Popular Opinion The Best Actors in Film History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
27,770 10,724
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

See: The Best Tom Hanks Movies

2
22,829 17,454
Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Scarface

See: The Best Al Pacino Movies

3
21,928 16,545
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver

See: The Best Robert De Niro Movies

4
20,167 16,790
Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Shining, The Departed, Batman

See: The Best Jack Nicholson Movies

5
16,742 9,853
Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Superman

See: The Best Marlon Brando Movies

6
12,972 7,064
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

See: The Best Anthony Hopkins Movies

7
14,714 9,647
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

See: The Best Morgan Freeman Movies

8
22,146 16,665
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Titanic, Inception, The Departed

See: The Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

9
13,559 6,597
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Graduate, Being John Malkovich, Rain Man

See: The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies

10
13,303 5,761
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, Rear Window

See: The Best James Stewart Movies

11
10,886 4,655
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars

See: The Best Paul Newman Movies

12
11,941 5,300
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

See: The Best Clint Eastwood Movies

13
13,564 10,279
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

See: The Best Daniel Day-Lewis Movies

14
13,405 8,774
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

See: The Best Denzel Washington Movies

15
9,706 4,227
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is no stranger to controversy. The editor of fake news site InfoWars claimed the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was a hoax, and former employees accused Jones of sexual harassment, antisemitism, and racism.

In July 2018, YouTube took punitive measures against Jones for some of his videos that violated the site's community guidelines. On July 24, 2018, the site removed four of Jones's videos because they contained hate speech and instances of child endangerment. Two of the videos included hate speech against Muslims. Another video contained hate speech against transgendered people. The last video reportedly had a clip of a man shoving a child to the ground with the caption "How to prevent liberalism."

YouTube also issued Jones a strike; if a user gets three strikes, their account is permanently terminated. A strike on a user's account is removed three months after it is issued. This isn't the first strike Jones has received, either – in February 2018, his account received a strike for a video that said the survivors of the Parkland shooting were "crisis actors."

On August 6, 2018, Facebook unpublished four of Jones's pages: the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the Infowars Page, and the Infowars Nightly News Page. A spokesperson for the social media site said that "More content from the same pages has been reported to us – upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims, and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies."

A few hours after Facebook's announcement, YouTube deleted Jones's account. Although YouTube did not refer to Jones by name, the company released a statement outlining their terms and conditions, saying that "When users violate these policies repeatedly... we terminate their accounts."

Apple also removed Jones from its podcast directory, due to the "hate themes" presented in five of his podcasts. On August 14, 2018, Twitter suspended Jones's account after he tweeted that supporters should get their battle rifles ready to fight the media. The tweet was in direct violation of Twitter's rules about encouraging violence and Jones received a seven day suspension. 

On August 15, 2018, the FCC pushed a pirate radio station that acted as Jones's broadcasting flagship in Austin, TX, off the airwaves. The organization dished out a $15,000 fine to Liberty Radio, saying the station was operating without federal permission since 2013. The station operators refused to pay the fine.

 

16
9,791 5,231
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

See: The Best Gary Oldman Movies

17
13,477 11,809
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

See: The Best Johnny Depp Movies

18
8,170 4,144
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen

See: The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies

19
9,662 4,193
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Superman, The French Connection, Young Frankenstein

See: The Best Gene Hackman Movies

20
9,714 3,919
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

See: The Best Robert Duvall Movies

21
10,400 5,702
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

See: The Best Kevin Spacey Movies

22
7,263 4,475
Edward Norton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk, American History X

 See: The Best Edward Norton Movies

23
8,491 4,941
Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner

See: The Best Harrison Ford Movies

24
7,583 3,274
Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Goldfinger, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

See: The Best Sean Connery Movies

25
7,149 2,995
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear, The Omen

 See: The Best Gregory Peck Movies

26
9,994 5,217
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

 See: The Best Robin Williams Movies

27
8,230 3,978
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

See: The Best Christain Bale Movies

28
7,181 3,643
Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Schindler's List

See: The Best Liam Neeson Movies

29
6,314 3,110
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

See: The Best Cary Grant Movies

30
6,668 3,089
Christopher Walken is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns

See: The Best Christopher Walken Movies

31
6,886 3,394
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Once Upon a Time in the West, 12 Angry Men, The Grapes of Wrath Karl Gerhart Fröbe, better known as Gert Fröbe (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐt ˈfʁøːbə]; 25 February 1913 – 5 September 1988), was a German film actor known for his work as Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, as Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, as Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and as Hotzenplotz in Der Räuber Hotzenplotz.

Fröbe gained fame in one of the first German movies made after World War II, called Berliner Ballade (The Ballad of Berlin, 1948). His role as "Otto Normalverbraucher" (lit. Otto Average Consumer), became a German term equivalent to "Average Joe" or "Joe Bloggs".[4] In 1958, he was cast as the villain in the Swiss-German film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight), which was turned into a novel by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt. His role as a serial killer of children drew the attention of the producers of the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger and he was chosen to play one of the most well-remembered villains of the series, gold tycoon Auric Goldfinger. Because of his former membership in the Nazi Party, Goldfinger was initially banned in Israel until a Jewish family he had protected during the war came forward and thanked him for saving their lives.[3]

Fröbe made several appearances in all-star casts in the 1960s, including the films The Longest Day, Is Paris Burning?, Monte Carlo or Bust, and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Because of his thick German accent, Fröbe was dubbed in some of his classic roles, also by American sitcom-star Roger C. Carmel in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and British actor Michael Collins in Goldfinger. He also appeared in $ (1971) with Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty. During the 1980s, Fröbe played small parts in Mercedes Benz W123 commercials, helping to promote the coupé and the sedan.[citation needed]

Besides acting, Fröbe was a prolific reciter of lyric poetry, especially that of Christian Morgenstern and Joachim Ringelnatz.[citation needed]

Fröbe died in Munich in September 1988 at age 75 from a heart attack.
 

32
6,932 3,607
Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Avengers, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas

See: The Best Samuel L. Jackson Movies

33
6,420 3,601
Russell Crowe is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gladiator, Man of Steel, A Beautiful Mind

See: The Best Russell Crowe Movies

34
7,429 4,495
Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Fight Club, Seven, The Departed

See: The Best Brad Pitt Movies

35
8,145 4,035
Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Avengers, Iron Man, Iron Man 3

See: The Best Robert Downey Jr. Movies

36
6,682 2,406
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
No Country for Old Men, Men in Black, Captain America: The First Avenger

See: The Best Tommy Lee Jones Movies

37
5,499 2,582
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 37 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, X-Men

See: The Best Ian McKellen Movies

38
5,123 2,070
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

See: The Best Alan Rickman Movies

39
6,718 2,845
Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot

See: The Best Heath Ledger Movies

40
4,716 2,653
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

See: The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

41
5,501 2,821
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

See: The Best Charlie Chaplin Movies

42
4,758 2,529
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Sneakers

See: The Best Sidney Poitier Movies

43
4,324 2,442
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

See: The Best Ben Kingsley Movies

44
4,164 2,422
Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, The Big Lebowski

See: The Best Philip Seymour Hoffman Movies

45
4,145 2,056
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Iron Man, The Big Lebowski, Tron

See: The Best Jeff Bridges Movies

46
5,392 2,985
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Good Will Hunting

See: The Best Matt Damon Movies

47
4,144 2,633
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

See: The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

48
4,764 3,058
Mel Gibson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

See: The Best Mel Gibson Movies

49
3,347 2,336
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
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
3,524 2,075
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 20 See The Best Kirk Douglas Movies