Throughout cinema history, there have been a select few individuals that have captivated the most artistic of movie fans as well as general audiences. But which movie star is the best to ever step in front of a camera? To break it down, a few stipulations must be in play:
- Box office success
- Critical acclaim
- The person always plays a version of himself or herself (a movie star is larger than life, you can’t help but see that person beneath each character they play)
- A long stretch of success
- The actor continues to hold some type of cultural impact, no matter the changes to society
What this list is not is a break down of the best actor ever. Being the best movie star or the best actor both require different sets of criteria. So, with that in mind, let’s see who’s in the running:
The People Who “Lost their Way”
- Will Smith
- Tom Hanks
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Sylvester Stallone
- Harrison Ford
- Johnny Depp
- Angelina Jolie
- Jim Carrey
- Eddie Murphy
- Julia Roberts
All of these A-listers were huge in either the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. They graced us with their charisma, becoming larger than life. However, in one way or another, these individuals have been less than stellar in the most recent decade. Have they had moments of brilliance? Sure! But as an overall picture, their current work does not compare in the slightest. To hold the title of “best movie star ever,” longevity in tandem with brilliance is needed.
- Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Emma Stone
- Channing Tatum
- Leonardo DiCaprio
- Ryan Gosling
- Chris Pratt
Note that the term “youth” here is pretty fluid. Leo and The Rock are in their mid-40’s while JLaw is still in her 20’s. For whatever reason, all of these actors have one of the core items missing from their resume and need more time to accomplish it. Unlike the other groups, these actors still have some time to become the greatest movie star.
Up-and-comers, we’ll reconvene in ten years.
These guys and gals are titans in the industry. They paved the way for the rest of the actors on this list, allowing them to thrive. All the while, they built personas that were larger than life:
- Cary Grant
- Humphrey Bogart
- Clint Eastwood
- John Wayne
- Marilyn Monroe
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Joan Crawford
- Jimmy Stewart
However, and as near-sided as this sounds, these titans are hardly in the stream of consciousness of the film industry these days. Let’s face it, most people don’t even have the attention span to watch an entire Instagram story, let alone remember an actor from the ’40s. There’s certainly a place for these performers in the discussion, but, with the lack of a better term, they’re dated.
And the Winner is…Tom Cruise!
Scientology aside, Tom Cruise has been at the forefront of Hollywood for quite some time. He has almost always chosen scripts that accent his talents, providing very enjoyable films that do well all over the world. His performances are always fully committed — sometimes a little too committed. He has the perfect blend of longevity, acclaim, box office success, impact, and, let’s face it, he’s always playing a version of himself. From Risky Business in 1983 to his continued success in the Mission: Impossible franchise, Cruise has continued to impress.
He is still at the forefront of the most prominent action films in the industry, and he shows no sign of stopping any time soon.
Cruise is also one of the hardest workers in Hollywood today; he always has a new project that he is heavily involved in. As he’s said in interviews, he wants to make films that earn money from audiences, not just take it.
In fact, when you search “movie stars” on Google, Cruise’s picture is almost always the first result. Google never lies!
If that weren’t enough, no one can run like Tom. Look at him go!
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on the biggest movie stars? Comment down below!
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