There’s a good chance you’ve watched at least one film with each and every star on our list. These actors became famous due to their incredible talent for acting, as they portrayed both our favorite heroes and most hated villains. What makes the actors on this list special is their ability to perform the most realistic, nuanced roles in ways that stick with us even years after watching their movies.
Prepare to go through a lot of nostalgia and discover some amazing films, as we take a quick look at Hollywood’s best. You might want to grab a few names of films from the list, as we’ve made sure to include some of the best of all times when referencing the history of each male actor.
Fred Astaire is a special actor on this list, because he’s also one of the most talented dancers in Hollywood. He was an actor during a time when films were more about entertainment and less about acting, which is why most of his films are musicals. Astaire had an incredible charisma that can be seen through his body of work. Some of his classic films include musicals such as “Top Hat” (1935), “Swing Time” (1936), and “Shall we Dance” (1936). Astaire’s career lasted for almost eight decades, making him one of the most influential dancers in film history.
Fred Astaire’s greatest film to date is widely considered to be the 1936 black and white classic, “Swing Time”. It featured a comedic musical performance by the talented actor and his co-actress, Ginger Rogers (who often starred besides him). The film is widely considered as one of the best dance musicals of all time, and has four different dance routines which are regarded as masterpieces even today.
Many people who were born in the 21st century don't have any idea who Spencer Tracy is. It's a shame too, because Tracy is widely considered one of Hollywood's greatest actors. He was born in 1900 and was an actor from 1921 until his death in 1967. The actor was well known for his versatile abilities and incredible natural acting style. Tracy received two Academy Awards for Best Actor and was highly praised throughout most of his career.
Some of his most endearing films include the 1950's comedy, "Father of the Bride", the 1960's court drama, "Inherit the Wind", and his most successful film to date is "Adam's Rib", a 1949 romantic comedy. Tracy also won his two Oscars in consecutive years for his performance in "Captains Courageous" (1937) and "Boys Town" (1938).
Orson Welles was one of the most polarizing entertainment figures of his time. The first film he ever directed, produced and appeared in was "Citizen Kane", which is largely considered the best film of all time. Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that Orson Welles had more influence on Hollywood in his lifetime than most of today’s actors combined.
If you’re interested in a bit of history about the actor, we highly recommend that you check out the wonderful documentary "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead", a wonderful tribute from the streaming service, Netflix, that was released in 2018. His best films include "Citizen Kane" (1941), "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), "The Lady from Shanghai" (1947), "Touch of Evil" (1958), "The Trial" (1962), "Chimes at Midnight" (1966) and "F for Fake" (1973).
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Movie fans and actors all across the world cried when the beloved actor Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away. The actor starred in some of the most incredible films of all time, and had a knack for movies that explored people's psyches and motivations. Hoffman began his career in 1992, next to Al Pacino, in the iconic film "Scent of a Woman". From there on, the actor went on to appear in classic films such as "The Big Lebowski", "Moneyball", "The Talented Mr. Ripley", and "Capote", which awarded him with an Oscar for Best Actor.
One of his best movies, and arguably his most incredible performance, came in 2012's "The Master". A psychological drama film starring him, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, in a deep exploration story that closely parallels that of the Church of Scientology. The film received critical claim and got Hoffman three Oscar nominations. Paul Thomas Anderson, the award-winning director of the film, claims this is his favorite film of all time.
Gary Oldman is one of Hollywood's biggest underdogs. The actor has been a consistent 'tour de force' throughout the years when it comes to acting, but has yet to receive any serious awards for his magnificent acting. Many blame his lack of accreditation on his good and quiet nature, as well as the way he props up other actors with his supportive acting rather than trying to take over the scene. Oldman finally got his first Oscar after his brilliant performance as Winston Churchill in "The Darkest Hour". His most popular role to date was Sirius Black in the "Harry Potter" series.
If you love Gary Oldman and want to check out some of his best work, we recommend that you watch the actor completely transform his appearance and personality in "The Darkest Hour", play the devil himself in Bram Stoker’s "Dracula", or in his legendary performance as Lee Harvey Oswald, former President JFK’s assassin, in the biopic film about John F. Kennedy, titled "JFK".
Gregory Peck was one of the most beloved and famous actors between the '40s and the '60s. In 1969, Peck was honored by President Lyndon Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was selected by the American Film Institute as the 12th greatest male star of the classic Hollywood cinema era. Some of the actor's most enduring roles include "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1944), "The Yearling" (1946), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), and "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949).
The actor’s best role to date was Atticus Finch, in the 1962 classic drama film, "To Kill a Mockingbird". Peck is known for giving the best performance of Captain Ahab in his film adaptation of "Moby Dick". He has consistently among the highest acclaimed and best earning actors of all time. He was nominated for five Best Actor Academy awards, and received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, along with a National Medal of Arts and many Golden Globe awards.
The award-winning English actor Christian Bale has proven himself over the years to be one of Hollywood’s most extreme method actors. He is known for having an extreme body-change regime for every role he takes. His latest role as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in the film "Vice", included Bale making his biggest weight change yet, gaining weight until he reached the 100kg mark.
Bale has acted in many films, with each being a unique and special role. His acting style is extremely diverse, as well as his constantly-changing look. It would be extremely hard to pinpoint the best Bale film to watch, so our best recommendation is to go through his filmography and watch his movies based on your genre preference. What we do know for sure, is that every year you check back on Bale, you might just find a completely different-looking person.
If you don’t know who Cary Grant is yet, the British actor appeared in various film genres, including everything from romance movies to thrillers, mostly due to his slick and varied acting style. Grant was one of the original "bond-like" actors, and possessed a suave personality that many actors have failed to reproduce over the years. He received an Honorary Oscar by his friend Frank Sinatra, after many nominations without an award.
