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
22,725 8,173
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
18,850 13,759
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
19,474 14,592
Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Al Pacino The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Scarface - See  The Best Al Pacino Movies

4
17,165 14,230
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
14,328 8,203
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
10,238 5,574
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
11,624 5,145
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
11,423 8,021
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
11,219 4,642
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
18,341 14,200
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
9,076 3,640
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
9,746 4,219
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

13
11,173 8,620
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
8,263 3,239
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

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15
7,914 3,607
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
7,008 3,227
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Humphrey Bogart Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen - See  The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies

17
8,458 3,295
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

18
8,149 2,619
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
10,579 7,350
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day - See  The Best Denzel Washington Movies

20
11,034 9,760
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
9,109 4,067
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Kevin Spacey American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects - See  The Best Kevin Spacey Movies

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22
5,874 3,503
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

23
6,517 3,849
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
6,126 2,609
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
6,015 2,362
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
5,258 2,498
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
6,089 2,708
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
6,526 3,180
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

The Greatest Black Actors in Film History

29
5,694 2,888
Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
7,787 4,028
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Robin Williams Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society -  See  The Best Robin Williams Movies

31
5,497 2,446
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
5,229 2,816
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

33
5,306 2,866
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
5,773 3,658
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
5,383 1,928
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

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36
4,354 2,068
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
4,552 2,188
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times - See  The Best Charlie Chaplin Movies

38
4,006 2,141
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca - See  The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

39
6,304 3,385
Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
3,862 1,588
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

41
3,936 2,055
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
5,041 2,277
Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Heath Ledger The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot - See  The Best Heath Ledger Movies

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43
3,505 1,926
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
3,533 2,141
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
3,283 1,835
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
3,146 1,595
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
4,166 2,320
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
2,678 1,806
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
3,689 2,428
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
3,400 2,873
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