Top 10 Greatest Actors of All Time

Presenting the top ten best male actors in the history of cinema. The greatest actors including silver screen heroes, Oscar winners, Bollywood superstars, and big time names from the small screen.
The Top Ten
1 Tom Hanks Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks (born July 9, 1956) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is known for his roles in Splash, Big, Turner & Hooch, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, You've Got Mail, The Green Mile, the Toy Story Franchise, Cast Away, The Da Vinci Code, Captain Phillips,... read more

No actor is as versatile as Tom Hanks. He puts in by far the most time studying and learning the person he is portraying and the movie. Like in Cast Away, he stayed on the island by himself to figure out how he would eat and live in those conditions. Everything you saw him do in that movie, he learned while he stranded himself on the island. And to lose the weight that he did and to gain it back, that's pure dedication.

I don't know any other actor that could have done Forrest Gump any better than he did. In the movie Big, forget about it - no one could have acted like a child like he did. There have been thousands of movies that are similar where they switch places with another person, and no one nails it like Tom Hanks did in Big.

2 Robert De Niro Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. (born August 17, 1943) is an American actor and producer. He is particularly known for his nine collaborations with filmmaker Martin Scorsese, and is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and a Screen... read more

Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors of all time, known for his chameleon-like ability to transform into any role, from iconic gangsters to vulnerable outsiders. He is a master of method acting, and his performances are consistently mesmerizing and unforgettable.

To be honest, a lot of old-time actors are not in the top 20, except for De Niro, Pacino, and Brando. I have been watching lots of movies and looked at this list, and I wondered why about 90% of the entire list is absolutely wrong. I couldn't find any of the OG actors.

Here is a list of actors that are very underappreciated in my opinion: Orson Welles, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Laurence Olivier, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman, Robert Duvall, Charlie Chaplin, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Sean Connery, Alan Rickman, James Earl Jones, Clark Gable, Peter Sellers, Anthony Perkins, Anthony Hopkins, and Gregory Peck, just to name a few.

Why did people even put Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio or even Tom Hanks on the same level or even above the level of actors like De Niro? I just wanted to give a quick rant about why actors from back then are better than actors today and how messed up the world is right now. Anyway... back to why I chose De Niro. De Niro has had many stellar and almost unmatched performances, such as in The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, The Deer Hunter, GoodFellas, Heat, and The Untouchables. If you don't believe me, watch those movies. Need I say more?

3 Johnny Depp John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II (born June 9, 1963) is an American actor, producer, and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor... read more

I don't think he is sexy, but the man can act! He is very diverse and agile. He can be so funny, elusive, mysterious, boyish, wise, psycho, happy, sad, grievous, etc. And I believe every moment of his characters.

Johnny Depp is the best actor, and I love his movies. He sings very well too. I've watched the movie Sweeney Todd, and I really liked the way he sings in it. It's not only that. He is the sexiest man in the world. I LOVE HIM!

There is no doubt that Johnny Depp is the best actor in the world, hands down. I would love to see anyone else on this list match his versatility. The man started off with "Edward Scissorhands" and acted solely with his eyes. He followed it up with "Ed Wood," "Benny and Joon," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "Donnie Brasco," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Sleepy Hollow," "Chocolat," "Blow," and "From Hell."

And if you think that wasn't enough "range," the last decade has seen him rule the box office as Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates" series. His performances in "Finding Neverland," "Secret Window," "Sweeney Todd," "Alice in Wonderland," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Public Enemies," and a lesser-known movie - but no less exceptional in terms of Depp's performance - "The Libertine" are just superb. He is the best character actor in the world, naturally alluring with an intelligent mind and those deep liquid eyes. He is the sexiest man alive, and to me, the list of greatest actors starts, continues, and ends with Johnny Depp.

4 Jack Nicholson John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor and filmmaker, who has performed for over 60 years. Nicholson is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance and dark portrayals of antiheroes and psychopathic characters. In many... read more

I fell in love with this man after I watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." His performance was flawless, and the movie in general was just a joy to watch. It's a beautiful film. His performances in "The Shining," "Chinatown," "As Good as It Gets," and "The Departed" are just a few other examples of this man's brilliance.