Some of Cary Grant's best work includes films such as "Indiscreet" (1958) with Ingrid Bergman, "That Touch of Mink" (1962) with Doris Day, and "Charade" (1963) with Audrey Hepburn. Only a handful of actors over the years have managed to replicate his incredible charisma and fantastic on-screen presence, which only lends to his timeless and ageless performances.
It sure seems as if Morgan Freeman has always been around, which makes sense, since he's been acting for almost six decades now. He is best known for his incredible voice and narrating skills, although he did have a few Oscar-winning films throughout his career. Freeman is mostly known for his roles in the award winning films "Street Smart", "Driving Miss Daisy", "The Shawshank Redemption", "Million Dollar Baby", and "Invictus".
He’s been a champion and an inspiration for many African Americans in the United States. The actor has also given many motivational speeches throughout his career. Morgan Freeman is the seventh-highest grossing actor of all time, with a combined box office gross of just over $4.5 billion.
Many consider Joaquin Phoenix to be the greatest method actor of our times. It doesn’t matter which Phoenix film you choose to watch, there’s almost a 100 percent chance that you’ll see a performance that would be on par with something Marlon Brando would do. Some of his most popular films include "Her", "Inherent Vice", "The Master", "Signs", "Gladiator", "The Village" and "You Were Never Really Here".
The versatile and talented actor recently took the role of Arthur, in the R-Rated drama film "Joker". It centers around a mentally unstable professional clown and stand up comedian who devolves into a psychopathic killer, DC’s infamous Batman villain, The Joker. The film broke literally every record for an R-Rated film and passed $1 billion in worldwide revenue.
Almost no actor has influenced racial politics in the United States as much as Sidney Poitier. The Bahamian-American actor helped pave the way for many diverse actors that followed him, and helped mitigate many issues of race and racial relations, especially during the '60s. Poitier was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, making him Sir Sidney Poitier. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.
Poitier is one of the oldest-living actors of the Golden Era of Hollywood, and continued acting in films up until 1999. He also began directing in 1972, and released nine films throughout his directorial career. Poitier served as a member of Disney's board of directors from 1995 to 2003. He even recorded an album with composer Fred Kats, called 'Poitier Meets Plato'. While many actors on this list helped change culture and history with their films, Sidney Poitier helped do that outside the screen too.
Clark Gable, often known as "The King of Hollywood", is one of the most endearing and iconic masculine figures in Hollywood. He appeared in over 60 films over a four-decade career. The actor's final role was an aging cowboy in 1961's drama film, "The Misfits", which was released after his death in 1960. Gable began his career in film as an aerial cameraman in World War II, and debuted as an actor back in the early '20s.
One of Gable's best films include Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night", a romantic comedy released in 1934. He went on to appear in a string of highly successful films during the '30s. The actor came back with a bang after a few weak years in the late '40s, and continued to star in many Westerns and war movies. Although he wasn't the most beloved actor by critics, Gable always managed to make it big when it came to box-office performance. He's considered the seventh-greatest male star of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute.
Javier Bardem is a heavyweight Spanish actor who is known as one of the best Latin actors in Hollywood. His major breakthrough was playing Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers' award winning film, "No Country for Old Men". His role as the psychopathic villain in the film was considered by many to be one of the best villain roles of all time. His character was also nominated as one of number 26 in Entertainment Weekly's "50 Most Vile Villains in Movie History" list.
Despite Bardem appearing in many films over the years and doing fantastic work in all of them, nothing stands up to his magnum opus role in "No Country for Old Men". If you’re looking to see the Spanish actor at his very best, you don't need to look any further than this award-winning movie. Bardem practically stole all of the awards that year for his role. As long as you’re not too sensitive to violence, you should definitely give this one a watch.
Back in the '50s, James Dean was considered a symbol of cultural rebellion. Unfortunately, the actor died during a car crash at just 24 years old, effectively ending one of the most promising film careers of all time. He only acted in three films, "Rebel Without a Cause", "East of Eden" and "Giant". Dean has since been branded as a social icon and is credited for much of the development of Rock and Roll music. Many musicians, such as Elvis Presley, claim to have been influenced by the actor.
His most endearing and celebrated film to date was 1955's drama film, "Rebel Without a Cause", where he portrayed Jim Stark. The film was a social rebuke of many cultural stagnations, and gave a social commentary on many of the time's traditions. The film is considered as one of the most culturally and historically influential films of all time, and has received many awards and recognition over the years.
Many fans of Aaron Eckhart swear by the actor’s performances and hail him as one of the best actors of this generation. This fifty year old American actor has first made his debut in the 1997 black comedy film titled "In the Company of Men". He has since performed in various key roles, including as Harvey Dent in the acclaimed "Dark Knight" film, George in the biographical film "Erin Brockovich", and Nick Naylor in "Thank You for Smoking".
If you’re looking for Aaron Eckhart’s best and most prominent role, it’s quite clear what the best film to watch is. The actor’s most iconic role is undoubtedly that of the charismatic and manipulative Nick Naylor in "Thank You For Smoking". In the film, Eckhart plays the spokesperson for the cigarette industry. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his role, and enjoyed critical acclaim for the film.
Robert Duvall's career is considered by many as one of the most successful and inspirational ones in all of Hollywood. The actor has appeared in some of the most famous films of all time. He portrayed Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird", Tom Hagen in "The Godfather", and even had some major roles in 1963's horror anthology show, "The Twilight Zone". He's also one of the only actors in Hollywood that is an outspoken Republican, and has served in the United States Military with the rank of Private First Class.
Duvall has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, and finally won when he portrayed Mac in the drama film "Tender Mercies". This was one of the only films where he played a starring role. He’s mostly been known for being one of the best supporting actors in Hollywood, but that doesn’t take away from his incredible skills.
One of Hollywood’s darling actors, Heath Ledger became famous after his excellent acting in the teen comedy film based on Shakespeare's work, "10 Things I Hate About You". The young actor continued to rise in popularity when he appeared in "A Knight’s Tale" two years later. In 2005, he took the legendary role of Ennis in "Brokeback Mountain", a brilliant drama film that shook audiences. His last and arguably greatest performance was as the Joker, in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight".
