Watchworthy

The Best Actors in Film History 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 3, 2020 2.4M votes 148.1k voters 1.7M views 1,030 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 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #1 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

2
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 2 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 #25 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #38 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

3
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 3 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 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #18 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

4
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 4 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 #49 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #2 of 177 The Best Living American Actors

5
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Age: 89

More Clint Eastwood 

The Best Clint Eastwood Movies #35 of 90 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now? #93 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever

6
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 6 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 #30 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #23 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

7
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 7 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 #21 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #300 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

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: United Kingdom

Age: Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

More Cary Grant 

18 Extremely Weird Facts Most People Don't Know About Cary Grant #14 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #37 of 240 The Greatest British Actors of All Time

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

Birthplace: Rotherhithe, England, London

Age: 86

More Michael Caine 

#12 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #81 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #13 of 240 The Greatest British Actors of All Time

10
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors in Film History
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 #24 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #22 of 240 The Greatest British Actors of All Time

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 #44 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #57 of 276 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

13
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 13 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 #7 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #4 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

14
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 14 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 #162 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #529 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

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, United States of America

Age: 76

More Christopher Walken 

The Best Christopher Walken Movies A Gaggle of Christopher Walken Impressions, Ranked Best to Worst #3 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever

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

More Gary Oldman 

The Best Gary Oldman Movies #56 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #47 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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)

More Robin Williams 

The Best Ever Robin Williams Movies #5 of 237 The Funniest Stand Up Comedians Of All Time #27 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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 

The Best Harrison Ford Movies #22 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #20 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

19
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 19 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 #126 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #87 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

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

More Ian McKellen 

#113 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #26 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #3 of 240 The Greatest British Actors of All Time

21
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 21 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 #92 of 339 The Funniest People Of All Time #189 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

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

More Tommy Lee Jones 

19 Weird Things About Tommy Lee Jones, Hollywood's Most Grizzled Actor #10 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #36 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

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)

More Henry Fonda 

#102 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #36 of 101 The Most Beloved US Veterans #7 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

24
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 24 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 

#16 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #122 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive #415 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

25
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 25 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 #47 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever #315 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive