Which Are The 30 Best Hollywood Actors Of All Time?

Hey, movie buffs, which would you say are the greatest actors of all time? Without a doubt, Hollywood wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for certain remarkable actors, many of which have made us cry or laugh non-stop with their brilliant performances. Here we’ve narrowed it down to the 30 best Hollywood actors of all time. While some of them have already passed away, we still remember them for that great movie through which they rose to stardom. It was hard to choose just 30! Who would you add? Don’t miss #25, #13 and #5, they’re one of our favorites. 

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#30. Robin Williams

Ever wondered how your favorite actors took their first steps into the acting world? Robin Williams is an interesting case because even though he is most famous for his comedy films, he started his career as a stand-up comedian. Many people have said that his stand-up performances were unique because of his fearless and unique sense of humor.

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Once he became famous as a comedian, he landed a role on the sitcom Mork And Mindy, where he played the role of an alien. In a matter of years, he became one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors, especially famous for his comedy roles. Don’t know about you, but I can’t stop watching (and crying with) movies like Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, and Patch Adams. 

#29. Javier Bardem

There’s no doubt that the Spanish actor is one of the best out there. He has played dozens of different roles and has delved into different genres, so we can say he is a true chameleon. Bardem’s family is full of artists and maybe that is where got the inspiration from. He started his acting career at the age of 6 when he starred in the film El Picaro (The Scoundrel in English).

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During the 90s, he was part of several of Pedro Almodovar’s and J.J Bigas Lunas’ films. He won his first and only Oscar for his role in No Country For Old Men, and received two nominations for Biutiful and Before the Night Falls.

#28. Christian Bale

Christian Bale is truly a multi-faceted actor. He is well-known for the radical changes he has undergone for some of his acting roles. He landed his first role at the age of 13 in Steven Spielberg’s film Empire Of The Sun. Since then, he’s been one of the greatest Hollywood icons and has starred in multiple blockbusters.

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Bale could be anything he wants to, from a serial killer in American Pshyco to a superhero with personal struggles in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. Bale also loose 63 pounds for his role in the thriller The Machinist. It seems everything it’s possible for this actor!

#27. Tom Hanks

We can’t imagine Hollywood’s 90s without Tom Hanks. This American artist is one of the most talented actors and directors in the world. He rose to fame after his roles in movies like Splash, Big, and Turner & Hooch, and Philadelphia

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Hanks left his mark in Hollywood history after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor twice in a row, first in the 1993 drama film Philadelphia and then in the 1994 comedy-drama Forrest Gump. However, his most memorable performance was probably that in Cast Away.

#26. Sean Penn

Sean Penn is one of the greatest American actors of all time and during the last decade, he has also pursued a career as a director and filmmaker. In fact, some critics say that Penn has nothing to envy the greatest legends such as De Niro and Brando.

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He started his acting career back in the 70s with a secondary role in an episode of Little House In The Prairie. He landed his first major roles during the 80s in the films Fast Times At Ridgemont and At Close Range. Furthermore, he won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for his roles in Mystic River and the biopic Milk. All in all, he has acted in 50 movies and directed 5. Not bad, huh?

#25. Philip Seymour Hoffman

We can’t help but feel nostalgic when we go over Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career, as he is not with us anymore. Perhaps you remember him because of his memorable role in the biopic Capote, which earned him his first and only Academy Award. Evidently, his talent will never be forgotten.

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Hoffman started his career in an episode of Law & Order and continued his work with supporting roles in movies like Scent Of A Woman, Boogie Nights, Happiness, Patch Adams, The Big Lebowski, and Magnolia, and received three Academy Award nominations for The Master, Doubt, and Charlie Wilson’s War.

#24. Denzel Washington

Washington began his acting career in theater in the early 80s. Since then, his fame has continued to rise with each of his film performances. He’s most famous for his interpretations of historical figures in biopics, in roles like Steve Biko in Cry Freedom and as Malcolm X in the homonymous film.