There’s no denying that Ledger was an absolute force of brilliance in this one. Fans were originally horrified when they heard that the actor was cast as the Joker, until they saw his performance and realized it was the best film portrayal of the character they'd ever seen. Ledger was so committed to the role that he locked himself up in a hotel room for over a month, and began to keep a psychotic diary to gradually mold and create his character. Unfortunately, the actor died shortly around the time of the film’s release, he was posthumously awarded an Oscar for his role.
Many know Anthony Hopkins as either the psychotic serial killer Hannibal Lecter from "Silence of the Lambs", or as owner of Westworld from HBO’s hit show. His acting career goes back a long way and contains some of the most memorable and highly-awarded performances of all time. Hopkins is truly one of Hollywood’s most versatile and endearing actors. The veteran actor graces every film and TV show he has appeared in with an air of mystery and intrigue.
Most actors with Hopkin's experience tend to find themselves getting either typecast into specific roles, or slowing down towards the end of their careers. He’s quite a different breed of Hollywood star though, as the veteran actor continues to hone and improve his acting skills, which seem to only get better over the years. Some of his greatest films are "The Elephant Man" (1980), "The Bunker" (1981), "The Bounty" (1984), "Howards End" (1992), "Shadowlands" (1993) and "Nixon" (1995).
Denzel Washington has had the same cultural appeal as fellow African-American actor Samuel L. Jackson, while possessing acting skills on the level of Oscar winning actors. The actor has appeared in everything from R-Rated action films, such as "The Book of Eli", to crime dramas such as "American Gangster" and "Training Day". He also played as Malcolm X in the biographical film of the same name, and has done various passion projects with directors Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, and Tony Scott.
It would be hard to pinpoint the best films of such a successful and accomplished actor. It’s safe to say that some of his most noteworthy performances were in films that are considered the most culturally significant films of their times. His roles in "Malcolm X", "The Hurricane", "Training Day" and "Glory" were some of the most important films, and will likely remain as some of his best work too.
One of the greatest English actors of all time is Laurence Olivier. The actor is considered as the one of best theatrical actors in the UK and has appeared in over fifty films and many successful TV shows. Olivier worked his way into acting during the '20s, and finally got his breakthrough role in Noel Coward's "Private Lives". Since then, the actor has had a string of successful films and was highly awarded from the '40s up to the '80s for his amazing roles. What made the actor so unique and memorable was his extreme appearance changes from role to role.
Olivier admitted that he was a fan of extravagant make-up and had a wide range of voices and accents. He is most remembered for appearing in a trilogy of Shakespeare films as both actor and director, including "Henry V" (1944), "Hamlet" (1948), and "Richard III" (1955). The actor has received four Academy Awards and some of the highest honors a British civilian can get, including a knighthood (1947), a life peerage (1970) and the Order of Merit (1981).
The tall and handsome Ben Affleck began to catch the public’s eye when he took up some incredible roles, such as his iconic performance in "Good Will Hunting". The actor has seen his fair share of box office hits, and also some critical flops, but he has been a consistently great actor from the start. Affleck was chosen to portray Batman in Zack Snyder’s popular "Batman v. Superman".
One of Ben Affleck's most popular and successful movies is also one which he directed himself. The 2012 movie, "Argo", is a historical drama film that centers around a CIA operative who helped rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran, Iran when he and his crew pretended to be science fiction film-makers who wanted to use Tehran as the film’s place of production.
The American actor and producer, Adrien Brody first showed his incredible acting skills when he starred in Roman Polanski’s 2002 holocaust film, "The Pianist", which went on to secure him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Brody received the award at age 29, making him the youngest actor to ever receive this award. The actor has since starred in many other successful films, including "The Thin Red Line", "The Village" and "King Kong". He often works with director Wes Anderson in his films.
Adrien Brody’s best and most iconic performance to date is his portrayal of a polish-Jewish pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, during the holocaust. The film "The Pianist" received widespread acclaim and is considered by many to be the second best holocaust film of all time, right after "Schindler's List". This Oscar-winning performance turned Adrien Brody from a relatively unknown actor to one of Hollywood’s hottest assets at the time.
Tom Hanks became Hollywood's darling after his iconic role in "Forrest Gump", which became one of the most popular and beloved movies of all time. The actor played various great roles since the mid '80s, and continues to act to this very day. His films have grossed more than $10 billion worldwide, which makes Hanks the fifth highest-grossing actor of all time. As of 2019, he is ranked as the number-one best actor in film history on Ranker.
Tom Hanks gets most of his charm from being very relatable to everyday people. Audiences trust and like Tom Hanks, which is a huge reason why he's so popular and successful. If you’re looking for the film that made him a historical Hollywood figure, look no further than the incredible "Forrest Gump", which should be the first film that any child watches when they’re old enough to deal with its intricate issues.
When fans think of Keanu Reeves, the first two things that come to mind are either his famous and hilarious “Whoa” line (with his stoic and surprised look), and the second being just how great of a guy he is. The actor became a worldwide figure when he portrayed Neo in the extremely popular sci-fi action film trilogy, "The Matrix". Reeves has since appeared in various roles over the years, mostly centered around either comedy or action films.
Keanu Reeves built himself up as a popular actor thanks to his roles in the "Matrix" trilogy. His return to leading action films was incredibly popular when he took the role of the world’s most bad-ass action hero, "John Wick", an ex-assassin who decides to take revenge on a Russian mob who was responsible for stealing his Mustang and killing his dog. The film was so successful that it spawned two sequels, comic books and a few video-games. It’s Keanu Reeves at his best — stoic, captivating and deadly.
Samuel L. Jackson
Audience favorite Samuel L. Jackson is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable and often quoted African-American actors of all time. He rose to prominence in his role of Jules Winnfield in the hit Tarantino 1994 film, "Pulp Fiction". Since then, he has performed in various films, such as "Unbreakable" and "Django Unchained".
