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Top 10 Actors from the United Kingdom

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Harris. There are reasons why it’s called Great Britain, and the following are ten of the very best. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 actors from the United Kingdom. For this list, we’ve looked at male actors from the United Kingdom who have garnered international fame and success. These are the greatest of ‘All Time’, so there are no era-specific boundaries. Special thanks to our users emrumsch@cox.net, Damien R Jones, Dylan Tyrer,Michael Woodson, Jennifer Leeann Graham, moviemania, dj10041 and prnoflin for submitting the idea through our suggestions tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 UK Actors of All Time



There are reasons why it’s called Great Britain, and the following are ten of the very best. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors from the United Kingdom.

For this list, we’ve looked at male actors from the United Kingdom who have garnered international fame and success. These are the greatest of ‘All Time’, so there are no era-specific boundaries.

#10: Cary Grant
1904 - 1986

If there has ever been an archetype for Hollywood’s leading man, then Cary Grant is it! The English actor gained American citizenship in 1942, such was his impact in the States, and he remains one of Britain’s best exports. From “Bringing Up Baby” to “The Philadelphia Story” to “Notorious”, Grant could play ‘screwball’ just as well as ‘rom-com’, just as well as ‘thriller’. He was an all-star all-rounder, and he’s our awesome opener!

#9: Alan Rickman
1946 -

Is he classically criminal, or criminally classy? Alan Rickman treads the line between the bad and the beautiful with a skill that very few actors possess. In “Die Hard”, as Hans Gruber, he very nearly hypnotises us into vying for the villain, and in “Harry Potter” he flicks between murderous and misunderstood as Severus Snape. Even in “Love Actually,” he manages to play a loveable adulterer. Rickman, we don’t know how you do it, but thank you!

#8: Sir Ian McKellen
1939 -

With a career as long as Gandalf’s wispy white beard, McKellen waited quite awhile to achieve absolute superstardom, and he deserved it when it came. At the turn of the millennium, he was cast as the evil magneto in “X-Men”, but he clearly wanted more than malevolence. In 2001, McKellen assumed the role of Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings,” and proved as wonderful at being a wizard as he was at being wicked.

#7: Sir Charlie Chaplin
1889 - 1977

A truly Great Briton, Chaplin is an icon within the UK, and an icon within movie history. As his character ‘The Tramp’, Chaplin brought style and slapstick together, creating a unique brand of humor that was often copied, but never bettered. He was a United Artists cofounder in 1919, a well-known perfectionist throughout his career, and a sometimes-controversial figure within the industry. “The Kid” made him, “City Lights” made him even better, and “The Great Dictator” confirmed him as a legend.

#6: Gary Oldman
1958 -

A wide cinematic range is a common feature on this list, but there aren’t many who can boast a variety of roles to rival Gary Oldman’s. He rose to fame playing punk-rocker Sid Vicious, gained worldwide recognition for his portrayals of the presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the notorious vampire Count Dracula, and has more recently become known as Azkaban’s most wanted, Sirius Black, and Gotham City’s good guy, Commissioner James Gordon. He makes acting look easy!

#5: Peter O’Toole
1932 - 2013

Scoring a solid fifth place, but falling short of our podium, is Peter O’Toole. An incredible actor, that he should just miss out on the top spots is reflective of his career. O’Toole achieved a record 8 Academy Award nominations without once winning the golden statuette! Though the title role in “Lawrence of Arabia” is probably his most famous, this thespian was best when given ‘epic’ parts. He played Henry II twice, Hamlet once, and though he never won an Oscar, he did win absolute international respect!

#4: Lord Laurence Olivier
1907 - 1989

This countdown contains a few ‘Sirs’, but Olivier is the only ‘Lord’ to make our list. He took acting to an altogether different level during the ‘40s and ‘50s, bringing a particular sophistication to the silver screen. That he found most success while adapting the works of William Shakespeare is proof enough that he’s one of the UK’s own, and one of their greatest... but, the longevity of Olivier’s career is also incredible - he was actively acting for 62 years!

#3: Sir Michael Caine
1933 -

As a youngster, he was exciting; at middle-age, he was excellent; as an older man, he’s exemplary. Michael Caine didn’t exactly get better with age, but only because he was so good to begin with! As a Londoner growing up (with a clear cockney accent...), he might’ve quickly been typecast. However, Caine proved versatile enough as an Army officer in “Zulu”, dangerous enough as the title role in “Get Carter”, and charming enough as Charlie Croker in “The Italian Job.” And those were just the beginnings of a brilliant, British career!

#2: Sir Anthony Hopkins
1937 -

Few actors possess an intensity the likes of which seems to flow through this man’s body when he appears on stage or screen. Anthony Hopkins can play classical, criminal and downright creepy... And he does it all with a steely glint in his eye, and an enigmatic edge to his tone. The Welshman will likely always be best remembered as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” - and with or without his straightjacket, he has been firmly locked up in our second spot.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Sir Alec Guinness
1914 - 2000
- Colin Firth
1960 -
- Liam Neeson
1952 -
- Sir Christopher Lee
1922 -
- Ewan McGregor
1971 -
- Christian Bale
1974 -

#1: Sir Daniel Day-Lewis
1957 -

A newly crowned knight of Queen Elizabeth II’s round table, Sir Daniel Day Lewis will be just as proud to take the top position with us! His career has length, but it doesn’t possess particular volume. Day-Lewis is notoriously choosy over his roles - but he is unfalteringly brilliant in nearly everything he does. A meticulous method actor, he doesn’t just portray his parts, he lives them. Anyone who can convince us he is Bill the Butcher one moment and Abraham Lincoln another clearly has range, and ridiculous talent!

Do you agree with our list? Which UK actor did we forget? For more Blatantly British Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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