I love JD and Tom Hanks, but their quality of performance isn't quite on the same level as Jacky Boy's. For me, he's the best. Other notable greats that aren't far off for me include Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Gary Oldman, Gene Hackman, Alan Rickman, and Anthony Hopkins.

I don't understand how Will Smith and Tom Cruise have managed to secure more votes than the last four actors that I mentioned, especially Gene Hackman and Anthony Hopkins... Gene Hackman is actually 100th on this list with fewer votes than Daniel Radcliffe and Andrew Lincoln. What a load of baloney.

5 Leonardo DiCaprio Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio (born November 11, 1974) is an American actor and film producer. Known for his work in biopics and period films, he is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and three Golden Globe Awards. As of 2019, his films have grossed... read more

He has worked with some of the greatest directors of all time, and for good reason. The fact that he has won only one Oscar is absurd.

I think he is the best male actor on this list. I have never seen anyone who can create such believability in a role. He can play the whole spectrum, from melodramatic characters to action heroes, and convince you that he is specifically that role.

This guy starred in Titanic, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, Inception - all amazing films. I have not seen all his movies, but I have yet to come across a movie he has sucked in. He nails every role he is in, and it doesn't even look like he is trying. That tells me he is truly a one-of-a-kind talent. He is a movie star, but he doesn't let that get to his head. He puts his acting first and foremost, which is rare in Hollywood these days.

6 Al Pacino Alfredo James "Al" (April 25, 1940) Pacino is an American actor and filmmaker. Pacino has had a career spanning more than five decades, during which time he has received numerous accolades and honors.

I think there are several categories by which to evaluate the greatness of an actor.

1. Body of work - How many movies?
2. Roles - Diversity of characters played.
3. Cultural Impact - The effect their career had on the cultural landscape and movie industry.

It is the third category that best exemplifies this man's career, in my opinion. The string of film roles not only put him on the map in regards to the movie industry but also cemented him in pop culture for all time. It is for roles such as:

1. The Godfather
2. Serpico
3. The Godfather Part II
4. Dog Day Afternoon
5. Scarface

These movies establish him as a cultural icon but also a staple in the conversation as one of the top 15 greatest actors of all time.

7 Marlon Brando 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. He died on July 1, 2004 at the age of 80.

Streetcar, Waterfront, Julius Caesar, Wild One, Zapata - five performances right out of the gate that have no equal! Not even Brando could compete with these early groundbreaking roles. Anthony Hopkins, Russell Crowe, and Paul Newman all stated that he was the best by far.

I think he became disillusioned with filmmaking and fame, and so withdrew his gift from the art form and walked on in later roles to keep the money coming in. His Godfather role was highly overrated, but his presence is what made it work, and it was a masterpiece of filmmaking in every aspect. A one-off for sure was Brando, who was once labeled "The Talent Of Our Time"!

8 Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman (born June 1, 1937) is an American actor, director and narrator. He has appeared in a range of film genres portraying character roles and is particularly known for his distinctive deep voice. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby (2004),... read more

Morgan Freeman - his voice alone could win an Oscar. What is there to say about Freeman besides always turning in a great performance? He can be somber, intense, and funny. There are no limits. His best performances include #1 - The Shawshank Redemption (Red), and #2 - Driving Miss Daisy (Hoke). It's difficult to leave out his role as Ned in Unforgiven or his performance in Million Dollar Baby. He has played so many good roles.

His voice is famous and could win an Oscar. He should weigh up on the list with Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cusack, Dennis Quaid, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, and so many awesome actors. "The Shawshank Redemption" with Tim Robbins, "Driving Miss Daisy," "Million Dollar Baby"... so many great movies.

9 Daniel Day Lewis Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is an English actor. He holds both British and Irish citizenship. He has won 3 Academy Awards for Best Actor for My Left Foot, There Will be Blood, and Lincoln.