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The American actor has also been part of many drama films like The Book Of Eli, Philadelphia and The Hurricane. He has also won two Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor in Glory and another for Best Actor in Training DayHe continues succeeding in the film industry as a producer and director.

#23. Gary Oldman

It’s safe today that Gary Oldman is one of the most talented actors ever. The British actor is well known because of his versatility and intense performances. He used to be a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in plays like Cabaret, The Massacre At Paris, and Entertaining Mr. Sloane

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Oldman’s first Academy recognition came with his role as Winston Churchill in the 2018 biopic Darkest HourHe is also famous for his role in the 90s films Sid And Nancy, True Romance, and The Fifth Element. Recently, he’s been part of the Harry Potter series as beloved Sirius Black and as Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight

#22. Robert De Niro

We can’t imagine Hollywood (and the world!) without the American-Italian actor. If we think about our favorites movies, we’re sure that De Niro has been part of one of them. The actor has been the inspiration for many famous actors and has been part of the film industry for almost 40 years.

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De Niro has worked with directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorcese in major classics like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Mean Streets. However, he has also starred in great comedies like Meet The Parents and Analyze This. At the age of 76, he continues acting and he has recently been part of the awarded film The Joker. 

#21. Fred Astaire

It is safe to say that actor and dancer Fred Astaire was the greatest icon of the musical genre’s golden age and that he created a new musical style in Hollywood. Astaire starred alongside Ginger Rose in classic musical films like Top Hat, Swing Time, and Shall We Dance

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With a 70-year career, the actor became the inspiration for future generations. A talented actress like Grace Kelly once declared that modern dance wouldn’t be the same if Astaire hadn’t appeared in Hollywood. Lastly, he has received one Oscar nomination for his role in the thriller film The Towering Inferno.

#20. Spencer Tracy

The American actor was part of Hollywood’s Golden Age and many critics believe he was the best of all. Tracy’s film debut was in The Last Mile and then he went on to star in John Ford’s movie Up The River. He soon came into the Hollywood spotlight after those first two performances.

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Tracy was nominated nine times for Best Actor, of which he won twice, for his roles in Captain Courageous and Boys Town. He was also part of major blockbusters like Father of the Bride and Guess Who’s Coming to DinnerDefinitely, he was one of the greatest icons in the film industry!

#19. Morgan Freeman

Can anyone think of a more multifaceted actor than Morgan Freeman? From God to film narrator, everything is possible for this man! Freeman has been part of many box office successes like Glory, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Seven and The Dark Knight Trilogyand he has nailed it in all of them.

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Although he’s been nominated five times by the Academy, he only won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby. However, we will always remember him for his roles in the action film The Shawshank Redemption and Street Smart

#18. Robert Duvall

In 1981, the New York Times said that Robert Duvall was the greatest American actor of all time and we can imagine why. He has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and seven Golden Globe Awards too, and not many actors can say the same.

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Duvall rose to stardom after starring in the film To Kill A Mockingbird. Since then, he’s been in major hits like The Twilight Zone, MASH, and The Godfather I and II. Furthermore, he won his only Academy Award in the musical film Tender Mercier. To this day, at the age of 88, Duvall continues working in movies and plays.

#17. Clark Gable

During Hollywood’s Golden Age, Clark Gable was considered “The King Of Hollywood” because of his masculinity and acting skills. All in all, Gable has acted in more than 60 movies and has delved into different genres. Although he passed way over 50 years ago, he is still remembered as one of the greatest Hollywood legends of all time.

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Gable received an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film It Happened One Night and was nominated for films like Mutiny On The Bounty and Gone With The WindWe still remember the most remarkable line in his career from the latter film: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

#16. James Dean

If you were a teenager during the 1950s, we are completely sure you had a crush on the American actor James Dean. He was the symbol of rebellion as he was part of the movie Rebel Without A Cause in the role of Jim Stark, a troubled teenager.

