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.
114914 152210
2 Henry Fonda
For six decades -- in The Grapes of Wrath and Fail-Safe -- Fonda was so good people stopped appreciating his talent.
9044 34826
3 James Stewart
Stereotyped as an aw-shucks Everyman, Stewart brought fierce intelligence to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
8634 24908
4 Humphrey Bogart
World-weary Casablanca and Maltese Falcon star Bogart was a man's man who was also loved by the ladies.
7940 23728
5 Marlon Brando
Decades after A Streetcar Named Desire, Brando was electrifying in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
7641 29189
6 Jack Nicholson
Nicholson's feral, defiant energy dovetailed with the Zeitgeist, producing movies like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Chinatown.
7469 39843
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.
7159 46289
8 Jack Lemmon
Long before dramedy had a name, Lemmon perfected the art of wrapping laughter around emotional truth in Some Like It Hot.
5257 25491
9 Spencer Tracy
Practical about the art of acting, Tracy was an unlikely leading man in the socially conscious drama Bad Day at Black Rock.
5188 23918
10 Gene Hackman
Hollywood's seventies detour into gritty, downbeat movies saved Hackman -- he shone in The French Connection and The Conversation.
5116 23862
11 Paul Newman
Newman defiantly hitched his good looks to one slippery, startling classic after another, from The Hustler to Hud.
5091 32037
12 Anthony Hopkins
Hopkins's movie career has been a roller-coaster ride through TV, supporting roles, and cult favorites, like The Elephant Man.
5067 20067
13 Gregory Peck
Peck could play neurotic (Spellbound) and dashing (Roman Holiday) but excelled at righteousness (Gentlemen's Agreement).
4928 17984
14 Al Pacino
A bundle of urban energy, Pacino embraced bravura in such crowd-pleasers as Glengarry Glen Ross and The Devil's Advocate.
4771 30285
15 Clark Gable
Jug ears notwithstanding, Gable oozed uncomplicated sex appeal, especially as Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler.
4688 13688
16 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.
4666 15438
17 Laurence Olivier
Classically trained and Hollywood handsome, Olivier approached Shakespeare with the same vigor he brought to Wuthering Heights.
4565 22491
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.
4282 12990
19 Daniel Day-Lewis
Handsome, articulate, and almost frighteningly intense, Day-Lewis is relentless in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
4112 25968
20 Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman broke Hollywood's blond-macho-leading-man mold in the generation-defining Graduate and (in a different way) Tootsie.
3959 20707
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.
3689 26759
22 John Wayne
Wayne spent 50 years defining American manhood, while starring in the career-making Stagecoach and the bittersweet Shootist.
3501 21995
23 George C. Scott
In movies like Patton, Hardcore, and A Christmas Carol, he embodied moral outrage, right or wrong.
3230 10562
24 Morgan Freeman
If you need an actor who can play both a vicious pimp (Street Smart) and God (Bruce Almighty), you need Freeman.
3166 21698
25 Burt Lancaster
The onetime circus acrobat brought physical grace to crime movies (The Killers) and swashbucklers (The Crimson Pirate).
2931 11557
26 Kirk Douglas
Douglas's insecurity and festering resentments gave depth to his best roles, like the cynical reporter in Ace in the Hole.
2449 10639
27 Denzel Washington
Washington played the voice of moral authority in movies like Glory and Courage Under Fire without seeming sanctimonious.
2332 19680
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.
1879 8835
29 Sean Connery
With his rough-hewn good looks and casual manliness, Connery was born to play James Bond.
1669 14439
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).
1657 12833
31 Steve McQueen
McQueen's brand of sensitive rebelliousness made him the ultimate in cool in The Great Escape.
1436 10338
32 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.
1388 12360
33 William Holden
Holden parsed world-weariness as a screenwriter turned gigolo (Sunset Blvd.) and a cynical WWII POW (Stalag 17).
1324 8304
34 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.
1191 8927
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.
1077 13619
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).
1062 7958
37 James Cagney
No one did seething fury like the small, wiry Cagney did in movies such as White Heat and The Public Enemy.
1052 7796
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.
982 8782
39 Peter Sellers
Sellers was bitter fun: who else could have played Dr. Strangelove and president Merkin Muffley in the same scene?
922 8870
40 William Powell
Powell was a leading man for four decades, assembling a highly diverse filmography, including My Man Godfrey and Sherlock Holmes.
744 8258
41 James Mason
Odd Man Out put Mason on the radar, and he brought a touch of tainted class to North by Northwest and Lolita.
743 8347
42 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.
735 8129
43 Errol Flynn
Flynn defined the roguish swashbuckler in movies like Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk.
732 8794
44 Buster Keaton
The Great Stone Face was the main attraction in such innovative silent comedies as Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, and The General.
726 9224
45 James Dean
Dean tapped into the pure essence of teen misery in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, then died before he got old.
724 9358
46 Sean Penn
Penn's specialty is the intense, complicated loners he's played in movies like Dead Man Walking and Mystic River.
722 11696
47 Groucho Marx
Groucho introduced absurdist anarchy to mainstream comedy in Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers.
719 10835
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.
710 9314
49 Fred Astaire
Studio executives were underwhelmed by the skinny Astaire, but he seduced audiences in Flying Down to Rio and Shall We Dance.
709 9557
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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