The Ten Best Actors of All Time: Relay Race

My friend Nostra at My Filmviews started this back in mid March, as if he needed to prove to anyone that he lives up to the title ‘King of all Blog Series’ that I gave him 😀 What’s this relay race all about? I’ll let Nostra himself explain:

“So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors”

Since then the baton has been passed on to Terrence @ The Focused Filmographer, Scott @ Front Room Cinema, then off to Pete @ I Love That Film who then passed it on to yours truly!

All right, so here we go:

Robert De Niro

robert Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

Although he may not have had any roles that stood out in the last couple of years, he has proven what an amazing actor he is. Just think of his roles in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Godfather: Part II, Goodfellas, The Untouchables, Heat and Cape Fear.

Daniel Day Lewis

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Although he might not have appeared in as many movies as some of the other actors in this list he makes up for it in the amazing performances he gives. He really disappears in his roles. Some of his best work includes My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, In the Name of the Father and Last of the Mohicans.

Charlie Chaplin

charlie chaplin1 Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

Now this might not be someone you’d immediately think of, but when it comes to comedy and silent movies he was perfect, funny and knew exactly how to make his audience care about the character he played. Some of his best work can be enjoyed in The Kid, City Lights, The Great Dictator and Modern Times.

Gary Oldman

garyoldman e1331475012125 Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

He has proven that he is a true chameleon, with a very distinct look in every movie he appears in. His acting is always a joy to watch. Some of his best known work is that in the Harry Potter series, Leon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the latest Batman movies and Dracula.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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He started acting in 1991 and really has had a very versatile career appearing in movies that are loved in art houses, but in mainstream movies as well. His movies include The Ides of March, Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Wilson’s War, Capote and Magnolia.

Marlon Brando

marlon brando Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

Now I must admit that I haven’t seen many of his movies, but he was stunning in his most famous role in The Godfather, but also roles in Apocalypse Now, On The Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire he wowed audiences.

Robert Duvall

robert duvall Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

Robert Duvall has had an amazing career as well. I don’t know much about his early work, but I always enjoy to see him on the screen. His characters always are injected with something that grounds them into reality. He appeared in movies like Get Low, The Godfather, Colors, Apocalypse Now and THX1138.

Christian Bale

christian bale Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

With quite the diverse range in roles, Oscar-winner Christian Bale goes to great lengths for many of his roles. From losing weight to almost unhealthy standards twice (The Machinist, The Fighter) to taking dance and martial arts lessons for 10 weeks for Newsies (a film which he dislikes), Bale consistently goes to incredible lengths to bring a role to life. Other examples of his great work include: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Empire of the Sun, Equilibrium, and 3:10 to Yuma.

Edward Norton

The star of one of the greatest films of all time; David Fincher’s Fight Club.  He has made a career out of playing characters with two sides to their personalities.  From an ‘innocent’ abused choirboy with a dark side in Primal Fear right up to his turn as The Incredible Hulk, Norton does Dr Jekyll and Mr Nutcase Hyde better than anybody!  American History X and Fight Club are the standout performances of his career and though he might not have a huge filmography, his casting with Brando and De Niro in The Score was a significant baton-passing to the best actor of a new generation.

My Choice: Gregory Peck

Yes I realize my pick is quite predictable to most of you, ahah. But hey, we are talking about the best actors of ALL TIME here and after seeing twenty eight of his feature films in the last six months, I can confidently say he wasn’t just a great and versatile actor, he’s an acting legend! I think even fellow AFI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient DeNiro (and his co-star in the Cape Fear remake) would vouch for him. Interestingly, Mr. Peck passed away the night DeNiro received the AFI honor, and he called Peck “elegant, distinguished and a film icon” (per People).