To be honest, this list is absolutely terrible. Jason Statham is in front of Daniel Day-Lewis? A man who has done nothing and played the same hard-man English role versus the two-time Oscar winner (soon to be three for his part in "Lincoln"). I mean, the guy's a legend. He has put some unbelievable performances in movies such as "In the Name of the Father," "Gangs of New York," "There Will Be Blood," "Lincoln," and "My Left Foot."

He is one of the best actors I have ever seen. The only performance which is up with his, in my mind, is Brando in "The Godfather" and maybe Heath Ledger as the Joker. He is a true actor. He doesn't care about money but for the role. In my opinion, he is the hardest worker with months of preparation going into his work. He is the greatest of his generation for sure. We will wait and see if he proves himself as the best ever. I think he is...

10 Samuel L. Jackson Samuel Leroy Jackson is an American actor and film producer. He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Jungle Fever, Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance, Jurassic Park and his collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino including Pulp Fiction, Jackie... read more

Samuel L. Jackson is the best actor I've probably ever seen. He plays the starring role of Nick Fury in Avengers, which is one of the greatest series of movies ever. Samuel L. Jackson also acts in a lot of other movies. I don't know much, but he does play in Kong: Skull Island, which is another great movie. He has great acting skills, better than most people I've seen in a while. Honestly, he should star in a lot more movies than he has starred in now.

He's just one of the most memorable people from our time thanks to a slew of memorable quotes and roles, such as the badass Nick Fury or the hilarious Jules Winnfield. He's a great actor and can make even the worst of movies better thanks to his memorable presence and great acting talents, even when working with the worst of scripts.

The Contenders
11 Robert Downey Jr. Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor and producer. His career has included critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, and a resurgence of commercial success in middle age.

Robert Downey Jr. is the only person who just might be able to go toe-to-toe with him on his finest day. Johnny Depp comes close, but Robert Downey Jr. deserves to be up there! He is better than a ton of actors. His work in Iron Man as Tony Stark actually got me thinking whether he secretly was Tony Stark. He's just that good.

He is perfect for any role he does. And the way he played Chaplin - mind-blowing! Do I even need to mention Tropic Thunder? And, oh my, Sherlock Holmes. He was a true British gentleman, for crying out loud! Diverse, awesome, sassy, confident - what's not to like? And to top it all off, this guy started his career at the age of 5! He is the best. Simply the best.

12 Will Smith Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He is best known for his acting career overall. He has been in many popular movies, These include, but are not limited to, the Men in Black franchise, The Pursuit of Happyness,... read more

I can't believe he isn't higher on the list. Have you seen The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Even from the beginning, he could act very well! Way too well! This is a guy that can make you laugh until your stomach hurts, but can also make you cry until your eyes are dry! Series, movies - wherever he appears, he will either make you laugh or cry. Anybody who can convey those two strong emotions in a perfect balance has to be the king of actors!

One of the best actors I have ever seen. There is not one role he has done that I wasn't impressed with. I Am Legend, Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Seven Pounds, Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness - to name a few. This guy really brings stories to life and inspires people to think when you watch his movies. You cannot deny that this man is very talented, and he deserves to be at least in the top three.

13 Jim Carrey James Eugene "Jim" Carrey is a Canadian American actor, comedian, impressionist, screenwriter, and producer. He is well known for comedic roles in films such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask , Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, How the Grinch Stole Christmas,... read more

He is smoking hot. My favorite. Best movie, I think, is Bruce Almighty. I would love to meet him someday. I don't think there could be a better actor than him. He's my number one comedy man. You should see Mr. Popper's Penguins. It looks awesome. I am pretty happy that he has won lots of Golden Globe Awards. He is beautiful with his role. Two people that I think are a bit equal in his acting are Stallone and Diesel.

He's got to be the best actor of all time. Come on, people, have you ever seen Ace Ventura, The Mask, or Bruce Almighty? He was also in the Sonic the Hedgehog film (which is my favorite film of all time), and in that film, he proves that he still hasn't lost his touch!

14 Denzel Washington Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day.

I believe that Denzel Washington is not only a good African American actor but rather a talented performer regardless of race. I think most directors could assign him the responsibilities of any role that does not depend on color to portray, whether it is from a movie script or stage play.