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Before his tragic death in a car crash, he was part of the movies East of Eden and Giant, and despite his short-lived career, he became one of the greatest icons of his generation. In fact, with his boyish good looks and charming gestures, he continues being a pop culture symbol to this day and he has been mentioned in many movies and songs!

#15. Richard Burton

Richard Burton is, perhaps, the best Welsh actor of all time. He was famous for his mealy voice and his powerful performances. His most memorable roles were that in Shakespeare’s adaptation of Hamlet, as George in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, and as Mark Antony in Cleopatra.

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Burton was nominated seven times for an Academy Award but never won one. He was also famous because of his love life as he was married to actress Elizabeth Taylor. On top of that, not only did he conquer Hollywood, but he also made a name of himself in Broadway and London theater.

#14. Orson Welles

Where should we start with Orson Welles? The American actor, director, writer, and producer is considered one of the best and most creative minds of all time. He started with his acting career in his twenties with an adaption of Macbeth and in the musical The Cradle Will Rock

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Welles is also famous because of his radio anthology series The Mercury On The Air and The War Of The Words. Believe it or not, the last one made the world believe that an extraterrestrial invasion was really coming! In addition, his first movie as a director was nothing less than the critically acclaimed Citizen Kane. 

#13. Al Pacino

Al Pacino is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood and the wide range of characters he’s played proves so. From Michael Corleone in The Godfather Trilogy to an addict in The Panic In Needle Park, everything seems possible for this man.

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Al Pacino received his first nomination for Best Actor for the crime drama Serpico and he is one of the few actors in Hollywood that has won the “Triple Crown Of Acting”, that is to say, an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award. Beat that!

#12. Cary Grant

His charming British accent, elegant style, and hilarious sense of humor made Cary Grant one of Hollywood’s Golden Age’s greatest legends. His enviable talent was mirrored in the fact he could lead from thrillers to romantic dramas and always rock. Some of his most memorable films include Blonde Venus, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, and The Philadelphia Story

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Grant became part of many of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest classics, like Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch A Thief. and North By NorthwestHe was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his roles in None But the Lonely Heart and Penny Serenade, but even though he didn’t win, he received an Honorary Oscar in 1970, handed to him by his personal friend Frank Sinatra.

#11. Paul Newman

Like other actors from this list, Newman had many passions other than acting. You’d be surprised to know he was also a talented race car driver, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. But of course, acting was his thing, proven by the fact he received multiple nominations and awards throughout his career. In fact, he received a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations, of which he one only 1, for his performance in Scorcese’s The Color of the Money.

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Newman is also famous for his roles in movies like The Hustler, Hud, Harper, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance, and The Sting, and more recently, he gave his voice to Doc Hudson in Cars 3. Newman declared that his last job gave him the pleasure to combinate his two main passions, acting and race cars.

#10. Dustin Hoffman

Hoffman is perhaps one of the most loved actors in Hollywood. He is famous for his antihero roles and I’m sure we’ve all binge-watched many of his greatest classics. Hoffman’s breakthrough film was The Graduate, where he played the role of Benjamin Braddock. Since then, each movie he did was one better than the last one.

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He won 2 Academy Awards for Best Actor, for his roles in the drama films Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man. He was nominated in Midnight Cowboy, Tootsie, Wag the Dog and Lenny. Out of all these movies, which is your favorite?

#9. Sydney Poitier

Very few people have led such successful lives as Sydney Poitier. This American actor and diplomat became the first Black American actor to ever receive an Academy Award nomination after his role in The Defiant Ones, but guess what? 6 years later, he also became the first Black American to ever win an Oscar, for his performance in Little of the Field.

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But this is not all! Poitier also excelled in his performances in To Sir With Love, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and In The Heat Of The Night. Without a doubt, it’s all thanks to his contribution to the acting world that the Academy Awards stopped being a white privilege.

