The Best Episodes of Inside the Actors Studio

Last Updated: Dec 4, 2018

For over 12 years and more than 100 episodes, James Lipton has sat down with some of the world's most accomplished actors and directors for penetrating, fascinating interviews. Lipton's studious research and enlightened curiosity has inspired his guests to open up and confess their deepest thoughts about the art of acting. The series premiered with Paul Newman, an Actors Studio alumnus and former president (1982-1994). A partial list of six-score-and-counting featured guests includes Sally Field, Dennis Hopper, Jessica Lange, Christopher Walken, Nathan Lane, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Lemmon, Gary Sinise, Kathy Bates, Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, John Hurt, Harrison Ford, Spike Lee, Ed Harris, Ben Affleck, Mike Myers, Antonio Banderas, Kevin Kline, Gene Hackman, Debra Winger, Johnny Depp, Hugh Grant, Richard Gere, Benicio del Toro, Samuel L. Jackson, Sir Ian McKellen, Pierce Brosnan, Juliette Binoche , Martin Scorcese,

Clint Eastwood

#1 - Clint Eastwood

Season 10 - Episode 2

The writer, director and long-running acclaimed actor draws on over five decades of professional experience in a thrilling dissertation of his successes.

star 10.00
3 votes
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Barbra Streisand

#2 - Barbra Streisand

Season 10 - Episode 14

star 10.00
1 votes
Julianne Moore

#3 - Julianne Moore

Season 9 - Episode 7

star 10.00
1 votes
Stockard Channing

#4 - Stockard Channing

Season 8 - Episode 7

star 10.00
1 votes
Francis Ford Coppola

#5 - Francis Ford Coppola

Season 7 - Episode 14

One of the all-time great directors takes the stage to compare notes on his signature directing style, his relationship with his actors and the support of his family and the importance of all these factors on his work.

star 10.00
1 votes
Jim Parsons

#6 - Jim Parsons

Season 20 - Episode 6

star 10.00
1 votes
Alec Baldwin (II)

#7 - Alec Baldwin (II)

Season 13 - Episode 13

James Lipton talks to Alec Baldwin about his career since his original 1994 appearance on the show, and his recent foray into television.

star 10.00
3 votes
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Sean Penn

#8 - Sean Penn

Season 5 - Episode 7

Actor Sean Penn is profiled and interviewed about his career.

star 9.50
4 votes
Sir Anthony Hopkins (II)

#9 - Sir Anthony Hopkins (II)

Season 13 - Episode 12

Acclaimed actor and proud owner of a knighthood, Sir Anthony Hopkins returns to talk to James Lipton about his continually successful career on screen and stage.

star 9.40
5 votes
Dave Chappelle

#10 - Dave Chappelle

Season 12 - Episode 11

Comedian Dave Chappelle discusses his TV and film work, including "Chappelle's Show," "Blue Streak" and "Undercover Brother."

star 9.40
5 votes
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Jodie Foster

#11 - Jodie Foster

Season 12 - Episode 1

James Lipton interviews the quietly successful lead actress in many different films. Taped after the making of, but before the release of, "Flightplan."

star 9.00
1 votes
Ben Affleck

#12 - Ben Affleck

Season 7 - Episode 8

The charismatic character actor discusses his on-screen personas, his writing career, his relationship with fellow actor Matt Damon and all points in-between.

star 9.00
1 votes
Dustin Hoffman

#13 - Dustin Hoffman

Season 12 - Episode 16

A star-studded audience attends to see the beloved, talented leading man who gives a rare in-depth interview with humor and honesty.

star 9.00
1 votes
Ben Stiller

#14 - Ben Stiller

Season 8 - Episode 1

The world-renouned comedic actor looks back on a life lived constantly in showbusiness, his appearances on various television shows and his breakthrough into the world of movies.

star 9.00
1 votes
Drew Barrymore

#15 - Drew Barrymore

Season 9 - Episode 11

The charming actress discusses the challenges of being a child actor, her teenage struggle with drugs and her transformation into a venerable leading lady.

star 9.00
1 votes
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Kate Winslet

#16 - Kate Winslet

Season 10 - Episode 13

The beautifully vivacious, multi-award winning yet down-to-earth English actress, recently a mother at the time of broadcast, visits the studio.

star 9.00
1 votes
George Carlin

#17 - George Carlin

Season 11 - Episode 4

New York comedian George Carlin fields questions about his long-running standup career, his many dislikes and the nature of life in this frank and revealing interview session.

star 9.00
11 votes
Natalie Portman

#18 - Natalie Portman

Season 11 - Episode 7

The former Harvard graduate and runaway success story takes the chair and discusses her mixed roots, her response to being cast in so many successful films and her plans for the future.

star 9.00
1 votes
Spike Lee

#19 - Spike Lee

Season 7 - Episode 6

star 9.00
1 votes
Tina Fey

#20 - Tina Fey

Season 19 - Episode 1

Comic and actress Tina Fey discusses her comedy roots in Chicago, being a writer for 'Saturday Night Live,' hosting the Golden Globe Awards, and impersonating Sarah Palin.

star 9.00
2 votes
Laura Linney

#21 - Laura Linney

Season 15 - Episode 7

Laura Linney---three-time Emmy winner and three-time Oscar nominee (for 2007's "The Savages," 2004's "Kinsey" and 2000's "You Can Count on Me")---shares perspective on her life and career in a discourse with host James Lipton.

star 9.00
5 votes
Directors: Jeff Wurtz
Writers: James Lipton
Salma Hayek

#22 - Salma Hayek

Season 11 - Episode 9

The beautiful and talented actress enlightens the audience about her struggles to become a leading lady and how much she intends to make the most of her accomplishments.

star 9.00
1 votes
Bryan Cranston

#23 - Bryan Cranston

Season 21 - Episode 2

Through the episode, Cranston intimately recalls his early days, including a defining moment in his childhood when he went from an outgoing and happy youth to a recluse after his father left his family. He carefully navigates some of his most well-known roles and the challenges that came along with them, including how he shaped his quirky paternal character, Hal, in Malcom in the Middle, and how he drew inspiration from his own broken father when creating his vision for the iconic character of Walter White. Viewers will also be heartened to learn of the actor’s powerful thoughts while shooting one of the most pivotal scenes from Breaking Bad, as well as what Cranston believes to be Walter’s ultimate "truth."

star 8.80
15 votes
Harrison Ford

#24 - Harrison Ford

Season 6 - Episode 12

The versatile leading man fills the host and the studio audience in on his unusual entrance to acting and the details of his illustrious film career.

star 8.80
5 votes
Morgan Freeman

#25 - Morgan Freeman

Season 11 - Episode 10

The versatile, highly-skilled, softly spoken veteran takes the time to describe his life, his surprise at his success and his intentions to keep acting for as long as posslble.

star 8.75
4 votes
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