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Old September 15 2012, 09:05 PM   #1
foxhot
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The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

It's self-explanatory. Poisonous barbs will only be enacted if one of my particular personal favorites is unjustifiably besmirched or something. Read it, learn it, defrost and debate it. Make your counter list. Even a counter-number if you desire. Whatever. Life is too short. If you like or dislike the choice, explaining why reinforces the debate and adds to the taste. The top all-time best actress ever is clearly Genevieve Bujold, so why list the runners-up?

The three all-time worst ever male actors are also painfully clear: Steven Seagal, Jack Black and Robert Mitchum, one two three. Moving onto the factors in by best 40 choices.....

a. longevity
b. talent
c. badassery
d. character actor excellence in lead roles
e. cultural impact

Many may not have all five of these qualities, but most or all possess three or more of them. So I doubt they'll be too many surprises here. None of the five qualities are judged as more important than each other.....either they have it or they don't. So.....

40. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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Old September 15 2012, 10:09 PM   #2
JarodRussell
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

1. Clint Eastwood

He matches all your 5 criteria, and then some.
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Old September 15 2012, 10:23 PM   #3
MacLeod
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Sean Connery
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Old September 15 2012, 10:49 PM   #4
J.T.B.
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

This is a subject that I'd enjoy engaging in, but making it into a days-long, one-name-at-a-time project pretty much kills my interest.

foxhot wrote: View Post
The three all-time worst ever male actors are also painfully clear: Steven Seagal, Jack Black and Robert Mitchum, one two three.
Considering the many thousands of actors who have appeared on film, the word "clear" seems singularly mis-applied.

Justin
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Old September 15 2012, 10:56 PM   #5
gturner
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Keanu Reeves (Matrix, Speed, some other crap)
Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader!)
Jean-Claude Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren
Shia LeBeouf (Transformers, Surf's Up)
Christian Slater
Jason Alexander (George!)
Tim Allen (Tool Time and Galaxy Quest)
Steve Gutenberg
Pauly Shore
Matt Leblanc
Michael Keaton (Batman)
Joe Piscopo
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Old September 15 2012, 11:12 PM   #6
Kirkman1987
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

I think Clint Eastwood is very solid choice. I would also nominate James Stewart.
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Old September 15 2012, 11:27 PM   #7
the G-man
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Eastwood, Stewart, Newman and Bogart are 1-4. We can quibble about the order but there's the top four.
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Old September 15 2012, 11:28 PM   #8
gturner
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Oh, best actors, not worst actors.

My bad.

James Stewart
Clint Eastwood
Cary Grant (not particularly badass, but influential for years)
John Wayne (not sure about talent, but he maxes out on badassery, influence, etc)
Harrison Ford
Robert DeNiro
Al Pacino
James Cagney
Marlon Brando
George C Scott
Jack Nicholson
Michael Caine
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Old September 16 2012, 12:09 AM   #9
DarKush
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Denzel Washington
Samuel L. Jackson
Tom Cruise
Liam Neeson
Bruce Willis
Russell Crowe
Sylvester Stallone (Hey, he won an Oscar and he had a major impact in the action genre)
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Old September 16 2012, 01:21 AM   #10
M'Sharak
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

foxhot wrote: View Post

The three all-time worst ever male actors are also painfully clear: Steven Seagal, Jack Black and Robert Mitchum, one two three.
I'll give you Steven Seagal, there—he's got no range and, like, one facial expression—but I think you're off on the other two. (I don't even like Jack Black in some of the roles I've watched him play, but he's nowhere near "worst ever"; Mitchum's just fine as an actor, and occasionally outstanding.)
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Old September 16 2012, 01:29 AM   #11
Professor Zoom
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
foxhot wrote: View Post

The three all-time worst ever male actors are also painfully clear: Steven Seagal, Jack Black and Robert Mitchum, one two three.
I'll give you Steven Seagal, there—he's got no range and, like, one facial expression—but I think you're off on the other two. (I don't even like Jack Black in some of the roles I've watched him play, but he's nowhere near "worst ever"; Mitchum's just fine as an actor, and occasionally outstanding.)
Night of the Hunter. Stunning.
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Old September 16 2012, 02:03 AM   #12
foxhot
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Occasionally.
His CAPE FEAR remake cameo was excellent, and no argument on NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. THE YAKUZA was also very enjoyable. But, I prefer lead actors to seem awake 100 percent of the time, and I found him rather droning in THE WINDS OF WAR plus other later roles. His famous quote was ''Baby, I don't care.'' So, why should we?

Obviously he's better than Seagal and Black. You could say he's my least favorite classic major lead.

''Character actor excellence in lead roles'' requires a bit more elaboration. For me it's not playing memorable characters in itself, but having a chameleonic variety in which the actor may not be as recognizable as his character. So I'm not convinced Eastwood, Robert Redford or other ''unmistakable'' famous actors qualify for that fifth category.
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Old September 16 2012, 02:14 AM   #13
Greg Cox
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
Night of the Hunter. Stunning.
Amen.

And I'm going to nominate . . . Peter Cushing.

C'mon, he played Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, Moff Tarkin, and starred in countless other horror and sf films.

And as for badassery . . . the man killed Count Dracula (three times!), shot the Hound of the Baskervilles, Created Woman, visited the Earth's Core, survived the Island of Terror, and blew up Alderaan.

I'd like to see Clint Eastwood top that!
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Old September 16 2012, 02:17 AM   #14
CorporalCaptain
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
foxhot wrote: View Post

The three all-time worst ever male actors are also painfully clear: Steven Seagal, Jack Black and Robert Mitchum, one two three.
I'll give you Steven Seagal, there—he's got no range and, like, one facial expression—but I think you're off on the other two. (I don't even like Jack Black in some of the roles I've watched him play, but he's nowhere near "worst ever"; Mitchum's just fine as an actor, and occasionally outstanding.)
Yeah, the OP has a real WTF thing going on here.
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Old September 16 2012, 02:37 AM   #15
Temis the Vorta
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

gturner wrote: View Post
Oh, best actors, not worst actors.

My bad.

James Stewart
Clint Eastwood
Cary Grant (not particularly badass, but influential for years)
John Wayne (not sure about talent, but he maxes out on badassery, influence, etc)
Harrison Ford
Robert DeNiro
Al Pacino
James Cagney
Marlon Brando
George C Scott
Jack Nicholson
Michael Caine
Good list, but I'd add

James Dean
Paul Newman
Clark Gable
Spencer Tracy
Gregory Peck
Henry Fonda
Kirk Douglas
Steve McQueen - coolest badass of all! Am I really the first person to mention him?
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