actors The Best English Actors of All Time  

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List Rules Male 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.
list ordered by

1
1,202 459
Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alan Rickman Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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2
979 449
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ian McKellen The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, X-Men

3
890 471
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Michael Caine The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

4
930 450
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Gary Oldman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

5
734 424
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christopher Lee The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

6
836 542
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Day-Lewis Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

7
801 396
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Patrick Stewart X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

8
577 448
Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alec Guinness Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

9
550 415
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jeremy Irons The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

10
507 435
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

11
637 381
John Hurt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
John Hurt Alien, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

12
580 419
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ralph Fiennes Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

13
557 365
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

14
583 496
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Colin Firth The English Patient, The King's Speech, Shakespeare in Love

15
589 426
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

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16
610 531
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christian Bale The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

17
495 361
Hugh Laurie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Hugh Laurie 101 Dalmatians, Monsters vs. Aliens, Sense and Sensibility

18
659 535
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Benedict Cumberbatch Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 12 Years a Slave

19
468 435
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Cary Grant North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

20
755 373
Theo James is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Marianthi Xaritou added Theo James Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie, Divergent

21
494 359
John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
John Cleese Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

22
350 302
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
JackEck added Richard Harris Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

23
410 394
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Sellers Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Pink Panther, Being There

24
493 403
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Sean Bean The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

25
455 371
Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hiddleston The Avengers, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

26
417 349
Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Martin Freeman Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Love Actually

27
421 312
Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Bill Nighy Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Hot Fuzz

28
376 217
Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alex Donoso added Hugh Dancy Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, King Arthur

29
208 142
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Michael Fassbender Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past

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30
460 359
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ewan McGregor Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Trainspotting

31
317 363
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

32
319 313
Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Simon Pegg Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

33
385 319
Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Craig Casino Royale, Skyfall, Road to Perdition

34
138 67
Tim Curry is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Tim Curry The Little Mermaid, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

35
359 276
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

36
361 291
Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hardy The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Black Hawk Down

37
198 186
Peter Cushing is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Peter Cushing Star Wars, Lolita, Dracula

38
378 382
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

39
144 97
Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Eddie Redmayne Les Misérables, The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn

40
57 27
Geoffrey Rush is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Geoffrey Rush Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

41
68 27
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

42
188 113
David Tennant is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SamSmiley added David Tennant Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, How to Train Your Dragon, Fright Night

43
110 144
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run

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44
158 131
Richard Attenborough is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
DennisScottMoore added Richard Attenborough Jurassic Park, The Great Escape, The Lost World: Jurassic Park

45
229 250
Tom Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Wilkinson Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shakespeare in Love

46
210 246
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

47
244 251
Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jim Broadbent Gangs of New York, Brazil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

48
257 285
Ian Holm is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ian Holm Alien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

49
170 274
Rhys Ifans is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Rhys Ifans The Amazing Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, The Replacements

50
60 30
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Kenneth Branagh Thor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Thor: The Dark World