Popular Opinion The Best Actors in Film History  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1.3M votes 79.5k voters 1.2M views 999 items

List Rules 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.

1
26,155 10,084
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Tom Hanks Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

See: The Best Tom Hanks Movies

2
21,999 16,308
Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Al Pacino The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Scarface

See: The Best Al Pacino Movies

3
19,458 15,819
Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jack Nicholson The Shining, The Departed, Batman

See: The Best Jack Nicholson Movies

4
21,219 15,511
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
16,142 9,508
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

6
12,403 6,798
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Anthony Hopkins The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

See: The Best Anthony Hopkins Movies

7
21,284 15,660
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic, Inception, The Departed

See: The Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

8
13,996 9,273
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
12,772 6,317
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Dustin Hoffman The Graduate, Being John Malkovich, Rain Man

See: The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies

10
12,472 5,530
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
James Stewart It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, Rear Window

See: The Best James Stewart Movies

11
11,415 5,027
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

See: The Best Clint Eastwood Movies

12
10,283 4,439
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Paul Newman The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars

See: The Best Paul Newman Movies

Celebrities Who Were Rich Before They Were Famous

13
12,982 9,681
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Daniel Day-Lewis Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

See: The Best Daniel Day-Lewis Movies

14
12,777 8,191
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

See: The Best Denzel Washington Movies

15
9,358 4,633
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
12,941 11,052
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Johnny Depp A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

See: The Best Johnny Depp Movies

17
9,359 4,025
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Michael Caine The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

 See: The Best Michael Caine Movies

The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
7,880 3,962
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Humphrey Bogart Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen

See: The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies

19
9,366 3,993
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

20
9,323 3,436
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
10,122 5,316
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kevin Spacey American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

See: The Best Kevin Spacey Movies

22
8,071 4,398
Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Harrison Ford Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner

See: The Best Harrison Ford Movies

The Greatest Romantic Comedies of All Time

23
6,955 4,241
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

24
9,510 4,704
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robin Williams Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

 See: The Best Robin Williams Movies

25
7,233 3,123
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

26
6,876 2,858
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
6,859 3,461
Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 27 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

The Best Musicals On Amazon Prime

28
7,831 3,797
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Christian Bale The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

See: The Best Christain Bale Movies

29
6,062 2,984
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
6,396 2,940
Christopher Walken is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Christopher Walken Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns

See: The Best Christopher Walken Movies

31
6,683 3,243
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Henry Fonda Once Upon a Time in the West, 12 Angry Men, The Grapes of Wrath

See: The Best Henry Fonda Movies

32
6,149 3,409
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

Essential Brands For Your Hipster Lifestyle

33
6,554 3,419
Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Samuel L. Jackson The Avengers, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas

See: The Best Samuel L. Jackson Movies

34
7,055 4,289
Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Brad Pitt Fight Club, Seven, The Departed

See: The Best Brad Pitt Movies

35
7,741 3,866
Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
6,384 2,290
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Tommy Lee Jones No Country for Old Men, Men in Black, Captain America: The First Avenger

See: The Best Tommy Lee Jones Movies

37
5,210 2,457
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Ian McKellen The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, X-Men

See: The Best Ian McKellen Movies

The 13 Sexiest Psycho Girlfriends in Internet History

38
4,814 1,948
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Alan Rickman Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

See: The Best Alan Rickman Movies

39
6,318 2,695
Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Heath Ledger The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot

See: The Best Heath Ledger Movies

40
5,264 2,677
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

See: The Best Charlie Chaplin Movies

41
4,528 2,540
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

See: The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

42
4,550 2,422
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 42 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

The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked

43
4,129 2,312
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
3,951 2,286
Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
3,985 2,525
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

See: The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

46
3,903 1,947
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

47
5,091 2,833
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
4,500 2,906
Mel Gibson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Mel Gibson Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

See: The Best Mel Gibson Movies

49
3,168 2,213
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Ralph Fiennes Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

See: The Best Ralph Fiennes Movies

50
3,342 1,970
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kirk Douglas Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 20 See The Best Kirk Douglas Movies