He got his acting start on the dramatic theater stage, performing in front of live audiences. He would do as good a job as any other performer in successfully bringing the character to life in an enjoyable way. He is very entertaining to watch due to his ability to become very animated and embody each character he portrays.

15 Robin Williams Robin McLaurin Williams was an American actor and comedian. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he is credited with leading San Francisco's comedy renaissance. He died in 2014.

He was no common actor, not at all. He gave movies something only a few can: a soul. In fact, I can't think of an actor right now who gave such heart and emotional immersion in films like this man did.

Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams - man, those films couldn't have been so brilliant if Robin Williams hadn't been in them. Like, no way. He was a jewel of a filmmaker. Every movie he was in is one you always remember and enjoy. Period. The world lost a big one, a really big one.

What can I say? The world lost an amazing actor. He could go all the way from making you laugh out loud to making you cry with his more emotional performances. My favorite happens to be the lesser-known film Flubber in 1996. Probably because of the silly, almost slapstick humor. Regardless, I am aware of other instances of his brilliant acting, such as Patch Adams and Mrs. Doubtfire.

16 Brad Pitt William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and producer. He has received a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three Academy Award nominations in acting categories and received three further Academy Award nominations, winning one, as producer under his... read more

I couldn't agree more. As he ages, he becomes an even better actor. He carefully selects roles that suit him and pique his interest. One often-overlooked role is "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." It was a fantastic movie, although I'm sure not all fans of "Friends" would agree. Nevertheless, if you disregard everything else, it's a genuinely enjoyable film.

I'm willing to bet it made a significant amount at the box office, even though most people wouldn't admit to seeing it. "Moneyball" is his best work thus far, and he poured himself into that film after reading the book. It took a few years to produce, but I'm confident he'll be in contention for an Oscar now. They wouldn't pay him as much as they do if he wasn't a major draw at the box office. I watched "Meet Joe Black," and although it received terrible reviews, both he and the movie were exceptional.

17 Adam Sandler Adam Richard Sandler is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer. After becoming a Saturday Night Live cast member, Sandler went on to star in many Hollywood feature films that combined have grossed over $2 billion at the box office.

Adam Sandler is the best actor/comedian ever because he made such great movies such as That's My Boy, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and he also did a great job in Hotel Transylvania. And plenty more great movies (these were just off the top of my head). Johnny Depp is nowhere near the skill of Adam Sandler. Adam is my favorite actor, and I hope you agree.

I love this actor. Please vote for Adam Sandler because every movie he has been in was a success and a big hit! Some examples include 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, Little Nicky, Big Daddy, The Longest Yard, Click, and last but not least, Just Go with It.

18 Anthony Hopkins Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE is a Welsh actor, director, and producer. He was born on December 31, 1937 in Margam, Wales. He is known for winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992, and was nominated three additional times. Hopkins has also won three BAFTAs, two Emmys, and the Cecil B. DeMille... read more

No contest, Anthony Hopkins is without any doubt the greatest actor of all time! Forget Silence of the Lambs, a good film, of course. His performance in Titus is untouchable. Meet Joe Black, astounding! The Remains of the Day, truly remarkable. I could go on and on.

This man has a gift for acting like no other. It's a shame to see the actors of today. Johnny Depp, you're kidding me, right? Is it because his portrayal of Willy Wonka just captured the essence of the film? What a lousy excuse for an actor, seriously.

19 Chris Pratt Christopher Michael "Chris" Pratt is an American actor. He came to prominence from his television roles, including Bright Abbott in Everwood and Andy Dwyer in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Jurassic World, Passengers... Man, he is one of the best actors I have ever known. Any Marvel or DC fans?

Chris Pratt is not only one of the funniest actors ever, but he also leaves you feeling like you can't wait for his next movie to come out! He is one of the few good guys left in Hollywood.

He just became my favorite actor after he was in Guardians of the Galaxy. I actually didn't know about him before that. He's an awesome actor, but why so low?!

