This may be an attractive alternative to an ordinary cameo for three reasons. First, it is unobtrusive and therefore does not risk breaking a tense or dramatic mood. Second, it symbolizes the creator's deep involvement in the project by portraying him or her almost literally as a "guiding hand". Third, it makes a neat trivia question.
- Rumor has it that legendarily reclusive Thomas Pynchon owns the hands that bring the blackjack down on Doc Sportello's head in Inherent Vice, the film of Pynchon's novel. This has not been confirmed and director Paul Thomas Anderson refused to answer when asked.
- Carol Reed's hands as Harry Lime's, grasping through the sewer grate in The Third Man.
- Mel Gibson's hands as some Roman's, pounding in one of the nails in The Passion of the Christ. He also provides the foot of Jesus being washed by Mary Magdalene and the arms that tie Judas's noose.
- Quentin Tarantino's hands as Landa's, strangling von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds.
- James Cameron's hands as Jack's, drawing Rose in Titanic (1997).
- Joss Whedon's hand as Captain Hammer's, punching the remote control on top of the bank van.
Entire Cast on the commentary (not that commentary): JOSS'S FIST!
- In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:
- When Shelob drags paralyzed Frodo away, Sam's sword-wielding hand that enters the frame gunslinger-style is actually that of Peter Jackson.
- More esoterically, he banged the gong which is heard as Aragorn enters Edoras and sees that Éowyn has disappeared.
- Dario Argento as the Hand of Death in many of his films.
- Lewis Milestone's hand as Paul's at the famous ending scene of All Quiet on the Western Front.
- Bryan Singer as the silhouetted Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects.
- Which makes him one of about a half-dozen different people, including two of the lead actors, to portray Keyser in that film.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- In Paul Blart: Mall Cop, at one point producer Barry Bernardi's hand stands in for Adam Ferrara's. It's quite obvious, given the... significant age difference between them.
- A somewhat squicky variant: In the first scene of the film adaption of Ichi the Killer, Ichi is shown masturbating, with what is supposed to be sperm being shown dripping down later. Turns out it really was semen, supplied by none other than the film's director himself.
- Terry Gilliam is the gorilla hand who turns the book in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the female hand that precedes it is his wife).
- Andy Dufresne's hand loading the gun at the beginning of The Shawshank Redemption belonged to director Frank Darabont.
- In Cameron's first scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, we see the character's hand reach down and press a button on his speakerphone. The hand was actually that of writer/director John Hughes; actor Alan Ruck didn't get the movement quite right, so Hughes did it himself after everyone else had left for the day.
- Producer Steven Spielberg's hands during the infamous face-tearing-off scene in Poltergeist.
- Rian Johnson's hand in the scene in Looper when the older version of Seth starts losing his fingers, nose and other extremeties as the younger version is being tortured.
- He also fills in for Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, when he grabs the dice in the dashboard of the Millennium Falcon.
- Director Sam Mendes' hands as Ricky's towards the end of American Beauty, when he's pushing open the door to discover Lester dead in the dining room.
- Zack Snyder:
- James Bond:
- Director Terence Young's hand as James Bond's writing the title phrase on a photograph in From Russia with Love.
- Director Martin Campbell's hand as Alec Trevelyan's in GoldenEye, when Trevelyan reaches into the Canadian Admiral's jacket pocket to steal his identification card while the Admiral goes Out with a Bang at the hands (or thighs, rather) of Xenia Onatopp.
- Director Kurt Wimmer performed John Preston's hand close-ups in Equilibrium. In the DVD commentary, Wimmer said that it was actually faster to do it that way because it meant he got the action he wanted in a single take rather than trying to explain what needed to be done to Christian Bale and go through rehearsals and multiple takes.
- Cameron Crowe's hands are the ones scribbling the opening titles to Almost Famous.
- In the stabbing scene near the end of The Stepford Wives, that's director Bryan Forbes's shaved hand doing the deed instead of Katherine Ross, although it was more because Ross couldn't bring herself to shoot the scene.
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God: Werner Herzog's hand is one of the ones keeping Aguirre's daughter's carriage from tipping into the Amazon.
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife pulls this off with a Fake Shemp performance capture: Ivan Reitman, director of Ghostbusters (1984) and father of this film's director Jason Reitman, plays the body of Egon's ghost during the climatic Backup from Otherworld, a job otherwise done by Bob Gunton in the rest of the film.
- Mark VII Productions, creators of several Police Procedural shows including Dragnet and Adam-12, had a Vanity Plate of the "VII" being set into stone by the use of a sledge hammer striking a chisel. The hands holding the hammer and chisel are Jack Webb's.
- Series creator Agnes Nixon's hand opening the photo album in the old opening titles to All My Children.
- Doctor Who:
- Showrunner Damon Lindelof's hand as Locke's, turning on the lights at the Pearl Station in the Lost episode "?".
- Series creator Bruce Geller's hand, striking the match during the opening credits of the original Mission: Impossible.
- In the 80's revival it was Peter Graves' hand.
- Series creator Alan Spencer's hands, stealing newspapers out of a vending machine in the pilot episode of Sledge Hammer!
- In the first two Doom games, Doomguy's arms are digitized photos of assistant artist Kevin Cloud.