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
1,267 467
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
1,020 455
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
920 482
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
963 458
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
755 431
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
859 553
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
830 401
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
599 452
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
567 423
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
610 424
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
523 442
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

12
655 386
John Hurt is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
577 377
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
614 506
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
644 536
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christian Bale The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

The Best Living English Actors Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

16
615 430
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

17
520 368
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
487 439
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Cary Grant North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

19
688 549
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
874 390
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
366 305
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
506 367
John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
416 402
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
506 411
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
479 377
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
440 355
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
440 314
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
227 147
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
332 367
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

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30
382 228
Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alex Donoso added Hugh Dancy Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, King Arthur

31
479 367
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
330 319
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
403 324
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
151 73
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
374 282
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
386 295
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
165 102
Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Eddie Redmayne Les Misérables, The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn

38
72 32
Geoffrey Rush is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
202 190
Peter Cushing is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Peter Cushing Star Wars, Lolita, Dracula

40
80 29
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

41
393 387
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

42
120 147
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run

43
200 116
David Tennant is listed (or ranked) 43 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

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44
224 248
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

45
237 253
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
166 136
Richard Attenborough is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
DennisScottMoore added Richard Attenborough Jurassic Park, The Great Escape, The Lost World: Jurassic Park

47
267 286
Ian Holm is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
72 34
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
253 255
Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jim Broadbent Gangs of New York, Brazil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

50
175 282
Rhys Ifans is listed (or ranked) 50 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