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The Best English Actors of All Time

Updated January 20, 2020 72.7k votes 7.5k voters 62.4k views113 items

List RulesMale 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.
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  • 1
    Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,856
    1,117

    Alan Rickman

    Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    BirthplaceHammersmith, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016) was an English actor and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    2,009
    657

    Colin Firth

    The English Patient, The King's Speech

    BirthplaceGrayshott, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Colin Andrew Firth (born 10 September 1960) is an English actor who has received an Academy... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    323
    131

    Peter O'Toole

    Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille

    BirthplaceConnemara, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland, England

    Peter Seamus O'Toole (; 2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013) was a British stage and film actor... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,459
    979

    Ian McKellen

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    BirthplaceBurnley, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Sir Ian Murray McKellen (born 25 May 1939) is an English actor. His career spans genres... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    446
    94

    Anthony Hopkins

    The Silence of the Lambs, Thor

    BirthplaceMargam, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins (born 31 December 1937) is a Welsh actor, director, and producer.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,380
    903

    Gary Oldman

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

    BirthplaceNew Cross, London, England, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Gary Leonard Oldman (born 21 March 1958) is an English actor and filmmaker who has performed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    465
    250

    Eddie Redmayne

    Les Misérables, The Good Shepherd

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Edward John David Redmayne (; born 6 January 1982) is an English actor and model. Redmayne... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    209
    65

    Sean Connery

    Goldfinger, The Untouchables

    BirthplaceFountainbridge, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sir Thomas Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930) is a retired Scottish actor and producer, who... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    657
    376

    Tom Hardy

    The Dark Knight Rises, Inception

    BirthplaceHammersmith, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Edward Thomas Hardy (born 15 September 1977) is an English actor and producer. After studying... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    707
    423

    Ewan McGregor

    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    BirthplacePerth, United Kingdom

    NationalityScotland, United Kingdom

    Ewan Gordon McGregor (born 31 March 1971) is a Scottish actor, singer, and director known... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    286
    142

    Kenneth Branagh

    Thor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    BirthplaceBelfast, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland, United Kingdom

    Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh (born 10 December 1960) is a Northern Irish actor, director,... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,081
    807

    Patrick Stewart

    X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand

    BirthplaceMirfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Sir Patrick Stewart (born 13 July 1940) is an English actor whose work has included roles on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Tim Curry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    362
    231

    Tim Curry

    The Little Mermaid, The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    BirthplaceGrappenhall, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Timothy James Curry (born 19 April 1946) is an English actor, voice artist, comedian and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    437
    286

    Michael Fassbender

    Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class

    BirthplaceHeidelberg, Germany

    NationalityIreland, Germany

    Michael Fassbender (born 2 April 1977) is an Irish-German actor. His feature film debut was in... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Michael Caine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,166
    920

    Michael Caine

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

    BirthplaceRotherhithe, London, England

    NationalityEngland

    Sir Michael Caine (born 14 March 1933) is an English actor, producer and author. He has... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    784
    564

    Tom Hiddleston

    The Avengers, Thor

    BirthplaceWestminster, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Thomas William Hiddleston (born 9 February 1981) is an English actor, film producer, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    507
    346

    Rowan Atkinson

    The Lion King, Love Actually

    BirthplaceConsett, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Rowan Sebastian Atkinson (born January 6, 1955), CBE is an English actor, comedian, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    1,150
    876

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    BirthplaceLondon, England

    NationalityEngland

    Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor who has... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    550
    361

    Idris Elba

    Thor, Thor: The Dark World

    BirthplaceLondon Borough of Hackney, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Idrissa Akuna Elba (; born 6 September 1972) is an English actor, writer, producer, musician,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    753
    586

    Charlie Chaplin

    City Lights, The Gold Rush

    BirthplaceWalworth, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    692
    528

    Martin Freeman

    Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz

    BirthplaceAldershot, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971) is an English actor and comedian,... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Andy Serkis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    259
    138

    Andy Serkis

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    BirthplaceRuislip, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Andrew Clement Serkis (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor and film director. He is best... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    579
    408

    Bill Nighy

    Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

    BirthplaceEngland, Caterham

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    William Francis "Bill" Nighy is an English actor. He worked in theatre and television before... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Stephen Fry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    223
    130

    Stephen Fry

    Alice in Wonderland, V for Vendetta

    BirthplaceHampstead, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He and Hugh... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    John Hurt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actors of All Time
    847
    671

    John Hurt

    Alien, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    BirthplaceChesterfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    Sir John Vincent Hurt (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017) was an English actor whose career... more on Wikipedia
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