The Most Eminent Actors

The choices for those whom, in my opinion, are the very best actors in motion picture history.
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Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949...
“ Honorable mentions:
"A Streetcar Named Desire" - 1951, "On the Waterfront" - 1954, "The Godfather" - 1972, "The Godfather: Part II" - 1974, "Apocalypse Now" - 1979 ” - Eidet
Daniel Day-Lewis
Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (aka Nicholas Blake) (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing Studios...
“ Honorable mentions:
"The Last of the Mohicans" - 1992, "In the Name of the Father" - 1993
"There Will Be Blood" - 2007, "Lincoln" - 2012 ” - Eidet
Leonardo DiCaprio
Actor, Inception
Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3, to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s, as the hunky lead actor in movies such as Romeo + Juliet and Titanic...
“ Honorable mentions:
What's Eating Gilbert Grape" - 1993, "Titanic" - 1997, "Gangs of New York" - 2002, "The Departed" - 2006, "Inception" - 2010, "The Wolf of Wall Street" - 2013, "The Revenant" - 2015 ” - Eidet
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Taxi Driver" - 1976, "The Deer Hunter" - 1978
"Raging Bull" - 1980, "Goodfellas" - 1990 ” - Eidet
Humphrey Bogart
Actor, Casablanca
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy in Andover...
“ Honorable mentions:
"The Maltese Falcon" - 1941, "Casablanca" - 1942, "The Big Sleep" - 1946, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" - 1948 "The African Queen" - 1951 ” - Eidet
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has called a "fractured" family...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Philadelphia" - 1993, "Forrest Gump" - 1994
"Saving Private Ryan" - 1998, "The Green Mile" - 1999
"Cast Away" - 2000, "Captain Philips" - 2013 ” - Eidet
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Actor, Capote
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Capote" - 2005, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" - 2007, "Doubt" - 2008, "The Master" - 2012, "A Most Wanted Man" - 2014 ” - Eidet
Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, director and screenwriter, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine - who have received Oscar nomination in every decade from the 1960s through the early 2000s...
“ Honorable mentions:
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" - 1975, "The Shining" - 1980
"As Good as It Gets" - 1997, "The Departed" - 2006 ” - Eidet
Morgan Freeman
With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Driving Miss Daisy" - 1989, "The Shawshank Redemption" - 1994
"Se7en" - 1995 ” - Eidet
Al Pacino
One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family...
“ Honorable mentions:
"The Godfather" - 1972, "Serpico" - 1973, "Dog Day Afternoon" - 1975, "Scarface" - 1983, "Heat" - 1995 ” - Eidet
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
“ Honorable mentions:
"American Psycho" - 2000, "The Prestige" - 2006, "The Dark Knight" - 2008, "The Fighter" - 2010, "American Hustle" - 2013 ” - Eidet
Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. His parents ran a restaurant (his father is a chef)...
“ Honrable mentions:
"300" - 2006, "Hunger" - 2008, "Fish Tank" - 2009, "Shame" - 2011, "A Dangerous Method" - 2011, "12 Years a Slave" - 2013, "Frank" - 2014, "Steve Jobs" - 2015 ” - Eidet
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Dogtown and Z-boys" - 2001, "Mystic River" - 2003, "21 Grams" - 2003, "Milk" - 2008 ” - Eidet
Joaquin Phoenix
Actor, Gladiator
Joaquin Rafael Phoenix was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Arlyn (Dunetz) and John Bottom, and is the middle child in a brood of five. His parents, from the continental United States, were then serving as Children of God missionaries. His mother is from a Jewish family in New York, while his father...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Gladiator" - 2000, "Walk the Line" - 2005, Two Lovers" - 2008, "The Master" - 2012, "Her" - 2013 ” - Eidet
Heath Ledger
When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. His work comprised nineteen films...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Brokeback Mountain" - 2005, "The Dark Knight" - 2008 ” - Eidet
Ralph Fiennes
Actor Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born on December 22, 1962 in Suffolk, England, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is the eldest of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus Fiennes...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Schindler's List" - 1993, "The English Patient" - 1996, "In Bruge" - 2008, "Coriolanus" - 2011, Harry Potter Franchise ” - Eidet
Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal grandparents were actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Before Night Falls" - 2000, "Mar Adentro" - 2004, "No Country for Old Men" - 2007, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" - 2008, "Biutiful" - 2010, "Skyfall" - 2012 ” - Eidet
Denzel Washington
Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University...
“ Honorable mentions:
"Malcolm X" - 1992, "Training Day" - 2001, "American Gangster" - 2007, "Flight" - 2012, "Fences" - 2016 ” - Eidet
Jeff Bridges
Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without billing...
“ Honorable mentions:
"The Big Lebowski" - 1998, "Crazy Heart" - 2009
"True Grit" - 2010 ” - Eidet
Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music and mechanics...
“ Honorable mentions:
"The Good, The Bad, and The ugly" - 1966, "Unforgiven" - 1992
"Million Dollar Baby" - 2004, "Gran Torino" - 2008 ” - Eidet