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
866 413
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
816 419
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
778 428
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
781 425
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
732 482
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
620 394
Christopher Lee is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
693 364
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
514 407
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
665 241
Theo James is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Marianthi Xaritou added Theo James Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie, Divergent

10
463 396
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
538 355
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
475 380
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jeremy Irons The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Time Machine

13
473 389
Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
488 335
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Charlie Chaplin City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times

15
436 399
Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Cary Grant North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday

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16
521 388
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
366 173
Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Alex Donoso added Hugh Dancy Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, King Arthur

18
474 465
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Colin Firth The English Patient, The King's Speech, Shakespeare in Love

19
512 495
Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Christian Bale The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

20
369 360
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
291 273
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
428 371
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
440 328
John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
388 336
Hugh Laurie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Hugh Laurie 101 Dalmatians, Monsters vs. Aliens, Sense and Sensibility

25
517 504
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
345 343
Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hiddleston The Avengers, Thor, Thor: The Dark World

27
294 334
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
David Niven The Pink Panther, Mutiny on the Bounty, Murder by Death

28
336 322
Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Martin Freeman Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Love Actually

29
392 338
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

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30
347 293
Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
283 285
Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Simon Pegg Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

32
93 43
Tim Curry is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
304 252
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
172 164
Peter Cushing is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
SeanDorman added Peter Cushing Star Wars, Lolita, Dracula

35
329 298
Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Daniel Craig Casino Royale, Skyfall, Road to Perdition

36
141 122
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
236 262
Ian Holm is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
209 230
Tom Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Wilkinson Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shakespeare in Love

39
187 223
Richard Burton is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Richard Burton The Longest Day, Cleopatra, Where Eagles Dare

40
329 360
Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jude Law Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Grand Budapest Hotel

41
206 225
Albert Finney is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
ingridself added Albert Finney Skyfall, Big Fish, The Bourne Ultimatum

42
58 33
Jonathan Pryce is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Jonathan Pryce Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

43
126 115
Richard Attenborough is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
DennisScottMoore added Richard Attenborough Jurassic Park, The Great Escape, The Lost World: Jurassic Park

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44
277 271
Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Hardy The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Black Hawk Down

45
19 7
Geoffrey Rush is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
208 238
Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Jim Broadbent Gangs of New York, Brazil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

47
84 122
Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Peter Ustinov Spartacus, Robin Hood, Logan's Run

48
125 99
David Tennant is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
50 31
Bob Hoskins is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
Tom Islava added Bob Hoskins Brazil, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook

50
148 165
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