The 10 Greatest Actors of All Time, According to the American Film Institute (2023)

DieAmerican Film Institutewas introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson to preserve the legacy of American cinema, and has curated definitive lists of the greatest films, directors, genres and actors in its 100 Years... series for 25 years. AFI divides the share intothe best actors and actresses, and they're fascinating lists, though the Institute still doesn't have an updated version after its 2008 edition, which had strict criteria on actors and their film debuts before 1950. Whether it's updated soon or in 20 years, it's hard to predict many changes due to the legendary status of its current residents. Let's take a look at the top 10 AFI actors of all time...


10Charlie Chaplin

The 10 Greatest Actors of All Time, According to the American Film Institute (1)

Charlie Chaplin, aka Little Tramp, was irrefutably the defining face ofdie Hollywood-Silence-Glory. During a career spanning over 60 years, the London native has appeared in an incredible 82 films, many of which he wrote and directed himself. fromThe child, the great dictator, ethe gold rush, forDestaque, Monsieur Verdoux, eA King in New YorkChaplin's list of classic films is almost as long as his filmography.

9Spencer Tracy

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Spencer Tracywas the first person to win two consecutive Oscars in 1937 and 1938, for examplebrave captainseboys towna feat not matched until 55 years later by Tom Hanks. Dubbed America's "screen father," Tracy possessed that endearing, fatherly streak that made him such a popular movie character. Whether they are his great comedies with Katherine Hepburn (Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib), his withered and paternalistic performances towards the end of his career (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Judgment at Nuremberg) or its intense dramas (Rage, 30 seconds over Tokyo), Tracy was excellent at everything she did.

8James Cagney

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Orson Welles said yesJames Cagneywas one of the greatest actors to ever appear in front of a camera. Known for his impeccable comic timing and a distinguished orator, Cagney won his first and only Academy Award forYankee-Doodle-Dandy. In addition to his great musical and comedic talents, Cagney is considered one of the greatest gangster film actors of all time, appearing in films such asthe public enemyeincandescent. Cagney ended his career after two decades of retirement from the film industry and appeared in the epic and underrated Swan Song.Ragtime.

7Clark Gable

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Dubbed "The King of Hollywood", a name bestowed upon him after the unabated critical success of 1939blown by the wind,Clark Gablehad a career spanning 37 years and won an Academy Award for his brilliant performance inIt happened one night.Interestingly, Steven Spielberg anonymously bought Gable's only Oscar in 1996 and returned it to the Academy. Gable was another of the great early actors who had perfect comedic skills but could also deliver extremely sad and moving performances that deconstructed his celebrity image in films likeThe outside.

6Henrique Fonda

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An avid hobbyist and Scoutmaster,Henrique Fondaalso held the record as the oldest Best Actor Oscar winner at 39 years, after winning it for his portrayal ofthe lagoas;it wasn't until 2020 that 83-year-old Anthony Hopkins dethroned Fonda. Henry Fonda, father of Jane and Peter Fonda, mastered the craft in a long career of masterpieces like12 angry men,The Grapes of Wrath, The Wrong Man, My Dear Clementine,eOnce upon a Time in the West

Related:Best Western Movies Starring Henry Fonda, Rating

5Fred Astaire

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Fred Astaireis probably more celebrated for his dance and choreography talents than his acting, which makes his ranking as the fifth best actor of all time a little more notable. Born Frederick Austerlitz, Astaire entered the film industry in his thirties, having honed his craft on stage over the previous decades. Astaire, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1975, has always vehemently forbidden making a movie about his life, but in 2021 it was announced that Tom Holland had been cast as Astaire in an upcoming biopic.

It was certainly an interesting life, as Astaire became one of the biggest musical stars of all time, thanks to his frequent early collaborations with the great Ginger Rogers in films.cylinder, Let's dance and sway the time. His career would continue with later classics likeDer Bandwagen, Daddy Long Legs, eFinians Regenbogen.

4Marlon Brando

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Perhaps best known for his portrayal of crime boss Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's crime epic,The Godfather,Marlon Brandowas a two-time Oscar winner, having won the prestigious award for best male lead in 1954In beira marand again in 1972 forThe Godfather,which he expressly refused in protest.Brando was a respected method artist, and is rightly considered one of the most prominent acting influences of all time. While many considered him notoriously difficult, there is no doubt that Brando completely changed the public face of acting with his performances.A Streetcar Named Desire, Apocalypse Now,eLast Tango in Paris.

3James Steward

The 10 Greatest Actors of All Time, According to the American Film Institute (8)

Recruiting actors these days is quite an amusing thought - imagine fighting alongside Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Daniel Craig. However, that was the reality for the soldiers who shared James Stewart's US Army regiment during World War II. Having acted in over 25 films, including critically acclaimed onesThe History of Philadelphia(for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor),New Yorker enlisted in the American war effort.

Related:Best Jimmy Stewart Westerns Ranked

After a five-year military-related break, his return to the big screen is over.It is a beautiful lifeStewart with one of his best directors, Frank Capra (Mr. Smith is going to Washington, you can't take him with you).But with Alfred Hitchcock he produced his most famous workCorda,dizziness,Rear Window and The Man Who Knew Too Much. However, Stewart's excellent lineup of darker westerns, starring Anthony Mann, are not to be overlooked.

2Cary Grant

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Born and raised in Bristol, England as Archibald Leach,o grande cary grantAlways demonstrating a love of acting, Grant left home at age 16 and joined the circus. He traveled the world before finding his calling as a Hollywood star. Grant, an illustrious figure during Hollywood's Golden Age, played the male lead completely handsome. An original member of the "Rat Pack", thenorth to northwestStar retains his spot as the American Film Institute's second-greatest actor of all time. Of his brilliant comedies (Educate baby, arsenic and old lace) to his incredibly romantic thrillers (Catch a thief charade), Grant War Golden.

1Humphrey Bogart

The 10 Greatest Actors of All Time, According to the American Film Institute (10)

The face of classic cinema,Humphrey Bogart, or "Bogie" as his friends called him, began his successful acting career on Broadway opposite Spencer Tracy, having previously found employment in the Navy. He received his first feature film credit in the 1930s.a demon with womenBogart would go on to starin iconic black and white films that would transcend their era and cinema in general. Starting out as a regular supporting actor, his abilities were quickly recognized and eventually he received his only Academy Award for Best Actor in 1952.the african queen, he has undeniably gained further recognition from the Academy for his workCasablanca,in a lonely placeeThe Maltese Falcon.

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