This is something very common, that we all have been seeing since as long as we can remember. This question stemmed from my recent re-watching of Django Unchained, where Quentin Tarantino makes a cameo appearnce. I have always been intrigued by this. M Night Shyamalan, Peter Jackson, John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, and many more, have made frequent cameo appearnces in their movies. The trend goes as back as Alferd Hitchcock's movies. I want to know more about this. What are the factros behind this gesture ?

  • While I'm not sure about all your examples, at least Mel Brooks and Quentin Tarantino often just play regular roles in their movies. I wouldn't call those cameos given their significance in most stories.
    – Mario
    Aug 12, 2014 at 8:16
  • Right ! I have edited the question.
    – Ankit
    Aug 12, 2014 at 8:18
  • Dont' forget Stephen King as ATM Guy in his one coke-fueled Directorial outing: Maximum Overdrive!
    – Ben Plont
    Aug 12, 2014 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


There's no overarching right answer to this. I think there are a few reasons for it:

For starters, it's fun. You've mentioned lots of directors in your question who have done it and it's likely they all got a pretty good kick out of it. Think Hitchcock's many roles or Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs, or Pulp Fiction.

There's also a tradition argument. Stan Lee, for example, has done it for so long now that it's expected and many fans get enjoyment out of spotting him in each of his roles. The same applies to Hitchcock.

After the fun and tradition reasons, it's certainly plausible to suggest because they can. Many directors don't have the fame or recognition for a cameo role to be significant. But if someone like Tarantino, Scorcese or Peter Jackson does it, it's instantly recognisable given their fame. This can be compared to other, less famous, directors who wouldn't be recognised. Therefore, it certainly carries that making cameos gives them airtime and keeps them recognisable in the public eye.

These are just a few of the reasons. I'm sure other arguments could be made, such as the fact it saves money (such as in the case of a longer role, e.g. Tarantino in Django), but it seems to be mostly about a mixture of fun and tradition.

  • 2
    And I guess also the factor of giving your work a personal signature.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:54
  • 2
    I don't think Tarantino needs to save any money...
    – Flimzy
    Aug 12, 2014 at 17:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .