Fred Astaire
AMC Movie List

The 50 Greatest Actors of All Time

Filmsite.org‘s Tim Dirks spotlights the top 50 actors in Hollywood history. Which one is your favorite?

rank title points votes your vote
1 Tom Hanks
He loved a mermaid (Splash) and crossed paths with history (Forrest Gump) but never lost his boy-next-door appeal.
117597 157277
2 Henry Fonda
For six decades -- in The Grapes of Wrath and Fail-Safe -- Fonda was so good people stopped appreciating his talent.
11324 38892
3 James Stewart
Stereotyped as an aw-shucks Everyman, Stewart brought fierce intelligence to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
9551 27077
4 Spencer Tracy
Practical about the art of acting, Tracy was an unlikely leading man in the socially conscious drama Bad Day at Black Rock.
7833 27631
5 Humphrey Bogart
World-weary Casablanca and Maltese Falcon star Bogart was a man's man who was also loved by the ladies.
7628 25222
6 Laurence Olivier
Classically trained and Hollywood handsome, Olivier approached Shakespeare with the same vigor he brought to Wuthering Heights.
7253 26117
7 Marlon Brando
Decades after A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was electrifying in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
6725 31945
8 Jack Nicholson
Nicholson's feral, defiant energy dovetailed with the Zeitgeist, producing movies like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Chinatown.
6288 43182
9 Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman broke Hollywood's blond-macho-leading-man mold in the generation-defining Graduate and (in a different way) Tootsie.
6178 23782
10 Robert De Niro
De Niro is as mesmerizing in the low-rent Bloody Mama as he is in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas.
5895 49997
11 Gene Hackman
Hollywood's seventies detour into gritty, downbeat movies saved Hackman -- he shone in The French Connection and The Conversation.
5514 25132
12 Jack Lemmon
Long before dramedy had a name, Lemmon perfected the art of wrapping laughter around emotional truth in Some Like It Hot.
5422 26722
13 Paul Newman
Newman defiantly hitched his good looks to one slippery, startling classic after another, from The Hustler to Hud.
5365 33127
14 Gregory Peck
Peck could play neurotic (Spellbound) and dashing (Roman Holiday) but excelled at righteousness (Gentlemen's Agreement).
5192 18970
15 Anthony Hopkins
Hopkins's movie career has been a roller-coaster ride through TV, supporting roles, and cult favorites, like The Elephant Man.
4949 21453
16 Clark Gable
Jug ears notwithstanding, Gable oozed uncomplicated sex appeal, especially as Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler.
4927 14817
17 Gary Cooper
Bad boys are sexy, but the slow-talking Cooper made basic decency a turn-on in movies like Meet John Doe and High Noon.
4752 16356
18 Cary Grant
Grant's comic flair came through in The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday, and his dramatic gift was on display in North by Northwest.
4745 14139
19 George C. Scott
In movies like Patton, Hardcore, and A Christmas Carol, he embodied moral outrage, right or wrong.
4650 12710
20 Al Pacino
A bundle of urban energy, Pacino embraced bravura in such crowd-pleasers as Glengarry Glen Ross and The Devil's Advocate.
4630 32466
21 Clint Eastwood
In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the Man With No Name has a suspicion of authority that makes him the perfect anti-hero of the sixties.
4090 27862
22 Morgan Freeman
If you need an actor who can play both a vicious pimp (Street Smart) and God (Bruce Almighty), you need Freeman.
3885 22997
23 Michael Caine
In the sixties, Caine brought working-class sex appeal to cads (Alfie), thieves (The Italian Job), and unglamorous spies (The Ipcress File).
3876 15652
24 Richard Burton
Burton's movies were rarely as good as he was, but when they were -- as Look Back in Anger was -- they were breathtaking.
3791 12265
25 Denzel Washington
Washington played the voice of moral authority in movies like Glory and Courage Under Fire without seeming sanctimonious.
2975 21009
26 Burt Lancaster
The onetime circus acrobat brought physical grace to crime movies (The Killers) and swashbucklers (The Crimson Pirate).
2793 12377
27 Kirk Douglas
Douglas's insecurity and festering resentments gave depth to his best roles, like the cynical reporter in Ace in the Hole.
2193 11729
28 Sean Connery
With his rough-hewn good looks and casual manliness, Connery was born to play James Bond.
1998 15430
29 Robert Mitchum
Mitchum's sleepy, vaguely menacing sensuality made him a noir icon in movies like Out of the Past and The Night of the Hunter.
1988 9588
30 Daniel Day-Lewis
Handsome, articulate, and almost frighteningly intense, Day-Lewis is relentless in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
1820 29788
31 Steve McQueen
McQueen's brand of sensitive rebelliousness made him the ultimate in cool in The Great Escape.
1773 11221
32 William Holden
Holden parsed world-weariness as a screenwriter turned gigolo (Sunset Blvd.) and a cynical WWII POW (Stalag 17).
1751 9341
33 Charles Chaplin
Chaplin was funny, but he wasn't a clown -- it's the razor-sharp edges that make The Gold Rush still feel new.
1724 13274
34 James Cagney
No one did seething fury like the small, wiry Cagney did in movies such as White Heat and The Public Enemy.
1307 8607
35 Sidney Poitier
At a time when most Black actors were stuck at the back of the bus, Poitier took the wheel, winning an Oscar for Lilies of the Field.
1292 9626
36 Edward G. Robinson
Squat and ugly, Robinson was convincing as a force for justice (Double Indemnity), a criminal (Little Caesar), and a schmuck (Scarlet Street).
1228 8714
37 Russell Crowe
Crowe has built a career on playing bruisers, from Romper Stomper's conflicted skinhead to the disillusioned journalist in State of Play.
1181 14537
38 John Wayne
Wayne spent 50 years defining American manhood, while starring in the career-making Stagecoach and the bittersweet Shootist.
1098 25674
39 Peter Sellers
Sellers was bitter fun: who else could have played Dr. Strangelove and president Merkin Muffley in the same scene?
1066 9686
40 James Mason
Odd Man Out put Mason on the radar, and he brought a touch of tainted class to North by Northwest and Lolita.
936 9206
41 William Powell
Powell was a leading man for four decades, assembling a highly diverse filmography, including My Man Godfrey and Sherlock Holmes.
930 9140
42 Errol Flynn
Flynn defined the roguish swashbuckler in movies like Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk.
922 9642
43 Buster Keaton
The Great Stone Face was the main attraction in such innovative silent comedies as Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, and The General.
913 10093
44 James Dean
Dean tapped into the pure essence of teen misery in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, then died before he got old.
908 10290
45 Orson Welles
Citizen Kane showcased Welles's bravura acting style, and roles in Touch of Evil and The Lady From Shanghai proved he was no fluke.
765 8783
46 Groucho Marx
Groucho introduced absurdist anarchy to mainstream comedy in Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers.
748 11630
47 Sean Penn
Penn's specialty is the intense, complicated loners he's played in movies like Dead Man Walking and Mystic River.
718 12516
48 Gene Kelly
The virile Kelly made ballet safe for mainstream moviegoers in classic musicals like An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain.
706 10050
49 Fred Astaire
Studio executives were underwhelmed by the skinny Astaire, but he seduced audiences in Flying Down to Rio and Shall We Dance.
702 10350
50 Johnny Depp
Depp rejected pretty-boy stardom to play the soulful monster Edward Scissorhands and the cross-dressing moviemaker Ed Wood.
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