20 Tom Cruise Thomas Cruise Mapother IV is an American actor and producer. He has received various accolades for his work, including three Golden Globe Awards and three nominations for Academy Awards. He is one of the highest-paid actors in the world.

You are my favorite. You are doing a very good job in acting I've ever seen in the world. So I am very shocked that you are very down under in this list. I want you to come to India to visit and shoot any of your films because in our country, there are no shootings of any Hollywood movies except for a few movies with some scenes. So I request you to please come to India and make this mission possible.

His movies simply outgrossed everybody else's except Tom Hanks'. If you take Hanks's cartoons out of the picture, then Cruise is the king of the box office. I guess it's easy to criticize him for his religion or being weird on Oprah, but even since then, War of the Worlds, MI4, Knight and Day have all hit the 100 million mark.

21 Christian Bale Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is an English actor. Known for his versatility and physical transformations for his roles, he has been a leading man in films of several genres. He has received various accolades, including an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Forbes magazine... read more

He is an actor, a role player. You give him anything, and he will play it brilliantly. That's the quality of a great actor. The dedication he puts into his roles is unparalleled. He won't stand out in a particular role like other actors because there's only one standout performance of an actor, and that's because that actor might be with that mindset or so. However, this guy will fit into any roles you give him. He is a true actor.

He is by far one of the best actors of all time. In nearly every role he performs in, he gives 110%. The way he can shapeshift for a role is insane. He clearly gives a lot of care to his characters. Even his more phoned-in roles are better than what most actors dream of.

22 Harrison Ford Harrison Ford is an American actor and film producer. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles as Han Solo in the original Star Wars epic space opera trilogy and the titular character of the Indiana Jones film series.

Where do I start? He is the very best! Everyone has heard of Indiana Jones and Han Solo! This man has changed my life so much. I can remember some of my early birthday parties dedicated to him. I had at least four birthday parties based on him. Indiana Jones was my childhood!

The Indiana Jones franchise is still my favorite, and he is still in my top three actors. He may be getting old, but he is still a MAJOR BADASS! His films will always be pure gold. The only reason he is not higher is that the high actors are young and get millions spent on CGI and other things.

23 Heath Ledger Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian actor and director. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger left for the United States in 1998 to develop his film career.

Heath is a legend. He was able to fully understand and transform into characters in a way no one else could. Not just one, but two moments that he improvised during his unforgettable performance as the clown prince of crime in "The Dark Knight" are two of the best unscripted scenes of all time.

Heath was able to immerse himself in a character and dedicate himself to that character and this performance, so much so that for the period of time in which the cameras were moving, he truly became the character. The person whom his character was based on in "Brokeback Mountain" said that "he understands me better than I do." It is because of his brilliance that these performances were more than just performances, and instead they became legends. He is my all-time favorite actor and deserves to be in that #1 spot!

24 Dwayne Johnson Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American and Canadian actor, producer and semi-retired professional wrestler, signed with WWE.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is really the most electrifying man in all of entertainment! He really is. The story of his life and how he made it is another lovely thing to know on its own. I get motivated and encouraged every time I see Dwayne, including in his movies. I love Dwayne and his good heart. Dwayne is truly Dwayne!

The most iconic actor in the world, The Rock has starred in countless movies such as Tooth Fairy, Jumanji, Journey to the Mysterious Island (my personal favorite), and Scorpion King, among others. The Rock is easily the most castable actor, and his name sells more than anyone else's.

25 Gary Oldman Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, filmmaker, musician, and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style, Oldman is one of the most celebrated thespians of his generation, with a diverse career encompassing theatre, film, and television. He has received a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award:... read more

My first memory of ever actually feeling anything from a film is attributed to this wonderful man. When I was a teenager, I watched The Professional, and I got literal goosebumps when the scene before Stansfield enters Matilda's apartment for the second time happened. The overhead shot of Gary taking that pill will always be seared into my brain. It was just brilliantly shot, and the acting was superb.

Gary will always be my favorite actor and an actor who I think is severely underrated. I think he is one of the few actors that has been a part, maybe sometimes unknowingly (because he is that good), of a lot of our collective most memorable cinematic moments. He deserves better than number 18 on this list.

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