25 greatest actor of all time

There are hundreds of actors around the world trying their luck in the entertainment industry. However, there are very few who stand apart from others and thrive to be the best. The world has witnessed some great actors and to pick the 25 greatest actors of all time among those is never easy.

The entertainment industry has grown a lot over and the exposure it gets is enormous. We all might have witnessed some great performance on screen and continue to do so from some of the newcomers. However, there are certain actors whose onscreen performance left us astonished and inscribed their name in the heart of fans all over the world.

So we just decided to compile a list of the best actors in the world. The list is all about the best male actors of all time.

Note: The list does not rank the actors from 1 to 25 or vice versa.

So let’s just have a look at the list without hiding behind the bush.

Greatest Actors of All time-American

Tom Hanks

25 greatest actors of all time

The two-time academy award-winning actor is an American actor and filmmaker. Tom is known for dramatic and comic roles. He is the one to lend his voice to the famous character of Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story Series.

Notable performances:

  • Forest Gump
  • Cast Away
  • Philadelphia

Tom Hanks has won 50 awards till now in his career. For his movie, Forrest Gump Hanks has won 9 awards in total including the best actor award.

The actor was born in California. He was born to a mother of Portugal origin and a father of English origin. Hanks is known to have studied theatre at Chabot College in California.

Hank made a debut with the low budget film named He Knows You’re Alone in 1980.

Hanks was married to another American actress Samantha Lewes in 1978 and had 2 children namely Colin Hanks and Elizabeth Hanks. Hanks and Samantha divorced in 1987.

Hank was also named as the “Top 10 college dropouts” by Times Magazine.

He has been voted as number 1 actor “The best actors in the film industry” by Ranker.

In March 2020 Hank was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Queensland, Australia. He is also a patient of Type 2 Diabetes.

Denzel Washington

The 65-year-old American would feature in any list of greatest actors of all time. The actor has 2 Golden Globe awards and one Tony Award to his name.

Some of the best performances of Denzel include:

  • Training Day
  • Malcolm X
  • Glory
  • The Hurricane

Denzel made his debut in film direction in 2002 and one of his directed films Fences was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture.

His mother belonged to Mount Vernon and his father was a native of Buckingham County. Washington Jr. has got a BA in Drama and Journalism.

In the early days of his career, he began performing in Wings of the Morning. He made his Hollywood debut in 1981 with the film name Carbon Copy.

He was married to Pauletta Pearson whom he met on sets of one of his films. He has four children one of whom is an actor and a former footballer.

Till now Washington has won about 60 major and minor awards which include both direction and acting.

The actor has a net worth of $220 Million.

Robert De Niro

The 77-year-old is an American actor-director and producer. He has received various honors including two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. He has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from  U.S president Barack Obama.

Some of the best performances of Robert Include:

  • Caper Fear
  • Raging Bull
  • The Godfather Part 2

He is a child to a Dutch mother and an Irish father. Robert made his stage debut at the age of 10 after he started acting classes at the dramatic workshop. He dropped school at the age of 16 to pursue acting. He studied acting at HB studio.

Robert married actress Diahnne Abbott in 1976 however they divorced in 1988. They had a son named Raphael who is a former actor and now works in New York real estate.

In 2003 Robert was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in December 2003.

Robert has won 22 major and minor awards in total.

Jack Nicholson

The 83-year-old American has been all-time great in the acting industry. He has a career that has a span of over 60 years and is both into acting and filmmaking. He has a nomination in 12 Academy Awards which is the most by any actor across the world. He has won 3 out of those 12 nominations.

Some of the best performances of Nicholson include:

  • A Few Good Men
  • As Good as it Gets
  • Terms of Endearment

Nicholson had an Irish mother and an Italian-American father who had already been married. Nicholson grew up in Neptune City.

Nicholson has been part of the Military in his early days. He joined the California Air National Guard in 1957.

Nicholson came to Hollywood in1954 to meet his sister. He made his Hollywood debut in 1958 in a small budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer.

He was the youngest actor to receive the AFI Life Time Achievement Award.

Nicholson is the recipient of 60 major and minor awards.

Nicholson married  Sandra Knight in 1962. It was his only marriage. They had one daughter named Jennifer who also is an actor.

