We all have our favorite actors. The ones we grew up watching on the big screen and whose careers we’ve followed ever since. But what makes a truly great actor? Is it their body of work? Their awards? Their critical acclaim?


Ranker set out to answer this question by taking a look at the greatest actors in film history. They looked at over 100 years of cinema and considered factors like box office gross, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and more.


The result is a list of who is the best actor in world in film history. From legends like Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart to modern masters like Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep, these are the actors who have left their mark on the silver screen.


Robert Downey Jr.


Robert Downey Jr. is an American actor who has appeared in numerous films, television series and video games. He is best known for his roles as Tony Stark / Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Sherlock Holmes in the Guy Ritchie films.


Downey was born on April 4, 1965, in New York City, the son of Robert Downey Sr. and Elsie Ann (née Ford), who were both actors. His father is of Irish descent, while his mother is of English ancestry. He was raised Catholic but has since become an atheist. He began acting at the age of five, appearing in his father's film Pound (1970).


Downey's career prospects improved when he secured a leading role in Tuff Turf (1985), opposite James Spader; however, he continued to struggle with addiction throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1992, he starred alongside Kiefer Sutherland in the cult classic The Last Boy Scout and co-starred with Marisa Tomei in Only You (1994). After a period of critical successes through the mid-1990s with such films as Chaplin (1992).


Harrison Ford


Harrison Ford is an American actor and producer who has been in the film industry for over 40 years. He is best known for his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise and as Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones franchise. Ford has also starred in such films as Blade Runner, The Fugitive, and Air Force One. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and has won one Golden Globe Award.


Tom Hanks


Tom Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker who has had an illustrious career spanning over four decades. He is one of the most popular and beloved actors in Hollywood, and has starred in some of the most iconic films of all time. Hanks has won multiple awards for his work, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He is also a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.


Johnny Depp


Johnny Depp has had an illustrious career in film, starring in some of the most popular movies of the past few decades. He first came to prominence with his role in 21 Jump Street, and has since gone on to star in such films as Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp is widely considered to be one of the best actors of his generation, and has won numerous awards for his work in film.


Matt Damon

There are few actors who have had as successful a career as Matt Damon. Damon first came to prominence with his role in the film Good Will Hunting, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He has since gone on to star in some of the most popular films of the past two decades, including the Bourne series, The Departed, and Interstellar.


Damon is widely considered to be one of the best actors of his generation, and it is difficult to argue with that assessment. He has demonstrated time and again his ability to disappear into a role and create a fully-realized character. Whether he is playing an action hero or a dramatic lead, Damon always brings his A-game and gives audiences a performance to remember.


Tom Cruise


Tom Cruise is an American actor and producer who has starred in some of the most popular films of all time. He began his career in the early 1980s with roles in films such as The Outsiders and Risky Business. He rose to prominence in the mid-1980s with leading roles in films such as Top Gun, The Color of Money, and Cocktail. Cruise has achieved critical acclaim for his work in a variety of genres, including action, drama, romance, and comedy.


He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globe Awards. His most recent role was in the film Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise is one of the most successful actors in film history, both commercially and critically.


Humphrey Bogart


Humphrey Bogart is one of the most iconic actors in film history. He is best known for his roles in classic films like "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca". Bogart's performances are characterized by his tough exterior and his cynical attitude. He was a versatile actor who could play both leading and supporting roles. Bogart was nominated for five Academy Awards and won one for his performance in "The African Queen". He is considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time.


Leonardo DiCaprio


There are few actors in Hollywood as successful as Leonardo DiCaprio. He's been nominated for six Academy Awards, winning Best Actor for his role in The Revenant. He's also won three Golden Globe Awards and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.


DiCaprio got his start on television, before making his film debut in 1991's Critters 3. He rose to prominence with his roles in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Romeo + Juliet, before solidifying his status as a leading man with starring roles in Titanic and The Beach. Since then, he has continued to choose interesting and challenging roles, including Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Revenant.


DiCaprio is also an active philanthropist and environmentalist. He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, which works to protect vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems around the world.


Michael Jackson


It's no secret that Michael Jackson was one of the most successful and influential entertainers of all time. From his early days as a member of the Jackson 5 to his solo career as a global superstar, Jackson's impact on music, dance, and pop culture is undeniable.


While he may have been best known for his musical talents, Jackson was also a highly accomplished actor. He made his film debut in 1978's The Wiz and went on to star in a number of other films throughout his career, including 1980's The Blues Brothers and 1987's Moonwalker.


Jackson was not only a talented performer, but also a skilled businessman. He founded his own record label, called MJJ Music, and produced several successful albums, including 1991's Dangerous and 1995's HIStory.


Although he passed away in 2009, Jackson's legacy continues to live on through his music, films, and business ventures. He remains one of the best-selling artists of all time and is widely considered to be one of the greatest entertainers in history.


Morgan Freeman


Morgan Freeman is an American actor, producer, and narrator. He has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in film.


Freeman began his acting career in 1967 with Off-Broadway stage productions. He made his film debut in 1971 with the critically acclaimed drama Who Says I Can't Ride a Bicycle? Since then, he has appeared in a number of films, including The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, Unforgiven, Seven, Deep Impact, The Dark Knight trilogy, Invictus, and Gone Girl.


Freeman has also appeared in several television series, most notably as Hoke Colburn in the adaptation of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple. He has received critical acclaim for his work in the science fiction series The Science Channel's Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.


In addition to his work as an actor, Freeman is also a successful director and producer. He has directed episodes of the television series Homicide: Life on the Street and The Electric Company. He also produced the films Bopha!, Lean on Me, and Street Smart.




This concludes our list of the 10 best actors in film history. These are actors who have not only had long and successful careers but who have also managed to change the landscape of film as we know it. They are all incredibly talented individuals who have inspired other actors and filmmakers alike. We hope you enjoyed reading this list and that you will check out some of these great actors' work in the future.


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