The Best Actors

All movie-goers (casual and competent) have “guilty pleasures.”  For me, the occasional action film or slapstick comedy can fulfill a part of me that no Antonioni drama ever could.   That being said, there is a mortal aspect to said pleasures: they are rooted either in nostalgia or in the heat of a single moment that soon dies off.  Because of that, you will notice the allowance of indulge into my list-making.  I think that of all my lists, my lists on actors will be the most indulgent.  But, don’t be made to think that these don’t have clout.  Consider them overrated.  Better yet, consider them necessary indulgences for the evolution from casual to competent.

After all, every great critic indulges themselves on personal taste.  Just listen to Roger Ebert talk about Werner Herzog or Ingrid Bergman.  Or, read what Pauline Kael had to say about screwball comedy.  They all have a favorite.

  1. James Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rope)
  2. Peter O’Toole (The Lion in Winter, The Ruling Class)
  3. Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront, The Men)
  4. Laurence Olivier (Rebecca, Hamlet)
  5. Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear, The Night of the Hunter)
  6. Alec Guiness (The Man in the White Suit, Kind Hearts and Coronets)
  7. Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre)
  8. Jean Gabin (La Bête Humaine, French Cancan)
  9. Cary Grant (Arsenic and Old Lace, North by Northwest)
  10. Charlie Chaplin (Limelight, The Great Dictator)
  11. Charles Laughton (Mutiny on the Bounty, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  12. Robert DeNiro (The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver)
  13. Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil)
  14. Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo, High and Low)
  15. Buster Keaton (Sherlock, Jr., The General)
  16. Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove, Being There)
  17. Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon)
  18. John Wayne (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, True Grit)
  19. Clark Gable (Gone with the WindIt Happened One Night)
  20. Gene Kelly (Cover Girl, An American in Paris)
  21. Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man, Midnight Cowboy)
  22. Gene Wilder (The Producers, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
  23. Chishû Ryû (Tokyo Story, There Was a Father)
  24. James Cagney (The Roaring TwentiesYankee Doodle Dandy)
  25. Paul Newman (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke)
  26. Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita, Divorce Italian Style)
  27. Takashi Shimura (Ikiru, Seven Samurai)
  28. Jack Nicholson (The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  29. Jack Lemmon (The Apartment, Grumpy Old Men)
  30. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood, My Left Foot)
  31. George C. Scott (Patton, The Hustler)
  32. Harrison Ford (Blade Runner, Patriot Games)
  33. Rex Harrison (Dr. Doolittle, My Fair Lady)
  34. Anthony Hopkins (Amistad, The Silence of the Lambs)
  35. Richard Burton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Becket)
  36. Michel Simon (Boudu Saved from Drowning, L’Atalante)
  37. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed, Django Unchained)
  38. Max Von Sydow (The Virgin Spring, Minority Report)
  39. Klaus Kinski (Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampyre)
  40. Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation)
  41. Richard Harris (Camelot, The Count of Monte Cristo)
  42. Gunnar Björnstrand (Winter LightThe Seventh Seal)
  43. Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Deconstructing Harry)
  44. Robert Duvall (Apocalypse NowThe Godfather)
  45. Walter Brennan (Rio BravoSupport Your Local Sheriff)
  46. Claude Rains (NotoriousThe Adventures of Robin Hood)
  47. Brad Pitt (Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
  48. Johnny Depp (Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands)
  49. Ward Bond (The Quiet ManThe Maltese Falcon)
  50. Marcel Dalio (Grand IllusionThe Rules of the Game)
  51. Tatsuya Nakadai (The Human Condition, Harakiri)
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3 thoughts on “The Best Actors

  1. Pingback: Peter O’Toole (1932-2013) | A Slice of Cake

  2. Pingback: Greatest Acting Performances (Male and Female) | A Slice of Cake

  3. Pingback: Gene Wilder (1933-2016) | A Slice of Cake

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