Dustin Hoffman

The 83-year-old actor and filmmaker were born in California. He was born to a set decorator who later worked as a furniture salesman. He has an elder brother who is a lawyer and economist.

The notable work of Dustin Hoffman includes:

  • Rainman
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Kramer VS Kramer

Hoffman who in his early days studied piano during his school and college days wanted to be a pianist.

Hoffman married Anne Bryan in 1969 and adopted her daughter. He also had a daughter from Anne and named her Jenna. Both of them divorced each other in 1980.

He married businesswoman Lisa Gottsegen in October 1980 and had 4 children.

Hoffman was treated for cancer in 2013.

Hoffman has been accused of sexual misconduct several times. As many as 7 women have reported sexual assault from the American actor. A 17-year-old lady had alleged inappropriate jokes from the actor and also the actor asked her for foot massages. Hoffman later apologized to the lady and denied any wrong intention.

 Mahershala Ali


The American actor is a former rapper and has received several awards including two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. In 2019 he was also named as 100 most influential people in the world by Times Magazine.

The notable performances of Mahershala Ali include:

  • Moonlight
  • Green Book
  • True Detective

His father was an actor who appeared on Broadway.

The actor had an original surname of Gilmore, however, converted to Islam in 2000 and changed his surname to Ali.

Ali is married to a lady named Amatus Sami-Karim an actress and a musician.

Ali has won around 30 major and minor awards in his acting career.

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges comes from a family of actors and is a prominent American actor, producer, and singer. The 70-year-old American actor is also a recipient of the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Some prominent works of Jeff Bridges include:

  • Crazy Heart
  • True Grit
  • The Big Lebowski

The actor was born in California and is the son of actor Llyod Bridges and actress Dorothy.

Bridges married Susan Geston in 1977. Susan used to work as a waitress on the sets of Rancho Deluxe. They have 3 daughters.

Bridges have won 15 major and minor awards in his career.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The American actor, director, and producer have been described as the most ambitious American actor of his generation in the New York Times. He has been a recipient of the Academy Award for the best actor.

Some of the notable performances include:

  • The Master
  • True West
  • Death of a Salesman

Hoffman dies due to combined drug intoxication at the age of 46 in 2014. As a young kid, he was addicted to drugs however after several years of absenteeism he again started doing drugs in 2013.

Hoffman had been in a relationship with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell. They had a son and a daughter.

Hoffman has won around 30 major and minor awards in his career.

Walter Brennan

The American actor was also a singer. He is one of the 3 actors to have received three Academy Awards in his career. He is the only actor who has received 3 Oscars for Best Supporting Actor.

His best performances include:

  • Come and Get It
  • Kentucky
  • The Westerner

Brennan died in 1974 at the age of 80 years.

He was the second child to his parents who were of Irish descent. He became fond of acting during his school days.

Walter ha also served the army during World War 1. He has served the US army in France for 2 years.

He has also worked as a reporter for a newspaper in his early days. He also made a lot of money from real estate in the 1920s however, lost most of it during the slump period of real estate.

He married Ruth Caroline Wells in 1920 and had a daughter.

Kevin Spacey

The American actor was born in 1959 and is currently 61 years of age. Spacey has won two Academy Awards.

His best performances include:

  • Usual Suspects
  • American Beauty
  • Lost in Yonkers

Kevin was born to an author father and a secretary mother. He also attended the Military academy. Spacey has tried his hands as a comedian before studying drama.

Kevin never got married however dated Dianne Dreyer a scriptwriter and brought her with him to the Academy Awards.

In 2017 spacey was alleged with sexual misconduct and that was done way back in 1986. Spacey apologized for the same if it was there as he was not aware of any such incident.

In October 2017 Spacey came out to announce himself as gay.

 James Gandolfini

The American actor and producer is a recipient of 3 Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe award. The actor died due to a heart attack in 2013.

His most prominent performances include:

  • Tony Soprano in TV Series The Soprano’s
  • True Romance
  • Crimson Tide

James was born to an Italian father and mother. He also had two sisters and visited Itlay regularly.

James used to play basketball and acted in several plays in his school days. He worked as a bartender, bouncer, and club manager before being introduced to acting.

