1. Johnny Depp As Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp brings each character he plays to life in a new and eccentric way, Jack Sparrow was no exception. There could not have been a better actor to play this role at the time it was made, and Johnny Depp really did create an entire person out of nothing.
Pirates of the Caribbean was Disney's very first PG-13 rated movie in 2003 and is one of only fourteen Disney films to be given this rating. Jack Sparrow was definitely our favorite pirate, and he brought so much character to his role that regardless of how the movie would have played out, we would have still been entertained.
2. Alan Rickman As Severus Snape
The world was in complete shock in January 2017 by the news that British actor and filmmaker Alan Rickman had passed away at the age of 69. Tributes of his work took over the internet, and fans agreed that the role Alan Rickman had been cast as Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, had to have been one of his best.
Snape is a love-him-or-hate-him character in the Harry Potter universe. It took a very talented actor to bring that kind of controversial and complex character to screen, walking a thin line between villain and antihero, Rickman played the part of Severus Snape like no other could have.
3. Rowan Atkinson As Mr. Bean
Rowan Atkinson is without a doubt one of the most well known British actors and comedians in the history of the entertainment industry. He’s best known for his character as Mr.Bean in the Bean movies and TV series.
No one could have played the part of Mr. Bean better than Atkison. Who plays a humorous mute, and creates a complete character without having to utter more than a sound throughout the entire time. He has our complete attention from start to finish, and we love every minute of it.
4. Robert Downey Jr. As Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. has established himself as one of the biggest movie stars of all time, after his successful run as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Iron Man was the first MCU movie and still holds a place of reverence within the massively successful franchise today.
In an interview with ACE Universe, Chris Evans, a fellow co-star in the MCU franchise expressed how Downey was the best man for the role of Iron Man. "I don't think there's anything anyone on this planet could do that would somehow improve upon what Downey's done, you know what I mean?" Evans expressed.
5. Ryan Reynolds As Deadpool
While we were briefly introduced to Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool offered us a deeper insight into Wade Wilson and Ryan Reynolds definitely added some comedic charm to the character.
There are roles that are tailor-made for some actors, and Deadpool was made to be played by Reynolds. His character discovers he has cancer, leaves the love of his life, gets tortured for a cure, ending up disfigured and on a killing spree for the people that caused it all. Reynolds portrays all the vicissitudes of his character in a way that captivates us from start to end.
6. Harrison Ford As Indiana Jones
Harrison Ford will always be remembered for his iconic role in the Indiana Jones franchise. According to Insider “Ford's portrayal of an archaeologist who goes on globe-trotting adventures to find rare artifacts, save beautiful women, and take on Nazis is one of the greatest characters ever put on the big screen.”
There are few movie characters as iconic as that of Indiana Jones in the four-part series produced and directed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. If Ford was ever tailor-made for a single role, Indiana Jones was the role for him.
7. Robin Williams As The Genie
Robin Williams' voice performance as Genie in the 1992 version of Aladdin defined it as a true classic. Williams brought an energy to the animated character, really stamping his personality in a truly magical and wondrous way. William’s was a children’s performer, and the Genie was a perfect container for Williams’s manic energy and impersonation skills.
The new modernized version of the genie is portrayed by Will Smith, and any criticism Smith receives is understandable because he always had Williams' portrayal to live up to, because as soon as Williams' cartoon character emerged from the lamp, we were hooked.
8. Maggie Smith As Professor McGonagall
The United Kingdom has seen many brilliant actors over the last century, but Dame Maggie Smith will no doubt remain one of the most significant. Smith spent her early career in the theater, but she has also appeared in films and TV shows. She's best-known for her role as the firm-but-fair Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series.
Her character was stern, loyal, and protective, extremely strict and exhibited a dry sense of humor that Smith portrayed so cohesively.
9. Ian McKellen As Gandalf
Ian McKellen is one of the most talented and beloved actors of all time. A master of both film, television, and theatre, he is someone who can do it all. McKellen has played Gandalf six times throughout his entire career, but the best by far for him came in the final Lord Of The Rings movie.
McKellen was the perfect person to take on this part, bringing the Shakespearean tone to the character, all while keeping him charming throughout. His performance as Gandalf has become a cultural standard, especially for his “you shall not pass!” line that has become a popular meme along with being one of the most famous movie lines.
10. Tom Hanks In Forrest Gump
When Forrest Gump hit theatres 25 years ago, on July 6, 1994, it primed Tom Hanks for his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar win, proving him to be one of Hollywood’s most bankable and respected actors.
Gump’s inability to comprehend the world around him doesn’t hinder his love and loyalty to his friends. Hanks gets that all heart, no brain aspect portrayed by his character, and expresses it so well you forget that he’s acting.
