actors The Best English Actors of All Time  

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62.3k votes 5.5k voters 44.6k views 101 items

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.

1
1,638 577
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
1,328 539
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
1,280 527
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
1,132 562
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
1,072 639
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
1,070 475
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Patrick Stewart X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

7
942 516
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
735 528
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
789 475
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
697 492
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
795 436
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
625 516
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
939 621
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
787 563
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
835 612
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
696 428
Hugh Laurie is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Hugh Laurie 101 Dalmatians, Monsters vs. Aliens, Sense and Sensibility

17
700 434
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

18
760 499
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
598 495
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
491 348
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
656 427
Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hiddleston The Avengers, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

The Best Dramedy TV Series

22
625 412
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
595 406
Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Martin Freeman Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Love Actually

24
634 464
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
486 462
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
554 354
Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
348 196
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
631 399
Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 28 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

The Best Living English Actors

29
317 141
Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
vida-so added Eddie Redmayne Les Misérables, The Good Shepherd, My Week with Marilyn

30
114 12
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
268 114
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
550 335
Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hardy The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Black Hawk Down

33
505 316
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

34
388 418
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

35
168 67
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 35 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

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36
156 70
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
406 369
Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Simon Pegg Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

38
163 65
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
504 376
Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Craig Casino Royale, Skyfall, Road to Perdition

40
317 158
David Tennant is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
297 286
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
488 426
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

American Celebs Who Were in British Commercials

43
413 294
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
232 165
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
244 232
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
139 68
Stephen Fry is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
171 52
David Thewlis is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
441 378
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Rowan Atkinson The Lion King, Love Actually, Rat Race

49
233 217
Derek Jacobi is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Derek Jacobi Gladiator, The King's Speech, The Secret of NIMH

50
154 198
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run