite in that race.

The Weinstein Company originally owned the screen rights, but after bankruptcy the rights were bought out by Lantern Entertainment, and George Clooney became interested in the epic story behind the plot.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

The Tender Bar

The Tender Bar
  • IMDB Rating – 6.7
  • Genre: Drama
  • Production: USA / 2021
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, Max Martini, Renzi Feliz, Briana Middleton, Max Casella, Sondra James

The screen adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J.R. Mehringer’s memoirs recounts his young years on Long Island as he searches for a replacement for his alcoholic father, who abandoned the family. It’s a relaxed, slightly sentimental and contemplative drama.

The real authority and support for young John becomes Uncle Charlie, the owner of a small bar where John spends a lot of time talking to the regulars and learning important life lessons.

Ben Affleck, who plays the role of Uncle Charlie, and George Clooney are reuniting for the first time since 2012’s “Argo.” Only then Affleck was the director and Clooney was the producer.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

The Midnight Sky

The Midnight Sky
  • IMDB Rating – 5.7
  • Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Drama, Adventure
  • Production: USA / 2020
  • Worldwide box office receipts: $70,018
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kalyn Springall, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, Tiffany Boone, Sophie Rundle, Ethan Peck, Tim Russ

The science fiction from Netflix and George Clooney, who plays the lead role here, is about a cancer-stricken scientist, Augustine Lofthouse, who works at an Arctic station in 2049 and refuses to evacuate with everyone else after learning that a global catastrophe has begun on Earth.

He tries to contact spaceships to warn them, but only discovers the Aether returning after exploring a Jupiter satellite that may be habitable. To establish communication with the crew fails, in addition, Lofthouse begins to have memory lapses and mental confusion….

Actress Felicity Jones found out she was pregnant after being confirmed for the role. George Clooney said “No problem!” and just slightly rewrote her role.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts


  • IMDB Rating – 5.8
  • Genre: Thriller, Drama, Comedy, Crime
  • Production: UK, USA, China / 2017
  • Budget: $25,000,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $12,751,667
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Joop, Glenn Fleshler, Megan Ferguson, Jack Conley, Gary Basaraba, Michael Cohen, Steve Monroe

A black crime comedy with a dashing plot, scripted by Clooney and co-written by the Coen brothers. Quiet decent Gardner Lodge lives in the town of Suburbicon with his paralyzed wife Rose, her sister Margaret and son Nicky. One day two bandits break into the house, whereupon Rose dies and Margaret quickly takes her place.

And then one day the police catch the very same criminals, but Lodge and Margaret don’t identify them, claiming they’ve apprehended the wrong ones. And then for some reason the bandits come to Lodge and start demanding money for the murder of his wife….

George Clooney has starred in 4 Coen Brothers movies and found it fun to create a movie based on their script.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men
  • IMDB Rating – 6.1
  • Genre: Military, Drama, Comedy
  • Production: Germany, USA / 2014
  • Budget: $70,000,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $155,641,650
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett, Dimitri Leonidas, Justus von Dohnanyi

Director, co-writer and actor George Clooney was really passionate about making this movie, an impressive story based on true events.

The action takes place during World War II, near its end. Clooney as Lieutenant Frank Stokes is shocked by the revelations of the looting of museums by the Nazis, who have appropriated many masterpieces with orders to destroy them if Hitler’s reign ends.

Stokes convinces the president to assemble a team of museum workers, restorers, and art historians to travel to Germany to try to find the disappearing works of art.

George Clooney took a responsible approach to the post-production stage, requesting more time from the studio for visual effects, even though the movie could have lost several awards. The studio went along with the director and rescheduled the premiere.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

The Ides of March

The Ides of March
  • IMDB Rating – 7.1
  • Genre: Thriller, Drama
  • Production: USA / 2011
  • Budget: $12,500,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $76,338,111
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Max Minghella, Jennifer Elle, Gregory Itzin.

George Clooney’s only movie with a realistic contemporary story is “The Ides of March”, his 4th feature directorial effort, which won multiple awards and was nominated for an Oscar.

