Great acting occurs when an individual is able to fully-control how he portrays both his inner and outer self. In order to rise in success in this profession, Best Actors of All Time learned to reach deep within themselves, learned how to become multiple different characters in the never-ending process of training, improving and growing.
What Makes an Actor one of the Best Actors of All Time?
What does a man need to do to be considered one of the best actors of all time you ask?
Well, let’s get into it, shall we?
Since the dawn of age men and women have been acting, either throughout their daily lives or as a profound profession. From great actors to people we wish had never gotten in the business, there are certain personality traits that differentiate a good actor from a truly great one.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Well as one can imagine, creating this list took quite a bit of thought, effort and research. And I still know with 100% certainty that this list was not able to encompass even close to everyone who I wanted to put on here.
It is so hard to narrow down on a choice few “favourites” because each of the individuals both listed above and the ones that weren’t able to be listed have an enormous amount of uniquely brilliant qualities that help them to stand out from the rest.
These actors have worked amazingly hard to reach the status that they have achieved today, and for that, they should all be appreciated and recognized.
I mean come on, just because I think some of these actors are the best in the world doesn’t mean that this is the general consensus with the rest of the world. I attempted to leave my bias at the keyboard and chose the men above in a manner that made sense to anyone trying to decipher where the ratings come from in this article.
However, I recognize that both my age and the generation in which I grew up also helped to shape where my top picks were coming from.
Each of these ratings stems from serious cinematic research and consideration so I hope you enjoy!
Top 10 Best Actors of All Time
Alright, here it is. Below you will find my personal list of best all time actors. Each of the men listed here has inspired thousands both on and off-screen.
Each person listed out here has made a generous contribution to society through their entertaining roles. Sometimes the most important jobs out there are the ones that can help you to forget about all the wrong and hate going on in the world for just a moment.
The acting that each of these men portrays throughout their cinematic careers is quite advantageous, with many of them still going and being featured in the box office.
10. Anthony Hopkins
- Date & Place of birth: December 31, 1937 (age 82 years), Margam, United Kingdom
- Birth Name: Philip Anthony Hopkins
- Net worth: $160 Million
- Height: 1.75 m
- Our Rating: 8/10
This classic Welsh actor was drawn to the theatre back at the early age of 17 when he was attending the YMCA. Many will recognize his bloodcurdling performance as Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs however he was performed in any more acclaimed films.
This multi-faceted acting man has spent his time in Hollywood extremely busy, as he has been in more movies and even television shows than I can even begin to count.
Check the Top 10 Anthony Hopkins performances:
9. Jim Carey
This man has been making others laugh since before I can even remember. Known for his comedic performances and wild energy, Jim Carey has been warming the hearts of America for a few decades now.
Whether he be wearing a large green mask, or he is a goofy animal doctor with wild hair, this big goofy jokester has honed his craft and knows what he is doing both on and off-screen.
Check in the video below the best comedy scenes of Jim Carrey:
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
Breaking the hearts of women since his show-stealing performance in the Titanic, DiCaprio is the ultimate Hollywood heartthrob. This man has had an extremely diverse career, however throughout every role that he has played – he has moved the hearts of millions.
7. Johnny Depp
- Date & Place of birth: June 9, 1963 (age 56 years), Owensboro, Kentucky, United States
- Birth Name: John Christopher Depp II
- Net worth: $200 Million
- Height: 1.78 m
- Social Media: –
- Our Rating: 8.5/10
Mr Depp is undoubtedly one of the most versatile actors of all-time. This Kentucky born man dropped out of school at the early age of 15 to pursue his passion for music with this garage band.
He caught his first big break when he worked with director Tim Burton in 1990 and played Edward Scissorhands. Since that movie, he has worked as a somewhat dark actor performing in surprising yet cryptic cinematic roles.
Over the years he has stolen the show on more than just a handful of movies. Known for his elaborate passion and eccentric energy, this actor is by far one of my flamboyantly freakish favourites.
6. Robin Williams
- Date & Place of birth: July 21, 1951, Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Died: August 11, 2014, Paradise Cay, California, United States
- Birth Name: Robin McLaurin Williams
- Height: 1.7 m
- Our Rating: 9/10
One of the greatest comedians and actors to walk this Earth. The first film that this brilliant man starred in would be Popeye in 1980, with the film achieving high success. His talent shone through for multiple decades as this man’s voice became a staple for family movies nationwide.
The energy that Williams was able to bring on every set that he worked on was said to inspire everyone around him. This man was able to move millions and teach valuable life lessons through laughter and love.
His noble acting will be remembered for centuries to come as his movies such as Goodwill Hunting, Mrs Doubtfire, The Dead Poets Society, and even the Disney classic Aladdin.
5. Denzel Washington
- Date & Place of birth: December 28, 1954 (age 65 years), Mount Vernon, New York, United States
- Birth Name: Denzel Hayes Washington Jr.
- Net worth: $220 Million
- Height: 1.85 m
- Our Rating: 9/10
This Academy Award-winning African-American actor, producer and director is best known for his pivotal roles in movies such as Malcolm X, Glory and The Hurricane.
This talented character actor is known for his perfect portrayal of difficult roles and positions during the course of history. Since the 1980s this man has been appearing on our television in some form or fashion through television commercials and different programs until he caught his big break in his successful war drama movie Glory in 1989.
