The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

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

  1. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    I doubt we could justify having movie quality as the ONLY deciding factor. Their PERFORMANCES in great movies are of course determining elements. But if we restricted it to actors who never had bad direction or gave weak performances, few besides James Dean or John Cazale would likely make the cut. (And for a valid example of great actors in an awful film, check out the DESPERATE HOURS remake from 1990 with Anthony Hopkins. Even Lindsay Crouse was bad!)

    Some of my replies are intentionally flip when I justify one actor over or under another. My true favorites are mostly the final 17 and we'll see how well that goes over. But bringing up specific films, even bad ones, sounds like a good way to keep the debating flowing. There will be some explanations why I chose who I chose after all 40 are revealed.

    Now for the real incomings....

    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
    20. Tom Cruise
    19. Clint Eastwood
     
  2. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But you are using the quality of their movies as the sole criteria to justify your rankings, at least that is the only thing you have mentioned in justifying the various positions of the actors you've chosen.
    People who are participating in this thread are debating the quality of the actors (and where you have them ranked) and those actors abilities -- you are debating the quality of their movies.
    This is the other thing that is making this exercise so silly. You have already (supposedly) listed the criteria you are using to rank these actors. Are you now implying that there are other "secret" criteria involved in your process? I would like to engage in a discussion about these actors but the whole thing seems like a joke to me (and that's not because you are being "flip").

    Now, if you've been having a few cocktails as you write this stuff, thats okay. Just let us know so we can put it all into proper context. :)
     
  3. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    '' Sole criteria?''

    ''People who are participating in this thread are debating the quality of the actors (and where you have them ranked) and those actors abilities -- you are debating the quality of their movies.''

    What I'm more often than not doing is mentioning some of their standout roles---and on occasion their lesser roles----while responding to comments on specific actors. It's give-and-take depending on what's said about whom. I use the film comments to support WHY I ranked them higher. But since we already have five previously mentioned qualifications, most actors are listed to begin with because most have between 3-4 of these qualities.

    Individual movies are not the criteria. A body of work often is. Many of these guys have longevity, among other factors.

    My other rationale is only temporarily secret, and it's nothing earthshattering.....it involves additional specific films and statistical support. I think it better to save that for the end, in order to keep the topic going a few extra days after the list is done. It won't be a Kevin Spacey head-in-the-box routine, but it will reinforce my choices. To explain them now would give away the identities of the final 18, so na ga da. Not going to do it. Wouldn't be prudent. Don't drink either. Never touch it. Thousand points of light. Read my lips......:cool:
     
  4. Eno

    Eno Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Not being one to think about who is my favorite actor, I will list 40 or so I have really enjoyed. (I am a Shakespeare geek, so lots from that line.)

    Laurence Olivier.
    James Mason.
    Kenneth More.
    John Hurt.
    Fabrice Luchini.
    John Cleese.
    Trevor Howard.
    Ralph Richardson.
    Allan Rickman.
    Richard Harris.
    Stephen Fry.
    Hugh Laurie.
    Rowan Atkinson.
    Denholm Elliot.
    Curt Jurgens.
    Robert Shaw.
    GĂ©rard Depardieu.
    Daniel Auteuil.
    Jean Rochefort.
    John Cusack.
    Nigel Hawthorne.
    Michael Palin.
    Gary Oldman.
    Alec Guiness.
    Sidney Poitier.
    Peter Sellers.
    Anthony Hopkins.
    James Cosmo.
    Patrick Stewart (his Sejanus was sublime!)
    Sean Connery.
    Kelsey Grammer.*
    David Hyde Pierce.
    Glen Ford.
    Robert Mitchum.
    Frank Sinatra.
    Jackie Chan.
    James Stewart.
    Damian Lewis.
    Ralph Fiennes.
    Denholm Elliott.
    Colin Firth.
     
  5. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Well done. And if we were ranking the all-time best supporting actor performances in film ever (which I have elsewhere) the ultimate winner would be Alan Rickman for DIE HARD. He's not a lead except for sporadic films so I cannot include him in the 40. But the suporting runners-up'd be Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Claude Rains and Jaye Davidson for STAR WARS, JAWS, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and THE CRYING GAME, respectively.

    But.....who is this......Fabrice Luchini? I'm allergic to IMDB and Wikipedia at this moment, so assistance is required.
     
  6. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hey, what does the * indicate?
     
  7. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Don't bring up ex-wife in TV interviews or he'll walk right out?
     
  8. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I would personally move Tom Hanks much higher up on that list. I think he's probably my favorite actor. I also think Harrison Ford belongs on the list.
     