Most of you know he won an Oscar as the quiet hero Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, but few know that it was his fifth Oscar nomination. He nabbed the other four Best Actor nominations within the first five years of his career. Though he’s known for portraying serious roles and a lot of noble men, I think he’s as adept and convincing in his more comic roles such as in Arabesque, Designing Woman and Roman Holiday. He’s also fun to watch as an all-out bad guy, such as in Duel in the Sun and Boys of Brazil (based on what I read anyway as I haven’t seen it yet), though by his own admission he wasn’t as keen on playing. I really think Mr. Peck is the real deal, a quintessential movie star with enormous acting talent and strong screen presence to boot.

Who I Replaced: Paul Giamatti

slice paul giamatti 01 Thursday List   The Ten: Best Actors of All Time   Relay Race

Oh man, I am in tears that I have to remove Giamatti from the list because I really like this guy!! I’m so sorry Scott, since you’re the one who added him to this list but if it’s any consolation, I do think he’s excellent, excellent actor but I guess out of all the nine other actors on this list, I feel like Giamatti is the one who’s perhaps more successful as a character or supporting actor, but doesn’t necessarily have that ‘star quality’ to get people to see a film simply because his name is on the marquee. I guess you could argue that about Philip Seymour Hoffman as well (which was my second choice to take out), but I do think Hoffman is the stronger and more compelling performer one of the two.

Ok, since it’s been mostly guys who’ve been picked to do the relay, I’m going to pick another girl for the next one. So I’m handing the baton over to… Kristin @ All Eyes on Screen. All right Kris, you’ve got a week to take part in the relay. Looking forward to see who you’d add and replace!

So what do you think of my pick? Who would you replace if you were me? Let’s hear it in the comments!

82 thoughts on “The Ten Best Actors of All Time: Relay Race

  1. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    Thank you for nominating some old school classic talent in the form of Gregory Peck. No surprise there.

    Though I do admire Paul Giamatti’s work in several films. He strikes me more as a back up player. A Peter Boyle, John Lithgow or the late J.T. Walsh. Strong within his own niche, but just lacking the strength to lead and carry off a film.

    And there’s also the chance Mr. Giamatti can be re-inserted later.

    1. Jack,

      Here’s my thought on Giamatti. I’d say he pulled off the lead in films like HBO’s John Adams (best actor Emmy & Golden Globe), American Splendor, Sideways, Win Win, Cold Souls, The Hawk Is Dying and Barney’s Verson pretty well. Ok so he’s not ready to open the next Superhero blockuster. I get that. But after American Splendor and SidewaysI think he more than proved himself as a lead. I mean just look at what these other typecast, charater actors did when they got that rare, lead role. Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon, Starting Out In The Evening), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Tom Wilkinson (In The Bedroom, HBO’s Normal), Ian Holm (The Sweet Hereafter), Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas) or Steve Buchemi (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire). (notice how many times HBO was mentioned?) It’s just that when most people think of a lead they automatically think Pitt, Clooney, Depp or LaBeouf! Not Paul Giamatti, John C Reilly or William H Macy. I like to think of him as a “thinking man’s” lead?

      That aside, I gotta ask… is there a better actor out there today that plays a neurotic, passive-aggressive character on the verge of having a stroke ? ie. “I am not drinkin’ any F**KING merlot!” LOL.

      Censored for your delicate ears:

      1. @ Dave – thanks for your thoughts about Giamatti and trust me, I agonize having to remove him but I do think he’s a much stronger character/supporting actor than a lead. Of course a lot of character actors are perfectly capable in leading a film, but I don’t know if he could really put ‘butts on the seats’ in the same way as a lot of the actors listed here. I do appreciate your argument though, and I’m not refuting that he’s indeed a great actor.

