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.
115280 153696
2 Henry Fonda
For six decades -- in The Grapes of Wrath and Fail-Safe -- Fonda was so good people stopped appreciating his talent.
9207 35831
3 James Stewart
Stereotyped as an aw-shucks Everyman, Stewart brought fierce intelligence to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
9038 25896
4 Humphrey Bogart
World-weary Casablanca and Maltese Falcon star Bogart was a man's man who was also loved by the ladies.
7765 24451
5 Marlon Brando
Decades after A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was electrifying in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
7518 30140
6 Jack Nicholson
Nicholson's feral, defiant energy dovetailed with the Zeitgeist, producing movies like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Chinatown.
7407 40949
7 Robert De Niro
De Niro is as mesmerizing in the low-rent Bloody Mama as he is in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas.
7183 47433
8 Spencer Tracy
Practical about the art of acting, Tracy was an unlikely leading man in the socially conscious drama Bad Day at Black Rock.
5558 24752
9 Paul Newman
Newman defiantly hitched his good looks to one slippery, startling classic after another, from The Hustler to Hud.
5176 32492
10 Jack Lemmon
Long before dramedy had a name, Lemmon perfected the art of wrapping laughter around emotional truth in Some Like It Hot.
5135 25949
11 Gene Hackman
Hollywood's seventies detour into gritty, downbeat movies saved Hackman -- he shone in The French Connection and The Conversation.
5130 24280
12 Anthony Hopkins
Hopkins's movie career has been a roller-coaster ride through TV, supporting roles, and cult favorites, like The Elephant Man.
5122 20652
13 Laurence Olivier
Classically trained and Hollywood handsome, Olivier approached Shakespeare with the same vigor he brought to Wuthering Heights.
4977 23293
14 Gregory Peck
Peck could play neurotic (Spellbound) and dashing (Roman Holiday) but excelled at righteousness (Gentlemen's Agreement).
4967 18385
15 Clark Gable
Jug ears notwithstanding, Gable oozed uncomplicated sex appeal, especially as Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler.
4769 14217
16 Al Pacino
A bundle of urban energy, Pacino embraced bravura in such crowd-pleasers as Glengarry Glen Ross and The Devil's Advocate.
4705 31329
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.
4604 15834
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.
4523 13555
19 Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman broke Hollywood's blond-macho-leading-man mold in the generation-defining Graduate and (in a different way) Tootsie.
4490 21572
20 Daniel Day-Lewis
Handsome, articulate, and almost frighteningly intense, Day-Lewis is relentless in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
3862 26904
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.
3847 27267
22 George C. Scott
In movies like Patton, Hardcore, and A Christmas Carol, he embodied moral outrage, right or wrong.
3640 11306
23 Morgan Freeman
If you need an actor who can play both a vicious pimp (Street Smart) and God (Bruce Almighty), you need Freeman.
3470 22270
24 John Wayne
Wayne spent 50 years defining American manhood, while starring in the career-making Stagecoach and the bittersweet Shootist.
3165 22919
25 Burt Lancaster
The onetime circus acrobat brought physical grace to crime movies (The Killers) and swashbucklers (The Crimson Pirate).
2932 11872
26 Denzel Washington
Washington played the voice of moral authority in movies like Glory and Courage Under Fire without seeming sanctimonious.
2566 20200
27 Kirk Douglas
Douglas's insecurity and festering resentments gave depth to his best roles, like the cynical reporter in Ace in the Hole.
2464 10960
28 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.
1867 9139
29 Sean Connery
With his rough-hewn good looks and casual manliness, Connery was born to play James Bond.
1798 14866
30 Michael Caine
In the sixties, Caine brought working-class sex appeal to cads (Alfie), thieves (The Italian Job), and unglamorous spies (The Ipcress File).
1755 13191
31 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.
1583 9645
32 Steve McQueen
McQueen's brand of sensitive rebelliousness made him the ultimate in cool in The Great Escape.
1483 10665
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.
1441 12697
34 William Holden
Holden parsed world-weariness as a screenwriter turned gigolo (Sunset Blvd.) and a cynical WWII POW (Stalag 17).
1336 8602
35 Russell Crowe
Crowe has built a career on playing bruisers, from Romper Stomper's conflicted skinhead to the disillusioned journalist in State of Play.
1132 14046
36 James Cagney
No one did seething fury like the small, wiry Cagney did in movies such as White Heat and The Public Enemy.
1074 8102
37 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).
1064 8242
38 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.
1036 9104
39 Peter Sellers
Sellers was bitter fun: who else could have played Dr. Strangelove and president Merkin Muffley in the same scene?
901 9181
40 Sean Penn
Penn's specialty is the intense, complicated loners he's played in movies like Dead Man Walking and Mystic River.
747 12087
41 James Dean
Dean tapped into the pure essence of teen misery in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, then died before he got old.
747 9753
42 Buster Keaton
The Great Stone Face was the main attraction in such innovative silent comedies as Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, and The General.
746 9576
43 James Mason
Odd Man Out put Mason on the radar, and he brought a touch of tainted class to North by Northwest and Lolita.
746 8686
44 Errol Flynn
Flynn defined the roguish swashbuckler in movies like Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk.
742 9140
45 William Powell
Powell was a leading man for four decades, assembling a highly diverse filmography, including My Man Godfrey and Sherlock Holmes.
741 8597
46 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.
732 8432
47 Groucho Marx
Groucho introduced absurdist anarchy to mainstream comedy in Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers.
730 11220
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.
713 9657
49 Fred Astaire
Studio executives were underwhelmed by the skinny Astaire, but he seduced audiences in Flying Down to Rio and Shall We Dance.
705 9915
50 Johnny Depp
Depp rejected pretty-boy stardom to play the soulful monster Edward Scissorhands and the cross-dressing moviemaker Ed Wood.
-3034 34122