11. Sir Patrick Stewart As Captain Jean Luc Picard
Surprisingly, Sir Patrick wasn't first choice for the role. According to BBC America Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry initially wanted the character to be played by a Frenchman who was "masculine, virile, and had a lot of hair.”
Stewart played Picard in 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran for seven series between 1987 and 1994. Captain Picard’s appeal is easy to see, virtually every appearance makes a compelling argument for his success, unlike so many leading men, he was allowed to be cerebral. Episode after episode, he wrestled with his values, which made him relatable to his audience.
12. Peter Dinklage As Tyrion Lannister
His profile dramatically increased after the success of the television fantasy epic Game of Thrones, which debuted in 2011, where he played Tyrion Lannister.
Dinklage's character excelled at casting wry humor into the often grim setting of Game of Thrones. His nuanced performance won a handful of Emmy Awards for best supporting actor in a drama series (2011, 2015, 2018, and 2019) as well as a Golden Globe Award (2012). The series ended in 2019.
13. Hugh Laurie As Dr. House
Before 'House,' Hugh wasn't a hit with US audiences, and he was known for some smaller roles that didn't have him walking red carpets every week. Of all the fictional doctors that have been over the years, none have carried the sarcasm and wit as Dr. Gregory House.
For eight years, Hugh Laurie starred in the lead role on House. In 2008, House was the most-watched show on TV, and Laurie earned recognition from Guinness World Records as the most-watched man on TV. Additionally, he was also one of the highest-paid at the time.
14. Arnold Schwarzenegger As Terminator
Still Arnold’s most iconic role, he is the most entertaining and engaging in Terminator. From the moment he appeared on the big screen, audiences fell in love with the world and character, and it was here that Arnold Schwarzenegger scored his best time role.
Since the first film debuted in 1984, there has been a total of six Terminator films, multiple games, and a spin-off tv show.
15. Hugh Jackman As Wolverine
Since his introduction in the first X-Men movie, Hugh Jackman has fit the role of Wolverine better than anyone else could have. Jackman played the part in nine movies before calling it quits, which earned him a Guinness World Record for longest career as a Marvel superhero.
Arguably the most popular X-Men character, Jackman never gave a bad performance as Wolverine. Balancing masculinity and a beastly like persona with compassion and love, was what kept us glued to our screens in awe of Jackman's performance.
16. Christopher Lloyd As Doc In Back To The Future
Doc Brown, the eccentric scientist who invented a time machine out of a Delorean sports car, was played by Christopher Lloyd in the 1985 film and its two sequels. Back to the Future trilogy is a pop-culture icon that grossed nearly $970 million worldwide.
It is hard to imagine anyone else but Christopher Lloyd playing the iconic role of Doc Emmett Brown, although many other names were in the list to play this part, we are definitely pleased that Lloyd was the choice in the end.
17. Tim Curry As Frank N Furter
Curry originated the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a variety of stage productions in the early '70s. But he made his movie breakthrough by playing the role once again in the 1975 film. Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Being a versatile actor both on stage and screen, Tim Curry has become that of a legend in the hearts of multiple generations thanks to his number of iconic roles throughout the years.
Published by Tim Buckler in Screenrant, “Curry found his Frank-N-Furter voice combining a lady whom he overheard on the bus who he said sounded like Queen Elizabeth II and his mother's telephone voice.“
18. Christina Ricci As Wednesday Addams
The Addams Family originated in the 1930s as a series of illustrations by the artist Charles Addams.The actor was barely 10 years old when she took on the role of the Addams daughter, and it quickly defined her for an entire generation.
Her dry delivery and wise-beyond-her-years attitude only added to Wednesday's overall spookiness, and made her character unforgettable. According to an interview with Bustle, Christina Ricci talks about how her character as Wednesday Addams impacted her career. "I spent a lot of my childhood working on them and promoting them, and I’ve spent the rest of my life talking about them! So both of the Addams Family movies, they’re huge in my history."
19. Viggo Mortensen As Aragorn
Viggo Mortensen is best known for his role as Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings, and probably go down as the actor's most notable appearances.
When he was announced as Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy it was met with uncertainty as he was a last minute replacement for Stuart Townsend. But all that uncertainty was irrelevant after the first film was released, people loved his performance and the trilogy is still regarded as one of the most epic moments in the history of film.
20. Michael Keaton In Beetlejuice
Tim Burton's 1988 Beetlejuice was the role that made Michael Keaton's career. Critics gave it an 84% Tomatometer score, praising Keaton's "most deliciously manic work," and audiences gave it 82%.
Supernatural dark comedies tend to die at the box office, but Beetlejuice earned $72 million on a $15 million budget. Following was a successful cartoon series which launched 1989 to 1991.
21. Sigourney Weaver As Ellen Ripley
Sigourney Weaver’s face isn’t the first one you see in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” but there’s no question that Scott’s 1979 sci-fi film, now, an entire franchise, lives and dies based on the strength of Weaver’s indelible Ellen Ripley.