        1. Ruth, so you know, I wasn’t questioning your take on him as a great actor or even removing him. I just think going by the relay title as “best actors” and not best “leading actors” he’s a really a solid choice. If you use the same criteria you’re using for Giamatti then Seymour Hoffman or Oldman are not really a good choice for this list either as they don’t put “butts in the seats” either (sadly Duvall’s never really been a box office draw) and other than Capote, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and some smaller arthouse films you’d have to put them firmly in the category of character actors? No? Now if the list said “best leading man” then I’d wholeheartedly agree. I just don’t think being thought of as a character actor should factor much the discussion becuase realistically I think you’d have to downgrade Seymour Hoffman and Oldman too and that would be a shame. Know what I mean? 😉 I rest my case.

          1. Ah make sense Dave. So true, this wasn’t just about leading actors, you made a really solid point there. But again, we only have room for 10 so it’s just a matter of who we *think* deserves more to be on the list. I wish I don’t have to take anybody out of the list, but hey I didn’t make the rule 🙂

            1. I know… 10 is not enough! I’d love to see a list with best character actor or best young actor ie. Gosling, Depp, Bale, etc or best golden age of Hollywood actor or even best foreign speaking actor. Then I’d be happy. I do love my lists.

              Ok since I can’t hold it in any longer here’s my all-time top 10 list. LOL. Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Sir Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Peter O’Toole. There… that’s better.

              1. Hey Dave, how about you post all those list on your blog?? You’re right we do need more categories for those. I like your all-time list, but I’d like it better if you include Gregory Peck, ahah. Just kidding, I mean it’s YOUR list after all.

                1. Yeah… my blog… it’s kind of fallen by the wayside due to work and presonal issues. :/ I hope to get it going again. Peck would definitely be in my top ten golden age of Hollywood list. I think when picking my all time list “range” was the biggest factor. A lot of the older Hollywood actors were great at playing different versions of themselves like Bogey, Wayne, Stewart, Lancaster, Mitchum and yes… Peck. And that’s not a knock. They were such forces of nature to be reckoned with on the big screen. The 70’s changed all that. Now the better, more commanding actors have so much range ie. Bale, Gosling, Norton, Depp, Finnes, Day Lewis. That’s why I suggested different lists. For me it’s too apples and oranges to compare the different era’s.

    2. Woo hoo, Jack! I knew you’d agree w/ my choice and my rationale about removing Mr. Giamatti. I really do like him but really there is only room for 10 on this list.

  2. Ted S.

    Good choices, if I have to replace someone on the list it would be Charlie Chaplan because I’ve never seen many of his work. The rest of the actors on the list are pretty great, although I hope De Niro starts picking some good scripts in future, like you said his films the last few years were quite dreadful.

    1. Ted,

      De Niro… the last few years? Go to IMDB and start with The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000) and work your way up to the top. Then look at the quality of his 90’s movies. . I hate to say it but it’s been more like 12 years IMHO. It’s hard to believe but he hasn’t done a film with Marty since Casino back in ’95. I could only name 2 directors (Ramis, Rodriguez… ok and his self directed movie The Good Shepherd) he worked with from the ’00’s. Yet just from from ’95 to ’99 I can name Mann, Tarantino, Levinson (twice), Cuaron, Frankenheimer, Ramis and yessss even the deadly duo of Tony “whiplash” Scott and Joel “Batman with nipples” Schumacher. LOL. But I digress. I have to wonder if he’s not wanted by the top directing talent anymore or is this really the career path that he’s chosen. What’s your take Ted?

      You could pretty much do the same thing with Al “Hoo-ah!” Pacino’s career after the millenium too.

      1. Ted S.

        LOL, you’re right it’s been a long time since De Niro actually starred in a good movie. You know I’m wondering that too, maybe he’s just in it for the money now. Maybe he thought he’s way past his prime a leading man, so might as well just cash in by being in crappy films like New Year’s Eve and 15 Minutes.

        Yeah I gave up on Pacino a long time ago, now he made a fool of himself by appearing in crap like Jack and Jill.

    2. I actually considered Chaplin for the exact same reason as you Ted, I’ve only seen him in a few silent films as a kid. But he’s an iconic actor so I do think he belongs on this list.

