Behind-the-Camera Brothers, Ranked

Clockwise from top left: the Safdies, the Farrellys, the Glovers, and the Duffers. Photo: Getty Images

As if Los Angeles hasn’t stolen enough things from the good city of Philadelphia, Hollywood is currently laying claim to the title of “City of Brotherly Love.” On TV, Donald and Stephen Glover are two of the masterminds behind the inventive Atlanta, while the Duffer brothers have created one of the streaming era’s biggest hits. At the movies, the Coen brothers are arguably our finest living filmmakers, while the Safdies and the Zellners are making a name for themselves with the A24 crowd. And then there’s Mark and Jay Duplass, who’ve outgrown their mumblecore roots and now preside over their own multi-platform empire of improvisation-driven indie films and well-regarded documentaries.

But now it’s time to answer the question: Which set of these brothers … is the best?

To find out, we decided to put all eligible siblings through Vulture’s patented B.R.O.H.E.I.M. system. Each set of siblings will be assessed a score from 1 to 10 in the following categories:

Bio: What’s their story?
Resemblance: How much do they look alike?
Oeuvre: What have they done?
Hotness: How hunky are they?
Equality: Are the brothers a true family unit, or does one overshadow the other?
Intangibles: This is for miscellaneous stuff, and you might think that means it should be last, but no. It’s second to last.
Medals: How many prestigious awards have they won?

Who was eligible? I had three rules: 1. You and your siblings had to currently identify as male. (This should be obvious; this isn’t a list of the Best Siblings). 2. You had to be alive. (RIP, Maysles brothers). And 3. You and your brother had to work closely together behind the camera; something like Ben Affleck directing his brother Casey in Gone Baby Gone was not enough.

Got it? Let’s bro out!

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

18. The Spierig Brothers (Peter and Michael)

Bio: To paraphrase Coors Light, they’re twins! These guys were born in Germany, but moved to Australia when they were kids and now mostly work in horror. (5)
Resemblance: They both look like the long-lost cousins of actor Bryan Greenberg. (8)
Oeuvre: They’ve made a zombie movie, a vampire movie, a time-travel movie, and the most recent Saw movie, the best of which are sometimes hailed as more engaging than the usual genre fare. Their latest film, the Helen Mirren period-horror flick Winchester, was, um, not. (4)
Hotness: German and Australian? Ach du Lieber! (10)
Equality: I am struggling to find something interesting to say about either of them. (6)
Intangibles: Besides directing, the brothers often edit and handling the sound design and visual effects on their films as well. That’s all I’ve got, sorry. (3)
Medals: A bunch of Australian nominations, mostly for their 2014 film Predestination. (2)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 38

Photo: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

17. The Chiodo Brothers (Steven, Charles, and Edward)

Bio: A trio of stop-motion animators and puppeteers who have gained a following for their scabrous character designs, as exemplified by their 1988 feature Killer Klowns From Outer Space. (6)
Resemblance: Stephen and Edward look a little more alike than Charles. (6)
Oeuvre: Besides Killer Klowns, the Chiodo brothers have controlled the puppets on Team America: World Police, created claymation segments for The Simpsons, and built the mouse dioramas in the 2010 Steve Carell vehicle Dinner for Schmucks. (4)
Hotness: None of them look anything like their creations, which is definitely a good thing. (10)
Equality: Steven got the directing credit on Killer Klowns, which by the laws of Hollywood makes him the alpha. (6)
Intangibles: The brothers were the namesake of the now-defunct Michigan hardcore band Chiodos. (6)
Medals: One Daytime Emmy nomination. (1)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 39

