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.
116768 155618
2 Henry Fonda
For six decades -- in The Grapes of Wrath and Fail-Safe -- Fonda was so good people stopped appreciating his talent.
10611 37583
3 James Stewart
Stereotyped as an aw-shucks Everyman, Stewart brought fierce intelligence to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
9109 26249
4 Humphrey Bogart
World-weary Casablanca and Maltese Falcon star Bogart was a man's man who was also loved by the ladies.
7641 24843
5 Spencer Tracy
Practical about the art of acting, Tracy was an unlikely leading man in the socially conscious drama Bad Day at Black Rock.
6991 26401
6 Marlon Brando
Decades after A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was electrifying in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
6782 31246
7 Laurence Olivier
Classically trained and Hollywood handsome, Olivier approached Shakespeare with the same vigor he brought to Wuthering Heights.
6416 24908
8 Jack Nicholson
Nicholson's feral, defiant energy dovetailed with the Zeitgeist, producing movies like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Chinatown.
6121 42651
9 Robert De Niro
De Niro is as mesmerizing in the low-rent Bloody Mama as he is in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas.
5911 49203
10 Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman broke Hollywood's blond-macho-leading-man mold in the generation-defining Graduate and (in a different way) Tootsie.
5911 23161
11 Gene Hackman
Hollywood's seventies detour into gritty, downbeat movies saved Hackman -- he shone in The French Connection and The Conversation.
5212 24522
12 Paul Newman
Newman defiantly hitched his good looks to one slippery, startling classic after another, from The Hustler to Hud.
5207 32709
13 Jack Lemmon
Long before dramedy had a name, Lemmon perfected the art of wrapping laughter around emotional truth in Some Like It Hot.
5188 26196
14 Anthony Hopkins
Hopkins's movie career has been a roller-coaster ride through TV, supporting roles, and cult favorites, like The Elephant Man.
4994 20978
15 Gregory Peck
Peck could play neurotic (Spellbound) and dashing (Roman Holiday) but excelled at righteousness (Gentlemen's Agreement).
4979 18533
16 Clark Gable
Jug ears notwithstanding, Gable oozed uncomplicated sex appeal, especially as Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler.
4744 14372
17 Al Pacino
A bundle of urban energy, Pacino embraced bravura in such crowd-pleasers as Glengarry Glen Ross and The Devil's Advocate.
4702 31700
18 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.
4607 15959
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.
4534 13702
20 George C. Scott
In movies like Patton, Hardcore, and A Christmas Carol, he embodied moral outrage, right or wrong.
4293 12101
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.
3941 27481
22 Morgan Freeman
If you need an actor who can play both a vicious pimp (Street Smart) and God (Bruce Almighty), you need Freeman.
3672 22588
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).
2997 14533
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.
2989 11187
25 Burt Lancaster
The onetime circus acrobat brought physical grace to crime movies (The Killers) and swashbucklers (The Crimson Pirate).
2775 12111
26 Denzel Washington
Washington played the voice of moral authority in movies like Glory and Courage Under Fire without seeming sanctimonious.
2771 20541
27 Daniel Day-Lewis
Handsome, articulate, and almost frighteningly intense, Day-Lewis is relentless in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
2496 28544
28 Kirk Douglas
Douglas's insecurity and festering resentments gave depth to his best roles, like the cynical reporter in Ace in the Hole.
2122 11434
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.
1888 9276
30 Sean Connery
With his rough-hewn good looks and casual manliness, Connery was born to play James Bond.
1827 15075
31 John Wayne
Wayne spent 50 years defining American manhood, while starring in the career-making Stagecoach and the bittersweet Shootist.
1803 24499
32 Steve McQueen
McQueen's brand of sensitive rebelliousness made him the ultimate in cool in The Great Escape.
1511 10785
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.
1460 12816
34 William Holden
Holden parsed world-weariness as a screenwriter turned gigolo (Sunset Blvd.) and a cynical WWII POW (Stalag 17).
1326 8700
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.
1137 14197
36 James Cagney
No one did seething fury like the small, wiry Cagney did in movies such as White Heat and The Public Enemy.
1084 8202
37 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.
1058 9212
38 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).
1054 8336
39 Peter Sellers
Sellers was bitter fun: who else could have played Dr. Strangelove and president Merkin Muffley in the same scene?
872 9278
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.
766 8816
41 William Powell
Powell was a leading man for four decades, assembling a highly diverse filmography, including My Man Godfrey and Sherlock Holmes.
761 8739
42 Buster Keaton
The Great Stone Face was the main attraction in such innovative silent comedies as Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, and The General.
757 9715
43 Errol Flynn
Flynn defined the roguish swashbuckler in movies like Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk.
755 9263
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.
754 9896
45 Sean Penn
Penn's specialty is the intense, complicated loners he's played in movies like Dead Man Walking and Mystic River.
732 12234
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 8540
47 Groucho Marx
Groucho introduced absurdist anarchy to mainstream comedy in Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers.
726 11356
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.
711 9785
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 10046
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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