My Top 10 Favorite Actors

April 16, 2007

So far, I think this was the hardest of all my top 10 lists. By hardest, I mean being able to narrow this list down to only 10 names. It could have easily been a Top 25 List. I compiled the list by selecting actors who have I enjoyed for a while, and who have several movies I’ve liked, with not many I haven’t liked.

So, here’s the list:

freeman.jpg10. Morgan Freeman

The Great: Shawshank Redemption, Se7en, Million Dollar Baby

The Good: Unforgiven, Outbreak, Kiss the Girls, Bruce Almighty

The Bad: I didn’t mind them, but Edison and Along Came a Spider were pretty weak.

Morgan Freeman is the kind of actor it’s so hard not to like. He usually plays such likeable characters, and his voice acting alone, in films like “March of the Penguins”, is enough to make you love the guy. I wish he had more lead roles, as he’s often more of a supporting actor. I’d really like to see him play a tortured soul type of character. I think he’d be great in a role like that.

bale.jpg9. Christian Bale

The Great: Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Machinist

The Good: Harsh Times, Reign of Fire

The Bad: None that I have seen yet.

Christian Bale is quickly climbing my list of favorite actors. His past three films (Prestige, Batman Begins and Machinist) have just blown me away.

denzel_washington_002.jpg8. Denzel Washington

The Great: Training Day, He Got Game, Inside Man, John Q

The Good: Philadelphia, Fallen, Remember the Titans, Man on Fire

The Bad: The Manchurian Candidate

Denzel Washington is great at picking top-notch roles. He is rarely in a bad movie, and I can almost guarantee I will enjoy any film he is in, which is quite an accomplishment for any actor.

pacino.jpg7. Al Pacino

The Great: Godfather’s I, II and III, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Heat

The Good: Any Given Sunday, Carlito’s Way, The Recruit, Two for the Money, Insomnia

The Bad: His appearance in Gigli has to be considered quite the blemish on his resume.

Al Pacino is such an incredible actor, probably the best of his generation. Rarely does an actor of his ability come along, and not many other people can claim the type of superb films that he has starred in.

niccage.jpg6. Nicolas Cage

The Great: Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air, Face/Off, Weather Man, The Rock

The Good: City of Angels, 8MM, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Lord of War

The Bad: Ghost Rider, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (not a bad movie, but pretty boring).

Nicolas Cage doesn’t necessarily get the critical acclaim, although he has won a Best Actor award. He does, however, continually pump out entertaining film after entertaining film. He’s long been one of my all-time faves.

brad_pitt.jpg5. Brad Pitt

The Great: Se7en, Fight Club, Troy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

The Good: Kalifornia, Twelve Monkeys, Sleepers, A River Runs Throught It, Ocean’s 11

The Bad: Seven Years In Tibet (I found it incredibly boring)

Brad Pitt is another actor with a huge list of incredible movies, and although he does make some odd selections sometimes (Seven Years in Tibet, Meet Joe Black, Legends of the Fall), he is an actor who has such incredible range, with success in nearly every type of role possible.

wahlberg.jpg4. Mark Wahlberg

The Great: The Departed, Boogie Nights, I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings

The Good: Planet of the Apes, Rock Star, Invincible, Four Brothers, The Italian Job

The Bad: The Big Hit, The Truth About Charlie

Mark Wahlberg may be a strange choice for fourth overall on my list, considering the type of actors out there, but I have always been a huge fan of Wahlberg’s. He has been in several movies I have really, really liked, and even the ones that weren’t that great (The Big Hit), I still enjoyed. I’m really looking forward to seeing “Shooter”.

samueljackson.jpg3. Samuel L. Jackson

The Great: Pulp Fiction, 187, Jackie Brown, The Negotiator, Unbreakable

The Good: A Time To Kill, Rules of Engagement, S.W.A.T., Coach Carter

The Bad: XXX, XXX: State of the Union, The Man

Sam Jackson has been in so many of my favorite movies, he was an easy pick for this list. Although he does make some pretty stupid choices (Both XXX’s… come on Sam!), he is one of the coolest actors around, and I will always watch a movie if he’s in it.

norton.jpg2. Edward Norton

The Great: Fight Club, American History X, 25th Hour, Down In The Valley

The Good: Primal Fear, The Score, Rounders, Italian Job

The Bad: Death To Smoochy, Red Dragon. His performances were not bad at all, but the movies themselves were pretty bad.

Edward Norton is an incredibly talented actor. I’d go as far as to say he is the best actor under 40 years old in the world. Not only can he act, but his movies are entertaining as well. Often, the great actors will stick to boring films, but thankfully Norton doesn’t do this. I am greatly looking forward to watching The Illusionist and The Painted Veil, both of which I have not yet seen.

spacey.jpg1. Kevin Spacey

The Great: Usual Suspects, Se7en, L.A. Confidential, The Negotiator, American Beauty

The Good: Outbreak, Glengarry Glenross, Pay It Forward, K-Pax, Life of David Gale

The Bad: Like Morgan Freeman, Spacey also appeared in the straight-to-DVD, “Edison”.

It was a tough choice, but I am listing Kevin Spacey as my favorite actor. He has played some incredible characters and has been in two to three movies that I’d rank among my top 10. It’s his work in American Beauty and the Usual Suspects that just blew me away. Spacey has been doing a lot more stage acting lately, and I hope he returns to film again soon.