Samuel L. Jackson is best known for his role as Nick Fury, the leader of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D team, which is tasked with defending the earth. He has appeared in over ten films in this role, from the successful "Avengers" franchise, to films such as "Spider-Man", "Iron Man", "Captain America" and more.
Almost no Hollywood star ever stood out as much as retired English actor Daniel Day-Lewis. He's the only male actor to have three Academy Awards in the Best Actor category, and one of the only actors to ever receive three Oscars. His three most successful roles to date are the Oscar-winning "My Left Foot", "There Will Be Blood", and his recent biopic film, "Lincoln". Daniel Day-Lewis has appeared in a relatively small amount of films, but almost all of them, from 1989 up to 2017, landed him either an Oscar or an academy award nomination.
While many actors choose to appear in many films and hope to strike it big in a couple of them, Daniel Day-Lewis is known for meticulously choosing only the absolute best films and roles. If you're interested in seeing the incredible actor in action, you should definitely check out Steven Spielberg's 2012 historical drama film, "Lincoln". Another fantastic film which will rattle your bones is the epic drama film "There Will Be Blood", widely considered legendary director Paul Thomas Anderson's best film of all time.
It seems that almost no actor in the world has had the cultural significance and popularity of Marlon Brando. The actor was one of the most important stars in Hollywood history. He was also a massively influential activist who helped lead the civil rights movement and various Native American movements. He is considered the first actor to popularize the Method Acting style, and inspired many actors to follow in his footsteps.
Brando was one of the highest-paid actors in the world, and received a record $3.7 million for just 13 days of work, in his cameo on 1978’s "Superman". His most acclaimed and successful film (both commercially and critically) is undoubtedly 1972's "The Godfather", a film which is widely considered to be the greatest film ever made. Brando will always be remembered for his legendary role as Vito Corleone, and will continue to inspire actors for many years to come. The actor passed away in 2004, at the age of 80.
Despite being more than 85 years old, actor Michael Caine continues to appear in films even today, and is slated to appear in the film "Tenet", in 2020. The English actor has appeared in over 130 films over his career and is one of the most popular and beloved stars of Britain. Some of his recent hits include Christopher Nolan’s award winning films, such as the "Batman" trilogy, the mind bending "Inception", and the sci-fi wonder that is "Interstellar". He has acted over the years with some of Hollywood’s finest, and even rubbed shoulders with legends such as Marlon Brando.
Michael Caine’s best roles list would largely depend on just how far back you’re willing to go in his career. Caine was nominated for an Oscar in every decade from the ‘60s up to the early 2000s. The veteran actor always felt more comfortable in supporting roles, which is why some of his best work includes films such as 1987’s "Hannah and Her Sisters", and 2000’s "The Cider House Rules".
69-year-old actor Ed Harris began working in the film industry in the mid '70s, and continues to act even to this day. The actor has played in some of the most popular films of the last few centuries, including "Apollo 13", "The Truman Show", "Pollock", "The Hours" and "Snowpiercer". Harris gained even more popularity when he portrayed the Man in Black, in HBO's award winning sci-fi western series, "Westworld", which awarded him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Harris has been around for a long, long time. He has a wide range of popular and successful films, so your choice of favorite movies starring the veteran actor is up to your taste in films. Some of his best performances of all time were in the culturally-important films "The Right Stuff" and "Places in the Heart". Both films were released during the '80s, just a year apart from each other. These are widely considered to be some of Harris's best work.
Hollywood’s golden boy, Leonardo DiCaprio, rose to worldwide fame when he portrayed Jack in the iconic historical drama "Titanic". The actor has been in Hollywood since his early teens and is known for dating almost the entire lineup of the Victoria’s Secret models over the decades. At about 45 years of age, the actor is not showing any signs of slowing down and keeps taking on challenging and rewarding roles. He has starred in some of the world’s most successful films and is also an avid environmental advocate.
Leonardo DiCaprio has played an extremely varied set of characters, from the charismatic con-artist millionaire Jordan Belfort, in "The Wolf of Wall Street", to the evil and psychotic plantation owner Candy, in "Django Unchained". Regardless of what DiCaprio film you watch, you’re bound to get an entertaining and engaging film experience. If you're looking for a film that focuses specifically on the actor, we strongly recommend watching "The Reverend".
Paul Newman was the ultimate American handsome man back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. His chiseled jawline, piercing blue eyes and flirty smile made him one of the favorite actors of the 20th century. Some of his best films include "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", which awarded him an Academy nomination back in 1968. He also starred in Martin Scorsese's timeless classic, "The Color of Money", which secured his first Oscar win. Newman’s legendary acting career spanned across more than five decades before retiring.
Paul Newman passed away in 2008, at age 83. He was known as an avid car racing fan and was even a race driver in the Sports Car Club of America. He was also the owner of 'Newman's Own', a food company which donates all of its profits to charity, for a total sum of over $500 million. Newman's last roles included him lending his voice in animated films from 2005 to 2008. His last serious role was in the 2000 comedy-drama crime film, "Where the Money Is", which received lackluster reviews and commercial success.
The late Robin Williams was one of Hollywood's most beloved actors, inspiring millions to smile more, laugh and be sincere. He was the star of countless brilliant films like "Good Will Hunting", "Patch Adams", "Dead Poets Society", "Death to Smoochy", "Flubber", and countless others. What tied all of his films together was an endearing sense of hope and happiness, which only made his eventual suicide all the more perplexing and painful to his millions of fans around the world.
Regardless of what Robin Williams film you watch, you know that you’re in for an amazing, entertaining and fun experience. His most iconic film to date is "Good Will Hunting", which really stretched his acting abilities to their limit. In the film, Williams plays a therapist who tries to help a young and brilliant boy move beyond his troubled past.
