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Best movie English speaker male actor of all time? 
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Post Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
My favourite actor is Liam Neeson , even he had great quality roles such as the one in Schindler's List , I really started liking him a lot from his more light weight roles such as in Star Wars, Batman Begins and Taken. Now , if I had to pick the best actor, particularly one who was not one hit wonder with an iconic performance, then he would come from the list below:

    Marlon Brando
    Jack Nicholson
    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Laurence Olivier
    Russell Crowe
    Spencer Tracy
    Robert De Niro
    Al Pacino

These actors either I have seen films where they gave an outstanding performance or they have high reputation from some articles that i have read (the case of Olivier and Tracy) about it. I have not made my mind to give an order yet to the list as I have not seen enough movies from Oliveir and Tracy. However , I would be interested to read your opinion and if you have one, please elaborate a bit 8-) .

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Last edited by unwindfilms on Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:16 pm
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Gene Hackman belongs in the discussion. In my opinion, he's the finest actor in the last fifty years, and I don't even particularly like "The French Connection." Superior to Brando, de Niro and Nicholson. James Stewart and Clark Gable were so much better than Spencer Tracy that there's no comparison. I like Russell Crowe in anything except maybe "Body of Lies," which nobody survived intact (though Crowe suffered less damage than most in the movie). Alec Guinness belongs in the discussion, too. Maybe Charles Laughton, though he could be over the top.

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Last edited by Syd Henderson on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:06 am
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Syd Henderson wrote:
Gene Hackman belongs in the discussion. In my opinion, he's the finest actor in the last fifty years, and I don't even particularly like "The French Connection." Superior to Brando, de Niro and Nicholson. James Stewart and Clark Gable were so much better than Spencer Tracy that there's no comparison. I like Russell Crowe in anything except maybe "Body of Lies," which nobody survived intact (though Crowe suffered less damage than most in the movie).

I thought Body Of Lies was a decent film, one film where I did not like Crowe was Robin Hood, but that film was such a diaster that I really couldn't blame him, i'm also not optimistic about his performance in Noah.


Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:17 am
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Vexer wrote:
Syd Henderson wrote:
Gene Hackman belongs in the discussion. In my opinion, he's the finest actor in the last fifty years, and I don't even particularly like "The French Connection." Superior to Brando, de Niro and Nicholson. James Stewart and Clark Gable were so much better than Spencer Tracy that there's no comparison. I like Russell Crowe in anything except maybe "Body of Lies," which nobody survived intact (though Crowe suffered less damage than most in the movie).

I thought Body Of Lies was a decent film, one film where I did not like Crowe was Robin Hood, but that film was such a diaster that I really couldn't blame him, i'm also not optimistic about his performance in Noah.


I liked the trailers that show all the snakes heading toward the Ark. I hope they show the march of tens of thousands of spiders.

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:23 am
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Syd Henderson wrote:
Gene Hackman belongs in the discussion. In my opinion, he's the finest actor in the last fifty years, and I don't even particularly like "The French Connection." Superior to Brando, de Niro and Nicholson. James Stewart and Clark Gable were so much better than Spencer Tracy that there's no comparison. I like Russell Crowe in anything except maybe "Body of Lies," which nobody survived intact (though Crowe suffered less damage than most in the movie). Alec Guinness belongs in the discussion, too. Maybe Charles Laughton, though he could be over the top.


I like your Gene Hackman suggestion. I already liked Russell Crowe . I did some extra little research about actors who won best actor Oscars and in that line of thought I am now including , your other suggestions of Clark Gable , Alec Guinness and even Charles Laughton (even I am not familiar with the last one at all). Jimmy Stewart never won an Oscar and from the films that I have seen from him even some might argue that he belongs to the discussion but I seriously doubt that anyone can make a case for him to be the best of all. From this research , I am also adding Tom Hanks, so my short- list is now:

    Marlon Brando
    Jack Nicholson
    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Laurence Olivier
    Russell Crowe
    Spencer Tracy
    Robert De Niro
    Al Pacino
    Gene Hackman
    Clark Gable
    Alec Guinness
    Charles Laughton
    Tom Hanks

Can anyone make a strong case for a single one winner?

Note: It is very interesting that some people argue that Laurence Olivier (who I am not very familiar with) was the greatest (at the time with actors who won the Oscars more than once like Spencer Tracy) and he only won the Oscar once (although he was nominated 9 times). So the fact of winning an Oscar or many can be (in my view) a prerequisite to be considered but not crucial to win because is that were the case then the clear winner would be Daniel Day-Lewis with 3 Oscars . He does not top any list that I have read so far (although I would not be surprised if there were a few with him on top some where) including mine at this point (which ranking I am not revealing yet because I do not want to influence and I can be also swayed as I do not have a strong opinion about it ;-))

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:07 am
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Stewart did win one Oscar, for The Philadelphia Story. He also unsurprisingly got an lifetime achievement award.

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Syd Henderson wrote:
Stewart did win one Oscar, for The Philadelphia Story. He also unsurprisingly got an lifetime achievement award.


True! I missed that one in the reading of the wikipedia article link I posted lol so now my short list is:

    Marlon Brando
    Jack Nicholson
    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Laurence Olivier
    Russell Crowe
    Spencer Tracy
    Robert De Niro
    Al Pacino
    Gene Hackman
    Clark Gable
    Alec Guinness
    Charles Laughton
    Tom Hanks
    James Stewart

Any strong case to single one out as the all time best movie actor?

