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The Best English Actors of All Time

Updated January 20, 2020 74.1k votes 7.5k voters 63.7k views113 items

List RulesMale actors from England, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.

Some of the best actors of all time hail from England, and whether you love these English men for their acting talents or just their accents, there's no denying that many of these English actors are among some of the best actors in film history. Whether living or dead, these men made England a top source for acting talent in Hollywood and will go down in history as the best.

Who are the all-time top English actors in film history? Some of these actors from England became famous for roles as Americans, as Jedi (hi, Alec Guinness!), as detectives, and any number of other memorable characters. There's just something about these English gentlemen that movie audiences love, and their fantastic acting abilities have made many of them award winners as well.

This list features the greatest English actors of all time including Charlie Chaplin, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cary Grant, David Niven, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Ewan McGregor. Don't see your favorite actor from England? Add him below so other film fans can vote. Then, be sure to vote and rerank the list according to who you think are the best English actors to have ever graced the screen.
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  • Richard Harris26
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    474

    Richard Harris

    Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    BirthplaceLimerick, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Richard St. John Harris (1 October 1930 – 25 October 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He... more on Wikipedia

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  • David Thewlis27
    288
    111

    David Thewlis

    The Big Lebowski, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    BirthplaceBlackpool, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    David Wheeler (born 20 March 1963), known as David Thewlis, is an English actor, director,... more on Wikipedia
  • Richard Attenborough28
    307
    201

    Richard Attenborough

    Jurassic Park, The Great Escape

    BirthplaceEast of England, Eurasia, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, Cambridge

    NationalityEngland

    Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough, (; 29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014) was an... more on Wikipedia
  • Sean Bean29
    681
    556

    Sean Bean

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    BirthplaceHandsworth, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Shaun Mark Bean (born 17 April 1959), credited professionally as Sean Bean (), is an English... more on Wikipedia
  • Daniel Day-Lewis30
    1,125
    973

    Daniel Day-Lewis

    Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans

    BirthplaceGreenwich, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, Ireland

    Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born 29 April 1957) is a retired English actor who holds... more on Wikipedia

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  • Stephen Fry31
    227
    140

    Stephen Fry

    Alice in Wonderland, V for Vendetta

    BirthplaceHampstead, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He and Hugh... more on Wikipedia
  • Ben Kingsley32
    780
    651

    Ben Kingsley

    Schindler's List, Iron Man 3

    BirthplaceSnainton, England

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; 31 December 1943) is an English actor with a... more on Wikipedia
  • Richard Burton33
    391
    314

    Richard Burton

    The Longest Day, Cleopatra

    BirthplacePontrhydyfen, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Richard Burton, (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a... more on Wikipedia

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  • Daniel Craig34
    526
    390

    Daniel Craig

    Casino Royale, Skyfall

    BirthplaceChester, England

    NationalityEngland

    Daniel Wroughton Craig (born 2 March 1968) is an English actor. He trained at the National... more on Wikipedia
  • Jeremy Irons35
    822
    712

    Jeremy Irons

    The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance

    BirthplaceCowes, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Jeremy John Irons (born 19 September 1948) is an English actor. After receiving classical... more on Wikipedia
  • Hugh Laurie36
    747
    631

    Hugh Laurie

    101 Dalmatians, Monsters vs. Aliens

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    James Hugh Calum Laurie, (; born 11 June 1959) is an English actor, director, singer,... more on Wikipedia
  • Jude Law37
    522
    410

    Jude Law

    Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    BirthplaceLewisham, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    David Jude Heyworth Law (born 29 December 1972) is an English actor. He has received... more on Wikipedia
  • Ralph Fiennes38
    877
    755

    Ralph Fiennes

    Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

    BirthplaceEast of England, Suffolk, Eurasia, Ipswich, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (; born 22 December 1962) is an English actor, film... more on Wikipedia
  • Bob Hoskins39
    203
    138

    Bob Hoskins

    Brazil, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    BirthplaceBury St Edmunds, England

    NationalityEngland

    Robert William Hoskins (26 October 1942 – 29 April 2014) was an English actor. His work... more on Wikipedia
  • Jonathan Pryce40
    223
    139

    Jonathan Pryce

    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Brazil

    BirthplaceCarmel, Flintshire, United Kingdom

    NationalityWales

    Jonathan Pryce (born John Price; 1 June 1947) is a Welsh actor and singer. After studying at... more on Wikipedia

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  • John Cleese41
    622
    533

    John Cleese

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    BirthplaceWeston-super-Mare, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    John Marwood Cleese (; born 27 October 1939) is an English actor, voice actor, comedian,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Michael Gambon42
    116
    46

    Michael Gambon

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

    BirthplaceCabra, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Sir Michael John Gambon (born 19 October 1940) is an Irish-born British character actor and... more on Wikipedia
  • James Mason43
    73
    30

    James Mason

    North by Northwest, 20

    BirthplaceHuddersfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    James Neville Mason (; 15 May 1909 – 27 July 1984) was an English actor. Mason achieved... more on Wikipedia
  • Trevor Howard44
    55
    10

    Trevor Howard

    Superman, The Third Man

    BirthplaceCliftonville, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith (29 September 1913 – 7 January 1988), known as Trevor Howard, was... more on Wikipedia
  • Christian Bale45
    918
    816

    Christian Bale

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

    BirthplaceHaverfordwest, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,Wales

    Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is a Welsh actor who is known for his... more on Wikipedia

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  • Malcolm McDowell46
    126
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    Malcolm McDowell

    A Clockwork Orange, Easy A

    BirthplaceEngland, Horsforth

    NationalityEngland

    Malcolm McDowell (born Malcolm John Taylor; 13 June 1943) is an English actor, known for his... more on Wikipedia
  • Jim Broadbent47
    348
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    Jim Broadbent

    Gangs of New York, Brazil

    BirthplaceHolton cum Beckering, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    James Broadbent (born 24 May 1949) is an English actor. He won an Academy Award and a Golden... more on Wikipedia
  • Derek Jacobi48
    292
    232

    Derek Jacobi

    Gladiator, The King's Speech

    BirthplaceLeytonstone, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sir Derek George Jacobi (; born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and stage director. A... more on Wikipedia

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  • Cary Grant49
    616
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    Cary Grant

    North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby

    BirthplaceHorfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Cary Grant (born Archibald Alec Leach; January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986) was an... more on Wikipedia

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  • Alec Guinness50
    812
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    Alec Guinness

    Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

    BirthplaceMaida Vale, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sir Alec Guinness, (born 2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an English actor. After an early... more on Wikipedia

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