irish The Best Irish Actors of All Time  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Male actors from Ireland, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.

Sure, Colin Farrell is a handsome bad boy, but what about all those other great Irish actors? This list of the best Irish actors of all time reaches back in film history to rank the greatest male actors to have ever hailed from Ireland. Hollywood just wouldn't be the same without Lawrence of Arabia and a whole bunch of James Bond films, and those movies wouldn't be what they were without a few of the top Irish actors ranked here.

Who are the best Irish actors ever? The land of Erin has given the world many good actors, who have played iconic roles, been part of blockbuster and classic films, and represented Ireland on the big screen for decades. Great classic Irish actors like Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris are listed here, along with more modern talents like Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Pierce Brosnan. Think of your favorite movie, and there just might be a good Irish actor starring as the leading man.

This list features the top Irish actors of all time including Peter O’Toole,  Liam Neeson, Noel Purcell, Tony Doyle, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Pierce Brosnan, Richard Harris, and Colin Kenny. Don't see your favorite actor from the Eire? 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 Irish actors to have ever graced the screen.
list ordered by

1
280 109
Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Liam Neeson The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Schindler's List

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2
190 89
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Richard Harris Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3
276 121
Pierce Brosnan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Pierce Brosnan Mars Attacks!, Mrs. Doubtfire, GoldenEye

4
183 84
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Michael Fassbender Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past

5
168 83
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

6
136 73
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
janolvegg added 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

7
142 96
Gabriel Byrne is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Gabriel Byrne The Usual Suspects, Excalibur, Enemy of the State

8
164 109
Colin Farrell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin Farrell Minority Report, Daredevil, Horrible Bosses

9
130 68
Brendan Gleeson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Brendan Gleeson Braveheart, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gangs of New York

10
122 87
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Kenneth Branagh Thor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Thor: The Dark World

11
91 38
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Daniel Day-Lewis Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

12
106 71
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Mission: Impossible III, Bend It like Beckham, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

13
111 76
Sam Neill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Sam Neill Jurassic Park, The Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park III

14
135 66
Cillian Murphy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Cillian Murphy The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

15
89 15
Aidan Turner is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Denise Schult added Aidan Turner The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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16
71 69
Aidan Quinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Aidan Quinn Legends of the Fall, Practical Magic, The Mission

17
77 69
Michael Gambon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Michael Gambon Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

18
68 57
Ciarán Hinds is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ciarán Hinds Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Frozen, There Will Be Blood

19
89 60
Colm Meaney is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colm Meaney The Last of the Mohicans, Die Hard 2, Con Air

20
63 56
Liam Cunningham is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Liam Cunningham Clash of the Titans, War Horse, A Little Princess

21
66 53
Stephen Rea is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stephen Rea V for Vendetta, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Crying Game

22
66 58
Chris O'Dowd is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Chris O'Dowd Thor: The Dark World, Bridesmaids, The Boat That Rocked

23
56 46
Domhnall Gleeson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Domhnall Gleeson Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, True Grit

24
31 29
Jamie Dornan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Lyn May added Jamie Dornan Marie Antoinette, Fifty Shades of Grey, X Returns

25
36 48
Stuart Townsend is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stuart Townsend The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Æon Flux, Under the Skin

26
40 57
James Nesbitt is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
James Nesbitt The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Match Point, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

27
30 46
Stephen Boyd is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stephen Boyd Ben-Hur, Fantastic Voyage, The Fall of the Roman Empire

28
31 51
David Kelly is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
David Kelly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stardust, Waking Ned

29
43 55
Barry Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Barry Fitzgerald Bringing Up Baby, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

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30
21 48
Wilfrid Brambell is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Wilfrid Brambell A Hard Day's Night, Witchfinder General, The Three Lives of Thomasina

31
22 52
Noel Purcell is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Noel Purcell Moby Dick, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, Mutiny on the Bounty

32
31 43
Colin O'Donoghue is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin O'Donoghue The Rite, Storage 24

33
30 44
Patrick Bergin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Patrick Bergin Ella Enchanted, Patriot Games, Sleeping with the Enemy

34
27 43
Robert Michael Sheehan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Robert Michael Sheehan The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Season of the Witch, Killing Bono

35
25 47
Devon Murray is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Devon Murray Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

36
20 40
Dan O'Herlihy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Dan O'Herlihy RoboCop, RoboCop 2, The Last Starfighter

37
20 40
Jim Norton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Jim Norton Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Straw Dogs

38
23 46
Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Cyril Cusack Harold and Maude, My Left Foot, Far and Away

39
18 40
Ray McAnally is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ray McAnally My Left Foot, The Mission, We're No Angels

40
21 47
Tony Doyle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Tony Doyle Ever After, The Boxer, Damage

41
18 42
Colin Kenny is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin Kenny To Kill a Mockingbird, North by Northwest, Mrs. Miniver

42
16 44
Seán McGinley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Seán McGinley Braveheart, Gangs of New York, The General

43
13 43
Matt Moore is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Matt Moore An Affair to Remember, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Wilson

44
13 45
Brefni O'Rorke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Brefni O'Rorke King Arthur Was a Gentleman, It Happened One Sunday, They Flew Alone

45
11 42
Owen Roe is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Owen Roe Breakfast on Pluto, Sensation, The Shadow in the North

46
3 21
Donal McCann is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
iknowwhatawesternis added Donal McCann Out of Africa, Stealing Beauty, High Spirits