actors The Best English Actors of All Time  

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List Rules Male actors from England, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.

Some of the best actors of all time hail from England, and whether you love these English men for their acting talents or just their accents, there's no denying that many of these English actors are among some of the best actors in film history. Whether living or dead, these men made England a top source for acting talent in Hollywood and will go down in history as the best.

Who are the all-time top English actors in film history? Some of these actors from England became famous for roles as Americans, as Jedi (hi, Alec Guinness!), as detectives, and any number of other memorable characters. There's just something about these English gentlemen that movie audiences love, and their fantastic acting abilities have made many of them award winners as well.

This list features the greatest English actors of all time including Charlie Chaplin, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cary Grant, David Niven, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Ewan McGregor. Don't see your favorite actor from England? Add him below so other film fans can vote. Then, be sure to vote and rerank the list according to who you think are the best English actors to have ever graced the screen.
list ordered by

1
816 402
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alan Rickman Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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2
741 421
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Michael Caine The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

3
775 413
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ian McKellen The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, X-Men

4
698 473
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Day-Lewis Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

5
741 419
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Gary Oldman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

6
593 388
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christopher Lee The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

7
494 403
Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alec Guinness Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

8
665 359
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Patrick Stewart X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

9
443 388
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

10
461 373
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jeremy Irons The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

11
526 226
Theo James is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Marianthi Xaritou added Theo James Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie, Divergent

12
419 394
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Cary Grant North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

13
516 353
John Hurt is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
John Hurt Alien, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

14
501 384
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

15
362 164
Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alex Donoso added Hugh Dancy Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, King Arthur

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16
450 384
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ralph Fiennes Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

17
489 489
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christian Bale The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

18
474 332
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

19
454 464
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Colin Firth The English Patient, The King's Speech, Shakespeare in Love

20
423 325
John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
John Cleese Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

21
359 358
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Sellers Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Pink Panther, Being There

22
276 271
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
JackEck added Richard Harris Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

23
490 501
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Benedict Cumberbatch Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 12 Years a Slave

24
412 368
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Sean Bean The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

25
284 333
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

26
373 333
Hugh Laurie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Hugh Laurie 101 Dalmatians, Monsters vs. Aliens, Sense and Sensibility

27
334 292
Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Bill Nighy Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Hot Fuzz

28
377 336
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ewan McGregor Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Trainspotting

29
81 40
Tim Curry is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Tim Curry The Little Mermaid, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

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30
320 291
Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Craig Casino Royale, Skyfall, Road to Perdition

31
329 341
Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hiddleston The Avengers, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

32
274 280
Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Simon Pegg Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

33
323 318
Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Martin Freeman Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Love Actually

34
291 250
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

35
227 261
Ian Holm is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ian Holm Alien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

36
203 229
Tom Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Wilkinson Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shakespeare in Love

37
168 162
Peter Cushing is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Peter Cushing Star Wars, Lolita, Dracula

38
200 223
Albert Finney is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
ingridself added Albert Finney Skyfall, Big Fish, The Bourne Ultimatum

39
126 120
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Michael Fassbender Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past

40
320 358
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

41
174 221
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

42
202 236
Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jim Broadbent Gangs of New York, Brazil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

43
120 114
Richard Attenborough is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
DennisScottMoore added Richard Attenborough Jurassic Park, The Great Escape, The Lost World: Jurassic Park

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44
52 32
Jonathan Pryce is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Jonathan Pryce Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

45
266 269
Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hardy The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Black Hawk Down

46
144 163
Derek Jacobi is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Derek Jacobi Gladiator, The King's Speech, The Secret of NIMH

47
46 29
Bob Hoskins is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Bob Hoskins Brazil, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook

48
148 196
John Gielgud is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
MelanieSeeseBrodhead added John Gielgud Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, The Elephant Man

49
192 259
Terence Stamp is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Terence Stamp Superman, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Superman II

50
75 122
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run