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The Best Living English Actors

Updated July 10, 2020 27.8k votes 4.2k voters 24.4k views71 items

List RulesLiving male actors from England. Vote based on their entire body of work so far.

You'd listen to Michael Caine talk all day, right? And surely you'd watch Ian McKellan in just about any movie Hollywood decided he should be in. Why? Because they're two of the best living English actors, along with the other English men on this list. These greatest living actors from England aren't just handsome and don't just come with a great accent, they're truly talented actors who have all made film history.

Who are the top living English actors? These men (whether retired or still working) are still gracing the earth and many are turning out excellent performances in hit movies, like Christian Bale and Benedict Cumberbatch. The best at what they do, these English actors win awards left and right, from BAFTAs to Golden Globes, and are popular with film-going audiences the world over.

This list features the greatest living English actors including Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Michael Cane, Colin Firth, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Sean Bean, John Cleese, Jude Law, Hugh Laurie, and Rupert Everett. Don't see your favorite living 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 still alive today.

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  • 1
    Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    1,566
    441

    Colin Firth

    The English Patient, The King's Speech
  • 2
    Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    342
    281

    Idris Elba

    Thor, Thor: The Dark World
  • 3
    Tom Hardy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    491
    447

    Tom Hardy

    The Dark Knight Rises, Inception
  • 4
    Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    683
    694

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • 5
    Jude Law is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    312
    297

    Jude Law

    Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • 6
    David Thewlis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    184
    137

    David Thewlis

    The Big Lebowski, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 7
    Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    279
    249

    Rowan Atkinson

    The Lion King, Love Actually
  • 8
    James McAvoy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    330
    330

    James McAvoy

    X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • 9
    Tom Hiddleston is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    515
    550

    Tom Hiddleston

    The Avengers, Thor
  • 10
    Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    830
    903

    Christian Bale

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises
  • 11
    Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    206
    184

    Bill Nighy

    Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • 12
    Daniel Craig is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    285
    290

    Daniel Craig

    Casino Royale, Skyfall
  • 13
    Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    511
    579

    Ian McKellen

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • 14
    Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    676
    793

    Gary Oldman

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises
  • 15
    Daniel Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    229
    237

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • 16
    Tom Holland is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    179
    68

    Tom Holland

    The Impossible, Locke
  • 17
    John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    172
    172

    John Cleese

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • 18
    Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    281
    315

    Sean Bean

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • 19
    Michael Sheen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    39
    5

    Michael Sheen

    Gladiator, Alice in Wonderland
  • 20
    Stephen Fry is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    98
    88

    Stephen Fry

    Jeeves and Wooster
  • 21
    Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    374
    436

    Jeremy Irons

    The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance
  • 22
    Martin Freeman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    314
    360

    Martin Freeman

    Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz
  • 23
    Hugh Dancy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    350
    382

    Hugh Dancy

    Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted
  • 24
    Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    133
    138

    Jim Broadbent

    Gangs of New York, Brazil
  • 25
    Simon Pegg is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Living English Actors
    169
    191

    Simon Pegg

    Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead
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