He has a BA in communications. In 2017 he was also named as the 42nd greatest TV icon of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Gandolfini married twice once in 1999 and again in 2008 after divorcing his first wife in 2002.

In 2007 James produced a documentary on Iraq war veterans.

In 2013 after the death of Gandolfini HBO paid tribute by releasing a documentary that had interviews of co-stars and behind the scenes from the TV series Sopranos.

He has won 19 major and minor awards throughout his career.

 Leonardo DiCaprio

Di Caprio is the most prominent name in the list of all-time great actors. Leonardo is not only an actor but also a producer, philanthropist, and environmentalist. He has been on the list of highest-paid actors in the world. He has been for the unconventional roles that he has played over in his acting career.

Most prominent films include:

  • The Boy’s Life
  • Titanic
  • Wolf of the Wall Street
  • The Departed

DiCaprio started to act in several TV commercials at the age of 14.

His father was a comix writer, publisher, and distributor for comic books. He was the only child of his parents.

In 2004 DiCaprio founded his own production company.

DiCaprio has been closely related to the climate change movement, According him, the environment is more important than spirituality. He is known to have donated $1Million at Russia’s Tiger Summit.

DiCaprio has been known to indulge with young girls of age 25 and less. He has dated several girls including Shimon Peres the president of Israel.

He has been an active campaigner in the political arena. He donated an amount both in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of President Barack Obama.

A beetle and a spider have been named after DiCaprio.

$7.2 Billion is what his films have earned worldwide. DiCaprio won the Oscar recently after 6 nominations. The actor has won around 99 awards in total in his career

Al Pacino

The American actor is also a producer and in a career spanning over 50 years, the actor has several awards to his name including 2 Primetime Emmy Awards.

The best performances include:

  • The Godfather
  • The Irishman
  • The scent of a Woman

He was born to Italian-American parents. He was nicknamed The Actor by his friends.

He had 3 children, including 2 twins. But what’s more interesting is the fact that he never got married.

Al Pacino made his acting debut in 1969 with a brief appearance in the film named Me. Pacino had 9 Oscar Nominations and won 1 Oscar.

Pacino has 32 major and minor awards to his name including 1 Oscar.

He made his debut in filmmaking in the year 1996 with the film named Looking for Richard, which was based on the life of Richard III.

Joe Pesci

The American actor is also a musician and is well known for his tough and volatile characters. The Academy Award-winning actor announced his retirement from acting in 1999. Since then he has made only special appearances on screen.

The most famous performances include:

  • Goodfellas
  • Raging Bull
  • Moonwalker

Pesci is a son to parents of Italian origin. He has been quite active in acting and music from his early days only. At the age of 10, he was doing a Television show called Startime kids.

The first film that he was starred in was a low-budget film The Death Collector. Impressed by his performance in the movie he got a call from Robert De Niro who asked him to be a co-star in Raging Bull.

In 1968 he released his first album titled Little Joe Sure Can Sing. However, after that, there has been was a halt in his musical career for 30 years. In 1998 he released his second music album.

In 2010 he appeared in an advertisement for Snickers(Chocolate brand).

Joe has had 3 marriages to date. His first marriage being in 1964 and the latest in 2007 which was broken in 2008.

He has won around 10 major and minor awards.

Marlon Brando

The American actor and film director had a great career that lasted for over 60 years. The actor died in 2004 at the age of 80 not before making a name for himself in the acting arena. The actor is one of the very few celebrities to have won two Oscars.

His prominent work includes:

  • The Godfather
  • Julius Caesar
  • Stanley Kowalski

In 1990 he was named one among the 100 Most Influential People of the Century by Times Magazine and the same magazine designated him as the Actor of the century. He was also ranked as the fourth greatest movie star in the list of actors who made a debut in or before 1950.

He has had several relationships as stated by himself in his autobiography however kept the details about his marriage and relationships confidential. He had as many as 11 children out of which 3 were adopted.

Marlon has won around 14 major and minor awards throughout his acting career.

Johnny Deep

Johnny Deep is not only an actor but also a musician and a producer. He is often known as one of the biggest stars around the world. The American actor has been nominated for 10 Golden Globe awards winning 1 out of them and he has also won 3 academy awards.

