The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First People In Film
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The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First

List Criteria: Notable Actors Who Made It Big On TV Before Jumping To Movies

This is a list of famous film actors who got famous on TV first, as ranked by experts and fans alike.

There are many routes an actor can take to make it big. Some actors start out on in theatre, while others start out in modeling. Many notable actors though start their careers in television.

Television, at one time, was the main gateway to film stardom. In some ways, it still is but now many film actors, like Steve Buscemi and Laura Dern have gone the other direction and found a very lucrative career on hit TV shows. Before the advent of cable -- and quality programming -- actors had to toil on low-rated sitcoms and mediocre dramas before finding that one movie script that could shoot them to superstardom. But sometimes, the actor finds superstardom on television. Massive, worldwide superstardom that easily parlays into film roles.

Many on this list can be considered the greatest actors who were famous on TV first. Actors like Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and Clint Eastwood. Latter generations of film and television fans will be surprised to find out a top-notch actor like Denzel Washington got his start as one of the cast members of "St. Elsewhere" or that Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo was one of the stars of "Homicide: Life On The Streets". Maybe this list will prompt them to Netflix a couple of those old episodes.

Please check out this list of top actors who had TV fame before becoming film stars and rank them. And if you don't see your favorite TV-turned-film actors here, feel free to add them so that others can vote for them.

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  1. 1
    + 153
    - 22


    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Shawshank Redemption

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  2. 2
    + 129
    - 24


    Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

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  3. 3
    + 107
    - 25


    Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

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  4. 4
    + 122
    - 35


    A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

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  5. 5
    + 104
    - 26


    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven

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  6. 6
    + 104
    - 26


    Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense

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  7. 7
    + 109
    - 29


    Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

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  8. 8
    + 105
    - 28


    Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day

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  9. 9
    + 91
    - 27


    Argo, From Dusk till Dawn, Ocean's Eleven

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  10. 10
    + 88
    - 27


    The Hunger Games, No Country for Old Men, Zombieland

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  11. 11
    + 107
    - 46


    Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend

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  12. 12
    + 76
    - 29


    American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

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  13. 13
    + 83
    - 38


    Shrek, Beverly Hills Cop, Mulan

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  14. 14
    + 75
    - 33


    Men in Black, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Big Fish

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  15. 15
    + 60
    - 23


    The Notebook, The Great Escape, Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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  16. 16
    + 75
    - 34


    Django Unchained, Any Given Sunday, Ray

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  17. 17
    + 69
    - 30


    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Basic Instinct, The Game

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  18. 18
    + 66
    - 28


    Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Lincoln

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  19. 19
    + 68
    - 30


    My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, The Ides of March

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  20. 20
    + 70
    - 33


    Pulp Fiction, Grease, Carrie

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  21. 21
    + 62
    - 28


    Back to the Future, Mars Attacks!, Back to the Future Part II

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  22. 22
    + 66
    - 32


    Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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  23. 23
    + 76
    - 40


    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever

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  24. 24
    + 61
    - 32


    The Princess Bride, Monsters University, Monsters, Inc.

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  25. 25
    + 50
    - 25


    Death Becomes Her, Wildcats, Overboard

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  26. 26
    + 57
    - 35


    Back to the Future, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Who Framed Roger ...

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  27. 27
    + 52
    - 33


    Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 2

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  28. 28
    + 53
    - 34


    X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ted, Green Lantern

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  29. 29
    + 54
    - 36


    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Little Miss Sunshine, Despicable Me ...

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  30. 30
    + 49
    - 32


    The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House, 1941

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  31. 31
    + 50
    - 35


    Chicago, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age: Continental Drift

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  32. 32
    + 54
    - 40


    The Departed, Beetlejuice, Pearl Harbor

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  33. 33
    + 47
    - 36


    Remember the Titans, The Notebook, Drive

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  34. 34
    + 42
    - 32


    Little Miss Sunshine, As Good as It Gets, We Were Soldiers

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  35. 35
    + 54
    - 44


    Office Space, The Iron Giant, Bruce Almighty

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  36. 36
    + 57
    - 47


    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Wedding Crashers, Elf

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  37. 37
    + 47
    - 39


    Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim

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  38. 38
    + 53
    - 45


    Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Billy Madison

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  39. 39
    + 47
    - 40


    Moonstruck, The Witches of Eastwick, Stuck on You

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  40. 40
    + 35
    - 31


    As Good as It Gets, Cast Away, Twister

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  41. 41
    + 41
    - 38


    Billy Madison, Wayne's World, Tommy Boy

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  42. 42
    + 36
    - 33


    The Karate Kid, Mulan, Midway

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  43. 43
    + 43
    - 41


    Do the Right Thing, Bad Boys, Bad Boys II

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  44. 44
    + 41
    - 39


    50 First Dates, Grown Ups, Hitch

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  45. 45
    + 34
    - 35


    Thomas Hayden Church

  46. 46
    + 2
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    added by CraigAlarm
    Dumb and Dumber, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Young Frankenstein ...

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  47. 47
    + 2
    - 0

    added by CraigAlarm
    Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man 2

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  48. 48
    + 2
    - 0

    added by CraigAlarm
    Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, Blow

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  49. 49
    + 2
    - 0

    new! & added by CraigAlarm
    Armageddon, Love Actually, Friday Night Lights

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  50. 50
    + 2
    - 1

    added by CraigAlarm
    Caddyshack, Vacation, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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77 +

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