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The Best Living English Actors

Updated July 10, 2020 26.3k votes 4.3k voters 25.0k 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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  • Colin Firth1
    1,476
    415

    Colin Firth

    The English Patient, The King's Speech
  • Benedict Cumberbatch2
    663
    638

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Tom Hardy3
    478
    411

    Tom Hardy

    The Dark Knight Rises, Inception
  • Idris Elba4
    328
    264

    Idris Elba

    Thor, Thor: The Dark World
  • Jude Law5
    301
    275

    Jude Law

    Hugo, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • David Thewlis6
    184
    131

    David Thewlis

    The Big Lebowski, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • James McAvoy7
    320
    300

    James McAvoy

    X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Tom Hiddleston8
    493
    497

    Tom Hiddleston

    The Avengers, Thor
  • Christian Bale9
    791
    815

    Christian Bale

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises
  • Rowan Atkinson10
    266
    240

    Rowan Atkinson

    The Lion King, Love Actually
  • Ian McKellen11
    493
    519

    Ian McKellen

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Bill Nighy12
    199
    174

    Bill Nighy

    Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Daniel Craig13
    273
    272

    Daniel Craig

    Casino Royale, Skyfall
  • Gary Oldman14
    650
    718

    Gary Oldman

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises
  • Sean Bean15
    274
    286

    Sean Bean

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Tom Holland16
    176
    74

    Tom Holland

    The Impossible, Locke
  • Daniel Radcliffe17
    220
    224

    Daniel Radcliffe

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Patrick Stewart18
    395
    452

    Patrick Stewart

    X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand
  • Martin Freeman19
    305
    328

    Martin Freeman

    Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz
  • John Cleese20
    166
    161

    John Cleese

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Stephen Fry21
    101
    86

    Stephen Fry

    Jeeves and Wooster
  • Michael Sheen22
    44
    9

    Michael Sheen

    Gladiator, Alice in Wonderland
  • Simon Pegg23
    165
    182

    Simon Pegg

    Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead
  • Paul Bettany24
    48
    20

    Paul Bettany

    The Avengers, Iron Man
  • Ralph Fiennes25
    406
    482

    Ralph Fiennes

    Schindler's List, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2