His prominent performances include:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Ed Wood
  • Blow

He is the tenth highest-grossing movie star all over the world. He was also listed as the highest-paid actor in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012.

Depp has been in quite a few relations to date. He has been active in 7-8 relations and has been married 4 times. His last marriage was with the model and actor Amber heard. They got divorced after a lawsuit in which Heard claimed to be a victim of domestic violence and got the US $7 Million from Depp for settlement.

Depp has had quite a strangled life. He has been part of about 9 lawsuits that were filed against him. Some of the charges were assault and manhandling. He filed a lawsuit against his management company for mishandling his money.

Depp started smoking at the age of 12 and started the use of alcohol and drugs then only. He has been an active drinker for most of his life and has also lost most of his earnings due to his habit of drinking.

Depp has won around 40 major and minor awards in his acting career.

James Stewart

The American actor and military officer had an acting career spanning over 55 years and 80 films. He was regarded as one of the greatest American actor-Male by the American film Institute in 1999. The actor dies in 1997 at the age of 80.

Some of the greatest performances include:

  • Rear Window
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Mr. Smith goes to Washington

James was a licensed amateur pilot and attained the rank of Colonel after fighting the European theatre of war. He remained in the army from 1941 to 1968. In 1959 he was promoted to brigadier general. He was also awarded the United States Air Force Distinguished Service Medal for his service to the armed forces.

Apart from his medals and awards in the armed forces Stewart is a recipient of 4 awards including one Academy Award for best actor.

 Paul Newman

Paul Newman was a very famous actor with blue eyes. He had several occupations and they are listed below:

  1. Actor
  2. Film Director
  3. Producer
  4. Race Car Driver

He is the recipient of various awards including the Primetime Emmy Awards. As a driver, Newman has won several national championships in road racing. Also, his race team won several championships in Indycar racing.

Newman owned a food company with the name of Newman’s Own whose all earnings were donated after-tax. In 2019 the donations have reached a sum of $ 550 million. He also found a nonprofit organization that develops sustainable drinking water for those in need.

Newman also served the United States Navy in World War II.

He completed his Bachelor Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and economics after the world war. Also attended the Yale School of Drama for 1 year.

Newman married twice in his life, first in 1949 and then in 1958.

Newman has won around 8 major and minor awards in his acting career.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams, the American actor, and comedian is regarded as the greatest comedian of all time. He was famous for the memorable sound that he used to make. The famous actor dies in 2014 when he was found hanging at his home in California.

The most famous performances include:

  • The Fisher King.
  • Dead Poets Society.
  • Good Will Hunting

Robin studies theatre for 3 years at the College of Marin and was often described as the funniest man by his school mates.

He started performing Stand up Comedy in 1976 where he used to work as a bartender. He made his first TV appearance in 1977 in the TV show called the Laugh-In.

He started to reach a wider audience with the American sitcom Mork & Mindy which was aired in 1978 on ABC.

Williams had 3 marriages throughout his life. For the first time, he married in 1978, however, the relation lasted for 10 years before the couple divorced each other in 1988. He married for the second time in 1989 and his wife filed for divorce in 2008 and the divorce was finalized in 2010. He married for the third time in 2011.

He was addicted to cocaine in late1970 till the early 1980s. One of his friends died due to a drug overdose the day after the night the two of them partied together. The birth of his son Zak prompted him to quit drugs and alcohol.

He was won around 23 major and minor awards in his career.

Jack Lemmon

Jack Lemmon was one of the greatest actors of his time and was nominated for an Academy Award 8 times and has won it twice. He also won a Golden Globe award. In 2011 at the age of 76, the actor and musician died due to bladder cancer.

The most prominent films include:

  • Save the Tiger
  • The Apartment
  • Mister Roberts

One weird thing about Lemmon was that he was born in an elevator. His father was the president of the Doughnut Corporation of America. Lemmon was the only child of his parents. His parents had a difficult marriage and got separated when he was 18 but never got divorced.

He was unwell in his childhood and three ear surgeries till he turned 10 and spent another 2 years in hospital by the time he was 12.

He attended Harvard class of 1947 and was the president of the Hasty Pudding Club and vice-president of Dramatic and Delphic clubs.