Scott’s choice to ultimately center his film around the strength of a female role was hardly the kind of thing that other late ’70s action-driven blockbusters aimed for, but it was possibly the best decision he made.
22. Imelda Staunton As Dolores Umbridge
In her long and distinguished career, Staunton has played more than her share of sinners and saints, likely, most of her fans remember her from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as Professor Dolores Umbridge.
The embodiment of the frightening villain, earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress. In week 5 of EW's BINGE podcast Staunton talks about how evil her character can be, "She's not sort of twirling her mustache and saying ‘Muahahaha,' it's the absolute and utter belief that actually it is going to help and that's, of course, so much more frightening.”
23. Heath Ledger As The Joker
Thirteen years ago Ledger passed, and at just 28-years-old left behind an entire career’s worth of work. When Heath Ledger played the Joker in 2008’s “The Dark Knight” and won a posthumous Oscar a year later, he raised the bar for anyone who dared follow. Heath Ledger's Joker has been voted the best portrayal of the character of all time.
In a poll of more than 23,000 LADbible followers, the late actor won with 77 percent of the vote for his performance in Christopher Nolan's 2008 film The Dark Knight. Joaquin Phoenix, who played the villainous character in 2019's Joker, came up with 11 percent. Although Phoenix won an Oscar for his role, Ledger's legacy will undoubtedly remain safe.
24. Jack Nicholson In The Shining
Against the wishes of author Stephen King, director Stanley Kubrick cast Nicholson in his psycho-horror film The Shining, 1980, as Jack Torrance. He has been nominated for the prestigious Academy awards about twelve times and has won the award thrice.
Horror movies typically get a bad rap for being low quality and poorly produced, but no-one would ever suggest this for The Shining. Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of the Stephen King novel is predominately one of the greatest movies ever made.
25. Gene Wilder As Willy Wonka
Wilder was one of those rare actors nominated at the Academy Awards for both acting, and writing. Wilder was also nominated for two Best Actor Golden Globe Awards for 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Mel Stuart’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” based on the Roald Dahl novel, was originally a children’s film, but over the years, has attracted a huge following amongst adults as well. The film was not a huge hit in its initial release, grossing only $4 million on a $3 million budget, but over time has become a family classic.
26. Andre The Giant In The Princess Bride
Gone too soon, The Princess Bride star and wrestling legend Andre the Giant nonetheless left an impressive career behind. Long before Dwayne the Rock Johnson and John Cena, Andre The Giant was not just a figure in the world of wrestling, but also as an occasional actor.
Easily the finest film and strongest performance on Andre the Giant’s screen CV, The Princess Bride is a classic fusion of romance, fantasy, comedy, and adventure. This role gave the actor’s impassive humor a chance to shine in a bigger role than usual, and one we won’t soon forget.
27. Jim Carrey In The Mask
Hitting all the right notes, as well as a few extravagant ones, Jim Carrey’s in The Mask is easily the best of Carrey’s three smash hits in 1994. Carrey’s portrayal of two characters in one was one that we couldn’t stop watching.
As the lowly banker, Carrey is nice and pathetic, kind of clumsy and the kind of guy you can push around or walk all over. As the Mask, he’s a hurricane of madness and he oozes confidence and chaos. Carrey was able to switch back and forth, and do both roles more justice than anyone else could have.
28. Bryan Cranston As Walter White
Thanks in part to his role as Walter White on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is recognized as one of the top actors of all time. As the chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White transforms himself from innocent father to ruthless gangster across the course of five seasons, Cranston’s transformation is truly spectacular.
Winning four Emmy awards, three back-to-back, for his performance across the series, Bryan Cranston managed to create a protagonist full of psychological pain and turmoil as he watched the fantasy life he’d pieced together fall to pieces.
29. Jodie Foster As Clarice Starling
Foster was cast in what would become her most famous role as Clarice Starling in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, alongside Anthony Hopkins. Both of which won Oscars for the film, it also won Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay for screenwriter Ted Tally.
With her thorough understanding of human psychology, Foster was able to pour her own fears and anxieties that manifested in her early life into a character defined by her trauma. Using her own experiences to influence the psychology of her performance.
30. Leslie Nielsen As Frank Drebin
The world of entertainment suffered a massive blow with the passing of Leslie Nielsen on November 28, 2010. Leslie Nielson acquired much of legacy in his career, but he was best known for his 1988 American crime comedy film directed by David Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. This starred Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling police lieutenant Frank Drebin.
Which additionally got Nielsen a nomination for an American Comedy Award, Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) 1989.
