The Best Actors in Film History

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List Criteria: Male actors only! Vote based on each actor's FILM career only.

The best actors ever are ranked here in this list of the best actors in film history. These are the greatest actors ever to appear on the silver screen - male only (to vote on both genders, check out this list of the greatest film actors and actresses). These gentlemen were part of some of the greatest movies of all time (or were perhaps the reason they were the best movies ever), with countless Academy Awards between them.

What are the qualities of the best actors of all time? Is it the raw emotion they show, the parts they choose, their acting methods, or simply their effortless charm and charisma? There's no denying some of these amazing actors belong on the list of the hottest male celebrities, but behind the 1000 watt smiles lies the talent that defines generations of actors.

Who is the best actor of all time? Is it a classic actor like Marlon Brando, a comedic genius like Charlie Chaplin, a double-threat like Clint Eastwood, or a method actor like Daniel Day Lewis? There are so many choices for the greatest movie actor ever that you may have a hard time choosing just one (although you can vote for as many of the actors on this list of the greatest actors ever as you'd like). If your favorite leading man isn't on the list, make sure to add him so others can vote for him to receive the title of best actor in film history.
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  1. 1
    + 12,086
    - 5,794
    Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    the people's #1
    Al Pacino The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Scarface See The Best Al Pacino Movies

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  2. 2
    + 10,318
    - 5,403
    Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    most listed
    Jack Nicholson The Shining, The Departed, Batman See The Best Jack Nicholson Movies

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  3. 3
    + 11,214
    - 5,269
    Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Robert De Niro Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver See The Best Robert De Niro Movies

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  4. 4
    + 10,582
    - 3,548
    Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    ranked low on reranks
    Tom Hanks Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story See The Best Tom Hanks Movies

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  5. 5
    + 9,322
    - 4,545
    Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Marlon Brando The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Superman See The Best Marlon Brando Movies

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  6. 6
    + 5,795
    - 2,667


    The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World See The Best Anthony Hopkins Movies

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  7. 7
    + 6,248
    - 2,808
    Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Morgan Freeman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins See The Best Morgan Freeman Movies

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  8. 8
    + 10,436
    - 5,308
    Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic, Inception, The Departed See The Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

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  9. 9
    + 4,642
    - 2,286


    The Graduate, Being John Malkovich, Rain Man See The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies

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  10. 10
    + 6,038
    - 3,510


    Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood See The Best Daniel Day-Lewis Movies

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  11. 11
    + 5,548
    - 2,750
    Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day See The Best Denzel Washington Movies

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  12. 12
    + 4,487
    - 1,778
    Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    ranked low on reranks
    Paul Newman The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars See The Best Paul Newman Movies

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  13. 13
    + 3,791
    - 2,100
    James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Stewart It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, Rear Window See The Best James Stewart Movies

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  14. 14
    + 6,474
    - 4,245
    Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Johnny Depp A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands See The Best Johnny Depp Movies

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  15. 15
    + 4,655
    - 2,087


    Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry See The Best Clint Eastwood Movies

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  16. 16
    + 4,020
    - 1,583


    American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects See The Best Kevin Spacey Movies

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  17. 17
    + 3,894
    - 1,755
    Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Gary Oldman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins See The Best Gary Oldman Movies

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  18. 18
    + 3,553
    - 1,528


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins  See The Best Michael Caine Movies

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  19. 19
    + 3,340
    - 1,473
    Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Gene Hackman Superman, The French Connection, Young Frankenstein See The Best Gene Hackman Movies

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  20. 20
    + 4,323
    - 1,852


    Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society  See The Best Robin Williams Movies

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  21. 21
    + 3,533
    - 1,626


    Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner See The Best Harrison Ford Movies

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  22. 22
    + 2,987
    - 1,547
    Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Humphrey Bogart Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen See The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies

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  23. 23
    + 3,352
    - 1,632
    Edward Norton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Edward Norton Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk, American History X  See The Best Edward Norton Movies

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  24. 24
    + 3,155
    - 1,203
    Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Robert Duvall The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now See The Best Robert Duvall Movies

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  25. 25
    + 3,669
    - 1,424
    Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Sean Connery Goldfinger, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade See The Best Sean Connery Movies

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  26. 26
    + 3,676
    - 1,692


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins See The Best Christain Bale Movies

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  27. 27
    + 2,813
    - 1,244


    Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns See The Best Christopher Walken Movies

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  28. 28
    + 2,691
    - 1,318
    Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Cary Grant North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday See The Best Cary Grant Movies

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  29. 29
    + 2,707
    - 1,140
    Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear, The Omen  See The Best Gregory Peck Movies

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  30. 30
    + 3,314
    - 1,578
    Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Liam Neeson The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Schindler's List See The Best Liam Neeson Movies

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  31. 31
    + 3,687
    - 1,632
    Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Robert Downey Jr. The Avengers, Iron Man, Iron Man 3 See The Best Robert Downey Jr. Movies

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  32. 32
    + 2,987
    - 1,516
    Russell Crowe is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Russell Crowe Gladiator, Man of Steel, A Beautiful Mind See The Best Russell Crowe Movies

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  33. 33
    + 3,280
    - 1,824
    Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Brad Pitt Fight Club, Seven, The Departed See The Best Brad Pitt Movies

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  34. 34
    + 2,270
    - 1,269


    Once Upon a Time in the West, 12 Angry Men, The Grapes of Wrath See The Best Henry Fonda Movies

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  35. 35
    + 2,799
    - 1,025
    Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    ranked low on reranks
    Tommy Lee Jones No Country for Old Men, Men in Black, Captain America: The First Avenger ... See The Best Tommy Lee Jones Movies

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  36. 36
    + 2,766
    - 1,459
    Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Samuel L. Jackson The Avengers, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas See The Best Samuel L. Jackson Movies

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  37. 37
    + 2,112
    - 1,123


    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The ... See The Best Ian McKellen Movies

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  38. 38
    + 2,054
    - 1,145
    Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Sidney Poitier In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Sneakers See The Best Sidney Poitier Movies

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  39. 39
    + 2,089
    - 1,187


    Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca See The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

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  40. 40
    + 2,575
    - 1,268


    City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times See The Best Charlie Chaplin Movies

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  41. 41
    + 2,159
    - 1,227
    Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus See The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

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  42. 42
    + 1,893
    - 990
    Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island See The Best Ben Kingsley Movies

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  43. 43
    + 1,629
    - 765
    Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Alan Rickman Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the ...

  44. 44
    + 2,539
    - 1,239
    Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Heath Ledger The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot See The Best Heath Ledger Movies

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  45. 45
    + 2,174
    - 1,110
    Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Matt Damon Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Good Will Hunting See The Best Matt Damon Movies

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  46. 46
    + 1,649
    - 802
    Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Jeff Bridges Iron Man, The Big Lebowski, Tron See The Best Jeff Bridges Movies

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  47. 47
    + 1,451
    - 914
    Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Ralph Fiennes Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry ... See The Best Ralph Fiennes Movies

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  48. 48
    + 1,668
    - 887
    Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Robert Redford Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the ... See The Best Robert Redford Movies

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  49. 49
    + 2,113
    - 1,693
    Sean Penn is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors in Film History

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Sean Penn Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Being John Malkovich, Mystic River See The Best Sean Penn Movies

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  50. 50
    + 1,654
    - 898
    Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors in Film History


    Philip Seymour Hoffman The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, The Big Lebowski See The Best Philip Seymour Hoffman Movies

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