Sean Penn has been around in Hollywood for over 35 years. He's considered one of the best actors of the previous generation, and is known for having meticulous attention to detail. Penn isn't your typical suave actor, as his roles often prove to be more aggressive and direct in their nature. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in both 2003's "Mystic River" and 2008's "Milk".
Many people consider Sean Penn's role in the political biopic "Milk" to be his best work to date. That's quite an impressive accomplishment, considering how long his career was so far. In the film, Penn plays the real-life Harvey Milk, an activist political candidate who was assassinated by a fellow member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. It’s an intriguing and genuinely interesting film.
Once an Australian school teacher, now a famous and beloved actor. Hugh Jackman has proven himself to be a star in both theater and film. The actor is highly beloved by fans, and portrayed many incredible characters in films such as "The Prestige", "Prisoners", "The Fountain" and more. But mostly, he is known for playing the fan favorite Wolverine from Marvel’s "X-Men" franchise, and is considered by many to be the perfect fit for the character.
Although the actor has had various incredible roles throughout his diverse acting career, two of his best films can certainly be described as “unorthodox”. The first is his role as P T Barnum in "The Greatest Showman", which revolves around a real-life circus owner who becomes world-renowned for his sensational show business. The role includes a lot of singing and might not be for everyone. His absolute best performance though is undoubtedly in the R-Rated film "Logan", where he plays Wolverine in his last days as an aging mutant in a world he no longer recognizes.
Known for acting in some of the world’s best films, Al Pacino had already made a name for himself back in the ‘70s, and continues to be one of the best actors in Hollywood. The actor truly cemented his legacy when he appeared in the "Godfather" trilogy. Since then, Pacino has starred in many incredible films, including "Scent of a Woman", where he played a blind lawyer, and "Scarface", his most violent role to date.
Al Pacino still appears in various films, and recently had a role in the 3.5 hour epic gangster film by Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman", where he starred along his old-time pals, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. It looks like the veteran actor still has a couple of moves in his bag. We might even get lucky enough to watch him in at least one last Oscar-winning performance before he retires.
Arguably one of the top three most successful African-American actors of all time, Will Smith also happens to be one of the coolest actors in Hollywood. He first rose to prominence in his leading role in the 1990 sitcom, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". The show was a huge success and went on for six seasons and almost 150 episodes. When fans and studios saw some of the actor’s tear-jerking performances, they knew he was something special.
Will Smith has starred in many great films over the years, such as "I Am Legend", "Men in Black", and as Muhammad Ali in the film "Ali". But one of his best performances is in "The Pursuit of Happiness", the inspiring and emotional real-life story about a single father trying to make a life for him and his son. The movie is a must watch, and will excite even the most cynical person in the world. Smith shows his aptitude of masterfully combining inspiring monologues, lighthearted humor and tear-jerking drama.
Back when masculinity was praised and promoted in Hollywood films, the late Sean Connery was the king of manliness. The actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, in what is considered the last portrayal of the character. Although he has appeared in many other films, he will forever be remembered as Bond.
If you’re interested in having a movie night honoring Connery's life and career, check out his five depictions of James Bond. He played 007 in "Dr. No" (1962), "From Russia With Love" (1963), "Goldfinger" (1964), "Thunderball" (1965), and "You Only Live Twice" (1967). He reprised his role a decade later, in "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971), and again in the next decade with "Never Say Never Again" (1983).
Clint Eastwood is hailed as one of the most popular and beloved actors of all time. He also took up movie directing in his later years, and managed to release a few extremely successful films. His best directing work is clearly seen in 1992’s "Unforgiven" and the incredible boxing drama film, "Million Dollar Baby". Eastwood continues to appear in films today, even now at age 90.
Eastwood performed in some of the best spaghetti western films of all time, and is well known for his role in "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly", and as the anti cop Harry Callahan, in the five "Dirty Harry" films that were released during the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The beloved Jimmy Stewart first began his career as a Broadway theater actor, and transitioned into films in the mid ‘30s. He became a popular Hollywood star due to his image as the American every-day man. The actor has portrayed almost every popular profession there is, such as a lawyer, a cowboy, a military officer, a politician, a businessman, a reporter and more. He debuted as a film actor in 1936, alongside Spencer Tracy, in the the classic black and white crime film, "The Murder Man". His first Academy Award was earned just four years later, for his performance in George Cukor’s "The Philadelphia Story".
Stewart was considered the "American Ideal", and helped bring the nation together. Stewart’s greatest film is arguably the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life". He also appeared in other classics, such as "The Man Who Knew too Much", "Anatomy of a Murder", and popular Western films like "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) and "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964), both directed by John Ford.
Tom Cruise has had a long line of great movies from way back in the ‘80s. He is one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood, with just about every production he does resulting in big box office revenues. Cruise has starred in countless films so far. He seems to be most at his element in exciting action films that are a bit lighter on the drama.
If you’re looking for a serious and soul-wrenching performance by the actor, check out the iconic film "Interview With the Vampire". However, if you’re in the mood for a fun, light film, the "Mission: Impossible" franchise is your best bet.
Ryan Gosling is one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, thanks to his incredible looks and stellar acting. He has appeared in various amazing action and sci-fi films such as "Drive", "The Place Beyond the Pines", and the highly awarded "Blade Runner 2049". He also appeared in a few deeply tear-jerking films such as "Blue Valentine" and the iconic "The Notebook". Gosling also starred in some interesting drama roles, such as "The Big Short", a film which follows the events of the 2008 mortgage crisis, and "The Ides of March", a political drama thriller.
If you’re looking for the absolute zenith of his acting skills, you’ll likely find it in the 2011 crime drama "Drive", where he plays a veteran criminal getaway driver who falls in love with his neighbor and her young son. It’s arguably Gosling’s most highly acclaimed film. "Drive" received four British Academy Awards and was one of the best films of 2011.
