popular opinion The Best Actors in Film History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.2M votes 74.4k voters 1.1M views 985 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.
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51
3,275 1,833
Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robert Redford Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid See The Best Robert Redford Movies

52
3,066 1,800
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kirk Douglas Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 20 See The Best Kirk Douglas Movies

53
2,848 1,560
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jack Lemmon JFK, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment See The Best Jack Lemmon Movies

54
3,419 1,782
Steve McQueen is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Steve McQueen The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt See The Best Steve McQueen Movies

55
2,914 1,773
Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Alec Guinness Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi See The Best Alec Guinness Movies

56
3,027 1,712
Donald Sutherland is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Donald Sutherland The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, National Lampoon's Animal House See The Best Donald Sutherland Movies

57
3,016 2,095
Charlton Heston is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Charlton Heston Hercules, Planet of the Apes, Ben-Hur See The Best Charlton Heston Movies

58
3,220 1,775
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Bill Murray Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack

59
2,924 1,596
Steve Buscemi is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Steve Buscemi Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, The Big Lebowski

60
3,460 1,715
Hugh Jackman is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Hugh Jackman X-Men, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand

61
3,761 2,198
John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
daker added John Wayne The Searchers, The Longest Day, Stagecoach See The Best John Wayne Movies

62
2,612 1,822
Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Joaquin Phoenix Gladiator, Signs, Hotel Rwanda

The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

63
2,649 1,438
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Clark Gable Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty See The Best Clark Gable Movies

64
2,379 1,556
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
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

65
2,622 1,449
Willem Dafoe is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Willem Dafoe Finding Nemo, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2

66
2,441 1,582
Forest Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Forest Whitaker Platoon, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Good Morning

67
2,773 1,417
John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
mrblond added John Malkovich Juno, Being John Malkovich, Transformers: Dark of the Moon See The Best John Malkovich Movies

The Best Pop Rock Bands & Artists

68
3,253 2,235
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Bruce Willis Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense

69
2,560 1,655
Michael Douglas is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Michael Douglas One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct

70
2,722 1,258
Ed Harris is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Ed Harris Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Gravity

71
2,867 1,663
Spencer Tracy is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Spencer Tracy Amélie, It's a Mad, Mad See The Best Spencer Tracy Movies

72
2,434 1,669
Joe Pesci is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jabapac added Joe Pesci Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Home Alone

The Best Movies of All Time

73
3,024 1,675
Matthew McConaughey is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Matthew McConaughey Dazed and Confused, The Wolf of Wall Street, Tropic Thunder

74
2,265 1,533
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jeremy Irons The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

75
2,457 1,278
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Patrick Stewart X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

76
2,233 1,642
Viggo Mortensen is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Viggo Mortensen 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

77
2,462 1,765
Kevin Costner is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kevin Costner Dances with Wolves, Man of Steel, Field of Dreams

The Scariest Clown Movies in Film History

78
2,123 1,073
Gene Wilder is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gene Wilder Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

79
2,021 1,459
James Cagney is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
vinnyknowsbest added James Cagney Mutiny on the Bounty, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat

80
2,453 1,141
James Earl Jones is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
James Earl Jones Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Lion King

81
2,167 1,161
Michael Keaton is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Michael Keaton Batman, Toy Story 3, Beetlejuice

82
2,299 1,515
Woody Harrelson is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Woody Harrelson The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, No Country for Old Men

The Best Disney Princesses

83
1,894 1,330
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
mrblond added Ewan McGregor Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Trainspotting

84
3,214 2,257
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Will Smith Men in Black, Independence Day, Men in Black 3

85
2,314 1,565
Christoph Waltz is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
PeteBoyle added Christoph Waltz Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Water for Elephants

86
1,845 1,496
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Orson Welles Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

87
1,757 1,365
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Richard Harris Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Worst Things You Can Make Jokes About

88
2,951 2,514
Tom Cruise is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Tom Cruise Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Rain Man

89
1,951 1,505
James Dean is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
DracoZhu added James Dean Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, East of Eden

90
1,752 1,387
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

91
2,510 2,141
George Clooney is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
George Clooney South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Batman & Robin

92
2,542 1,907
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jim Carrey Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Batman Forever, Dumb and Dumber

The Greatest Animated Disney Villains

93
1,929 1,297
Robert Mitchum is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robert Mitchum Cape Fear, Scrooged, The Night of the Hunter

94
1,739 837
Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kurt Russell Forrest Gump, The Thing, The Fox and the Hound

95
1,832 1,328
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Colin Firth The English Patient, The King's Speech, Shakespeare in Love

96
1,878 1,265
Walter Matthau is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Walter Matthau JFK, The Bad News Bears, Grumpy Old Men

97
2,012 1,278
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gary Cooper High Noon, Cinema Paradiso, The Pride of the Yankees

98
1,878 1,273
Burt Lancaster is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Burt Lancaster Field of Dreams, From Here to Eternity, Judgment at Nuremberg

99
1,482 1,193
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Winters added Michael Fassbender Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past

100
1,765 1,466
Jean Reno is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
PeteBoyle added Jean Reno Mission: Impossible, Hotel Rwanda, Léon: The Professional