Best Actors of the '30s

MatrixGuy
Chaplin at his best with Modern Times (1936) and City Lights (1931).

The Top Ten

1 James Cagney James Cagney James Francis Cagney Jr. (July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986) was an American actor and dancer, both on stage and in film, though he had his greatest impact in film. Known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive vocal style, and deadpan comic timing, he won acclaim and major awards for ...read more.
2 Jean Gabin
3 Peter Lorre Peter Lorre Peter Lorre, born László Löwenstein (26 June 1904 – 23 March 1964) was an Austro-Hungarian-American actor. In Austria, he began his stage career in Vienna before moving to Germany where he had his breakthrough, first on the stage, then in film in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Lorre ...read more.
4 William Powell William Powell William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the popular Thin Man series based on the Nick and Nora Charles characters created by Dashiell Hammett. Powell was nominated for the ...read more.
5 Spencer Tracy Spencer Tracy Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (April 5, 1900 - June 10, 1967) was an American actor, noted for his natural style and versatility. During his career, Tracy appeared in 75 films and developed a reputation among his peers as one of the screen's greatest actors.
6 Warren William
7 Clark Gable Clark Gable William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, often referred to as "The King of Hollywood" or just simply as "The King". Gable is considered one of the most consistent box-office performers in history, appearing on Quigley Publishing's annual Top Ten Money ...read more.
8 Charles Laughton
9 Edward G Robinson
10 Charlie Chaplin Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era.

The Contenders

11 Paul Muni
12 Pat O'Brien
13 Jimmy Stewart Jimmy Stewart James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997), also known as Jimmy Stewart (although he seldom used that name in formal credits), was an American actor and military officer, known for his distinctive drawl and down-to-earth persona. He starred in many films that are considered to be classics, ...read more.
14 Boris Karloff Boris Karloff William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, was an English actor who was primarily known for his roles in horror films. He portrayed Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939). ...read more.
15 Humphrey Bogart Humphrey Bogart 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.
16 Cary Grant Cary Grant Cary Grant, born Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986) was a British-American actor, known as one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men. He began a career in Hollywood in the early 1930s, and became known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor, and light-hearted ...read more.
17 Alan Hale
18 Ray Bolger
19 Claude Rains Claude Rains William Claude Rains (10 November 1889 – 30 May 1967) was an English film and stage actor whose career spanned 46 years. After his American film debut with The Invisible Man (1933) he played in classic films like The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Wolf Man ...read more.
20 Groucho Marx Groucho Marx Julius Henry Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977), known professionally as Groucho Marx, was an American comedian, film and television star. He was known as a master of quick wit and is widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden ...read more.
21 Leslie Howard
22 Errol Flynn
23 Gary Cooper Gary Cooper Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances. His career spanned thirty-five years, from 1925 to 1960, and included leading roles in eighty-four feature films. He ...read more.
24 Tyrone Power
25 Bela Lugosi Bela Lugosi Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956), better known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian-American actor, famous for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 film and for his roles in various other horror films.
26 Fred Astaire Fred Astaire
27 Chico Marx Chico Marx Leonard Marx (March 22, 1887 – October 11, 1961), known professionally as Chico Marx, was an American comedian, musician, bandleader, actor and film star. He was a member of the Marx Brothers. His persona in the act was that of a charming, dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian ...read more.
28 Harpo Marx Harpo Marx Arthur Marx, born Adolph Marx (November 23, 1888 – September 28, 1964), known professionally as Harpo Marx, was an American comedian, actor, mime artist, and musician, and the second-oldest of the Marx Brothers. ...read more.
29 Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Greta Garbo, born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990), was a Swedish-born American film actress during the 1920s and 1930s. ...read more.
30 Edward Everett Horton
31 Basil Rathbone
32 Charles Chaplin
33 John Barrymore
34 Lyle Talbot
35 Walter Huston
36 Barton MacLane
37 Robert Montgomery
38 Fredric March
39 George Brent
40 Frank McHugh
41 George Arliss
42 Robert Williams
43 Henry Fonda Henry Fonda Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor with a career spanning more than five decades.
44 Adolphe Menjou
45 Bruce Cabot
46 Dan Duryea
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