Best Actors Of All Time

The dance between the actors and the camera gives a film its life and vitality. A good actor will always mould themselves psychologically, physically and emotionally to be directed. Actors have to execute every direction perfectly to bring in the vision of both the writers and the audience.  Here’s our pick for the greatest actors of all time!

Daniel Day-Lewis

The actor was knighted in 2014 and has secured three academy awards for his acting. If not his multitude of accolades, his performances in films like Phantom Thread, There Will Be Blood, and Gandhi should be testimonial of his great contribution to the field of acting. 

One of the most exciting Daniel Day-Lewis performances can be seen in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. His penetrative portrayal of the psychological turmoils of an Oilman is set in early 1900s. His dedication to method acting can best be seen in Lincoln, based on the American president responsible for stopping slavery. In 1982, Daniel Day-Lewis presented the world with one of his most memorable works Gandhi. 

Whoopi Goldberg

This Academy Award-winning actress has one of the most memorable debut performances in history. She debuted with Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple. Although Hollywood did not know how to apply her talents the best all throughout, she has given some incredible performances. 

Goldberg received her Oscar for Jerry Zucker’s Ghost; where she plays a charlatan posing to be clairvoyant. She played a maid in Richard Pearce’s historical drama The Long Walk Home. her directness of dialogue delivery and her organic talent makes her one of the greatest actors of all time. The subtext of playfulness in her calm persona makes her truly enigmatic on screen. 

Jack Nicholson

This actor will forever be remembered for his iconic portrayal of the insane author in Kubrick’s The Shining. But he has played a variety of significant roles, which are definitely worth mentioning.

This actor has bagged three Oscars for his roles in, Polanski’s Chinatown among others. In One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Jack plays the mentally institutionalized McMurphy. Jack Nicholson’s most enigmatic presence on screen can be seen in Chinatown where he is a lonely noir hero. Jack Nicholson with his cigarettes and a sly smile is a cinematic legend. 

Al Pacino

Al Pacino is a man who needs no introduction. He is one of the greatest actors in America and brings Hollywood immense pride. Al Pacino is a method actor, who is deeply invested in his art. He received an Oscar for his striking portrayal of the cynical Lieutenant, who has lost his eyesight. 

 He also got wide recognition for his naturalistic charisma as Michael in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy; which is one of the best American films ever made. In Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino plays Sonny who is apparently trying to pay for his friend’s Sex Reassignment surgery by robbing a bank. But his most iconic line will always be from Scarface as Tony Montana: “Say Hello to my little friend”. 

Denzel Washington

Ever since Denzel Washington’s debut in 1980s, he has given some very compelling performances in classics like Malcolm X, Training Day, and Much Ado About Nothing. 

Denzel received his oscar for his role as the morally dubious detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day. he also gave very powerful performances in Philadelphia, which is a courtroom drama  concerning an AIDS crisis.  Washington’s mystifying presence adds beautiful depths to the film he appears in. Washington as Malcolm truly captures the magnetism of the role in the Spike Lee film. Washington also appears in another Spike Lee classic jazz drama, which is about lust, art and connections: ‘Mo’ Better Blues. 

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson has given life and nuance to many films like Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Tarantino’s legendary Pulp Fiction where he played The hitman who eloquently rattles off bible verses with bullets. He also  has an honorary award from the Academy. 

He also displayed his versatilty in his career as a Colnel in William Friedkin’s Rules Of Engagement which is set during the Vietnam War. In Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Jackson plays the evil domestic slave. He also played the coke-addicted Gator in Jungle Fever, which also helped him maintain his sobriety. Jackson is a popculture icon for his apperence in the Tarantino films, which feel like the scripts were written with him in mind. 

Morgan Freeman

He will forever be remembered for his emotional intensity, transcendental voice and subtle humour. He was the first in his generation of actors, to be hired for roles that were not exclusively written for Black actors. His sheer talent paved the way for many more to come.

With a background in Shakespearean theatre, Freeman rose to prominence with his role of a street smart pimp who is on trial for murder, in Street Smart. Morgan Freeman has had a long-standing professional collaboration with Clint Eastwood for exceptional films like Unforgiven, Invictus, and Million Dollar Baby. He played the jaded Lieutenant and brought beautiful details in Fincher’s Se7en. He has portrayed the South African President and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela. He will forever be remembered as the truly redeemed Red in The Shawshank Redemption. 

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is hailed to be one of the best actors of her generation. Her veratality, and the effortlessness with which she adapts to different accents are signs of true talent. She has 21 Academy Award nominations and that is for a reason!

She will forever be remembered for her portrayal of Sophie a holocaust survivor, who had to make an impossibly horrible decision: in Sophie’s Choice. She received an Academy award for this role. In Out Of Africa, Meryl plays the role of Karen Blixen as she narrates her life in Africa in the 1900’s. She has a prolific and long-spanning career where she plays diverse roles such as Ana Wintour’s Miranda Priestly. She also has given an incredible performance in The Iron Lady, as the first female British Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher. This amazing woman can mould herself into any character. 

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro has given the trope of an angry, violent criminal immense psychological depth. He is famous and widely revered for his collaboration with Martin Scorsese classics. He has also worked with critically acclaimed directors like Bernardo Bertolucci and Sergio Leone. 

He gained permanent prominence with his portrayal of young Vito Corleone in 1917 New York, in Godfather II. They perfectly captured the authority depicted by Marlon Brando in the older years. In Scorsese’s Taxi Driver he plays the mentally ill Vietnam war veteran who has insomnia from PTSD. In Bertolucci’s 1900 is set during the Italian liberation from the fascists, and De Niro plays Alfredo Berlinghieri, a wealthy landowner. When Robert De Niro does something even as simple as lighting a cigarette and holding a door open, it is enchanting.