Children in cinema are often hit or miss when it comes to the quality of performances. One of the unwritten rules of filmmaking is to never work with children or animals because both can be fairly unpredictable. However, over the years, there have been exceptions to the rules, kids who not only delivered awe-inspired performances but overshadowed the older actors they worked alongside.

Jodie Foster – Jodie Foster was one of the most successful children in cinema and parlayed it into a very successful career as an adult in Hollywood as well. She appeared in a large number of productions as a kid, including television series such as “Gunsmoke” and “Adam-12.” While she built a steady line of work, it was when Martin Scorsese discovered her and cast her in his 1976 film, “Taxi Driver” as a child prostitute at the age of 14. The role earned her an Oscar nomination and launched her career to the moon.

Lindsay Lohan -- Jodie Foster starred in the 1976 film, “Freaky Friday” as her career developed and the movie was remade in 2003, starring a member of the notorious children in cinema, Lindsay Lohan. While Jodie Foster built a respectable career as a child, Lohan went in the opposite direction. Lohan was considered one of the bright young stars in Hollywood until her fame and fortune caused her to veer wildly off course. Lohan starred in the hit film “Mean Girls” in 2004 but has not reached that level of success, spending as much time in court as she did on a Hollywood set.

Drew Barrymore – Stephen Spielberg cast his god-daughter Drew Barrymore in his hit sci-fi film, “E.T.,” and a star was born. Barrymore enjoyed a successful film career as a child, including the starring role in the Stephen King adaptation “Firestarter,” and the second generation star became a hot commodity. Barrymore began to become a wild child but, luckily, never hit bottom like Lindsay Lohan did before her. Barrymore has gone on to build her successful career as one of the children in cinema into a nice career as an adult actress.

Dakota Fanning – Stephen Spielberg worked with his god-daughter in “E.T.,” so when he calls Dakota Fanning one of the smartest children in cinema, it means something. Fanning enjoyed her breakout role in the Sean Penn mental handicap drama “I am Sam” in 2001 at the age of seven. Fanning earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination, the youngest performer to ever receive one. Recently, she began to approach more adult fare such as “The Runaways” and “Push,” but never drifted into controversial situations like other young actors.

Haley Joel Osment – While the other children in cinema on this list have gone on to adult careers in the business, there are also times where the performers don’t seem to be able to make the jump into the adult world of Hollywood. Haley Joel Osment set the world on fire with his role in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” at the age of eleven. He showed great talent and delivered a genuine performance, showing great promise for this future and earning an Oscar nomination. He also starred in the great “Secondhand Lions,” Stephen Spielberg’s “A.I.” and the tear jerker “Pay it Forward.” His career has faded since reaching adulthood.