There are countless list of greatest actors on the internet. The motive of this list is to make a list of actors who are not necessarily graded by their acting ability, but to gauge their influence on the craft, culture,  fame marketability and longevity. Someone who is listed lower might be a better actor, but he might lag behind in screen presence or popularity and are larger than life. The acting is as much important as the star quality, for example Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor but not a star. Some might not be known around the world but too big in the west and some not big in the west but too important somewhere else. So here is the list of the most influential actors according to us.

10. Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is one of the most influential actors

A critic described Clint Eastwood as having two expressions, one with the hat and one without. He is not a great actor if your a fan of method acting. He doesn’t try to do too much, he is just there. He is not very vulnerable, woke people might think his masculinity is toxic and has a electrifying screen presence which can’t really be replicated. His influence is undeniable, and he is one of the most important actors ever, even though there are actors better than him but they lack his influence and they can act all they want but the audience might not feel the way they feel when they see him on screen.

Recommended movies – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Dirty Harry, Unforgiven 

9. Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is one of the most influential actors

He might be the greatest actor on the list, when you consider his body of work. He is a favorite of every actor around the world, who is serious about the craft, or they might think its very deep. If your looking for a star in the mold of the old, he is not it, that’s why he is on number 9. He lacks movie star looks, he is not a entertainer, not easy to watch, he doesn’t have presence on screen which screams at you. You feel people like him because that’s what you are supposed to. He is very likable and his politics is not problematic and people who like him are not problematic. He is highly imitated, parodied which is a sign of influence.

Recommended movies – Raging Bull, The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas

8. Amitabh Bachchan

This might confuse people, but he is the most influential non western industry actor. He is the godfather of all Bollywood heroes, he is a hero on screen and not a actor. Bollywood is a lot of things, we don’t know whether its good or bad, but it is very consequential for at least a billion people on earth politically. Again not the most good looking, not a great actor, problematic off camera but his screen presence in his prime (1975-79) is unmatchable. There are actors who are far superior to him acting wise, but when they are onscreen with him, no matter how well they act you can’t take your eyes off him, nobody will notice them. Again never really vulnerable, his voice, his height, his walk stands out. Good dancer too. Anybody not familiar with Indian movies and don’t know him, he will stand out to them purely on charisma.

Recommended movies – Sholay, Amar Akbar Anthony, Don

7. James Cagney

His was a very theatrical performance but it was on-screen and not onstage. Highly imitated, very entertaining, rags to riches story and larger than life. Pre-method acting era, highly stylized, far from reality, no human behaved like him in reality but he came of as true. Played dangerous men with cool, was an archetypal actor who was tried to be replicated by many. Influence still persists, was Tupac Shakur’s charterers hero in the movie Juice.

Recommended movies – The Public Enemy, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat

6. Sidney Poitier

Before him black performers were playing servile characters on screen, his ascendance had tremendous impact on the culture. He became the first black hero in 1950s, first black actor to win prestigious awards and he helped change the attitude to black people which persisted forever. Denzel Washington might be a better actor and a bigger star, but Sidney walked so Denzel could fly and others. That alone warrants a place for him on this list.

Recommended movies – The Defiant Ones, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

5. Cary Grant

Cary Grant is one of the most influential actors

He usually plays the suave leading man, not threatening or dangerous type. For some he is the most well dressed, handsome leading man. He is the antithesis to John Waynes and Cagneys, if you like them you won’t like him and vice versa. Also great comedic actor. He is not really cocky, or has swagger, but his masculinity is not toxic. He is a mold of actor which is hard to replicate. Very safe but impactful.

Recommended movies – North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, Notorious, His Girl Friday

4. Humphrey Bogart

He was an a inspiration to nouvelle vague, and ranked #1 on AFI’s list of the greatest screen actors. He played second fiddle till 1941,  broke into A-list in High Sierra,  and never looked back. From 1941-55, whatever movies he appeared, he made them better by his performance. Was a star of enormous magnitude, was in some of the most memorable movies ever made. Some say he is an example of actor as an auteur. Was at his best in noir movies or you could say he made the noir genre.

Reccomended movies – Casablanca, In a Lonely Place, The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon

3. Marlon Brando

There is movies before Brando and movies after Brando. I am not a big fan of method acting, but the world exist beyond me and his influence is humongous. Every great actor after him, from De Niro to Pacino to Nicholson to Hackman and Depp have sung paens of him. He is easily the most talented actor, but at the end of 1950s he stopped caring about acting, and that weakened his resume. Highly political conscious, involved in civil rights. Yet he had already made the impact which people still feel. His traits are magnetic screen presence, nasal tone and mumbling. 

Reccomended movies – The Godfather, On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, Apocalypse Now 

2. John Wayne

John Wayne is one of the most influential actors

He had very conservative views which were reflected in his movies. For the woke times we live in he is very problematic, but his screen presence is such that, you can’t help yourselves falling for him. Not someone with great range, can’t inhabit and disappear in his character, one of those (Steve McQueen, Tom Cruise) who usually play himself. We live in a America, which he represents. Usually played a western morally grey hero who won against the odds in a harsh world, who does not like to show any weakness. 

Reccomended movies – The Searchers, Red River, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Stagecoach, Rio Bravo

1. Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Not the greatest(De Niro) or most talented(Brando), but certainly the first human in the entire civilization who pursued the craft of acting and became a demigod. He was the first showbiz superstar, famous all over the world and still influencing. Was very expressive facially, physically did dangerous stunts and politically left leaning. His movies are still watched. Influenced everyone including Michael Jackson and Prince. Movies are influential, timeless and because his movies are silent they are global.

Reccomended movies – City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Veena

    Deniro should have been higher, don’t know poitier

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