Vimentin intermediate filaments (VIFs) and F-actin are filamentous cytoskeletal proteins generally thought to form completely independent networks that have vastly different properties and functions. Here, we show that, unexpectedly, there exist both extensive structural and functional interactions between VIFs and F-actin. We show that VIFs and F-actin form an interpenetrating network (IPN) within the cell cortex and interact synergistically at multiple length scales. This IPN structure has important functional consequences in cells: The IPN results in enhanced contractile forces in the cell. In addition, VIFs influence the diffusive behavior of actin monomers, suggesting specific associations between actin and vimentin proteins in the cytoplasm; this facilitates formation of the IPN and has downstream effects on other actin-driven processes. The results suggest that contributions of VIFs and F-actin are strongly correlated. Such interactions counter generally accepted behavior and are broadly significant given the wide range of processes currently attributed to F-actin alone.