The Ten: Best All Time Actors “relay race”

My friend, Nostra, over at MyFilmViews.Com is hosting a blog-a-thon relay race and I am honored to be the first one to be passed the baton and run with it.

Here’s what we are doing:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors.

The baton has been given to me and I will make my entry. Many will enter, few will win.

Below are the TOP TEN actors of all time: 9 out of Nostra’s 10, and at the bottom is My Addition to this fine list:

Robert de Niro
Although he may not have had any roles that stood out in the last couple of years, he has proven what an amazing actor he is. Just think of his roles in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Godfather: Part II, Goodfellas, The Untouchables, Heat and Cape Fear.

Al Pacino
This is another actor that has proven that he is stunning and commands the screen whenever he appears. Some of his best work includes The Godfather movies, Carlito’s Way, Scarface, Scent of a Woman and Heat.

Daniel Day Lewis
Although he might not have appeared in as many movies as some of the other actors in this list he makes up for it in the amazing performances he gives. He really disappears in his roles. Some of his best work includes My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, In the Name of the Father and Last of the Mohicans.

Samuel L. Jackson
Probably the hardest working actor around, with 139 roles to his name, he has proven to be an actor that can take on any type of role and make it convincing. Whether it is a small role of a drug addict or big role as a hitman, he always manages to give it his all. Some of his movies include Pulp Fiction, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Jackie Brown, The Negotiator and Unthinkable.

Charlie Chaplin
Now this might not be someone you’d immediately think of, but when it comes to comedy and silent movies he was perfect, funny and knew exactly how to make his audience care about the character he played. Some of his best work can be enjoyed in The Kid, City Lights, The Great Dictator and Modern Times.

Gary Oldman
He has proven that he is a true chameleon, with a very distinct look in every movie he appears in. His acting is always a joy to watch. Some of his best known work is that in the Harry Potter series, Leon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the latest Batman movies and Dracula.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
He started acting in 1991 and really has had a very versatile career appearing in movies that are loved in art houses, but in mainstream movies as well. His movies include The Ides of March, Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Wilson’s War, Capote and Magnolia.

Marlon Brando
Now I must admit that I haven’t seen many of his movies, but he was stunning in his most famous role in The Godfather, but also roles in Apocalypse Now, On The Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire he wowed audiences.

Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall has had an amazing career as well. I don’t know much about his early work, but I always enjoy to see him on the screen. His characters always are injected with something that grounds them into reality. He appeared in movies like Get Low, The Godfather, Colors, Apocalypse Now and THX1138.


Christian Bale
With quite the diverse range in roles, Oscar-winner Christian Bale goes to great lengths for many of his roles. From losing weight to almost unhealthy standards twice (The Machinist, The Fighter) to taking dance and martial arts lessons for 10 weeks for Newsies (a film which he dislikes), Bale consistently goes to incredible lengths to bring a role to life. Other examples of his great work include: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Empire of the Sun, Equilibrium, and 3:10 to Yuma.

Who did I eliminate from the original list? Anthony Hopkins.

While Hopkins is undeniably a fantastic actor, my issue with Sir Hopkins is that so many of his roles are exactly the same caricature. Anthony Hopkins almost always plays Anthony Hopkins with a little bit of the story’s character tossed in. With only a few slight exceptions (Silence of the Lambs being one of them), his roles mostly consist of the same type of character. Observe: Zorro, The Wolfman, Meet Joe Black, The Rite, Thor, Fracture, The Edge…all highly similar characters over broad span of time. My pick has shown quite a large versatility and deserves to be on this list before Sir Hopkins. Sorry, Mr. Hopkins.

Well, what do you think? Who, in your mind, belongs on this list? Are you a Christian Bale fan? Will Bale win the race and survive! Let me know in the comments, or keep following the relay race! Let’s go Team Batman!

The next blogger who I will hand the baton over to is my friend, SCOTT from Front Room Cinema. He will now have one week to remove one actor, replace him with another one and pick out another blogger who will repeat these steps. Looking forward to seeing the changes and the reasoning behind it! Thank you, Nostra for creating this event.

T, The Focused Filmographer


  1. Great choice for picking Christian Bale. He’s like a chameleon. From thin drunk brother in The Fighter to Batman, and the latest movie I saw is in ‘I’m Not There’ where he represent one of the personality of Bob Dylan. He was pretty lost in his character.


  2. Hi, Terrence and company:


    The Force is strong with this one!

    Nostra came up with an intriguing list. Completely agree with your take on Anthony Hopkins’
    superlative talent that has slowly become a One Trick Pony. Playing the same character over and over again.

    Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman made their marks decades ago. Have not aged well and possess an annoying habit of signing onto questionable projects that are far beneath their stature.

    Gary Oldman has paid his dues and can easily lead in any project today. It’s also great fun seeking him out and finding in the supporting cast in countless films before the final credits roll.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is a solid and versatile character actor who is willing to take risks in making the lead look better. Has all the making of another Karl Malden for today’s films.

    Kudos for your choice of Christian Bale. Another trouper who has been around since childhood. Constantly honing his talents to become an A-List talent and Go-To Guy!


  3. I enjoy your addition of Christian Bale but I think I would have replaced someone else. I think your reason for replacing Hopkins (“so many of his roles are exactly the same caricature”) applies more to Samuel L. Jackson but hey, everyone has different opinions, right? I’ll say it again, though, good addition to the list!


  4. This is a fun series you guys have going. I don’t think I’ve stopped by your blog before but I think I will from now on. I’ve been a Nostra follower for a couple of months now and I intend to follow this “relay race” until the end. I hope I get a chance to pitch in at some point.

    As far as the list goes, even though I think there are stronger actors out there that have not been included, Christian Bale is a good choice that improves upon the list. Though Hopkins is great, there is no doubt that, like you say, he often seems to play the same characters over and over, with a few exceptions of course.

    I think someone has to take Samuel L. Jackson out next. Again, another fine actor that is definitely above most others, but who could easily be criticized in the same manner in which Sir Hopkins was. I’m pretty comfortable if the other 8 make it all the way to the end.

    Great post and great blog. Stop by mine if you get a chance.


  5. Oooh I like Bale but you took out Anthony Hopkins?? But hey it is YOUR choice 🙂 This is an interesting blog-a-thon for sure and it’ll be quite tough to do once there is only a handful of actors left, ahah.


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