The Greatest British Actors of All Time

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List Criteria: Male actors born in Great Britain

This list of the greatest British actors of all time has been ranked by fans of the films and TV shows in which these men have starred. What is it about British men that makes them so magnetic on the screen? Is it their sexy accents? Their distinguished demeanors? Whatever the case, there are many top British actors and great English actors who have achieved fame, success, and won many awards worldwide.

British actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Ben Kingsley are considered to be some of the greatest actors of all time. This list includes British male actors from the United Kingdom of Great Britain, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Who are your favorites among these best British actors? Vote them up, or click rerank below to make a list of your own.
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Margam, United Kingdom Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE is a Welsh actor of film, stage, and television, and a composer and painter. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1957, he trained at

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    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman is an English actor. Rickman is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in both modern and classical theatre productions. His breakout performance was as the

  3. 3
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    Rotherhithe, London, United Kingdom Sir Michael Caine, CBE, is an English actor and author. Renowned for his distinctive Cockney accent, Caine has appeared in over 115 films and is one of the UK's most recognisable actors. He made his

  4. 4
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    New Cross, London, England Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, filmmaker, and musician. Oldman rose to prominence in the United Kingdom with his portrayals of Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy and Joe Orton in Prick Up Your

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    ranked low on reranks
    Burnley, United Kingdom Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE is an English actor. He is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn

  6. 6
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    Greenwich, London, United Kingdom Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is an English actor. He holds both British and Irish citizenship. Born and raised in London, he excelled on stage at the National Youth Theatre, before being

  7. 7
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    Ipswich, United Kingdom Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, is an English actor. A noted Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre. Fiennes' portrayal of Nazi war

  8. 8
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    Fountainbridge, United Kingdom Sir Thomas Sean Connery is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes. He was knighted by Elizabeth II in July 2000, and received the Kennedy

  9. 9
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    England, London Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ, is an English actor, singer and author. Lee initially portrayed villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a string of popular

  10. 10
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    Grayshott, United Kingdom Colin Andrew Firth, CBE is an English film, television, and theatre actor. His films have grossed more than $3 billion from 42 releases worldwide. He has received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, two

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    England, Dorking Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also worked

  12. 12
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    Maida Vale, London, United Kingdom Sir Alec Guinness, CH CBE was an English actor. After an early career on the stage he was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he

  13. 13
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    added by lordrocknroll
    Ballymena, United Kingdom Liam John Neeson, OBE is an Irish actor. In 1976, he joined the Lyric Players' Theatre in Belfast for two years. He then acted in the Arthurian film, Excalibur. Between 1982 and 1987, Neeson starred

  14. 14
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    Snainton, England Sir Ben Kingsley is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. He is known for his starring role as

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    Haverfordwest, United Kingdom Christian Charles Philip Bale is an English actor. He has starred in both blockbuster films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses. Bale first caught the public eye at the age

  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Limerick, Republic of Ireland Richard St John Harris was an Irish actor, singer, theatrical producer, film director and writer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, and King

  17. 17
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    Connemara, Republic of Ireland Peter Seamus O'Toole was a British-Irish stage and film actor. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the

  18. 18
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    Mirfield, United Kingdom Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is an English film, television, and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career on stage and screen. He is most widely known for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in

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    England, London Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is an English actor and film producer who has performed in film, television, theatre and radio. The son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, he graduated

  20. 20
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    Chesterfield, United Kingdom Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor. Hurt has had a career spanning six decades and initially came to prominence for his supporting role as Richard Rich in the film A Man for All Seasons.

