popular opinion The Best Actors in Film History  

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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.
list ordered by

1
23,762 8,635
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
20,080 15,189
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
19,444 14,371
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
17,708 14,824
Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jack Nicholson The Shining, The Departed, Batman

See: The Best Jack Nicholson Movies

5
14,772 8,492
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
10,772 6,067
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
11,931 5,445
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Dustin Hoffman The Graduate, Being John Malkovich, Rain Man

See: The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies

8
12,045 8,507
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
11,519 4,847
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
18,963 14,747
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic, Inception, The Departed

See: The Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

11
9,389 3,821
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
10,143 4,409
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

See: The Best Clint Eastwood Movies

The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

13
11,600 9,097
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
8,539 3,495
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
7,238 3,398
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Humphrey Bogart Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen

See: The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies

16
8,283 4,051
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
8,669 3,473
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gene Hackman Superman, The French Connection, Young Frankenstein

See: The Best Gene Hackman Movies

The Best Political Drama TV Shows

18
11,057 7,763
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

See: The Best Denzel Washington Movies

19
11,504 10,241
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
9,320 4,389
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kevin Spacey American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

See: The Best Kevin Spacey Movies

21
8,411 3,028
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
6,123 3,679
Edward Norton is listed (or ranked) 22 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

The Best Movies of All Time

23
6,895 3,974
Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
6,408 2,722
Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
6,213 2,477
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
5,467 2,605
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
5,958 3,025
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

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

28
6,794 3,337
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
8,205 4,351
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robin Williams Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

 See: The Best Robin Williams Movies

30
6,237 2,829
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
5,696 2,574
Christopher Walken is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Christopher Walken Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns

See: The Best Christopher Walken Movies

32
5,444 2,954
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

The Best Disney Princesses

33
5,599 2,991
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
6,066 3,813
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
5,633 2,008
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
4,581 2,154
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
6,643 3,492
Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 37 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

Things You Should Know How to Do Before You Turn 30

38
4,725 2,296
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

See: The Best Charlie Chaplin Movies

39
4,136 2,232
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

See: The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

40
4,117 1,664
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
5,341 2,367
Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Heath Ledger The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot

See: The Best Heath Ledger Movies

42
4,080 2,143
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 Greatest Animated Disney Villains

43
3,655 2,229
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

See: The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

44
3,654 2,011
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
3,443 1,939
Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
4,368 2,448
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
3,332 1,674
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jeff Bridges Iron Man, The Big Lebowski, Tron

See: The Best Jeff Bridges Movies

48
2,803 1,892
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
3,865 2,550
Mel Gibson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Mel Gibson Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

See: The Best Mel Gibson Movies

50
3,537 2,998
Sean Penn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Sean Penn Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Being John Malkovich, Mystic River

See: The Best Sean Penn Movies