This wonderful and charming actor is considered by many to be the darling of Hollywood. He is looked up to by many fans thanks to his great looks, charming personality and quirky sense of humor. Ryan Reynolds first became known when he acted in films such as "Blade: Trinity", and caught the attention of many movie fans. He has since found his path as the beloved "Deadpool", in which he appeared in two films as of yet.
If you’re looking to see Reynolds at his best, there’s really no better way than watching the first and second "Deadpool" films. These two hilarious superhero action films became the highest selling R-Rated films of all time before being dethroned by "Joker".
One of the most iconic actors of the '90s, Edward Norton became a household name after appearing in some of the most popular and successful films in past decades. Two of this most popular and widely acclaimed roles include "American History X", where he plays as a neo-Nazi who goes to jail and repents for his mistakes, and "Fight Club", a film based on Chuck Palahniuk's best selling novel.
Some of the actor’s most impressive performances include his almost-theatrical role in "Birdman", alongside Michael Keaton, Derek Vinyard in "American History X", the classic "Moonrise Kingdom", where he played alongside Bruce Willis as Scout Master Ward, and "The Grand Budapest Hotel".
Robert De Niro
There’s not much to say about Robert De Niro except that he’s one of the most legendary actors of our generation. De Niro first rose to prominence when he took up some of the most difficult roles, in films such as Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets". He somehow manages to reinvent himself in every single film, much like the iconic Marlon Brando. His impressive career currently spans over four decades, but De Niro just keeps making hit after hit.
Two of Robert De Niro’s latest films, "Joker" and "The Irishman", have been extremely successful. It seems that the actor is still very much in touch with what makes him a great actor. Although De Niro had a bit of a rough period in the 2000s, where he mostly played comedies and goofy roles, it looks like he got his mojo back.
Humphrey Bogart is considered the single greatest male actor of all time. He first began acting in Broadway shows, but quickly made his way into films in the 1930s. The actor has appeared in numerous roles over the years, and had an acting career which lasted for over three and a half decades. Bogart has a cult following even to this day. Some of his most successful roles from the '40s include "High Sierra", "The Maltese Falcon", "The Big Sleep", and the well known classic, "Casablanca", which landed him his first nomination for an Academy Award.
Bogart's two best performances, according to many critics and fans, are 1948's neo-western film "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", and 1950's old school crime drama, "In a Lonely Place". Unfortunately, the actor was a heavy smoker and drinker, which considerably shortened his lifespan and killed him at the relatively young age of 57. In 1997, he was named the number one movie legend of all time by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. Later in 1999, he was also chosen as the American Film Institute’s greatest male screen legend.
Jack Nicholson is known as one of Hollywood's darkest, most mysterious and best actors of all time. There has never been an actor who was known for playing such a large and varied range of genres. His roles include everything from light-hearted comedies and romance films, to some of the darkest and most terrifying movies of all time. The veteran actor is known as an outsider and often rebels against common traditions, in both his personal and professional life. He has received 12 Academy Award nominations over the years, making him the most nominated male actor of all time.
Some of Jack Nicholson's most brilliant roles include the iconic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", Stephen King's novel-to-film adaptation of "The Shining", the romantic comedy film "As Good as It Gets", and his enduring performance as Batman's arch nemesis, the Joker. Two of his top movies to date are also actually some of his latest. "About Schmidt" and "The Bucket List" are both drama heavy films with a sprinkle of comedy that focus on the struggles of old age.
While most actors are known primarily for their acting skills, Richard Burton is known for his endearing look, commanding voice, and ability to portray highly intellectual male protagonists. Burton was nominated for seven academy awards, but never received an Oscar. He was one of Hollywood's most well-paid actors in the late '60s, earning a reported $1 million or more per film. The actor is also known for being married to popular British-American actress, Elizabeth Taylor, twice.
His most successful film to date is the 1953 biblical epic, "The Robe", where he plays a Roman tribune who was tasked with supervising the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Another highly successful film Richard Burton appeared in was "Look Back in Anger", a film about a guy who decides to rebel against life. Despite not being awarded as much as he should have, the actor is widely known as one of the greats.
In the first few decades of his career, most people knew Bryan Cranston as either Dr. Tim Whatley from NBC’s popular sitcom "Seinfeld", or as Hal from the Fox sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle". He was considered your average nice, goofy and funny older male actor, but everything changed when he took the role of Walter White on AMC’s iconic "Breaking Bad", which is widely considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
"Breaking Bad" revolves around Walter White, an aging and depressed chemistry teacher, and his new partner, Jesse Pinkman, a high-school dropout. The two decide to work together and open a meth business after Walter discovers he has terminal cancer and that his family isn’t financially secure. Bryan Cranston’s performance in the show is considered among the best on-screen acting of all time.
Tom Hardy is well known as one of Hollywood’s most versatile male actors. He's portrayed various incredible characters, from UFC fighters to gangsters, and even a Batman villain. Hardy is one of the most consistently well-performing actors on the big screen and regularly draws crowds to films that have his name on them. He proved his incredible acting abilities in films such as Legend, where the actor played both of the film’s main characters.
If you really want to enjoy Tom Hardy at his best, you should check out either "Bronson" or "Legend". The actor plays a gangster/criminal in both films and does an incredible job in both.
Another endearing star on our list is the incredible Dustin Hoffman. What makes Hoffman different from other Hollywood stars is his ability to portray the emotionally vulnerable anti-hero, due to his relatability and lovable personality. Hoffman had his acting breakthrough when he portrayed Benjamin Badock, in one of the most successful romantic comedy-dramas of all time, 1967's "The Graduate". He has appeared in numerous successful films ever since, and even made his directorial debut in 2012. Hoffman has won two Oscars and an Emmy throughout his career.
