The Top 10 Greatest Actors of All Time

Marie Skillern| July 4, 2014

For many years, Hollywood has been the center of glitz and glamour in the world. Just hearing its name allows our minds to automatically bring up images of celebrities, actors and their glamorous lifestyle. But the lifestyle does not define the real essence of what goes on in Hollywood. Acting does.

Acting jobs were never about the money, the fame or the lifestyle that the actors got to enjoy; those never gave real actors contentment. Real actors lived for the movies that they worked on and reveled in their love for performing especially on the silver screen.  It is because of this love that we get to experience immortal performances from Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks or Al Pacino.

To pay homage to the movies and performances made by noteworthy actors over the years, we have come up with a list of the 10 Greatest Actors of all Time. We hope this list serves as an inspiration for future actors who would want to establish a solid acting career in the future. 

Explore Talent - Marlon Brando
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1. Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando always enjoyed acting and because of that he decided to study acting in New York where he felt very accepted. He studied under acclaimed teacher Stella Adler and was immediately inclined to the Stanislavksi System. That taught him to focus more on realism and brought forth his own brand of acting.

His unmistakable style earned him pivotal roles on movies like On the Waterfront, The Godfather and The Wild One, along with several trophies and nominations for acting awards including two Academy Awards for Best Actor. With a long list of achievements, Brando was definitely worthy to be called a legend, a cultural icon, and the greatest actor of all time.

Explore Talent - Robert de Niro
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2. Robert De Niro

This talented actor first got into acting to combat his shyness, but fell in love with the craft and pursued it at the age of 16. He has starred in several films until he was cast as the young Vito Corleone on the epic sequel, The Godfather Part II, where he earned his first Best Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. From then on, he would play several other exceptional roles and start a longtime partnership with acclaimed director Martin Scorsese.

His most iconic role to date is Travis Bickle on Taxi Driver and that immediately made him a household name. Director Elia Kazan once described De Niro as an actor who is very meticulous with what he does and he would do almost anything to succeed. So, we are not surprised how he easily landed as the second great actor of all time.

Explore Talent - Al Pacino
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3. Al Pacino

Al Pacino will always be remembered for playing the mobster Michael Corleone on all three The Godfather movies and Tony Montana on Scarface. He has raised the bar for Gangster movies and yet has the performing power to switch to softer roles like the blind retired Army Officer Frank Slade on Scent of a Woman. A method actor, Pacino also enjoys a very successful career on stage with several Tony Awards under his belt.

Explore Talent - Jack Nicholson
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4. Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson has been known to portray challenging dark roles from psychopathic killers to incorrigible villains. Before Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, Jack Nicholson’s own portrayal of the role was enough to give us nightmares for days. The characters that he has portrayed earned him 12 Oscar nominations throughout his career; making him the most nominated male actor in Oscars history.

Explore Talent - Anthony Hopkins
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5. Anthony Hopkins

This Welsh actor did an amazing job of breathing life to the scariest psychopath known to man – Hannibal Lecter. For his contributions to the Entertainment business, he has gained recognitions like being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts, receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award in 2006 and taking home several acting awards. He has also appeared in movies like Meet Joe Black, Amistad and The Mask of Zorro.

Explore Talent - Daniel Day-Lewis
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6. Daniel Day-Lewis

Also a renowned method actor, he is known for putting much work into his roles. He works even as far as researching roles and remaining in character throughout the duration of filming. As of late, he has been quite selective with his work, but that has definitely paid off as his latest movies made him one of the three actors to win three Academy Awards for Best Actor.

Explore Talent - Tom Hanks
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7. Tom Hanks

One of Hollywood’s highest-grossing actors of all time, Tom Hanks rose to fame with roles in movies like Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, and Cast Away. His decision to shift into dramatic roles improved the state of his career which allowed him to work on big projects and collaborate with one of the best directors in the business, Steven Spielberg.

Explore Talent - Morgan Freeman
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8. Morgan Freeman

With just a few lines, everyone would know it is God, erm, Morgan Freeman speaking. But that distinctive voice is only part of the whole actor package. Freeman began acting when he was nine and soon became part of the Opera Ring musical theater then later shifted to films and TV shows. Some of the most notable roles he has played were Nelson Mandela on Invictus and God on the box office hit Bruce Almighty.

Explore Talent - Paul Newman
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9. Paul Newman

Newman, like the other actors on the list, showed an early interest in theater and has been acting in school productions since he was seven. He started out in Broadway and was one of the few actors who successfully transitioned into the movie scene. His most notable movie was The Color of Money where he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Explore Talent - Dustin Hoffman
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10. Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman has always been known for his versatility and ability to play vulnerable antihero characters. He has been nominated for seven Oscars and won two for his performances on Kramer vs Kramer (alongside Meryl Streep) and Rain Man. His other notable films include Tootsie, The Graduate and Hook.

If we take a close look at these great actors, we could see that most of them fell in love with the craft at very young ages. That love urged them to pursue drama school and acquire their own brand of acting through acting tips and techniques they learned along the way. These are the type of actors that aspiring talents should want to get tips for success in acting from.

It is less likely that these actors were born with the skill to act; they enhanced whatever they had to great at what they do. Every technique, every method they used was solely for the purpose of making their performances seem very real and that made them great in the industry – not the fame. Like what the great Mario Puzo wrote, “Great men are not born great, they grow great…”. So be the greatest actor that you can be and you will be rewarded with more acting auditions and jobs than you can imagine.



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