16. The McManus Brothers (Kevin and Matthew)

Photo: Bobby Longoria/WireImage

Bio: Two up-and-coming filmmakers who I’m sure are very nice young men, but who can’t quite help coming off as the Travis to these other brothers’ Radiohead. (4)
Resemblance: They’re identical twins, but they recently made the savvy move of having one of them grow facial hair. (9)
Oeuvre: Their first feature was the coming-of-age indie Funeral Kings, and after a stint on the writing staff of American Vandal, in May they signed on to direct the horror film Block Island. (5)
Hotness: Two smiles your mother would love. (10)
Equality: They’re just getting started, so there hasn’t really been time for one of them to overshadow the other. (4)
Intangibles: Funny enough, the “McManus brothers” are also the main characters in Boondock Saints. (5)
Medals: Emmy and WGA nominations for American Vandal. (3)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 40

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

15. The Zellner Brothers (David and Nathan)

Bio: If you think the Duplasses are Hollywood sellouts, you’ll love the Zellners, longtime veterans of Austin’s indie scene who have so far resisted the pull of the coasts. As Austin Monthly succinctly put it, “Their work is well-respected among cinephiles but not widely known beyond the film festival circuit.” (6)
Resemblance: Both of them look like they could be minor characters on Billions. (6)
Oeuvre: After 20 years making idiosyncratic films on shoestring budgets, June’s bizarro Western Damsel was the brothers’ highest-profile film yet. The filmography also includes a handful of acclaimed shorts, including one where a car crash devolves into a family argument about circumcision. (7)
Hotness: As the main photo on their website confirms, the brothers have been impeccably dressed for decades. (10)
Equality: Both Zellners pop up in Damsel, but I can’t remember which one was which. (6)
Intangibles: The Duplasses have spoken about feeling awed and intimidated by the Zellners’ early output, and David Zellner gave the brothers much-needed editing advice on their first big short, “This Is John.” (3)
Medals: Indie Spirit, Gotham, and Sundance noms, but no big wins yet. Something tells me they may prefer it that way. (3)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 41

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

14. The Polish Brothers (Mark and Michael)

Bio: Identical twins who made a movie about conjoined twins. (7)
Resemblance: They worked the twin angle hard when they were promoting that movie, 1999’s Twin Falls Idaho, but they’ve evolved their individual looks enough that they now just look like brothers who are very close in age. (7)
Oeuvre: Like a lot of directors who came out of Sundance in the late ’90s, the Polish brothers have never quite been able to recapture the magic of their debut, but they’ve kept trying. (5)
Hotness: With their piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and rakish good looks, these guys could have spent the ’90s on Calvin Klein billboards. (10)
Equality: Michael is married to Kate Bosworth, which means he occasionally pops up in Us Weekly. (4)
Intangibles: Google’s autocomplete feature often suggests the brothers have been killed, thanks to British news coverage about the 2005 double murder of Waldemar and Andrzej Markuszewski. (5)
Medals: An Indie Spirit win for their 2001 road movie Jackpot. (3)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 42

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

13. The Brothers Strause (Greg and Colin)

Bio: American visual-effects artists who moved on to directing music videos and made the leap to features with 2007’s Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. (4)
Resemblance: Yup. Definitely brothers. (6)
Oeuvre: Though they hold the distinction of creating the iceberg in Titanic, and directing music videos like Linkin Park’s “Crawling” and Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me,” they’ve only helmed one other feature, 2010’s Skyline, and mostly concentrate on VFX work these days. (5)
Hotness: Look at those beautiful eyes! (10)
Equality: They founded their own effects house together, so it seems like they’re in it for the long haul. (8)
Intangibles: The brothers are apparently “controversial” figures in the special-effects community, and in 2016 they became embroiled in a legal battle against an anonymous emailer who contacted Hollywood executives to warn against working with them. They lost. (6)
Medals: A Best Visual Effects BAFTA for The Day After Tomorrow, plus three VMA noms. (4)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 43

Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock/Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