Denzel was even named the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine in 1996. He is the only black actor other than Sidney Poitier to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
4. Jack Nicholson
- Date & Place of birth: April 22, 1937 (age 83 years), Neptune City, New Jersey, United States
- Birth Name: John Joseph Nicholson
- Net worth: $400 Million
- Height: 1.77 m
- Our Rating: 9.5/10
This man is so much more than the crazy person he portrays in one of his most famous films, The Shining. This legend has been nominated for an Oscar 12 times and nominated for awards in 5 different decades, which is more than any other male actor out there.
Nicholson is a multi-talented man as he has directed films, written screenplays, and acted on-screen for over 13 years before he caught his big break and became famous in Easy Rider in 1969.
3. Morgan Freeman
- Date & Place of birth: June 1, 1937 (age 82 years), Memphis, Tennessee, United States
- Birth Name: Morgan Porterfield Freeman
- Net worth: $250 Million
- Height: 1.88 m
- Our Rating: 9.5/10
This man is known for his authoritative voice and calm demeanour. Over the years, this American actor has grown as one of the most respected figures found in modern-day cinema. This Tennessee born man has been starring in movies for almost 50 years now, blowing the mind of viewers for over decades.
His voice has narrated many different films over the years as his deep reverent voice creates a mellow mood throughout many motion pictures.
He is one of the top 5 highest-grossing actors of all time, with the only other African American actors on the list being Eddie Murphy. His net worth alone is over $150 million.
2. Robert De Niro
- Date & Place of birth: August 17, 1943 (age 76 years), Greenwich Village, New York, United States
- Birth Name: Robert Anthony De Niro Jr.
- Net worth: $500 Million
- Height: 1.77 m
- Our Rating: 10/10
Undeniably one of the greatest actors of all time who began his bad-boy reputation in his first movie, Mean Streets which came out in 1973 and gained fame for his role in Bang the Drum Slowly which also came out that same year.
He got an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role he played in The Godfather and received multiple other Academy Award nominations over the years for his different films. This highly talented man who is known for his brutal, violent, and angry characters has also earned 4 Golden Globe nominations.
1. Tom Hanks
- Date & Place of birth: July 9, 1956 (age 63 years), Concord, California, United States
- Birth Name: Thomas Jeffrey Hanks
- Net worth: $390 Million
- Height: 1.83 m
- Our Rating: 10/10
This versatile actor has spent decades becoming emotionally synchronized and authentic with the characters he has to play. This unique man 100% devotes himself to his profession,
My absolute favourite movie that he has starred in thus far is the 1996 mermaid romance titled Splash. Tom Hanks plays a dashing devil who finds himself head over heels (or should I say tail over blonde mermaid hair) in love with this half-woman named Madison.
Unfortunately, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were diagnosed with Covid-19 while in Australia, where the “Forrest Gump” star is filming for a feature film about Elvis Presley’s life.
Watch Tom Hanks in the trailer of Greyhound movie that hopefully will be able to see it in 2020.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Actors of All Time
All in all, the list above contains a solid assortment of actors from different time periods, genres and races.
No certain actor trumps all the rest, however when picking which men would make the cut there were certain key qualities that I took into account because I feel that every great actor should have mastered these aspects.
Personality and Charisma: A performer needs to be charming both on and off camera, because let’s face it, at the end of the day an actor’s personality is what’s getting them paid! Although have a naturally enjoyable personality isn’t required, it sure does help.
Confidence is also a particularly helpful performance enhancer. So long as one doesn’t overdo it and come off as cocky, it is nice to be around a professional who knows what they are doing and knows how to act like it.
Understanding of the Human Psyche: By understanding the psychology behind why certain individuals react in certain ways, intuitive actors are quickly able to conceptualize the behaviours of others. These humans could double as therapists because their professions are vested in the importance of human emotion.
Through their emotions on screen, they have to try and evoke a feeling or emotion in us viewers, which takes a deeper level of understanding than many of us realize. These people generally care about humanity and are usually passionate about world issues because they are able to empathize and understand human suffering on a different level than most.
Highly Imaginative and Emotionally Intelligent: Acting requires you to be extremely emotionally present, which can be extremely mentally, spiritually, and even physically draining. Successful actors help to hone their craft and combat exhaustion by using imaginative measures such as meditation, character development, and real-life situational training with other professionals.
Eager to Constantly Grow and Learn: Actors are people who are eager to explore life and don’t take anything but the greatest. Yearning to learn more, and constantly searching out ways to act better – these energetic spirits are constantly hard at work on something. Bouncing from one kind of project to another, these spirits rarely rest as they are constantly working on their next, most important venture.
These men are prepared to take a raw and hard scene and take it all that much further to enhance the overall cinematic effect. Actors constantly have to perform mental maintenance on themselves, as their very career depends on their ability to understand themselves. They ensure that their emotional performances come off as genuine and authentic, unafraid to go through the actual emotions that the character would have to endure.
Commitment to the craft is the key attitude for any highly-acclaimed actor.
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So, go out, don your dark denim and show the world what you’re made of.
Vote for your favourite
Do you recognize each of the actor’s names on the above list and do you agree with their ratings? We would love to hear from you about your cinematic and acting views, and hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as we have enjoyed putting it together and writing it for you!