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The Best Actors in Film History 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 3, 2020 2.4M votes 146.4k voters 1.7M views 1,139 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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list ordered by
1
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

Birthplace: Concord, California, United States of America

Age: 63

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2
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

Birthplace: Margam, United Kingdom

Age: 82

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3
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Superman, The French Connection, Young Frankenstein

Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States of America

Age: 89

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4
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now

Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America

Age: 88

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5
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

Birthplace: Horfield, United Kingdom

Age: Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

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6
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Age: 89

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

Birthplace: La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 87 (1916-2003)

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

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 58 (1899-1957)

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9
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
10
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

Birthplace: Rotherhithe, London, United Kingdom

Age: 86

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11
Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Goldfinger, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Birthplace: Fountainbridge, United Kingdom

Age: 89

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12
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America

Age: 82

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13
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Sneakers

Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States of America

Age: 92

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14
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Graduate, Being John Malkovich, Rain Man

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Age: 82

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15
Christopher Walken is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns

Birthplace: Astoria, New York City, New York, USA

Age: 76

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16
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

Birthplace: New Cross, London, England, London, United Kingdom

Age: 61

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17
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 63 (1951-2014)

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18
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars

Birthplace: Shaker Heights, Ohio, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 83 (1925-2008)

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19
Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Age: 77

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20
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 20 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

Birthplace: Burnley, United Kingdom

Age: 80

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21
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, Rear Window

Birthplace: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 89 (1908-1997)

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22
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
No Country for Old Men, Men in Black, Captain America: The First Avenger

Birthplace: San Saba, Texas, United States of America

Age: 73

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23
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Once Upon a Time in the West, 12 Angry Men, The Grapes of Wrath

Birthplace: Grand Island, Nebraska, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 77 (1905-1982)

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24
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
JFK, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment

Birthplace: Newton, Massachusetts, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 76 (1925-2001)

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25
Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors in Film History