12. The Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide)

Bio: Twins who started working individually in the Thai film industry before teaming up on the 1999 action film Bangkok Dangerous, which the brothers later remade with Nicolas Cage. (7)
Resemblance: They used to style themselves very similarly, but now Oxide has embraced a spikier hairdo that makes them easy to tell apart. (9)
Oeuvre: They work mostly in Hong Kong, but Bangkok Dangerous and their 2002 horror film The Eye had minor breakthroughs in America. The less said about their English language efforts, the better. (6)
Hotness: I’m sure I’m not the only one intrigued by the idea of twins who dress exactly alike. (10)
Equality: The brothers continue to mix solo work with their joint efforts, and in their early years Danny had a sideline editing films like Infernal Affairs. (5)
Intangibles: Unlike other directing pairs, the Pang brothers are never on set together; instead, they just switch off days. It works, they say, because of their mental connection. (6)
Medals: A few nominations at Hong Kong’s major award ceremonies, but no wins. (2)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 44

Photo: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images

11. The Hughes Brothers (Albert and Allen)

Bio: Twins who got their start directing music videos for Tupac, and made their first feature, Menace II Society, when they were only 20 years old. (8)
Resemblance: They’re twins, but Allen has a slightly wider face so it’s not that hard to tell them apart. (9)
Oeuvre: They followed up Menace II Society with the crime drama Dead Presidents, the documentary American Pimp, and the ill-regarded Alan Moore adaptation From Hell, but they haven’t made a film together since 2010’s Denzel Washington dystopia The Book of Eli. Albert moved to Prague in 2004, and it doesn’t seem like the brothers have any plans to get back together again. (6)
Hotness: Not since Eric Balfour has anyone done as much for the mustache–and–soul-patch look. (10)
Equality: Since the brothers went their separate ways, Allen has had a slightly higher profile, directing the 2013 Mark Wahlberg–Russell Crowe drama Broken City, as well as the HBO docuseries The Defiant Ones. (4)
Intangibles: Hip-hop fans have spent years trying to get to the bottom of whether or not Tupac did indeed beat up Allen Hughes in the early ’90s. (6)
Medals: Only Indie Spirit and Cannes Golden Camera noms, but Allen does have a Grammy for The Defiant Ones. (2)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 45


10. The Safdie Brothers (Josh and Benny)

Bio: The other pair of indie-filmmaker brothers who broke out with a recent Robert Pattinson movie, in this case, last summer’s cult-classic thriller Good Time. (7)
Resemblance: If these guys looked any more New York, they’d be a slice of dollar pizza. (6)
Oeuvre: Besides Good Time, the Safdies have made a documentary about basketball phenom Lenny Cooke, and the addiction drama Heaven Knows What. Their next project, improbably, is a remake of the Eddie Murphy buddy-cop film 48 Hrs. (6)
Hotness: You don’t go on an entire press tour posing next to Robert Pattinson without some of that shine rubbing off. (10)
Equality: There’s the Safdie who played the disabled brother in Good Time, and the Safdie who didn’t. (4)
Intangibles: Their first film, The Pleasure of Being Robbed, started life as sponsored content for Kate Spade, before turning into something else entirely. (8)
Medals: One Indie Spirit win. (5)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 46

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

9. The Glover Brothers (Donald and Stephen)

Bio: Donald Glover is maybe the most famous multi-hyphenate currently working: He’s a comedian who released a series of increasingly acclaimed music, an actor who’s popped up in a bunch of random movies, and now the star of and creative force behind Atlanta. Stephen’s a little easier to summarize: He worked mostly as a musician before Donald hired him as a writer and story editor on Atlanta; he’s got a writing credit on eight episodes, including the famous “Black Justin Bieber” one. (9)
Resemblance: I don’t see it. (3)
Oeuvre: So far Atlanta is the only finished project they’ve worked on together, but they were going to be co-creators of that Deadpool animated series that never wound up happening. (8)
Hotness: Did you see Solo? (10)
Equality: I believe this post marks the first time anyone has said “the Glover brothers” instead of “Donald Glover and his brother.” (1)
Intangibles: In Atlanta, Stephen Glover provides Paper Boi’s rapping voice in the character’s trademark song. (9)
Medals: They’ve shared two WGA Awards, and competed against each other the writing categories at the 2017 Emmys. Donald also has a Golden Globe and a Grammy. (7)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 47

