The Greatest Acting Roles Of All Time

by avemark2010 | created - 15 Nov 2012 | updated - 20 Aug 2013 | Public

These, is my opinion, are the greatest acting roles I have ever seen, starting with the first seven from "The Lion In Winter", the greatest ensemble acting of all time.

1. Katharine Hepburn

Actress | The Lion in Winter

Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was ...

1) As "Queen Eleanor" in "The Lion In Winter" 2) As "Rose Sayer" in "The African Queen"

2. Peter O'Toole

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. Upon leaving school, he decided to become a ...

As "King Henry II" in "The Lion In Winter"

3. Anthony Hopkins

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins was born on December 31, 1937, in Margam, Wales, to Muriel Anne (Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His parents were both of half Welsh and half English descent. Influenced by Richard Burton, he decided to study at College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1957. In 1965, ...

As "Richard The Lionheart" in "The Lion In Winter"

4. John Castle

Actor | RoboCop 3

John Castle was born on January 14, 1940 in Croydon, Surrey, England as John Michael Frederick Castle. He is an actor, known for RoboCop 3 (1993), The Lion in Winter (1968) and Man of La Mancha (1972). He has been married to Maggie Wadey since 1963. They have one child.

As "Geoffrey"

5. Nigel Terry

Actor | Excalibur

British actor Nigel Terry primarily dedicated himself to the classical stage. When he extended himself into film and TV outings, it was mostly for historical or period roles. Over the years, he grew quite comfortable in both a pair of hose and a suit of armor.

Terry was born Peter Nigel Terry on ...

As "John" in "The Lion In Winter"

6. Timothy Dalton

Actor | The Living Daylights

At a consistently lean 6' 2", green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have forged simultaneous successful careers in theater, television and film. He has been comparison-shopped roundly for stepping...

As "Phillip II" in "The Lion In Winter"

7. Jane Merrow

Actress | The Lion in Winter

British actress Jane Merrow studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the onset of her career and became a classical heroine in the 1960s on both stage and TV. Portraying such soulful lasses as "Lorna Doone" and "Jane Eyre" on TV, she mixed in a few Shakespearean ingénues and brought forth a ...

As "Alias" In "The Lion In Winter"

8. Daniel Day-Lewis

Actor | There Will Be Blood

Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Nicholas Blake, Poet Laureate of the U.K., and his second wife, actress Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing ...

"X 2 Roles" 1) As "Christy Brown" in "My Left Foot" 2) As "Lincoln" in "Lincoln"

9. Dustin Hoffman

Actor | Rain Man

Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, ...

X 2 Roles : 1) As "Ratso" in "Midnight Cowboy" 2) As "Raymond Babbitt" in "Rain Man"

10. Tom Hanks

Producer | Cast Away

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has ...

X 4 Roles : 1) As "Josh Baskin" in "Big" 2) As "Andrew Beckett" In "Philadelphia" 3) As "Forrest Gump" in "Forrest Gump" 4) As "Viktor Navorski" in "The Terminal"

11. Russell Crowe

Actor | Les Misérables

Russell Ira Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom catered movie sets. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Wemyss, was a cinematographer. Crowe's recent ancestry includes Welsh (where his paternal grandfather was born, in Wrexham),...

X 2 Roles 1) As "John Nash" in "A Beautiful Mind" 2) As "Javert" in "Les Miserables"

12. Robert Duvall

Actor | The Apostle

Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a ...

X Many Roles, but the top three top are : 1) As "Jackson Fentry" in "Tomorrow" 2) As "Boo Radley" in "To Kill A Mockingbird" 3) As "Capt Paul Cabot Winston" in "Captain Newman M.D."

13. Charlize Theron

Actress | Monster

Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron (née Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz) and Charles Jacobus Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) ...

As "Aileen" in "Monster"

14. Edward Norton

Actor | American History X

American actor, filmmaker and activist Edward Harrison Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Columbia, Maryland.

His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer ...

As "Aaron" in " Primal Fear"

15. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

As "Charlie Allnut" in "The African Queen"

16. Robert De Niro

Actor | Cape Fear

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

As "Leonard Lowe" in "Awakeings"

17. Paul Giamatti

Actor | Sideways

Paul Giamatti is an American actor who has worked steadily and prominently for over twenty years, and is best known for leading roles in the films American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), and Barney's Version (2010) (for which he won a Golden Globe), and supporting roles in the films Cinderella ...

X2 Roles 1) As "Todd Woods" in "Duets" 2) As "John Adams" in "John Adams" 3) As " Mike Flaherty" in "Win Win"

18. Christian Bale

Actor | The Dark Knight

Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different ...