  9. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Hanks will be playing multiple roles in next month's CLOUD ATLAS directed by the Wachoski Siblings and Tom Twyker.

    I think Ford had had a few late-career missteps, particularly turning down a key role in TRAFFIC which apparently went to Michael Douglas.

    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
    20. Tom Cruise
    19. Clint Eastwood
    18. James Cagney
    17. Gary Oldman
     
  10. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Hmmm.

    Strange.

    Well, that's all right. Maybe they don't know who they are.

    Commence injection eight.

    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
    20. Tom Cruise
    19. Clint Eastwood
    18. James Cagney
    17. Gary Oldman
    16. Denzel Washington
    15. Jack Nicholson
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Clint Eastwood is just in front of Tom Cruise, and behind Gary Oldman, and not on spot #1. This list is invalid. ;)
     
  12. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    That's assuming I didn't list him twice.:cool:

    What other actor could get away with that?
     
  13. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Now about Gary Oldman.....compared to Edward Norton, Sean Penn or other film chameleons, how would you all rank them based solely on their chameleonic abilities? I'd put him way out in front, considering his STATE OF GRACE/JFK/DRACULA period alone....

    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
    20. Tom Cruise
    19. Clint Eastwood
    18. James Cagney
    17. Gary Oldman
    16. Denzel Washington
    15. Jack Nicholson
    14. Harrison Ford
    13. Dustin Hoffman
     
  14. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Hmmm.

    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
    20. Tom Cruise
    19. Clint Eastwood
    18. James Cagney
    17. Gary Oldman
    16. Denzel Washington
    15. Jack Nicholson
    14. Harrison Ford
    13. Dustin Hoffman
    12. Sidney Poitier
    11. Humphrey Bogart
     
  15. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can place no credence in a list that has Paul Newman at 30, especially when it has Harrison Ford, who hasn't made a decent movie in 2 decades, at 14.
     
  16. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    But you could also arguably say the same for Schwarzenegger after ''T2'', not to mention Spencer Tracy, Steve McQueen, Cooper, Flynn, Burton, Holden, Brando, Heston, Lancaster, Sinatra, Cagney, Poitier and most especially Bogart, who's made nothing remotely watchable after 1957. I'll grant you Ford has had a long dry spell, and I haven't been entertained by him since 1997, but he still has just about 20 years of unbroken longevity, talent and occasional mild badassery.
    Plus more cultural impact then most. He's had leading man status for almost 35 years, which only a handful of competitors can match or exceed.
     
  17. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wouldn't put Arnie in the top 50 either. And I'm not talking about the others, I'm talking about Newman. Who, in his latter years, still knocked out the likes of Nobody's Fool, The Road To Perdition, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Colour of Money, The Verdict, Absence of Malice, Fort Apache The Bronx. And that's before you consider The Sting, Butch and Sundance, Hombre, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, etc etc.

    Ford has been sleepwalking through performances, giving the same one-note grumpy old man performance since The Fugitive , his last good movie (though I'll grant you that he was good in Crystal Skull, even if the movie blew). He's now 70 and hasn't been relevant for years - at the same age, Newman had just turned out Hudsucker and an Ocar-nodded performance in Nobody's Fool.

    No comparison.
     
  18. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    He was good in CRYSTAL SKULL????
    I think Cate Blanchett was, but that's it.

    Ford was boring, Spielberg was hopeless, John Williams was recycling, John Hurt was decomposing, Denholm Elliott was dead, John Rhys-Davies was absent, Ray Winstone was wasted, and ChiaPet LaBeefyboof was beginning his spectacular plunge into blockbuster ''performances.'' And yet this celluloid black hole STILL made one dollar less than IRON MAN in the 300 million range. The only way I could cope was to never see it again and pretend it was still just a trilogy.

    Paul Newman has a restricted range...nowhere near as restricted as McQueen's......but other than QUINTET and THE SILER CHALICE, he probably never gave a bad performance. And unlike Redford or Beatty, he doesn't let vanity into the equation. He's one of the longevity kings for certain.
     
  19. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Aren't you arguing against yourself by putting down Ford's last notable role while acknowledging Newman's longevity, lack of bad performances and vanity? I can't understand how you'd put Ford 16 places higher than him.
     
  20. BennyRussel

    BennyRussel Commander Red Shirt

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    foxhot has said he has a method to compiling this list. I am waiting patiently to hear it as I do not understand a "Lead Actors" list that has Frank Sinatra ahead of Marlon Brando (among others).

    BTW foxhot, thanks for the fun thread.
     

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