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

8. (tie) The Duplass Brothers (Jay and Mark)

Bio: Brothers who got into filmmaking in the early 2000s with a string of low-budget, semi-improvised movies that we will call “mumblecore” even though everyone involved seems to dislike the term. They now spend most of their time mentoring like-minded filmmakers through their production company, as well as taking various acting gigs. (9)
Resemblance: They maybe look more like cousins than brothers? (6)
Oeuvre: They haven’t directed a movie since 2012, but they’ve been busy producing TV series (Wild Wild Country, Room 104) and extremely Duplass-y movies like Duckbutter and Outside In. (8)
Hotness: They put the “zaddy” in “hot Los Feliz daddy.” (10)
Equality: For a while Mark was the higher-profile Duplass, but after Transparent, it feels like Jay has evened the scales a bit. (7)
Intangibles: Did you know that Jay is actually three years older than Mark? (5)
Medals: Not as many as you might think, just a handful of Indie Spirit noms, and one Gotham Award. (3)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 48

Photo: Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

8. (tie) The Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe)

Bio: Directors who helmed some of the best sitcom episodes of the 2000s, then jumped over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they helmed some of the best superhero movies of the 2010s. (6)
Resemblance: The same nose, but not much else. (6)
Oeuvre: The Russos’ C.V. was enough to get people caring about who directed their favorite television episodes for the first time ever. (8)
Hotness: I’ve been told their tastes are very … singular. (10)
Equality: They even share the same Twitter account. (7)
Intangibles: That they also directed You, Me, and Dupree has not yet been scrubbed from their Wikipedia, but it has from most fans’ minds. (4)
Medals: One Emmy, for directing the Arrested Development pilot. (7)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 48

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

6. The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby)

Bio: If you were in elementary or middle school in the ’90s, there’s a good chance the Farrelly brothers taught you sex ed. (8)
Resemblance: They look like guys who were maybe neighbors once. (3)
Oeuvre: The Farrelly brothers invented the “gross-out comedy with heart” subgenre with their debut, Dumb & Dumber, and perfected it on their masterpiece, There’s Something About Mary. Recent efforts have seen diminishing returns. (8)
Hotness: They made a movie in which a man’s penis gets caught in his pants zipper and a woman uses semen as a hairstyling product, so you know they’re down to get freaky. (10)
Equality: I know their names are Peter and Bobby, but I don’t know which is which. (7)
Intangibles: They have a story credit on the classic Seinfeld episode “The Virgin.” (7)
Medals: Shockingly, the brothers have never been nominated for an Oscar, But they did win a Producers Guild trophy for There’s Something About Mary. (4)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 49

Photo: Lee Celano/WireImage

5. The Wayans Brothers (Keenen, Damon, Shawn, and Marlon)

Bio: Four members of a wider entertainment clan that also includes sister Kim and Damon’s son Damon Jr. (7)
Resemblance: Keenen and Damon look alike, and Shawn and Marlon look alike, but I don’t know if the two pairs look that much alike. (7)
Oeuvre: Though there are plenty of moves made by a Wayans and starring another Wayans, the list of projects where two Wayans have collaborated behind the camera is somewhat smaller: In Living Color, Don’t Be a Menace…, the first two Scary Movie installments, White Chicks, and Littleman. (8)
Hotness: As in a boy band, each Wayans fills the role of a separate heartthrob archetype: Keenan is the strong and silent type, Damon is the boy next door, Shawn is the bad boy, and Marlon is the clown. (10)
Equality: Though they work separately more than other brothers on this list, the Wayans have done an admirable job of all staying roughly the same level of famous. (5)
Intangibles: Two Wayans nephews write and star in the BET sitcom Second Generation Wayans, which is the perfect opportunity to use this meme. (7)
Medals: Keenen has some Emmys. Shawn and Marlon have some Razzies. (6)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 50