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  4. Hahaha, this really isn’t a surprise. I was almost sure he would be added and I guess Scott won’t be too happy with you for removing his choice!

    Looking forward to seeing Kristin’s pick. Hadn’t visited her site before, so it’s a great way to be introduced to her little corner on the web!

    1. He..he.. no surprise but I made my case convincingly, right? 😉 I hope my matey Scott won’t hate me for life after this, ahah.

      Oh, glad I introduce you to Kristin’s site, she’s got a great blog!

    2. Excited for you to visit the site. I definitely owe Ruth some major gratitude for handing over the baton to me. Looking forward to checking our your site as well, Nostra!

  5. I am in no position at all to criticise your choice of actor that you added to the list due to the fact that I have not seen anything that Gregory Peck has been in but if you think he deserves to be in this list then he must be good, right? And I will surely watch a few of his films if you have any recommendations?
    I am sad to see Paul Giamatti removed from the list as I do think he is a very talented actor but I can understand that he may not be as highly rated as some of the others on the list. There’s only room for ten so it’s going to be a tough choice whoever goes!

    1. Hi there, welcome to FC! I hope one day you’d give one of Mr. Peck films a chance, boy there are sooo many to choose from. What kind of genre are you into, he’s done practically ALL of them, Westerns, thrillers, action, comedies, horror, you name it 🙂

      1. Oh I’ll definitely give Peck a try. I’m always open to finding out more about actors that I may not know or that other people recommend. I’m a big fan of Westerns, especially ones from back in the day, so I might have to try and find one of those to watch!

        1. That’s the spirit!! If you like Westerns, I highly recommend The Big Country by William Wyler. I’m actually not a fan of the genre but I LOVE that film, great theme music as well. Yellow Sky is another Western of Mr. Peck that I’ve come to love, it’s in black & white but the cinematography is beautiful! If you want something fun and over-the-top, do check out Duel in the Sun, ahah.

  6. I’m ashamed to say the only Peck film I’ve seen is The Omen. MUST WATCH To Kill a Mockingbird. I will make it a priority! Great choice for passing the baton. Looking forward to Kristin’s addition!

    1. Oh no! Pete, I highly recommend ‘Mockingbird’ but if you want something really fun and action-packed, watch Guns of Navarone. Btw, next week there’ll be PLENTY of Gregory Peck movie recommendations here 😉

  7. fanfan

    I agree for Christian Bale! (and C.C.)
    But i prefer Pitt instead of Norton! (I prefer his interpretation in Fight Club)
    The others, never seen their films!

    1. Hi fanfan, interesting, I actually much prefer Norton’s performance in Fight Club though I do think it’s one of my fave Pitt’s roles, generally I’m not a fan of that guy.

    1. Hi Keith, yeah thanks to Nostra for creating this cool blog idea! Hope you’ll follow the updates to this post, I’m curious to see who’ll be left at the end of this.

  8. Way to go old school Ruth.

    I’d take off Norton. I think he dropping off although Moonrise Kingdom looks interesting. Bale is only getting better plus he’s got 2 upcoming films with Malick. I’d have to put Hackman or O’Toole in there. I just love those guys and they’ve still got it unlike some other 70’s actors I can think of.

    1. He..he.. classic hollywood never dies, man! They’re called a screen icon for a reason 🙂

      I think Norton is still very much a solid actor, he’s probably just on a temporary hiatus of late. I do agree about Hackman, who knows maybe someone would put him on the list.

  9. I love the fact that there’s finally more representation in this list from old Hollywood and Gregory Peck is certainly deserving. As it stands right now, we only have three actors who have passed away, which indicates how, so far, we have focused on younger, contemporary actors. It is to be expected, but there are many names out there that haven’t even been touched upon that are far more legendary and accomplished than Mr. Christian Bale for example.

