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.
115365 153849
2 Henry Fonda
For six decades -- in The Grapes of Wrath and Fail-Safe -- Fonda was so good people stopped appreciating his talent.
9272 35972
3 James Stewart
Stereotyped as an aw-shucks Everyman, Stewart brought fierce intelligence to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
9115 26041
4 Humphrey Bogart
World-weary Casablanca and Maltese Falcon star Bogart was a man's man who was also loved by the ladies.
7793 24509
5 Marlon Brando
Decades after A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was electrifying in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
7515 30227
6 Jack Nicholson
Nicholson's feral, defiant energy dovetailed with the Zeitgeist, producing movies like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Chinatown.
7347 41097
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.
7119 47585
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.
5649 24869
9 Paul Newman
Newman defiantly hitched his good looks to one slippery, startling classic after another, from The Hustler to Hud.
5184 32512
10 Gene Hackman
Hollywood's seventies detour into gritty, downbeat movies saved Hackman -- he shone in The French Connection and The Conversation.
5135 24299
11 Jack Lemmon
Long before dramedy had a name, Lemmon perfected the art of wrapping laughter around emotional truth in Some Like It Hot.
5132 25966
12 Anthony Hopkins
Hopkins's movie career has been a roller-coaster ride through TV, supporting roles, and cult favorites, like The Elephant Man.
5120 20680
13 Laurence Olivier
Classically trained and Hollywood handsome, Olivier approached Shakespeare with the same vigor he brought to Wuthering Heights.
5070 23406
14 Gregory Peck
Peck could play neurotic (Spellbound) and dashing (Roman Holiday) but excelled at righteousness (Gentlemen's Agreement).
4966 18402
15 Clark Gable
Jug ears notwithstanding, Gable oozed uncomplicated sex appeal, especially as Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler.
4766 14234
16 Al Pacino
A bundle of urban energy, Pacino embraced bravura in such crowd-pleasers as Glengarry Glen Ross and The Devil's Advocate.
4616 31448
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.
4600 15850
18 Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman broke Hollywood's blond-macho-leading-man mold in the generation-defining Graduate and (in a different way) Tootsie.
4598 21692
19 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.
4517 13575
20 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.
3855 27293
21 Daniel Day-Lewis
Handsome, articulate, and almost frighteningly intense, Day-Lewis is relentless in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
3767 27017
22 George C. Scott
In movies like Patton, Hardcore, and A Christmas Carol, he embodied moral outrage, right or wrong.
3735 11415
23 Morgan Freeman
If you need an actor who can play both a vicious pimp (Street Smart) and God (Bruce Almighty), you need Freeman.
3472 22290
24 John Wayne
Wayne spent 50 years defining American manhood, while starring in the career-making Stagecoach and the bittersweet Shootist.
3085 23021
25 Burt Lancaster
The onetime circus acrobat brought physical grace to crime movies (The Killers) and swashbucklers (The Crimson Pirate).
2929 11883
26 Denzel Washington
Washington played the voice of moral authority in movies like Glory and Courage Under Fire without seeming sanctimonious.
2573 20215
27 Kirk Douglas
Douglas's insecurity and festering resentments gave depth to his best roles, like the cynical reporter in Ace in the Hole.
2467 10971
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.
1872 9150
29 Sean Connery
With his rough-hewn good looks and casual manliness, Connery was born to play James Bond.
1799 14875
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).
1756 13200
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.
1669 9743
32 Steve McQueen
McQueen's brand of sensitive rebelliousness made him the ultimate in cool in The Great Escape.
1486 10676
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.
1450 12712
34 William Holden
Holden parsed world-weariness as a screenwriter turned gigolo (Sunset Blvd.) and a cynical WWII POW (Stalag 17).
1335 8611
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.
1129 14061
36 James Cagney
No one did seething fury like the small, wiry Cagney did in movies such as White Heat and The Public Enemy.
1077 8113
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 8252
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.
1040 9118
39 Peter Sellers
Sellers was bitter fun: who else could have played Dr. Strangelove and president Merkin Muffley in the same scene?
900 9192
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.
749 8695
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 9767
42 Sean Penn
Penn's specialty is the intense, complicated loners he's played in movies like Dead Man Walking and Mystic River.
744 12100
43 Errol Flynn
Flynn defined the roguish swashbuckler in movies like Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk.
743 9149
44 Buster Keaton
The Great Stone Face was the main attraction in such innovative silent comedies as Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, and The General.
742 9586
45 William Powell
Powell was a leading man for four decades, assembling a highly diverse filmography, including My Man Godfrey and Sherlock Holmes.
740 8606
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.
733 8443
47 Groucho Marx
Groucho introduced absurdist anarchy to mainstream comedy in Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers.
732 11230
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.
714 9670
49 Fred Astaire
Studio executives were underwhelmed by the skinny Astaire, but he seduced audiences in Flying Down to Rio and Shall We Dance.
707 9929
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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