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Horfield, United Kingdom Cary Grant was an English stage and Hollywood film actor who became an American citizen in 1942. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and "dashing good looks", Grant is

  22. 22
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    Port Glasgow, United Kingdom James McAvoy is a Scottish actor. He made his acting debut as a teen in 1995's The Near Room and continued to make mostly television appearances until the late 2000s. His notable television work

  23. 23
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    Handsworth, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom Shaun Mark "Sean" Bean is an English actor. Bean first found success for his portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the ITV series Sharpe. He has since garnered further recognition for his

  24. 24
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    Cowes, United Kingdom Jeremy John Irons is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London

  25. 25
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    Perth, United Kingdom Ewan Gordon McGregor, OBE is a Scottish actor who has had success in mainstream, indie, and art house films. His first professional role was in 1993, when he won a leading role in the Channel 4 series

  26. 26
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    often listed
    Caterham, United Kingdom William Francis "Bill" Nighy is an English actor. He worked in theatre and television before his first cinema role in 1981, and made his name in television with The Men's Room in 1991, in

  27. 27
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Belfast, United Kingdom Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has directed or starred in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays,

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    England Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor and filmmaker who rose to fame in the silent film era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona

  29. 29
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    ranked low on reranks & added by jobill
    Ilford, London, United Kingdom Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, CH, DBE is an English actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has

  30. 30
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    Oxford, United Kingdom James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE, known professionally as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, writer, director, musician and comedian. He first became known as one-half of the Fry and Laurie double act with

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    Heworth, United Kingdom Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English actress and author. Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she

  32. 32
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    Cabra, Dublin, Republic of Ireland Sir Michael John Gambon CBE is an Irish-born English actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. Gambon has played Philip Marlow in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, Jules

  33. 33
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    England, London James David Graham Niven was an English actor and novelist who was popular in Europe and in the United States. He may be best known for his roles as Squadron Leader Peter Carter in A Matter of Life

  34. 34
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    England, London Thomas William "Tom" Hiddleston is an English actor. He is known for playing the character of Loki in the Marvel Studios films Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. He has also

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    Heidelberg, Germany Michael Fassbender is a German-Irish actor and producer. His first screen role was in the 2000 TV miniseries, Hearts and Bones, followed by the 2001 television miniseries Band of Brothers. He then

  36. 36
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Leeds, United Kingdom Thomas Geoffrey "Tom" Wilkinson, OBE is an English actor. He has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, for his roles in In the Bedroom and Michael Clayton. In 2009, he won Golden Globe

  37. 37
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    Pontrhydyfen, United Kingdom Richard Burton, CBE (10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role (without ever winning),

  38. 38
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    Aldershot, United Kingdom Martin John Christopher Freeman is an English actor, best known for portraying Tim Canterbury in the UK version of the sitcom mockumentary The Office, Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama

  39. 39
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    ranked low on reranks & added by OkieJoseph
    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, DBE, is an English actor. Mirren has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress

  40. 40
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    Chester, England Daniel Wroughton Craig is an English actor. Cast as the fictional British secret agent James Bond 007 in October 2005, his first film in the role, Casino Royale, was released in theatres worldwide in

  41. 41
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    Consett, United Kingdom Rowan Sebastian Atkinson, CBE is an English actor, comedian, and screenwriter best known for his work on the sitcoms Mr. Bean and Blackadder. Atkinson first came to prominence in the sketch comedy

  42. 42
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    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom Tom Hardy is an actor.

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    London Borough of Hackney, London, United Kingdom Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba is a British actor, producer, singer, rapper, and DJ. Elba is best known for his portrayal of drug lord and aspiring businessman Russell "Stringer" Bell

  44. 44
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    Lewisham, London, United Kingdom David Jude Heyworth Law, known professionally as Jude Law, is an English actor, film producer and director. He began acting with the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987, and had his first television

  45. 45
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    Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late

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    Holton cum Beckering, United Kingdom Jim Broadbent is an actor.

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    Ibadan, Nigeria Hugo Wallace Weaving is an Australian-British film and stage actor. He is best known for his roles as Agent Smith in The Matrix trilogy and Elrond in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film

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    Southsea, England Peter Sellers, CBE was a British film actor, comedian and singer. He performed in the BBC Radio comedy series The Goon Show, featured on a number of hit comic songs and became known to a world-wide

  49. 49
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    Goodmayes, London, United Kingdom Sir Ian Holm CBE is an English actor known for his stage work and many film roles. He received the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in The Homecoming and the 1998

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    Paisley, United Kingdom Gerard James Butler is a Scottish actor who has appeared on film, stage, and television. A trained lawyer, Butler turned to acting in the mid-1990s with small roles in productions such as Mrs. Brown,

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