The plot is about a young idealistic Steve who begins working on the campaign staff of promising politician Mike Morris (played by Clooney himself). In the process, Steve discovers the horrifying duplicity of political games, gradually transforming from an enthusiastic young man into a rancid cynic and scoundrel.

“The Ides of March” was the opening film of the 2011 Venice Film Festival. The vast majority of the world’s film critics included this movie in their lists of the best movies of the year.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts


  • IMDB Rating – 6.0
  • Genre: Drama, Melodrama, Comedy, Sports
  • Production: USA, Germany / 2008
  • Budget: $58,000,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $41,299,492
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce, David De Fries, Rick Forrester, Craig S. Harper, Malcolm Goodwin, Matt Bushnell, Tommy Hinckley.

Sports romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Renee Zellweger is about George Connelly, captain of a minor league soccer team, who lives in hope of his charges’ success sometime in 1925.

To push the team, George hires Carter Rutherford, a tough soccer player with an impeccable reputation, a World War I hero, and a proud and glorious son of America. However, shrewd journalist Lexi Littleton, digging into the hero’s past, discovers that all his fame is a fraud.

The script for the movie was written back in 1993. George Clooney was persuaded to produce it by Steven Soderbergh.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

Good Night, and Good Luck

Good Night, and Good Luck
  • IMDB Rating – 7.4
  • Genre: Drama, Biography, History
  • Production: USA, France, UK, Japan / 2005
  • Budget: $7,000,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $51,306,963
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels, Frank Langella, Tate Donovan, Alex Borstein, Ray Wise, Robert Nepper.

George Clooney’s historical drama, set in the 50s, fictionally tells the story of a politician-journalist confrontation that actually took place.

Joseph McCarthy is a senator and zealous anti-communist, paranoid insistence on violating civil rights in order to identify the numerous agents of the USSR, in his opinion, entrenched in the ranks of ordinary Americans. Edward R. Murrow is a journalist who denounces McCarthy’s draconian methods and calls for the politician to be stopped.

George Clooney really wanted to make this movie, putting himself in a contract for $1 each for directing, screenplay and acting. This kept the budget within limits and allowed production to begin.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts

Unscripted (TV show)

  • IMDB Rating – 7.4
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy
  • Production: USA / 2005
  • Director: George Clooney, Grant Heslov
  • Starring: Krista Allen, Brian Greenberg, Jennifer Hall, Frank Langella, Nick Paonessa, Eric Weiner, Diane Baker, Jake Moritt, Pamela Adlon, Jessica Collins.

A curious drama from HBO about three young actors trying to make it in the world of show business.

Brian, Krista and Jennifer attend acting classes in Los Angeles, dreaming of someday having a high-profile career on stage or in movies. Their mentor Goddard Fulton is a harsh but fair professional who does not allow himself to relax at work, but sometimes weirdos outside of it.

The main characters are surrounded by a lot of funny characters who create funny and dramatic situations.

The highlight of the series is the endless improvisation – almost all scenes were filmed “live”, without preparing sets and dialogues.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
  • IMDB Rating – 7.0
  • Genre: Thriller, Drama, Melodrama, Comedy, Crime, Biography
  • Production: USA, Germany, Canada / 2002
  • Budget: $30,000,000
  • Worldwide Box Office: $33,013,805
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dick Clark, Michelle Sweeney, Chelsea Ceci, Michael Cera.

George Clooney’s directorial debut, in which most of the scenes are shot from a single take. This movie is based on the autobiographical book by Chuck Barris, a famous showman of the 60s, and, of course, even the book itself is fiction enough to be considered realistic. But Clooney’s story is a compelling one.

Not too successful young showman Chuck is going through hard times, and at this time he is recruited by the CIA, offering him a job as an assassin. Chuck confessed in the 80’s, saying he was involved in the physical elimination of more than 30 people. The CIA dismissed the story, and Chuck did not insist, writing a mountain of memoirs on the wave of scandalous fame from his statement.

George Clooney used his knowledge of hosting television shows, which he received from his father, Nick Clooney, an executive and organizer of such shows.

George Clooney's: 10 Best Directorial Efforts
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Анна Румянцева
Anna Rumyantseva

Author, editor and filmmaker.

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