The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Foxhot, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes. The Painted Veil and Down in the Valley.

    Both roles reeked of incredible vanity.
     
  2. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, we disagree. Hanks isn't a cameleon at all (well except for Forrest Gump). He is more like a Cary Grant. Loads of charisma and likability with enough acting chops to win you over no matter the role. Sean Penn is a chameleon. He played both Spicolli AND Harvey Milk, to perfection, not to mention a myriad of other roles. You may not like the guy -- he gets on my nerves too sometimes, but he is an extroidinary acting talent.

    I saw American History X and liked it a lot. In fact, I like Norton. I just don't think he should be ranked ahead of such accomplished actors (including Richard Burton). They are multiple Oscar nominees and winners.

    I always felt Norton had "potential" to be great too, but so far, he has seemed to reach a plateau and that plateau isn't on Hanks, Burton, and Penn's levels. It makes me think that Norton has talent, just not enough to place him among the all time greats.
     
  3. BennyRussel

    BennyRussel Commander Red Shirt

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    If we start eliminating douchebags, this is going to be a short list. Hollywood breeds douchebags like rabbits.
     
  4. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed. If we believe HOLLYWOODLAND, even Spencer Tracy had his bad points......

    Let's not forget that Richard Burton himself had a high percentage of stinkers. Not all of them co-starred Elizabeth Taylor. But for me, his greatest role was playing with his wife: WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? It still strikes me as insane how he could lose his Best Actor nomination for that, no matter who he ran against.
     
  5. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Incoming......

    40. Arnold Schwarzenegger
    39. Spencer Tracy
    38. Steve McQueen
    37. Gary Cooper
    36. Daniel Craig
    35. Errol Flynn
    34. Sean Penn
    33. Richard Burton
    32. Tom Hanks
    31. Edward Norton
    30. Paul Newman
    29. Michael Caine
    28. William Holden
    27. Clive Owen
    26. Samuel L. Jackson
     
  6. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Clive Owen and Samuel L. Jackson?

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

    b, c and maybe a little e for Jackson. But Owen? He only has b.
     
  7. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Owen's got c in spades! Have you never seen Shoot Em Up? He kills a man with a carrot!
     
  8. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    SHOOT 'EM UP is Owen's closest thing to a paycheck role. Even so, he brings more humor than most to it, partially due to his tired action monotone. In SIN CITY he's very much the badass. In CLOSER he tells Julia Roberts off in spectacular fashion, yet she still stays married to him. That's power. And if you haven't discovered INSIDE MAN yet, he's equally brilliant there. Another up-and-comer....

    Samuel L. Jackson can be pigeonholed in films, or utterly wasted in George Lucas flicks, but he can often alternate between art-house and commercial features and perform commendably in both. 187, UNBREAKABLE and JUNGLE FEVER are among his best. Also TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE.
     
  9. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Closer is a brilliant film, and he's probably the best thing in it, also the closest thing to a hero in the film (yes he's a bastard but of the four main characters he's the only honest one amongst them!) He's great in The Croupier as well.
     
  10. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Clive Owen for President.

    Or if not, PLEASE put him in a movie against Daniel Craig in the great tradition of FACE/OFF. Either one could be the villain but for dramatic purposes I'd rather it be Craig.
     
  11. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    40. Arnold Schwarzenegger
    39. Spencer Tracy
    38. Steve McQueen
    37. Gary Cooper
    36. Daniel Craig
    35. Errol Flynn
    34. Sean Penn
    33. Richard Burton
    32. Tom Hanks
    31. Edward Norton
    30. Paul Newman
    29. Michael Caine
    28. William Holden
    27. Clive Owen
    26. Samuel L. Jackson
    25. Marlon Brando
    24. Al Pacino
    23. Charlton Heston
    22. Burt Lancaster
    21. Frank Sinatra
     
  12. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    These are just your picks, right?

    Sinatra and Charlton Heston are both better actors than Brando...:guffaw:
     
  13. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Morgan Freeman deserves a mention.
     
  14. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    More on that later, one way or another. :cool:

    Brando has less stinkers than Burton, but Sinatra and Heston have less than Brando. Ergo cognito kumquat.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There sure are a lot of white guys on that list. But, that's Hollywood.

    I can't stand Burt Lancaster, really. He's in some good movies, but he's often the worst thing about them. Witness Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a Western that nears brilliance only to have it dulled every time Lancaster's more conventional lead usurps the screen from Kirk Douglas.
     
  16. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    ''There sure are a lot of white guys on that list. But, that's Hollywood.''

    The list, of course, is only half-complete. We have no Asians yet. Mifune was brought up earlier, which was a good point. If he doesn't make the cut for badassery, talent or cultural impact, what hope is there for Gedde Watanabe, Dennis Dun or Kiriyama from BATTLE ROYALE?

    When all's listed and done I'll try to explain another criteria which led to my specific group of 40 finalists.

    Today I gave GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL on DVD to an Asian friend who hadn't seen it for over 50 years. He, too, prefers Douglas to Lancaster. I do also, sheerly in terms of his entertainment factor. You have to appreciate a guy who survives a helicopter crash and a stroke both after his 70th birthday. He was easily the best part of last year's Oscars. But obviously I can't yet confirm nor deny he'll be in the top 20 yet. Incoming.....

    20. Jaleel White
    19. Victor Bannerjee
    18. Jaye Davidson
    17. Pedro Armendariz, Jr.
    16. Bert Kwouk

    I'm kidding, Harvey. But if Samuel L. Jackson were the only non-Caucasian in the entire 40, would that wound my stainless reputation for original quality?
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if it's solely a list of Hollywood actors, specifically leading men, you're not going to have many non-white people there. But if you're including foreign cinema, I'd say actors like Tony Leung and Chow Yun-Fat (just to name a couple) are worth a look, although the latter crashed and burned when he attempted to make it in the United States.

    Any thought about including silent actors? I don't have a lot of knowledge of that area, except for comedy, which brings to mind Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd as good (if conventional) choices.
     
  18. BennyRussel

    BennyRussel Commander Red Shirt

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    Burt Lancaster was sort of a "one-note" actor, but no more so than John Wayne. The man made about 100 movies and played the same guy about 90 times.

    Both were more "movie stars" than "great actors" to me.
     
  19. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lancaster was a much better actor than The Duke, IMHO. Sure, in his youth he excelled as the tough, athletic leading man. But look at his later career, starting even as early as 1958 with the Sweel Smell of Success or 1963's Elmer Gantry. There are entries like The Leopard, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Seven Days in May, Local Hero and Atlantic City.

    Those are the performances of a Great Actor by any definition.
     
  20. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your thread title indicates this thread is about actors and acting, not the quality or lack of quality of the top 40 actors' various film roles. Now it seems you are simply ranking the "top 40 actors" by the quality of their movies.

    It might help if you made it clear that your only real criteria is movie quality rather than performance and acting ability (or the other criteria listed inyour original post). In fact, a discussion of the quality of these actors' best or most notable movies might actually spur a meaningful debate. :p