Watchworthy

The Best Actors in Film History 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 3, 2020 2.4M votes 143.9k 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
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

More Tom Hanks 

The Best Tom Hanks Movies #1 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #1 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

2
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 2 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

More Gene Hackman 

The Best Gene Hackman Movies #3 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #4 of 178 The Best Living American Actors

3
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 3 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)

More Gregory Peck 

The Best Gregory Peck Movies #113 of 122 The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever #22 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

4
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 4 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

More Anthony Hopkins 

The Best Anthony Hopkins Movies #18 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #7 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

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

Birthplace: Walworth, United Kingdom

Age: Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

More Charlie Chaplin 

18 Surprising and Revealing Facts About Charlie Chaplin #41 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time #386 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

6
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 6 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)

More Humphrey Bogart 

The Best Humphrey Bogart Movies #313 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #107 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

7
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 7 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

More Robert Duvall 

The Best Robert Duvall Movies #38 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #52 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

8
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 8 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)

More Cary Grant 

18 Extremely Weird Facts Most People Don't Know About Cary Grant #208 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time #553 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

9
Clint Eastwood 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

More Michael Caine 

#81 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #29 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #806 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

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

More Sean Connery 

Legendary Behind-The-Scenes Stories From Sean Connery's Illustrious Career #916 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #16 of 149 The All-Time Greatest Action Stars

12
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 12 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

More Dustin Hoffman 

The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies #57 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #227 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time

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

More Sidney Poitier 

The Best Sidney Poitier Movies #631 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #29 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

14
Christopher Walken is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall, Batman Returns

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

Age: 76

More Christopher Walken 

The Best Christopher Walken Movies #14 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #79 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time

15
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 15 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

More Gary Oldman 

The Best Gary Oldman Movies #48 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #19 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

16
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 16 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

More Morgan Freeman 

27 Facts You Didn't Know About Morgan Freeman #5 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #25 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

17
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 17 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)

More Paul Newman 

The Best Paul Newman Movies #922 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #86 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

18
Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 18 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

More Harrison Ford 

13 Things You Didn't Know About Harrison Ford #20 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #17 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

19
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 19 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)

More Robin Williams 

The Best Ever Robin Williams Movies #33 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #1 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time

20
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 20 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)

More Henry Fonda 

#2 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #116 of 330 The Coolest Actors Ever #38 of 165 The Greatest Western Movie Stars

21
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 21 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

More Ian McKellen 

#25 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #15 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #46 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

22
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 22 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)

More Jack Lemmon 

The Best Jack Lemmon Movies #98 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time #192 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

23
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty

Birthplace: Cadiz, Ohio, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 59 (1901-1960)

More Clark Gable 

The Best Clark Gable Movies #317 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #111 of 122 The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

24
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 24 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

More Tommy Lee Jones 

19 Weird Things About Tommy Lee Jones, Hollywood's Most Grizzled Actor #35 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #9 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

25
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 25 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)

More James Stewart 

#373 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #120 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #76 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History