Earlier this week, Daniel Day-Lewis announced that was officially retiring from acting. While he has certainly kept out of the public eye in his time in Hollywood, he has undoubtedly become one of the best actors to ever step in front of a camera. But where does he rank among the best actors of all-time? There’s been a ton of worthy contenders over the years, making it close to impossible to widdle the list down to ten. But MovieBabble is certainly up to the challenge!
Below are some honorable mentions that failed to make the top 10:
Now let’s take a look at MovieBabble’s best actors of all-time:
#10: Humphrey Bogart
Bogart is most likely one of the least known actors on the top 10 list. This isn’t because his talent is overlooked, but rather that most people refuse to watch movies from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. However, Humphrey Bogart was one of the original cultural icons to come from film, starring in iconic films like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, and, of course, Casablanca.
His acting style was way before his time, performing as a suave, grizzled man that had a heart of gold. In a time where actors feel incredibly dated today, Bogart felt timeless. Later called one of the legends of Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart legacy continues to grow. To cement his influence on film, AFI later claimed Bogart to be the greatest male star of classic American cinema. He truly deserves a spot among the best actors of all-time.
#9: Leonardo DiCaprio
Thankfully, Leo now has his Oscar so we can’t make fun of him anymore for having an empty trophy shelf and he can take his rightful place as one of the best actors of all-time. Like another actor that will be discussed later on, DiCaprio allows himself to be completely vulnerable on screen, throwing caution to the wind. With this vulnerability is an intensity that few actors have matched. He’s good for a few intense stares that make their way to your core. However, he’s actually incredibly diverse in his emotions, showing serious comedy chops in some of his films as well.
Known for his team-ups with Martin Scorsese, Leo can perform in almost any type of situation, doing his part as a leading man but also as a devishlishly great side character.
#8: Denzel Washington
Denzel may be one of the most intense actors ever. He always commands the screen, forcing you to stare at his every move. You know another character is in trouble onscreen when Denzel gives his patented death stare. One of the most impressive feats in Denzel’s illustrious career is that he continues to keep things fresh with an assortment of different roles. He’s performed in cookie cutter Oscar roles such as in Malcolm X but also in popcorn flicks like The Magnificent Seven or The Equalizer.
Denzel Washington has an onscreen presence that is wholly unique and original. He even makes bad movies totally watchable with his performances. An actor who elevates an entire movie is a mark of an all-time great.
#7: Harrison Ford
Known for acting as some of our favorite characters to ever be onscreen, Ford continues to be charismatic, heartfelt, and above all else, fun. Harrison knows how to keep things light and fun with beloved characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones. However, he’s also shown us how he has a serious flare for the more understated, dramatic side of his craft as well with films like Blade Runner.
Harrison Ford‘s calling card has to be his sharp, biting sarcasm. In every role he ever played, he always found a way to toss a few snarky comments at the other characters. You have to love his smirk that accompanies a lot of these fun moments. Harrison Ford has a certain swagger about him that is just absolutely legendary.
#6: Tom Hanks
Affectionately known as “America’s dad,” Hanks has made a living playing likable characters that we’ve all latched on to. He has a certain charm that makes you gravitate towards him in whatever role he is in. Like Denzel Washington, Hanks elevates every single movie that in which he plays a role. Hell, even 2017’s The Circle is somewhat watchable because Tom Hanks is so magnetic. He’ll make you smile, laugh, and cry with a single breath when he’s at his best. He may be the most popular choice among the list of the best actors of all-time.
For all his lovable characters like Forrest Gump and Woody, he’s even shown a flare for evil with his character Michael Sullivan in Road to Perdition.
We all love Tom Hanks. How can you not?
#5: Clint Eastwood
A man’s man, Clint Eastwood has shown serious talent for many, many years. While we all know as the Man with No Name from the Dollars trilogy, Eastwood has continued to amaze us with new and different roles. He is easily the “toughest” actor on this list, showing the power of all different types of alpha males. He has onscreen presence that forces you to stop and watch him.
But that’s not to say he can’t act vulnerable as well. Although he consistently shows that tough exterior, films like Gran Torino show that he is more than capable of expressing kindness and heart while still keeping his facade.
If nothing else, Clint Eastwood should be honored for all his classic one-liners and monologues that rank among the best in the industry.
#4: Marlon Brando
A true thespian, Marlon Brando ruled the 1970’s with iconic roles like Vito Corleone, Colonel Walter Kurtz, and Jor-El. Like the next man on this list, Brando brought a whole new meaning to the idea of method acting, channeling his inner anguish with the character’s traits to make wholly memorable performances.
In whatever role, it always appeared that every single one of his movements was calculated, yet wholly believable and free. Brando wasn’t acting, he became his characters.
Not to mention he’s responsible for some of the best lines ever muttered. Marlon Brando was a true craftsman, never failing to reinvent himself and never afriad to try something different. He’s easily one of the best actors of all-time.
#3: Daniel Day-Lewis
The best example of method acting, Daniel Day-Lewis never has to make another film and he’ll still be regarded as one of the best actors of all-time. His process for each role was diving completely into the psyche of that person and never breaking character after signing onto the role. The most infamous of which was during the filming of My Left Foot where he played a man with cerebral palsy and forced crew workers to carry him off set and feed him with a spoon.
However, those extreme methods payed off as Day-Lewis has had one incredible performance after another. His work as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood is so great that many consider it the best performance of the modern era.
#2: Jack Nicholson
Jack seamingly played a version of himself in all his roles, but each time he found a new way to light up the screen with an all-time performance. Known for his ability to go absolutely nuts onscreen, he excels at improvising and keeping the other actors from getting comfortable onset by going absolutely bonkers.
However, there are so many quieter moments in his films where he’s the center of attention without saying a single word. This quality is best seen in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Jack has a certain charisma or “X-factor” that no other actor has quite replicated. He lets loose, losing himself in scenes that have since become some of the finest in cinema. Hardly an actors allow themselves to be as vulerable onscreen as Jack.
Jack has a wide variety of classic films in his repertoire, including The Shining, the aforementioned One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown, and many more. He can sit courstside at every Laker game knowing that he’s had a very solid career.
#1: Robert De Niro
There’s certainly a case to be made for Mr. De Niro to not be in this position considering his recent work, but there are way too many all-time classic films that were headlined by a fantastic performance by him. From 1973 to 1991, De Niro starred in the following films: Mean Streets, The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Once Upon a Time in America, Brazil, The Untouchables, Midnight Run, Goodfellas, and Cape Fear. That list doesn’t even include classics like Casino, Heat, or Sleepers.
De Niro completely masters the craft of facial acting. Without muttering a word, you completely understand everything about his character. This trait allows his outbursts to be even more resonant. No other actor has been this vulnerable, powerful, and downright hilarious. He doesn’t have to make another film ever again and he’ll still be considered the best to ever do it by this critic.
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