VOTE The Best Actors in Film History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.5M votes 88.2k voters 1.3M views 1,018 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.

list ordered by

1
29,195 11,491
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
23,764 18,479
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
22,779 17,572
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
21,021 17,587
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
17,563 10,207
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
13,624 7,490
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
15,355 10,107
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
23,104 17,674
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
14,542 6,908
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
14,278 6,016
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
12,450 5,650
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

See: The Best Clint Eastwood Movies

12
11,305 4,902
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars

See: The Best Paul Newman Movies

13
14,221 10,521
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
14,062 9,059
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
14,048 12,249
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

See: The Best Johnny Depp Movies

16
10,256 5,513
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
10,023 4,505
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

 See: The Best Michael Caine Movies

18
8,460 4,365
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
9,925 4,452
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
10,069 4,108
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
10,708 6,124
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
7,627 4,729
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
8,909 5,219
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
10,484 5,436
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

 See: The Best Robin Williams Movies

25
8,733 4,173
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

See: The Best Christain Bale Movies

26
7,889 3,473
Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Goldfinger, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

See: The Best Sean Connery Movies

27
7,418 3,158
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear, The Omen

 See: The Best Gregory Peck Movies

28
7,516 3,896
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
6,564 3,259
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
6,954 3,246
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
7,085 3,598
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

See: The Best Henry Fonda Movies

32
7,271 3,869
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
7,790 4,770
Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Fight Club, Seven, The Departed

See: The Best Brad Pitt Movies

34
6,707 3,837
Russell Crowe is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gladiator, Man of Steel, A Beautiful Mind

See: The Best Russell Crowe Movies

35
8,588 4,242
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
7,010 2,546
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
5,736 2,755
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
5,465 2,213
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
7,162 3,015
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
4,987 2,662
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
5,788 2,985
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
4,903 2,805
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

See: The Best Laurence Oliver Movies

43
4,396 2,599
Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
4,374 2,211
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Iron Man, The Big Lebowski, Tron

See: The Best Jeff Bridges Movies

45
5,632 3,218
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Good Will Hunting

See: The Best Matt Damon Movies

46
4,513 2,623
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

See: The Best Ben Kingsley Movies

47
5,047 3,237
Mel Gibson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Pocahontas

See: The Best Mel Gibson Movies

48
4,299 2,821
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

See: The Best Peter O'Toole Movies

49
3,557 2,497
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
4,067 2,301
Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid See The Best Robert Redford Movies