> Read more ‘Top 10’ lists



  1. Like I said, this was such a hard list to build. I also wanted to list my honorable mentions:

    george clooney
    matt damon
    john travolta
    ben affleck
    kevin bacon
    jack nicholson
    will smith
    robert de niro
    hugh jackman
    guy pearce
    bruce willis
    antonio banderes
    johnny depp
    will ferrell
    vince vaughn
    tom cruise

  2. Interesting list. You ranked a lot of actors really high (Cage, Jackson, Wahlberg) that are good actors (Cage can even be a great actor, see Leaving Las Vegas and Raising Arizona) but he can also be a huge dud (see the Wicker Man). The importance here is obviously that it is favorite actors and not a talent contest. I am a big fan of everyone mentioned but here is where my list differs.

    10) Johnny Depp
    9) Tom Cruise
    8) Edward Norton
    7) Brad Pitt
    6) Kevan Spacey
    5) Jack Lemon
    4) Denzel Washington
    3) Christian Bale
    2) Robert DeNiro
    1) Al Pacino

    Dog Day Afternoon is still the best performance by any actor I have seen to date. That movie is trance like and the credit role is the release from that trance. Its like watching an actual event and Pacino’s acting is a big part of that.

    I think our lists are the way they are because of how we judge. I am going off mostly single performances and you are a career looker and also throw in how much you liked the entire movie. Your list is definitely better suited for a wider audience where as mine just might be suited to me.

  3. Great list! I love all these actors. Edward Norton is a singular favorite of mine. Primal Fear and the Score are my favorites and American History X, while very disturbing, is acting at its finest.

    I have been a fan of Morgan Freeman since Glory, and he is the main reason I bought March of the Penguins. I could listen to him read the phone book.

  4. Not Bad mine would need to be:

    10.emilio estevez
    9.Rob Lowe
    8.Joe Pesci
    7.Dwayane Johnson (I know people dont like him because he is a wrestler but I think he’s a great actor)
    6.Mark Wahlberg
    5.Jim Carrey
    4.Denzel Washington
    3.Brad Pitt
    2.Mel Gibson
    1.Johnny Depp

  5. matty u forgot to mention Samuel L. Jacksons globally renowned movie SNAKES ON A PLANE LOL.

  6. I find your choice of great movies interesting. Not many people liked Troy. I loved it. Same with Italian Job. For Ed Norton though, I would have added Kingdom of Heaven as one of his best performances. He’s in it so little, but still has a powerful impact given that you never really see him.
    And who can forget Christian’s wonderful turn as Laurie in Little Women or his powerful performance with John Malkovich in Empire of the Sun.

    Your top ten list is really great.

  7. There were two reasons that some titles weren’t listed.

    One, I decided on not listing more than 5 titles per category (Great, Good, Bad), as actors like Al Pacino have about 10 great movies, and I didn’t want the page to be too long.

    Second, I only included movies I’ve seen. I’ve yet to see Kingdom of Heaven, Little Women or Empire of the Sun, so that’s why they weren’t included.

  8. I think once you see Empire of the Sun, it will definitely be in your faves for Christian Bale. He was like 12, I think, but did a fantastic job.

  9. […] my favorite character from that film as the top choice on my list. Samuel L. Jackson is also one of my favorite actors, and this is easily my favorite role of his. Such a well written film, I could have listed 20 […]

  10. […] Washington, who made my Top 10 Favorite Actors list, was great as always. Val Kilmer, Jim Caviezel and Adam Goldberg also appear. I was also very […]

  11. De Niro and Nicholson > Your Top 10

  12. MY NAME IS KOREN HARRIS AN I LIKE PINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AND PURPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AND GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ALL COLLORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AND BRAD PIT, AND DENZLE WASHAINGTION

  13. 1. Mel Gibson
    2. Edward Norton
    3. Kevin Spacey
    4. Jack Black
    5. Matt Damon
    6. Kevin James
    7. Johnny Depp
    8. Brad Pitt
    9. Ed Harris
    10. Mark Wahlberg

    It’s really hard. Im not sure about 6-10…

    2 al pacino
    3 robert de niro
    4 marlon brando
    5 viggo mortensen
    6 brad pitt
    7 george clooney
    8 philip seymour hoffman
    9johnny depp
    10 kevin spacey

  15. No James Dean?

  16. this are the best :

    james dean
    clint eastwood
    marlo brando
    robert de niro
    jack nicholson
    al pacino
    Johnny Depp
    tom hanks
    Morgan Freeman

    less good:
    kevin spacey
    will smith
    Mark Wahlberg
    jim carrey
    deni de vito
    Christian Bale

    there are much more but i can’t remember…..

  17. I stumbled across your blog when looking for… I don’t even remember now because I’ve been reading it for the past hour. I love your top lists, especially since you pick a lot of movies and characters that sometimes are overlooked. I’m especially pleased to see that not only you, but many other people voted Ed Norton as a favorite. He is my all-time favorite actor; everything he is in is very different, and each one is so believable. There’s no movie he’s been in I haven’t enjoyed, or wanted to re-watch, and to be perfectly honest, he’s a really good looking fellow. His role in The Incredible Hulk I think was superb and I can’t wait till it comes out on DVD!

    Other than that, Matt Damon is a close 2nd, with Dennis Quaid brining up the 3rd.

  18. how is 12 monkeys a good film, but mr and mrs smith a great film…………….

  19. 1. Robert Pattison (Sp?)
    2. Jackson Rathbone
    3. Kellan Lutz
    4. Daniel Radcliffe
    5. Morgan Freeman
    6. Taylor Lautner
    7. Will Smith
    8. Adam Sandler
    9. Johny Depp
    10. Drake Bell

    luv these dudes

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