Some of his best films include "Midnight Cowboy", "Lenny", "Kramer vs Kramer", "Tootsie", "Rain Man", "Wag the Dog" and "Death of a Salesman". The actor has taken a back seat in recent years to focus more on directing films and lending his voice to animated movies, such as "Kung Fu Panda". Despite his absence, he remains one of the most well-known and beloved stars in Hollywood. Hoffman managed to successfully portray many historically and culturally influential roles over the years.
Jake Gyllenhaal started acting as a child actor and has since nurtured a prolific career. To many, he is known as Jack Twist from Brokeback Mountain, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting actor. But you should definitely check out his performance in 'Nightcrawler', a film about an articulate but depraved paparazzo crime reporter named Lou, that was showered with accolades. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance earned him a Golden Globe Best Actor nomination.
Playing a wildly ambitious low-life reporter, who chases cop cars and ambulances, or beats them there, to score sordid footage of the criminal element in action, was a dark mindset to embrace.To get into Lou’s head, Gyllenhaal rode along with actual paparazzi ambulance-chasers. He also got into character by transforming his body into the gaunt, sunken-look, apparent on the reporter’s hollow face.
Lead singer of rock band 30 Seconds to Mars is also quite the actor. The film that proves it best is Dalls Buyers Club, where he co-starred with Matthew McConaughey. Jared Leto played a transgender woman with HIV. Leto submitted to a severe weight loss routine to get into character. Leto’s commitment to delivering a stupendous performance as Rayon in 'Dallas Buyers Club' paid off. He won an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, and a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor.
His incredible transformation took a psychological toll. “It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think,” he said. Leto’s respected as a method actor, who delves into his characters with research and physically demanding sacrifices like this.
Alright, alright, alright... Matthew McConaughey doesn't need much introduction, so we're gonna go ahead and and talk about one of his best performances in the last few years. Ron Woodroof is a Texas AIDS patient given 30 days to live, in the brilliant film 'Dallas Buyers' Club'. To look like a man emaciated from HIV, he not only cut his caloric intake but also burned 1,800 additional calories a day with heavy exercise.
To make sure his weight loss was as healthy as possible, he met up with a nutritionist. His incredible performance won him both an Oscar and a Golden Globe, as well as many other awards and nominations.
Award winning actor Matt Damon was first noticed by film critics and cinema fans when he starred in Good Will Hunting. He co-wrote the film with Ben Affleck and went on to win an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for it.
Damon portrayed the title character in the film and stepped into the shoes of Will Hunting, a math wiz taken under the wing of a university professor and subsequently learns to better cope with his circumstances and the people in his life.
George Clooney won the Best Actor Academy Award for his role as a CIA operative in 'Syriana' (2005), yet he endured more pain than he had ever known while filming it. In one of the stunts he performed, something went wrong. A spinal injury left him in excruciating pain. Clooney was lying in a hospital bed completely immobilized, and suffering headaches on par with that of a stroke.
The injury kept him from the publicity rounds for 'Ocean’s Twelve', released in 2004. In the end, surgery was able to correct the injury, but he still gets headaches occasionally. To prepare for the role of agent Robert Barnes, Clooney shaved back his hairline to age himself. He doesn’t look back fondly on filming the Oscar-winning role. "It wasn’t the fault of the film or director", he explained. “It’s just that everybody has that year where you age a decade, and this was that one for me.”
J.K. Simmons’s career includes playing characters in films as well as TV. His face may be familiar to you if you’ve watched Justice League, Law & Order, Oz, and Whiplash, which was by far one of his best moments on screen.
J.K Simmons took home more than an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 'Whiplash', playing an abusive music teacher with unorthodox methods of bringing the best out of an ambitious student.
Ben Kingsley, who said he was timid about getting the role of Gandhi, also said he had little time to prepare for it. “I was offered the role in September, left for India in October and started shooting in November,” Kingsley recalls. Once he arrived at the land of the Mahatma, he completely immersed himself. “I practiced yoga in the morning...In the evenings I did my shoots and, in the night, I took spinning classes,” Kingsley explained.
Learning to spin thread with an authentic wooden spinning machine, Kingsley thought, would be better than trying to fake it on automated spinning machines. Beyond those efforts, Kingsley shaved his head and lost 20 pounds, authentically, by abiding by Gandhi’s vegetarian diet. He also practiced meditation and studied yoga. These great efforts are what eventually won him an Oscar for Best Actor.
Ewan McGregor’s face has been on numerous modern day classics. From Moulin Rouge to the Star Wars franchise, McGregor has done it all. However, his part in Fargo is definitely one to remember. Sitting at dinner with creator Noah Hawley in Los Angeles, just three months before production was scheduled to begin, Ewan McGregor was 45 years old and in great shape. That’s when he learned for the first time that his physique was not going to be compatible with his new role. “You need to put on weight,” Hawley told him.
His new routine went something like this: “I just started eating whatever I wanted. I made sure that I had carbs with everything and French fries with everything. I didn’t have any technique other than eating a lot.” McGregor avoided standing on a scale, so he never weighed himself. When he went to pick up some Levi’s that fit him, however, the change was obvious. The size of the new pair was three inches bigger than his regular size. After going back to his normal weight, he could use those jeans to store his Golden Globe.
Gerard Butler cemented his name in Hollywood after starring in the epic war action film, '300'. For part of King Leonidas, Butler had to go through four arduous months of hard training, which included working out for six hours a day. For two of those six hours, Butler and the rest of the cast endured a special training that included deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, box jumps, and more, in order to keep all the men in perfect shape. After all, they were playing Spartans.
Butler has said that he was inspired by seeing the other members of the cast train so hard too, and it pushed him to do more every day. He has said that "it was a very powerful place to be".
Bradley Cooper has become a well-known name in Hollywood in the past decade. With films like 'Silver Linings Playbook', 'Limitless', and his wonderful voice acting in 'Guardians of the Galaxy', the Philadelphia-born actor has certainly proved his acting skills. His most memorable performance, however, has to be that of Jackson Maine, the alcoholic singer discovering a promising young singer and falling in love with her in the process.