As "Dicky Eklund" in "The Fighter"

19. Melissa Leo

Actress | The Fighter

Melissa Leo was born on September 14, 1960 in New York City, New York, USA as Melissa Chessington Leo. She is an actress and producer, known for The Fighter (2010), 21 Grams (2003) and Oblivion (2013).

As "Alice Ward" in "The Fighter"

20. Jessica Chastain

Actress | Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and ...

As "Celia Foote" in "The Help"

21. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...

As "Aibileen Clark" in "The Help"

22. Octavia Spencer

Actress | Hidden Figures

Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, ...

As "Minny Jackson" in "The Help"

23. Anne Hathaway

Actress | Les Misérables

Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series ...

As "Fantine" in "Les Miserables"

24. Hugh Jackman

Actor | Les Misérables

Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters. He is best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film ...

As "Jean Valjean" in "Les Miserables'

25. Russell Crowe

Actor | Les Misérables

Russell Ira Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom catered movie sets. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Wemyss, was a cinematographer. Crowe's recent ancestry includes Welsh (where his paternal grandfather was born, in Wrexham),...

As "Javert" in "Les Miserables" "

26. Amanda Seyfried

Actress | Les Misérables

Amanda Seyfried was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Ann (Sander), an occupational therapist, and Jack Seyfried, a pharmacist. She is of German, and some English and Scottish, ancestry. She began modeling when she was eleven, and acted in high school productions as well as taking ...

As "Cosette" in "Les Miserables"

27. Eddie Redmayne

Actor | Les Misérables

British actor Eddie Redmayne is the first, and thus far only, millennial male to have won an acting Oscar (for The Theory of Everything (2014)).

Edward John David Redmayne was born and raised in London, England, the son of Patricia (Burke) and Richard Charles Tunstall Redmayne, a businessman. His ...

As "Marius" in "Les Miserables"

28. Aaron Tveit

Actor | Les Misérables

Aaron Kyle Tveit born October 21, 1983 is an American actor and singer. He is known for originating the roles of Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale Jr. in the stage version of Catch Me If You Can on Broadway. He is also known for his recurring role as Tripp van der Bilt on The CW's teen ...

As "Enjolras" in "Les Miserables"

29. Samantha Barks

Actress | Les Misérables

Samantha Barks was born in Laxey, Isle of Man (British Isles) in 1990. She is a British actress best known for the role of Éponine in Les Misérables. In 2008, Samantha competed in I'd Do Anything in which she was one of the finalists in a search for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy in a West End ...

As "Eponine" in "Les Miserables"

30. Daniel Huttlestone

Actor | Les Misérables

Daniel Richard Huttlestone was born in Havering, Essex, England, to Linda and Mark Huttlestone, a company managing director. He started his stage career from the age of 9 landing the role of 'Nipper' in the 2009 production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, performing on the opening night ...

As "Gavroche" in "Les Miserables"

31. Emma Stone

Actress | La La Land

Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish (from her paternal grandfather), English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of ...

As "Skeeter Phelan" in "The Help"

32. Bryce Dallas Howard

Actress | Jurassic World

Bryce Dallas Howard was born on March 2, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. She was conceived in Dallas, Texas (the reason for her middle name). Her father, Ron Howard, is a former actor turned Oscar-winning director. Her mother is actress and writer Cheryl Howard (née Alley). Her famous relatives ...

As "Hilly Holbrook" in "The Help"

33. Allison Janney

Actress | The Help

Allison Janney is an award-winning actress who has earned a solid reputation in stage productions and in many supporting roles on screen, and who more recently has become prominent by portraying one of the major characters in the popular TV series The West Wing (1999).

Entertainment Weekly magazine ...

As "Charlotte Phelan" in "The Help"

34. Amy Ryan

Actress | Gone Baby Gone

Amy Ryan was born on May 3, 1969 in Queens, New York City, New York, USA as Amy Beth Dziewiontkowski. She is an actress, known for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), Gone Baby Gone (2007) and Escape Plan (2013). She has been married to Eric Slovin since August 23, 2011. They ...

As "Jackie Flaherty" in "Win Win"

35. Alex Shaffer

Actor | Win Win

Alex Shaffer is an actor, known for Win Win (2011), We Are Your Friends (2015) and Delinquent (2016).

As " Kyle Timmons" in "Win Win"

36. Robert De Niro

Actor | Cape Fear

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

As "Leonard Lowe" in "Awakenings"