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
Two actors who I think deserve to be in the conversation are Denzel Washington and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins giving one of the most iconic performances ever in The Silence of the Lambs and Denzel is truly amazing in Malcolm X among other movies (The Hurricane, Glory, Training Day, etc).


Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:43 pm
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Post Re: Best movie actor of all time in your opinion?
You also have to consider foreign actors such as Gerard Depardieu, Jean Gabin, Daniel Auteuil, Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. (I assume we're segregating actresses.)

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:06 pm
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Syd Henderson wrote:
You also have to consider foreign actors such as Gerard Depardieu, Jean Gabin, Daniel Auteuil, Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. (I assume we're segregating actresses.)


I am restricting to only English language for the time being and yes it was only male from the beginning :-)

ilovemovies wrote:
Two actors who I think deserve to be in the conversation are Denzel Washington and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins giving one of the most iconic performances ever in The Silence of the Lambs and Denzel is truly amazing in Malcolm X among other movies (The Hurricane, Glory, Training Day, etc).


Adding those to my short list:

    Marlon Brando
    Jack Nicholson
    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Laurence Olivier
    Russell Crowe
    Spencer Tracy
    Robert De Niro
    Al Pacino
    Gene Hackman
    Clark Gable
    Alec Guinness
    Charles Laughton
    Tom Hanks
    James Stewart
    Denzel Washington
    Anthony Hopkins

Anyone presenting a strong case to single out any of the above?

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Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:25 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Best is a tough question. But here are some of my favourites, getting the obvious out the way first -

The heavyweights

Marlon Brando
Robert De Niro
Paul Newman
Anthony Hopkins
Meryl Streep

Not used as much as they could have been, but still great

Jodie Foster
Jeremy Irons


Latter day greats

Morgan Freeman
Kevin Spacey
Annette Benning (still love her crazy wife turn in American Beauty. Hideous!)
Daniel Day Lewis
Javier Bardem
Gary Oldman

Other tremendous actors worth a mention

Ed Harris
Toni Collette
Steve Buscemi
George Clooney
Brad Pitt
Julianne Moore

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Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:07 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Edward G. Robinson is up there for me. Never nominated for an Oscar, which is rather mind-boggling. Was great in everything.


Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:15 pm
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
I can't make a case. Hank's has perhaps the best looking resume in my opinion. If I were forced to vote as objectively as I could I would choose him.

But my favorites on that list are Nicholson, followed closely by Gable. Hanks would probably be fifth or sixth, even behind such as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood that do not (and likely should not) make the list.


Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:49 pm
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
My measure is how many roles an actor has that absolutely floor me with their quality, regardless of the general quality of their oeuvre. By that measure, its De Niro all the way.

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Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:12 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
I Like that single names are just starting to come out, such as :

    Robert DeNiro
    Tom Hanks
    Edward G Robinson

Now, If I were forced to vote objectively as CasualDad nicely put it then I would vote for

Marlon Brandon (1924-2004)
A serious student of acting ( American Theatre Wing Professional School in New York) who also attended classes on Saturday Mornings in the Actors Studio because the famous director Elia Kazan was a teacher there. Kazan directed him first in the play and later in the movie "Streetcar named desire" which launched him to stardom and later in what is considered one of the greatest performance in cinema history On the waterfront that won him his first Oscar portraying retired professional boxer Terry Malloy. He later won a second Oscar playing The Godfather.
I know the Shakespeare lovers prefers Laurence Olivier (who did more theatre acting) and maybe since Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar could now have a case for greatness but none of these actors's movies that I have seen so far have impressed me as Brandon's performances "On the Waterfront" and "The Godfather" . 8-)


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Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:20 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Brando's definitely one of the first actors to inject a level of authenticity into his performances that wasn't common in film acting before his time. I don't doubt that many of the actors being discussed in this thread would not have achieved what they did if they hadn't stood on his shoulders.

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Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:52 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman deserves to be in the conversation. Simply brilliant in every role, even in drivel such as Along Came Polly. We lost him far too early.


Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:37 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Brando is certainly the real deal.

I can't help but feel young De Niro had even more talent. To be fair, Bob still makes good films now (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), but he also pumped out so much sewage in recent years.

I mean, making a film with 50 cent, hell's bells!

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Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:40 am
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
Quote:
My measure is how many roles an actor has that absolutely floor me with their quality, regardless of the general quality of their oeuvre. By that measure, its De Niro all the way.


I think I'm more impressed by actors who are good in everything. Like Hackman or Robinson. can't really say that about Olivier, De Niro, or Brando.


Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:34 pm
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Post Re: Best movie English speaker male actor of all time?
NotHughGrant wrote:
Brando is certainly the real deal.

I can't help but feel young De Niro had even more talent. To be fair, Bob still makes good films now (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), but he also pumped out so much sewage in recent years.

I mean, making a film with 50 cent, hell's bells!

Eh, I don't see anything wrong with him doing films with 50 Cent, they both play off one-another pretty well. The only role of De Niro's that I truly did not like was in Hide And Seek, and to be fair that had more to do with the abysmal screenplay then it did with the actors.


Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:52 pm
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