What makes his performance there extremely powerful is the fact that he hows off not only his acting skills but his impressive vocals. Other than that, Cooper also directed, co-produced and co-wrote the film. All that talent could never go unnoticed.
Russell Crowe had to work hard to achieve his chiseled 'Gladiator' figure. Despite him playing in other films or TV shows prior to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, this film is what made him world-famous. His part as Maximus the gladiator won Crowe an Academy Award for Best Actor. Crowe and Scott worked together again in 2008's 'Body of Lies', where Crowe played a CIA agent. For the part, and as per Ridley Scott's request, Crowe had to gain weight to portray the heavy, sedentary Ed Hoffman, which meant Crowe had to give up his gladiator body for the job.
Crowe claimed that he just "decided to eat whatever he wanted", and made sure he had the most sedentary lifestyle possible. In an interview with E! news, the former gladiator rightly said, “If you want to put on weight, you just elect to live a sedentary life style,”. That definitely sounds like a "diet" plan we can get behind of.
Marky Mark made cinema history in 1997, when he played the star of Paul Thomas Anderson's classic film 'Boogie Nights'. With the countless movies he's starred in ever since, it's hard to pick a best performance, but one thing's for sure: his most incredible transformation was in the 2014 drama, 'The Gambler'. Playing a literature professor with a series gambling addiction, Wahlberg had to lose 40 pounds!
The actor claimed that he was on a rigid six-week liquid diet that consisted of drinking 8 ounces of almond milk three times a day. "I was miserable because I like food," said Wahlberg in an interview with E!. And since the actor wasn't losing enough weight on the almond milk diet, he also had t exercise for three hours every day, after a 12-hour work day!
Before he became one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors, Eric Bana did an incredible performance in the 2000 film, 'Chopper', which made the critics notice him for the first time. Now, Bana has always been a very good-looking and fit man, but for Chopper, where he played infamous Australian criminal Mark "Chopper" Read, he had to put on 30 pounds in a few months.
Bana claims he just ate junk food like there was no tomorrow, and if you've seen the movie, you'll believe it. The Australian actor looked super beefy, which combined with a chipped tooth and a body covered in tattoos made him look like the actual Chopper's doppelganger. He went on to earn the award for best Actor in a Leading Role from the Australian Film Institute.
Known to many as Sherlock Holmes from the mini-series Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch has made quite a splash in film as well, most notably, in The Imitation Game. Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, a man who is considered to be one of the first computer scientists ever and a mathematical genius in general. Turing builds a machine to decode the Enigma – an elaborate coding system used by the Nazi regime.
Historically speaking, the events in the film are dubbed as true to reality. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won in the Best Adapted Screenplay. Cumberbatch himself was nominated for numerous awards for his portrayal of Turing, and even won the Hollywood Film Award for Best Actor.
An actor, musician, and producer, Johnny Depp has done so much in film we simply couldn't ignore him. Among his numerous awards and nominations, there are ten Golden Globes nominations, one of which he won. With his versatile acting skill he has often played eccentric characters, all of which contributed to his undeniable allure, both on and off screen.
He is known for playing eccentric characters and for his many collaborations with filmmaker Tim Burton, but his most memorable part in the last 20 years is definitely that of Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. As the perpetually drunk pirate with never ending luck, Depp's Sparrow redefined the way we think of pirates today.
Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the biggest musical movies in the last few years. This biographical drama follows the life of Freddy Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, the successful English rock band. It is also the film that made everyone know who Remi Malek is.
Malek played Mercury, which won him an Oscar for the role. Those who made sure that the films maintains a close relationship with reality are Brian May and Roger Taylor. Both are Queen members who knew Mercury personally ans served as consultants to director Bryan Singer, and made sure Malek was doing Mercury justice, which he obviously did.
Michael B. Jordan
Not to be confused with basketball player Michael (no B.) Jordan, this handsome fella is one talented actor. While he is definitely one of the popular kids on the block, Jordan has a geeky side too and he is a fan of anime as well as superheroes. In fact, his role in a superhero movie is what made him a household name. The role is that of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther.
His performance as Killmonger was praised by many, with Business Insider writing that Jordan's performance was "fueled with hate and emptiness... but also delivered with a swagger that's just a joy to watch ... the movie takes off more in story and viewing enjoyment whenever Jordan is on screen."
Liam Neeson probably has something to do with coining the phrase “luck of the Irish,” as there is no way a country wouldn't take pride in producing such a talented guy. Many of the characters Neeson plays are innate saviors, such as Brian Mills, who didn't stop at anything to save his family in the Taken trilogy. The role that situated him as an A-list actor, was that of Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List.
The story of German businessman Oskar Schindler was immortalized in the Steven Spielberg Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List. The film won seven of the twelve Academy Awards it was nominated for, and Neeson wasn't too far behind with numerous nominations and several wins.
Producer and actor, Brad Pitt has one of the world’s most recognized faces. It’s a pretty one, too. We first recognized it, and the rest of him, in Thelma and Louise as a hitchhiking charmer who Geena Davis’ “Thelma” falls for. Prior to the onset of success, Pitt bailed on a journalism degree in order to pursue acting. He has also worked as a mover and an El Pollo Loco chicken mascot before becoming one of the most sought after men in the business.
Since his Thelma and Louise days, Pitt has portrayed many unforgettable characters in films such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Ocean's Eleven, interview with the Vampire, Fight Club, and more. There are simply too many to choose from!
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey, Jr. appeared in his first movie at age 5, so it is no surprise that he’s one of the highest-grossing actors in the world. He was born in Manhattan to a filmmaker father and an actress mother, which means he had his road to stardom all cut out for him. Looking as good as he does only boosted him further.
With an acting career that spans five decades, it is hard to just pick one role, however, Marvel Comic's superhero empire made things easier for us. Having played Tony Stark (Iron man) in 9 films since 2008, it's pretty safe to say this is his most memorable role.