#8. Gregory Peck

Known both for his acting talent and his humanitarian efforts, Gregory Peck just had to be on this list. He is considered the “Greatest Male Star of Classic Hollywood Cinema”, according to the American Film Institute. It’s easy to see why: after all, Peck was part of the film industry for almost 30 years since the 1940s and has acted in dozens of films!

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Peck was nominated for an Academy Award five times and won once for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. Apart from the numerous awards, this role gave him the international fame he deserved. Also, he was part of movies like The Keys Of The Kingdom, The Yearling, Gentleman’s Agreement, and The Boys From Brazil

#7. Anthony Hopkins

Our list would be incomplete without the Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins. He has excelled in many different types of genres: from psychological thrillers to comedies, and from period dramas to romances. But what’s most impressive is that he continues to surprise us with his talent at the age of 81.

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Hopkins is not afraid of taking risks as he has taken complex roles, such as a cannibalistic serial killer in The Silence Of The Lambscharacter which gave him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Hopkins has been in many other classic films like The Elephant Man, Meet Joe Black, The Mask Of Zorro and The Rite

#6. James Stewart

James Stewart has been part of more than 80 films during his 55-year acting career. From an ordinary man, a cowboy, a businessman to a politician, Stewart is one of the few actors in the industry who has played all sorts of roles in all types of genres. Let’s face it, every role suits this actor!

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At the beginning of his career, Stewart acted in many famous dramas, such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The Philadelphia Story, until he met Alfred Hitchcock. Ever since then, he became one of the director’s favorite stars and acted in many of his most famous thrillers and westerns, such as The Rear Window and Anatomy of a Murder.

#5. Jack Nicholson

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Jack Nicholson! Ever since he started his career back in the 1970s, he has shown that he can play all sorts of roles to perfection. The three-time Academy Award winner is the most nominated actor of all time and we can tell why.

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Nicholson’s most memorable films include dramas like Five Easy Pieces, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown and About SchmidtHowever, he’s also famous for his role in the horror film The Shining and the comedies Something’s Gotta Give and As Good as It Gets.

#4. Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier is considered the greatest English actor in Hollywood history. He has excelled both in his acting and directorial work, and you probably know him by his performances in Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, The Shoes Of The Marathon, and The Boys From Brazil

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Oliver also became a talented director, and he is the mastermind behind 3 of Shakespeare’s greatest film adaptations. First, he directed and acted in Henry V, for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor, but he also directed Hamlet and Richard III.

#3. Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis’s acting career talks for itself as the British actor has won an Academy Award for Best Actor three times! His award-winning performances include My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood and Lincoln.

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Surprisingly, Lewis has attempted to retire from acting many times. He temporarily quit acting for the first time in 1997, when he decided to become a shoe-maker for three years. Luckily for his fans, he went back to acting for two more decades.

#2. Marlon Brando

Hollywood wouldn’t be the same if Marlon Brando hadn’t been part of it. The American heartthrob is one of the greatest actors that ever walked on Earth and his work is remembered to this day. His breakthrough role was that of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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He is also famous for his roles in The Wild One and On The Waterfront, which gave him his first Oscar for Best Actor. His second Academy Award would come 20 years later thanks to his legendary role as Vito Corleone in TheGodfather. Apart from being a talented actor, he was also known for his activism for civil rights of Native Americans. A round of applause for Brando, please!

#1. Humphrey Bogart

No one deserves to be number 1 on this list as much as Humphrey Bogart. According to the American Film Institute, he is the greatest male star of classic American cinema, and there are many reasons why to agree with this! Bogart has acted in more than 70 films, including some of Hollywood’s greatest classics ever.

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Bogart’s most incredible roles include that of an anti-hero in Casablanca, a detective in The Maltese Falcon, and a drunken riverboat captain in The African Queenthe latter of which earned him his first and only Academy Award.

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