The Best Actors in Film History

580k votes 35k voters 719k views 718 items tags f p @

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.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 212 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 11,787
    - 5,406

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 10,060
    - 5,039

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 10,907
    - 4,922


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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 10,007
    - 3,452

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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 9,111
    - 4,196


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

    ;
  6. 6
    + 5,579
    - 2,573


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

    ;
  7. 7
    + 10,160
    - 4,941


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

    ;
  8. 8
    + 6,021
    - 2,692


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

    ;
  9. 9
    + 5,851
    - 3,203


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

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,253
    - 2,207


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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 5,356
    - 2,641


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

    ;
  12. 12
    + 6,304
    - 3,908

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 4,190
    - 1,731


    The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars See The Best Paul Newman Movies

    ;
  14. 14
    + 3,491
    - 2,039

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 4,494
    - 2,014


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

    ;
  16. 16
    + 3,869
    - 1,533


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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 3,417
    - 1,479


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 3,751
    - 1,707


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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 4,163
    - 1,795


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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 3,217
    - 1,437


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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 3,408
    - 1,563


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

    ;
  22. 22
    + 3,222
    - 1,567


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

    ;
  23. 23
    + 3,049
    - 1,173


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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 2,888
    - 1,507


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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 3,555
    - 1,371


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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 3,549
    - 1,634


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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 2,727
    - 1,204


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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 2,613
    - 1,279


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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 2,616
    - 1,110


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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 3,198
    - 1,535


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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 3,563
    - 1,579


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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 2,883
    - 1,464


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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 3,172
    - 1,754


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

    ;
  34. 34
    + 2,196
    - 1,228


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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2,696
    - 987

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 2,672
    - 1,412


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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 2,045
    - 1,080


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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,992
    - 1,106


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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 2,030
    - 1,150


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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 2,484
    - 1,223


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

    ;
  41. 41
    + 2,081
    - 1,192


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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,819
    - 953


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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 2,445
    - 1,193


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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,593
    - 764


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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,547
    - 729


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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 2,064
    - 1,067


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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,393
    - 879


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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 2,049
    - 1,641

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

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1,600
    - 857


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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,583
    - 856


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

    ;
719 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >