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
1,592 550
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

2
1,279 519
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
1,224 519
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Gary Oldman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

4
1,099 548
Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Michael Caine The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

5
1,042 459
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Patrick Stewart X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

6
1,038 627
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
914 501
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
714 514
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
759 462
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
673 475
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jeremy Irons The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

11
778 425
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
613 500
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Laurence Olivier Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, Rebecca

13
906 607
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
758 556
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

The Most Beautiful British Women

15
813 599
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

16
684 425
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

17
663 420
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
742 488
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

19
582 489
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
474 342
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
1,171 511
Theo James is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Marianthi Xaritou added Theo James Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie, Divergent

The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

22
609 403
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
624 421
Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hiddleston The Avengers, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

24
616 456
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
570 401
Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Martin Freeman Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Love Actually

26
483 448
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
544 346
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
328 188
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

The Best Living English Actors

29
606 394
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
294 136
Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Eddie Redmayne Les Misérables, The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn

31
247 108
Tim Curry is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
80 6
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Ildikó Hirschleger added Anthony Hopkins The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

33
529 328
Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hardy The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Black Hawk Down

34
486 311
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

35
383 410
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

36
148 62
Geoffrey Rush is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
157 60
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
154 56
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

39
394 362
Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Simon Pegg Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

40
491 368
Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Craig Casino Royale, Skyfall, Road to Perdition

41
287 277
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

42
301 153
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

American Celebs Who Were in British Commercials

43
406 281
Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alex Donoso added Hugh Dancy Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, King Arthur

44
470 422
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

45
238 225
Peter Cushing is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Peter Cushing Star Wars, Lolita, Dracula

46
222 161
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
130 63
Stephen Fry is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added Stephen Fry Alice in Wonderland, V for Vendetta, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

48
150 187
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run

49
160 47
David Thewlis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SandyQ8 added David Thewlis The Big Lebowski, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

50
229 209
Derek Jacobi is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Derek Jacobi Gladiator, The King's Speech, The Secret of NIMH