Greatest Acting Performances of All Time

Beatlesboy9

The Top Ten

1 Jack Nicholson - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

For some reason, I knew he was going to be on this list. - MusicalPony

Probably because he's had so many great and memorable roles, done so well... - Billyv

2 Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump

Run Forrest run

No - BeatlesFan1964

3 Robert Deniro - Taxi Driver
4 James Gandolfini - The Sopranos

While he arguably had a certain advantage over actors in movies in that he had approx 86 hours in 86 installments to develop and portray the character, it could alsot be considered an extraordinaiy feat in sustaining and building the depth over years and that amount of time on camera.
Anyway it's viewed, the performance should be considered as one of, if not the greatest performance. A magnificent and unique achievement. - Billyv

5 Marlon Brando - The Godfather Marlon Brando - The Godfather Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American actor, film director, and activist. He is credited with bringing a gripping realism to film acting, and is often cited as one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time.
6 Jack Nicholson - The Shining

It wasn't scary but it was the funniest thing. And when I'm typing, cha ching, cha ching!

I really think he should have won the oscar for this. I really don't see why he didn't. - Beatlesboy9

7 Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

This should be number one.

8 Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
9 Leonardo DiCaprio - What's Eating Gilbert Grape
10 Sigourney Weaver - Aliens Sigourney Weaver - Aliens Susan Alexandra "Sigourney" Weaver is an American actress and film producer. Following her film debut as a minor character in Annie Hall, she quickly came to prominence in 1979 with her first lead role as Ellen Ripley in Alien.

The Contenders

11 Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia
12 Al Pacino - Dog Day Afternoon Al Pacino - Dog Day Afternoon
13 Robert Deniro - Raging Bull
14 Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs
15 Gregory Peck - to Kill a Mockingbird

Incredibly difficult decision, but Gregory Peck is possibly my favourite actor. He WAS Atticus Finch. - PetSounds

16 Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor and director with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters.
17 Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption
18 Edward Norton - Fight Club Edward Norton - Fight Club Edward Harrison Norton is an American actor, filmmaker and activist. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his work in the films Primal Fear, American History X and Birdman.
19 Paul Newman - Cool Hand Luke Paul Newman - Cool Hand Luke Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver and team owner, environmentalist, activist and philanthropist.
20 Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
21 Rutger Hauer - Blade Runner Rutger Hauer - Blade Runner
22 Sean Penn - I Am Sam
23 Isabella Rossellini - Blue Velvet
24 Humphrey Bogart - Casablanca Humphrey Bogart - Casablanca Humphrey DeForest Bogart was an American screen actor whose performances in iconic 1940s films noir such as The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Big Sleep earned him status as a cultural icon.
25 Al Pacino - Scent of a Woman Al Pacino - Scent of a Woman
26 Tom Green - Freddy Got Fingered
27 Kevin Spacey - American Beauty Kevin Spacey - American Beauty
28 Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove
29 Edie Falco - The Sopranos
30 Jodie Foster - The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster - The Silence of the Lambs Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster is an American actress, director and producer who has worked in films and on television. She has often been cited as one of the best actresses of her generation.
31 Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
32 Samuel L. Jackson - Pulp Fiction
33 Robert Deniro - Hide and Seek
34 Meryl Streep - Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep - Sophie's Choice Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress. Cited in the media as the "best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility in her roles, transformation into the characters she plays, and her accent adaptation.
35 Robert Duvall - Apocalypse Now

His character, so well portrayed, was the key to understanding Kurtz as well as Willard at the end - Billyv

36 Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
37 Tippi Hedren - The Birds Tippi Hedren - The Birds Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren (born January 19, 1930) is an American actress, animal rights activist and former fashion model.
38 Robert Duvall - Tender Mercies
39 Dustin Hoffman - Tootsie Dustin Hoffman - Tootsie Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor and director with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters.
40 Clint Eastwood - The Unforgiven Clint Eastwood - The Unforgiven Clinton "Clint" Eastwood Jr. is an American actor, film director, producer, musician, and political figure.
41 Dudley Moore - Arthur
42 Jack Lemmon - The China Syndrome
43 John Cusack - Bullets Over Broadway John Cusack - Bullets Over Broadway

Imitating a young "Woody Allen" type character, he was perfect - Billyv

44 James Stewart - Rear Window James Stewart - Rear Window James Stewart (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997) was an American movie star, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time. He is best remembered for his roles in Rear Window, It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Stewart was known for his distinctive drawl ...read more.
45 Peter Finch - Network
46 Faye Dunaway - Network Faye Dunaway - Network Dorothy Faye Dunaway is an American actress. She has won an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, a BAFTA, an Emmy, and was the first-ever recipient of a Leopard Club Award which honors film professionals whose work has left a mark on the collective imagination.
47 Mia Farrow - Rosemary's Baby
48 Jack Nicholson - Five Easy Pieces
49 Warren Beatty - Bonnie and Clyde
50 Faye Dunaway - Bonnie and Clyde Faye Dunaway - Bonnie and Clyde Dorothy Faye Dunaway is an American actress. She has won an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, a BAFTA, an Emmy, and was the first-ever recipient of a Leopard Club Award which honors film professionals whose work has left a mark on the collective imagination.
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List Stats

100 votes
95 listings
3 years, 50 days old

Top Remixes (5)

1. Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
2. Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
3. Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
NK1998
1. Robert Deniro - Taxi Driver
2. James Gandolfini - The Sopranos
3. Sigourney Weaver - Aliens
BeatlesFan1964
1. James Gandolfini - The Sopranos
2. Jack Nicholson - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
3. Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump
Billyv

WRemix
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