VOTE The Best Actors in Film History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.4M votes 87.7k voters 1.3M views 1,015 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 top 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
3,449 1,936
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
JFK, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment See The Best Jack Lemmon Movies

52
3,654 2,213
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 20 See The Best Kirk Douglas Movies

53
4,281 3,726
Sean Penn is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Being John Malkovich, Mystic River

See: The Best Sean Penn Movies

54
4,062 2,118
Steve McQueen is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt See The Best Steve McQueen Movies

55
3,681 2,120
Donald Sutherland is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, National Lampoon's Animal House See The Best Donald Sutherland Movies

56
3,389 2,143
Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi See The Best Alec Guinness Movies

57
3,508 2,527
Charlton Heston is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Hercules, Planet of the Apes, Ben-Hur See The Best Charlton Heston Movies

58
4,356 2,146
Hugh Jackman is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
X-Men, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand

59
4,496 2,601
John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
daker added The Searchers, The Longest Day, Stagecoach See The Best John Wayne Movies

60
3,924 2,228
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack

61
3,539 2,045
Steve Buscemi is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, The Big Lebowski

62
3,214 1,762
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty See The Best Clark Gable Movies

63
3,313 1,559
Ed Harris is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Gravity

64
3,241 1,799
Willem Dafoe is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Finding Nemo, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2

65
2,846 1,906
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
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

66
3,885 2,079
Matthew McConaughey is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Dazed and Confused, The Wolf of Wall Street, Tropic Thunder

67
3,196 2,298
Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gladiator, Signs, Hotel Rwanda

68
3,917 2,709
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense

69
2,995 1,985
Forest Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Platoon, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Good Morning

70
3,332 1,752
John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
mrblond added Juno, Being John Malkovich, Transformers: Dark of the Moon See The Best John Malkovich Movies

71
2,958 2,048
Joe Pesci is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Jabapac added Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Home Alone

72
3,044 2,070
Michael Douglas is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct

73
3,322 2,035
Spencer Tracy is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Amélie, It's a Mad, Mad See The Best Spencer Tracy Movies

74
2,683 1,867
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

75
3,007 1,635
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

76
2,993 2,196
Kevin Costner is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Dances with Wolves, Man of Steel, Field of Dreams

77
2,725 2,009
Viggo Mortensen is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
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

78
2,673 1,414
Gene Wilder is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

79
2,953 1,857
Woody Harrelson is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, No Country for Old Men

80
2,757 1,484
Michael Keaton is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Batman, Toy Story 3, Beetlejuice

81
4,010 2,747
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Men in Black, Independence Day, Men in Black 3

82
2,965 1,420
James Earl Jones is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Lion King

83
2,432 1,775
James Cagney is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
vinnyknowsbest added Mutiny on the Bounty, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat

84
2,354 1,688
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
mrblond added Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Trainspotting

85
3,756 3,084
Tom Cruise is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Rain Man

86
2,769 1,942
Christoph Waltz is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
PeteBoyle added Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Water for Elephants

87
3,249 2,385
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Batman Forever, Dumb and Dumber

88
2,209 1,845
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Citizen Kane, The Muppet Movie, The Third Man

89
2,126 1,683
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

90
3,034 2,624
George Clooney is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Batman & Robin

91
2,391 1,835
James Dean is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
DracoZhu added Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, East of Eden

92
2,309 1,133
Kurt Russell is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Forrest Gump, The Thing, The Fox and the Hound

93
2,320 1,600
Robert Mitchum is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Cape Fear, Scrooged, The Night of the Hunter

94
2,089 1,707
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

95
2,419 1,544
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
High Noon, Cinema Paradiso, The Pride of the Yankees

96
2,273 1,659
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The English Patient, The King's Speech, Shakespeare in Love

97
2,259 1,552
Walter Matthau is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
JFK, The Bad News Bears, Grumpy Old Men

98
2,237 1,577
Burt Lancaster is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Field of Dreams, From Here to Eternity, Judgment at Nuremberg

99
2,252 1,324
John Goodman is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Coolza added The Big Lebowski, Monsters, Inc.

100
2,393 1,186
Gary Sinise is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Captain America: The Winter Soldier