    Having said that, I do think that all of the actors in here are excellent and I do not believe any particular one is undeserving of the love, but we still don’t have the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Morgan Freeman, Cary Grant, etc. I realize there aren’t enough spots in the list, but at least one or two of these deserve a mention.

    Looking forward to the next chapter in this race!

    1. All right Niels! I do think perhaps a separate list might be in order for Best Actors, but since Nostra combines the classic and contemporary ones, it’s only fair if we have both period represented. It really is easy for me to choose Mr. Peck after having seen so many of his films, he truly was one of the greats of ANY generation.

      I certainly would love to see Bogart and Freeman to make their way into the list, they just might.

  10. I never saw this coming!! 😛 Yea, my main complaint earlier was that all the “great” actors seemed to be from the last couple decades so it’s nice to see some Old Hollywood actors starting to creep in there as they should.

    1. I do hope we’ll get a few more classic actors on the list, Castor. He..he.. how could I not include Mr. Peck here, I mean we are talking about THE best of all time! Really Castor, you should check out a few of his movies already.

  11. This all time thing is a tough call; especially as you have to narrow down to a “top 10 of all time.” That said, I always take exception when I see yougins on such lists (al a Norton and Bale) – very unfair I know. While the majority of their work to date has been impressive, I think that another 5-10 will cement their vaunted status.

    1. Yeah I know what you mean Iba, though some actors have done great work even before they hit 40 and Bale is one of them. Even Gregory did a ton of amazing work before he was 40 as well, in fact, he got his 4 Oscar nominations in his 30s!

  12. Ah nice, very nice picks here. But if I were to pick, I’d take out Christian Bale and put Al Pacino instead. I’m having a marathon of his films and it’s impossible not to call him one of the greatest actors.

  13. It’s clear evidence that I have been away from the computer for the past two days when you handed the baton over to me and I am now posting the 31st comment on it! Sorry for showing up so late 🙂

    Thanks for handing over the baton. Definitely going to be a bit of a job on my end, but I’m excited to take the challenge–thanks, Ruth!

    P.S. – it doesn’t surprise me that you chose Gregory Peck, but then again, you’ve seen enough of his films to know his high caliber of acting. Respect!

    1. Hey, everyone needs a break from the computer once in a while Kris. I was almost late posting this also, thankfully Nostra reminded me. I look forward to your pick and who you’ll take out (hopefully not my beloved!! ha..ha..)

      Yes I think having seen over half of his entire work qualifies me to call him one of the best actors ever 😀 I know it’s not a surprise to a lot of people, but hopefully this will make ’em curious enough to check out some of his work.

    1. Well to be honest, I don’t only go by ‘favorite’ as I didn’t pick Gerry Butler. I do think aside from how I feel about Gregory, he truly was one of the best in the business, it’s just that I’m late in discovering him.

        1. Yes indeed, Nov. And like Cillian, he’s also got his start in theater. In fact, Broadway was Gregory’s first love before he was courted by the studio to do films. That’s why when you posted those stills of Cillian’s one-man shows, I wished I could see Gregory on stage… but of course I’d need a time machine for that, ahah.

          1. Good thing that people know your GP is talented…if this relay is passed on to me and I pick my beloved CM…I can imagine everyone saying I choose him because I love his face 😦 …in fact, his acting is the reason I adore him.

            1. Oh I know that a pretty face alone won’t be enough to earn our adulation, Nov, I mean we’d be bored with them fast if they have no talents to go with their good looks. Btw, both Cillian & Gregory have Irish roots (hence their gorgeous eyes), so it must be in the water over there huh? 😀

    1. So so so sorry matey!!! You know I agonized over it and only after I made the decision to remove him that I remember he was your addition!! But I know you are a good sport Scott, right right? 😀 😀

  14. Really like this blog series. Gregory Peck is a good choice, but I would’ve chosen Duvall to replace rather than Giamatti. Any thoughts on if Michael Fassbinder should be on this list – or is it still too soon to bestow the “best actor” honour on him?