He was also a member of the V-12Navy College Training Program and was commissioned by the United States Navy and served as a junior on an aircraft carrier during World War II.

Lemmon married twice first actress Cynthia Stone and later actress Felicia Farr in 1962.

Lemmon won around 19 major and minor awards in his acting career.

Sean Penn

Sean Penn is an American actor who is also specialized in direction, screenwriting, and production. The 60-year-old has won two Academy Awards.

The best movies include:

  • Dead Man Walking
  • Milk
  • I am Sam

Sean always had a family background in the entertainment industry. His father Leo Penn was an actor and director and his mother Eileen Ryan was an actress. Penn first appeared on Television in 1974 in the episode of Little House on the Praire which was being direct by his father.

He played as a military high school cadet in his very first film Taps in 1981.

He married singer-songwriter Madonna in 1985. The marriage had certain violent outbreaks against the press and Penn himself was arrested for assaulting a photographer and was sentenced to 60 days in jail out of which he spent 33 days there.

Penn married Australian Actress in 2020 which was his third marriage.

He won Oscar in 2003 for his great performance in Mystic River. He has won around 74 major and minor awards in his acting career.

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston is an American Actor, director, producer, and screenwriter who is quite famous for the TV show Breaking Bad which is regarded as the greatest in television history. He became a producer in 2011.

The greatest performances include:

  • Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston is a son of radio actress Annalisa and an actor and former amateur boxer father Joseph Cranston.

Cranston mostly worked at theatres to start his acting career. He also performed at weddings

Bryan has won 24 major and minor awards in his acting career.

Greatest Actors of All time-English

Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is a 63-year-old retired English actor. He has 3 Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards to his name.

The best performance includes:

  • There will be blood
  • Lincoln
  • My Left Foot

His earliest role includes paying as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.

Daniel was born to a poet father and actress wife. He also has an elder sister who works as food critics.

Daniel was in a relationship for six years with French actress Isabelle. However, they never got married. Later in 1996, he married Rebecca Miller.

Daniel has won around 34 major and minor awards in his acting career. He is also the one among three actors to have won 3 Oscars.

Daniel has citizenship in Ireland and Britain. He thinks England as his country has mentioned the same in his interviews.

Daniel himself was a disorderly child in his early days and has been involved in shoplifting and other petty crimes.

He was considered too wild by his parents and was sent to an independent school where he was exposed to woodworking, acting, and fishing.

He made his acting debut at the age of 14 for which he was paid £2 for his role which was to vandalize expensive cars park outside the church.

Laurence Olivier

The English actor dominated the British stage in the mid 20th century. One of the greatest British actors has won 4 Academy Awards and 5 Emmy Awards in his acting career. Laurence died in 1989 due to renal failure.

Laurence Olivier that made him the star he includes:

  • Hamlet
  • Rebecca
  • Henry V

Laurence was the youngest of three children that his parents had. In 1916 Oliver took admission in the choir after passing a singing examination. At the age of 10, he acted as Brutus in the play Julius Caesar and his performance was quite impressive. He then went into St. Edwards School, Oxford from 1920 to 1924.

The last 15 years of his life were quite difficult due to his deteriorating health.  The last 22 years of his life he spent in illness and died due to kidney failure in 1989.

Anthony Hopkins

The 82-year-old Welsh Actor is also a director and film producer. He is the recipient of an Academy Award and 2 BAFTA awards. His contribution to the field of arts is enormous and he was knighted for the same by Queen Elizabeth II for his services.

The greatest performances include:

  • Nixon
  • The Elephant Man
  • Amistad

Hopkins graduated from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 1957 and then joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

Hopkins served in the British Army for 2 years from  1958 to 1960 and then moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Hopkins has also been active as a musician. He released a single called Distant star and has also written music for the concert hall. In 1990 he directed his first film.

Hopkins has been married 3 times. He was last married in 2002 and has been married since then. He also has a daughter from his first marriage.

He has won around 45 major and minor awards throughout his acting career.

So this was all about the 25 greatest actors of all time, however, there are a lot of great actors in the world who did not make it to the list but that did not make them any less great. So if you think we did miss anyone just mention it in the comments and let us know.