31. Ron Perlman As Hellboy
Ron Perlman is a unique figure in Hollywood. His deep voice is instantly recognizable, regardless of how much makeup he’s under. perhaps his most famous role as Hellboy, 2004, in Guillermo del Toro’s film adaptations of the graphic novel.
A demon child brought to Earth and raised by do-gooders, Perlman played this role with a combined balance of his sense of humour and charisma, playing this character better than we could have imagined. While the original Hellboy earned mostly positive reviews, the sequel was an even bigger critical winner.
32. Christopher Lee As Saruman
Christopher Lee was widely regarded as one of the hardest working actors in the business, with more films under his belt than most actors could possibly dream of. He is most famously known for his role as the White, and powerful wizard who serves as the leader of Middle Earth’s magical contingent, in the Lord of the Rings 2001-2003.
According to Tolkien society, when describing the character of Saruman, Christopher Lee said:“Saruman is number one. Saruman is, very definitely, the most brilliant, the most powerful, with the greatest intellect and the greatest knowledge.”
33. Joaquin Phoenix As Commodus In Gladiator
Commodus, son of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, is portrayed as pure evil, and only loosely based on history. Phoenix’s innovation was to make this monster so deeply pathetic that we often found it hard to decide between feeling rage toward him or laughing at him.
Gladiator ended up being one of 2000’s most successful movies. Walking away with over $460 million worldwide off a $103 million budget. Additionally, winning numerous accolades, such as winning five Academy Awards, and being nominated in seven other categories, including Phoenix for Best Supporting Actor.
34. Patrick Stewart As Professor X
Charles Xavier is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture. Not only do the first three X-Men movies follow Professor X as the principal and founder of Xavier’s School for the Gifted, but the character is wise and acts as a mentor for the mutants.
Stewart’s look in the original movies resembles the comic book character in an extraordinary way. This is seen through his delivery of the monologues, and the way he is looked up to by everybody at the school is lifted directly from the comic books.
35. Danny Trejo As Machete
The story of Danny Trejo is an inspiring tale of a man’s redemption from life as a criminal to a life playing many, many criminals. Prior to pursuing what would eventuate into a successful career in both movies and TV shows, the actor spent decades in and out of prison before achieving sobriety.
Of all the crazy characters that Danny Trejo has portrayed, there is no one else that could have topped the list than Machete. The 2010 thriller and its 2013 sequel Machete follow Trejo’s ex-Federale on blood-soaked tirades against those who have done him wrong. Action packed, this one left us on the edge of our seats.
36. Christoph Waltz As Hans Landa
German-Austrian actor Christoph Waltz had his humble beginnings prominently as an actor and director in German-language television. However, he managed to climb the rails of mainstream consciousness in 2009 when he starred as Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
Oscar-winning film, Inglourious Basterds retells the assassination of Adolf Hitler and the victory by the Allies over Nazi Germany. Waltz’s character is sadistic and actually makes his presence even more intimidating.
37. Steve Carell As Michael Scott
Steve Carell's most distinctive and memorable character has to be Michael Scott from The Office. Steve Carell stayed on NBC for seven of the series’ nine years, and the show launched the actor's career in comedy.
Steve Carell’s greatest role, Michael Scott, was filled with complexity. On the surface, Michael Scott was a two-dimensional imbecile; racist. Michael is multi-faceted, a man who develops over the years into an adult. A role Steve Carell played with great stride.
38. Nick Offerman As Ron Swanson
Nick Offerman's versatility as an actor has landed him some memorable roles. Offerman is best known for his role on the hit comedy sitcom Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation is an institution for many fans and has become one of the most popular satire sitcoms to air on television.
The show was nominated for a variety of different awards throughout its run, including sixteen Primetime Emmy Award nominations, twice as a comedy series and twice for writing. Throughout its run, Parks and Recreation won 13 awards from a total of 76 nominations.
39. James Gandolfini As Tony Soprano
The immensely talented James Gandolfini was just entering the prime of his post-Sopranos movie career before suffering a fatal heart attack in 2013 at the age of 51. Gandolfini earned a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award for his searing portrayal of Tony Soprano on the HBO mob-drama.
Mafioso, family man, and tortured son, Anthony Soprano, James Gandolfini exhibited the full scale of human emotionality and morality. We loved his character, and sometimes we hated it. His character managed to captivate us so much that even when we despised him we were rooting for him.
40. Catherine O'Hara As Moira Rose
Schitt’s Creek 2015-2020 was already a word-of-mouth hit on Netflix before Covid-19 arrived, but became a hit when assorted lockdowns began.Moira portrayed by O’Hara, is introduced as the eccentric former soap opera star wife and mother, inspired by TV stars of such programs as Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Real Housewives franchise.
Her work as Moira garnered high praise, winning several awards for the role, including five consecutive Canadian Screen Awards, two Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, winning one in 2020, and a Golden Globe Award in 2021.