    1. Hi there, welcome to FC! Um, I think Fassbender is too ‘new’ to be included in this list. Give him another 4-5 yrs then maybe.

  15. Nice to see another classic actor get in here, even if Peck was the predictable choice. 😛 But seriously, good job Ruth. I have only seen a couple of his films, but there’s no denying his talent. Looking forward to FINALLY seeing To Kill a Mockingbird.

    1. I don’t know if I’ve asked you this Eric, but which of Peck films have you seen? Woo hoo! Let me know what you think of ‘Mockingbird.’ It’s certainly one of his all time best roles.

  16. Here’s where I fall apart with my film knowledge. I don’t think I’ve seen a single film with Gregory Peck in it! EEP!

    I know it’s something I need to fix!

    1. Oh Jaina… you don’t know what you’re missing girl 🙂 I know I was in your camp before last Fall, as by that time I had only seen him in Roman Holiday. He really is amazing, I highly recommend RH if you like a bit of rom-com, but if you like action, there’s Guns of Navarone. Really, there’s at least one in every genre, so no more excuses 😀

  17. Poor Paul. But you make a valid point on his performances being great, but only in supporting roles, whereas a lot on this list have done well in supporting AND main actor roles.

    Knew you’d pick Peck! ha. Nice choice. Can’t fault you there!

    Team Batman lives on!! Okay, Kristin, keep it going! 😀

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  20. ap

    please don’t take offense here guys but actors of the past need not be great just going by the saying old is gold. Many of them were skilled actors but it is more of a public persona startling the audience with their emotional intensity than inhibiting a character and pass that great acting.

    what we are discussing here is screen persona and our favorite idols than great acting. i agree with many of the names you listed but the old actors appear dodgy to me. as far as screen persona i am in perfect agreement with you.

    i terms of character acting i would say Gary Oldman one of the best. i would claim christian bale has both but he is still young we need to watch his future works to decide that and i hope he will prove to be one.

    i may add that weight loss does not equal great acting but whether by it he was able to convey the character effectively show be the important criteria.

    okay, sorry it is long but i felt i needed to say this.

    1. ap you kind of contradict yourself in what your saying. You say the older actors were more intense, onscreen personas than they were actors. Then about Bale you say he should be judged by whether “he was able to convey the character effectively show be the important criteria”. Well shouldn’t the same be said of the golden oldies actors? While I understand what you’re saying that some older actors did play different versions of themselves (their persona) onscreen the important thing is that they were able to able to “convey the characters effectively”. Right? They might not have come up from the Stanislavski school of method acting but a great character is a great character no matter how they got there. I would argue that older actors is such diverse roles were able to convey their characters admirably. For example take this top 10 list… Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch or Captain Ahab, Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy or Col. Kurtz, Chaplin as The Tramp or The Great Dictator, or Robert Duvall as Col. Kilgore or Mac Sledge were very much able to convey such diametrically opposed characters… noting that they are nothing like their real life personas. Ok maybe Peck was a little like Atticus Finch but my point is that as far as getting their individual characters across they were great actors. Understand I didn’t take offense but I do find it kind of dismissive to call their inclusion dodgy.

      Just to throw out some food for thought here’s some other great older actors who were certainly gold in my book in some very disparate roles: Robert Mitchum as Max Cady or Philip Marlowe, Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence or Eli Cross, Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry or Dr. Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham, Lawrence Olivier as Henry V or the Nazi dentist Szell or Peter Sellers as Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake / President Merkin Muffley / Dr. Strangelove or Chief Inspector Clouseau or even Alec Guinness as Col. Nicholson or 8 different members of the D’Ascoyne family. Great acting all around. While I chose “range” in a prolific number of roles as my most important criteria it’s certainly not the only one or the most important one in an opinion poll like this.

