I am a sports fan and now there seem to be a million shows of people talking about every single detail of sports news. One topic I hear often is the discussion of which players are the greatest of all time and each one gives their list. In the spirit of conversation, as I hope in the comments we can share our favorites, I wanted to share my list of what I consider the best actors of all time in no order.
I will start with the great Paul Newman. I can’t remember the first film I saw but I believe it was Cool Hand Luke, there was a week I was off from school and I believe my father rented a few movies that introduced me to other great actors. Cool Hand Luke is a perfect example of his talent, the main attraction of the film is Paul Newman’s performance, he steals every scene he is in. For many decades he kept doing excellent work until he passed away in 2008. One of his last great performances was in the film Road to Perdition and his scenes with Tom hanks were so good. I would recommend that you see The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid both of those films with the great Robert Redford. So many good films really, but start with those.
Next on my list is my absolute favorite Al Pacino. I remember seeing Scent of a Woman and falling in love with that film and Pacino’s performance before knowing of his past films. Then I saw Serpico and that was it, I have seen most of his films and at least for me, his performances are always great even in bad films. Dog Day Afternoon is an absolute classic and Pacino delivered an amazing performance. The Godfather was his break out role, but for me, it was Serpico his best performance, he is really a force in that film, he makes the audience feel the frustration of this cop trying to be honest and do his job. His performance in the Devil’s Advocate as the Devil was the highlight of that film, and he has delivered so many great performances on films like Carlitos’s Way, Donnie Brasco, The Godfather trilogy, The Irishman and so many others.
Next on my list is Jack Nicholson, he has a wide range of films and his off-screen persona is as big as his acting career. Winner of three Oscars, he is truly one of the greats. A real pleasure to see on screen. I remember seeing for the first time One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and just being captivated by his performance though at the time I was young to really understand the film. Now years later it is still an amazing film to see and Jack is just perfect in that film. He is able to be funny and yet intense in his performances. As good as it gets is one of his best performances, he plays that character perfectly, and the story is just so great. Somethings gotta give is a really funny film where Jack plays a 60+ years old man who refuses to date women his age until he finally meets his match.
This actor is one of his generations best and at first, I would have never thought he would be. Leonardo DiCaprio has proven to be the best actor of these times. After the success of Titanic, he was smart to look for challenging roles instead of riding with the image of Jack Dawson. With that comment I am not saying anything bad about his performance in Titanic because I love that film, but who can deny the greatness that followed since Gangs of New York to his latest film Once upon a time in Hollywood. His work with Martin Scorsese is remarkable and Leo has done amazing work in those films. My favorites of his films are Titanic, Once upon a time in Hollywood, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Wolf of Wall Street.
I think those three are my absolute favorites but I have to mention others that could round up the list. Tom Hanks is also a great actor and has a charisma that shines through his roles, Forrest Gump is my favorite of his performances, along with Road to Perdition. Robert De Niro is one of the greats and I am a big fan of his films. He was heart-breaking in the Deer Hunter, and raw in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Of this generation I am turning into a fan of Adam Driver, I loved his performance in Marriage Story and Blackkksman and to me, he is the bright spot in Star Wars as Kylo Ren.
Liam Neeson ( films other than the recent taken alike films)
I will do a separate post for my favorite actresses. But as far as male actors go, these are my favorites, let me know yours!