The Best Actors In Film History

Over 184.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Actors In Film History
Voting Rules
Vote up the great male actors based on their FILM careers only.

The best actors in film history are a great subject of debate. 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? Remember, this is not simply about the most famous actors of all time, or the most popular actors. 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. An argument could be made for some on this list that they are the best actor in the world.

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 picking just one. Good thing you can vote for as many candidates for best actors ever as you'd like. Then check back to see if your favorites have made it into the top ten actors. You can also vote on the top actors of this year.

Most divisive: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ranked by
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
    Titanic, Inception, The Departed
    52,775 votes
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Age: 48

    A powerhouse of talent, Leonardo DiCaprio has captivated audiences with his incredible performances in a wide range of films. From playing the charming Jack Dawson in Titanic to portraying the enigmatic Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, DiCaprio's versatility and dedication to his craft are evident. With an Academy Award win for his role in The Revenant, his skill as an actor remains unparalleled.

  • Robin Williams
    Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society
    32,561 votes
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1951-2014)

    One of the most beloved comedians of all time, Robin Williams had a rare ability to light up any room with his wit and warmth. His unforgettable performances in classics like Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and Mrs. Doubtfire showcased his incredible range and depth as an actor. Tragically, his untimely passing in 2014 left a void in the hearts of fans worldwide.

  • Denzel Washington
    Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day
    38,174 votes
    • Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Age: 68

    Denzel Washington is a Hollywood legend with a magnetic screen presence that exudes charisma and authority. From his groundbreaking role in Malcolm X to his gritty portrayal of a crooked cop in Training Day, Washington has consistently delivered powerful performances throughout his career. A two-time Academy Award winner, he continues to be a sought-after leading man in the film industry.

  • Anthony Hopkins
    The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World
    39,990 votes
    • Birthplace: Margam, Port Talbot, Wales, UK
    • Nationality: United States of America, United Kingdom
    • Age: 85

    British actor Anthony Hopkins mesmerizes audiences with his commanding voice and intense acting style. Known for his chilling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins has also excelled in period dramas such as Howard's End and The Remains of the Day. His prolific acting career demonstrates his versatility and adaptability to various genres.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis
    Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood
    36,813 votes
    • Birthplace: England, London
    • Nationality: Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom
    • Age: 66

    Widely hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis is renowned for his immersive method acting and complete transformation into his roles. From his emotionally charged performance in My Left Foot to his iconic portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, Day-Lewis's commitment to his craft is unmatched. A three-time Academy Award winner, Day-Lewis announced his retirement from acting in 2017.

  • Al Pacino
    The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Scarface
    49,737 votes
    • Birthplace: East Harlem, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Age: 83

    With his intense gaze and captivating screen presence, Al Pacino is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of all time. Known for his unforgettable roles in The Godfather trilogy, Scarface, and Serpico, Pacino consistently delivers powerful performances that leave lasting impressions. His incredible body of work has earned him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for his role in Scent of a Woman.