      As far as Gary Oldman goes you could definitely put him in the category of overactor… especially in the 90’s. See Leon: The Professional, Romeo Is Bleeding, The Fifth Element, etc. That being said I really like Oldman a lot but that would be enough for me to not put him in the top 10. He’s even in the overacting hall of fame with Cage, Pacino and Penn:

      Exhibit A:

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  23. I haven’t seen too many of Gregory Peck’s films besides the obvious classics “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Roman Holiday”, so I couldn’t really say if he’s great. I suppose we are drawn to the actors we find appealing, and enjoy their body of work, and how they bring characters to life.
    Or in the case of Robert Duval who I removed from the list, I have not specifically decided to watch Duvall movies , I know him because he turns up so regularly as a supporting actor in so many classics, so I couldn’t really avoid him as an actor ( :

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  25. ap

    dear dave,

    like you said the golden age actors were known more for their screen personas. not that it is their fault. that was the movies of those days about and i strongly believe that’s what launched the film industry (hollywood) to what it is today by creating personalities for us to drool over. not that they were not portraying the charecter on screen.

    through the 70’s to now we see the actors persona is less important (leave out today’s celebrity culture) and more on how an actor disappears into different characters nothing in common to himself or herself. that is why range is one of the most important category. not likability-a major factor then and today which we confuse with talent.

    as far as gary oldman’s overacting, i think the director and the script called for it. see his low-key performance in the batman movies. then bale in american psycho and ledger as joker are also overactions. like to hear you point of view on this.

  26. ap

    to add to the above, in the list of oldies i did not include nicholson and one exception in the golden age age is lawrence olivier. i agree with your list of overactors but, a i mention above, i disagree on oldman and penn with reservation.

    just as a light-hearted comment, Bale was accused of just reading from the script in public enemies when even purvis’ son acknowledged how bang-on he was in portrayal of his father. maybe overaction is what we want not a genuine characterization. we need something in them to snap! our attention. may if he weren’t so quiet and showed a gun-ho f b i cop we would have admired his characterization more. i could make similar comments about bale in rescue dawn and the fighter but there it is.

    1. Hey, that is an interesting trivia on Bale in Public Enemies. I didn’t really like that film nor do I think his performance was all that memorable. But if the son of the man he’s portraying say that his performance was spot-on then who am I to argue? 🙂

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  28. ap

    thanks ruth. i read this in an article. it said alston purvis visited the set where the were shooting the final scene at the biograph where Dillinger was shot.
    alston purvis later said it was the greatest night of his life as he saw his father come back to life. he said no other actor on earth could play his father.

    when he played dengler in rescue dawn herzog said dengler’s sons visited the set they stared at bale in amazement and one of them even accidently called him dad during lunch. i think everybody knows the story of ‘the fighter’.

    1. Thanks for sharing such a cool trivia. I know Bale is a great actor but wow, to actually be able to get into another person’s skin in such a way is really a gift not many thespians possess. It’s uncanny to see Bale in The Fighter and seeing that last frame of the original Dicky. No doubt that Oscar win is well-deserved!

  29. Pingback: 10 Best Actors of All-Time Relay Race | Taste of Cinema

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  31. Pingback: The Ten: Best All-Time Actors Relay Race | 1:37 exactly

  32. BobLoblah

    13Sep12……While Gregory Peck is a great actor, he does NOT warrant making the “List of 10 Greatest Actors’.

    Marlon Brando does, but ALL the others are just plain not worth it.

    …and according to Marlon Brando when he was asked who he thought was the greatest actor of all time, he replied without hesitancy… ….’Mickey Rooney’.

    Mickey Rooney could do it all.

    BobLoblah has to agree.

  33. G.

    It’s obvious no one watches movies from the “golden age”. I agree with Deniro, and Pacino. In time Oldman will be added along with D. Washington and M. Freeman, but what about Bogie, Spencer Tracey, Cary Grant etc.?

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