4. The Dardennes (Jean-Pierre and Luc)

Bio: A pair of Wallonian brothers whose naturalistic mise-en-scène and focus on the working class have earned them the sobriquet, “Ken Loach, if he was Belgian and there were two of him.” (7)
Resemblance: Jean-Pierre has slightly more hair than Luc, but otherwise they look fairly similar. (6)
Oeuvre: After getting started in documentaries, the brothers have directed a series of small-scale social dramas that emphasize the moral dilemmas capitalism forces on workers. (7)
Hotness: In 2014, the brothers released their critically acclaimed film Two Days, One Night, which is also the length of my dream date with them. (10)
Equality: If a Dardenne brother sought the spotlight, he would not be a Dardenne. (8)
Intangibles: The brothers’ list of their 79 favorite films contains precisely two comedies. (5)
Medals: Not many American awards, but they are among a select group of filmmakers to have won the Palme d’Or twice. (8)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 51

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI

3. The Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross)

Bio: There’s being born too late, and then there’s the Duffer brothers, who got their big break 30 years after they could have achieved their primary dream of making ’80s pop culture, and 13 years after they could have achieved their secondary dream of appearing on VH1’s I Love the 80s. (6)
Resemblance: More twins. (9)
Oeuvre: Besides being the creators of Stranger Things, they also made the 2015 thriller Hidden and wrote for M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines. But yeah, it’s mostly Stranger Things. (7)
Hotness: I wouldn’t mind them sending me to the Upside Down, if you get what I’m saying. (10)
Equality: The most famous brothers in America whose first names I had to look up. (9)
Intangibles: In 2016 they told Vulture they’re not sure if they’re identical or fraternal twins, and they’re too nervous to get tested. (7)
Medals: A ton of DGA, WGA, and Emmy nominations, but so far the only major award they’ve won is a Producers Guild trophy last year. (5)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 53

Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

2. The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan)

Bio: Immensely respected American filmmakers who have proven they can do everything except remake a beloved British comedy. (9)
Resemblance: They have basically the same face. (8)
Oeuvre: You want a stark examination of how man creates meaning in a meaningless universe? They made No Country for Old Men and Miller’s Crossing. You want a dumb comedy? They made The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading. You want both? They made Fargo. (10)
Hotness: I have a dream where they’re both married to Frances McDormand. Also, in this dream I am Frances McDormand. (10)
Equality: The only difference I can think of is that one of them is tall and the other one is not. (5)
Intangibles: Their longtime editor Roderick Jaynes has not given an interview in the past 17 years. (3)
Medals: Four Oscars, a Golden Globe, two BAFTAs, six guild trophies, and four Indie Spirits. (10)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 55

Photo: Javier Etxezarreta/EPA/REX/Shutt/Javier Etxezarreta/EPA/REX/Shutt

1. The Brothers Quay (Stephen and Timothy)

Bio: Pennsylvania-born twins who moved to England for art school and have since become renowned for their experimental stop-motion animation. (10)
Resemblance: Impressively, the brothers’ commitment to rocking the same hairstyle has not waned over the decades. (10)
Oeuvre: A collection of unsettling animated shorts filled with dead-eyed baby dolls, unfathomable rituals, and inhuman shrieks. (10)
Hotness: They spend their time manipulating tiny objects with their fingers, so let your imagination wander. (10)
Equality: They seem to have done absolutely everything together for the past 40 years. (10)
Intangibles: The band Tool has often been accused of ripping off the Quays’ aesthetic for their own music videos, with none other than Kurt Cobain saying that the brothers should have sued. (10)
Medals: Nominated for a BAFTA and the Palme d’Or. (10)
B.R.O.H.E.I.M. Total: 70

Congratulations to the Brothers Quay for being names Vulture’s No. 1 pair of behind-the-camera brothers! Disagree with these rankings? Try running the brothers through the competing H.E.R.M.A.N.O. system to see if you get a different result!

The H.E.R.M.A.N.O. system awards points for Honesty, Experience, Realism, Manliness, Aesthetics, Knowledge, and Obedience.
Behind-the-Camera Brothers, Ranked