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.

1
25,408 9,632
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
21,395 15,944
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
18,915 15,479
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
20,671 15,183
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
15,724 9,174
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
11,930 6,556
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
20,522 15,389
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
13,381 9,039
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
12,524 6,075
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
12,217 5,321
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
11,057 4,817
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
10,012 4,254
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

The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

13
12,582 9,500
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
9,063 4,439
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
12,242 8,056
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

See: The Best Denzel Washington Movies

16
9,130 3,867
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
12,516 10,791
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 17 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

The Best Fast Food Breakfast Items

18
7,710 3,790
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
9,167 3,844
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
9,905 5,038
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
9,054 3,322
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
7,751 4,273
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 Best Movies of All Time

23
6,730 4,070
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
7,020 2,987
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
9,104 4,593
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robin Williams Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

 See: The Best Robin Williams Movies

26
6,691 2,738
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
6,599 3,335
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 12 Most Extreme Actor Transformations

28
7,518 3,656
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
5,899 2,865
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
6,188 2,821
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
6,542 3,121
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
5,955 3,256
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
6,278 3,288
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
6,735 4,148
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
6,162 2,202
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
7,411 3,745
Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
5,048 2,350
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

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38
5,109 2,550
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
4,615 1,847
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
4,423 2,435
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

See: The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

41
6,032 2,590
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
4,408 2,333
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
3,991 2,211
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
3,894 2,426
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

See: The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

45
3,812 2,171
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
3,742 1,864
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
4,855 2,732
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
4,321 2,792
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
3,068 2,105
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
3,466 1,955
Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 50 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