The 7th Best Actor of All-Time: Daniel Day-Lewis

best film:  There Will Be Blood. There’s nothing terribly close so this film is absolutely huge for DDL’s resume. As of now it’s his lone masterpiece (I’m excited to revisit Phantom Thread after twice in theater and putting in my top 5 of 2017) but currently the next closest film is The Last of the Mohicans—which is just a spectacular film from Michael Mann. But back to There Will Be Blood—I have a 10-year wait period for all films in my top 100 (so technically TWBB isn’t in my top 100 since I haven’t updated it recently) but I'm

The 7th Best Actor of All-Time: Daniel Day-Lewis2020-07-03T10:30:09+00:00

The 8th Best Actor of All-Time: Toshirô Mifune

best film:  Seven Samurai reigns supreme but Rashomon has shot up my list over the last decade. The sheer ambition and size of The Seven Samurai edges out the narrative genius of Rashomon but they’re very close (and both marvelous to look at)—Samurai is at #14 on my list and Rashomon is #21. Both films are from Kurosawa of course and feature Mifune on the top of his game. He’s hilarious and impulsive. Yojimbo and Throne of Blood (yet again Mifune collaborations with Kurosawa) are strong candidates for this category but aren’t quite to the level of these two

The 8th Best Actor of All-Time: Toshirô Mifune2020-07-03T10:30:09+00:00

The 9th Best Actor of All-Time: Charlie Chaplin

best film:  City Lights is solidly in my top-100 of all-time and Modern Times has pushed past The Gold Rush and is now in my “honorable mention” section. Chaplin was no visual master behind the camera but there are few, if any, more poignant moments in cinema than Virginia Cherrill’s character realizing it is Chaplin who has been her rich benefactor at the climax of City Lights. It’s incredibly affecting and well-earned narrative cinema. The glorious ending of Modern Times and the supreme brilliance of Chaplin’s “potato dance” in The Gold Rush could really come in any of his

The 9th Best Actor of All-Time: Charlie Chaplin2020-07-03T10:30:09+00:00

The 10th Best Actor of All-Time: Cary Grant

best film: Bringing Up Baby is my top-rated screwball comedy and top-rated Howard Hawks film (three total in the top 100 of all-time). It ekes out as Grant’s best film ahead of North by Northwest by 9 slots. Grant has two other masterpieces: Notorious and His Girl Friday so we’re talking about two films by Hitchcock and two with Hawks—can’t ask for much more. His Girl Friday is on the fringe of masterpiece grade-- but the other three are rock solid. best performance: North by Northwest. There are many facets to Cary Grant’s skill and on-screen personas—I’ll get to

The 10th Best Actor of All-Time: Cary Grant2020-07-03T10:30:09+00:00

The 11th Best Actor of All-Time: Marcello Mastroianni

best film:  8 ½ has crawled past La Dolce Vita on my all-time list over the years. They’re both absolutely marvelous but the more imaginative/surrealistic set-piece brilliance of  8 ½  has won me over.  Still- they’ve basically tied. The key thing to note here is that they’re both in the top 10 of all-time—8 ½ is #6 and La Dolce Vita is at #9. In 8 ½ Mastroianni plays Guido- a Fellini surrogate- who has writer’s block (or director’s block) and is caught, in the circle of life, juggling his wife, girlfriend, his memory/nostalgia, fans, financiers, actresses (figments of

The 11th Best Actor of All-Time: Marcello Mastroianni2020-07-03T10:30:09+00:00

The 12th Best Actor of All-Time: John Wayne

best film:  The Searchers is the best film of all-time. I will be the first one to admit that I can’t prove this—there are 5-10 other films that I think you could make the case for but I can never get past the bookends of this film (even if I thin something like Apocalypse Now or 2001 may be a little consistency more brilliant throughout) when trying to make the case for another film to take the top slot. It’s clearly Ford’s masterpiece and even if other film experts don’t have it as their best- it’s all over the

The 12th Best Actor of All-Time: John Wayne2021-06-22T10:58:44+00:00

The 13th Best Actor of All-Time: Henry Fonda

best film: Once Upon a Time in the West. Fonda was in three masterpieces but only one made the top 100 of all-time (#52). Most critics think it’s Leone’s masterpiece (I still have The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly a few slots ahead of it). Leone is the genius behind the film that makes all the right movies- but his two most important collaborators in this film are Ennio Morricone and Henry Fonda. Fonda’s “Frank” is one of the great screen villains. Fonda almost always played a man of virtue, so to see him here, with his steely

The 13th Best Actor of All-Time: Henry Fonda2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 14th Best Actor of All-Time: Paul Newman

best film:  Cool Hand Luke. Newman has only actually been in two masterpieces, this and Butch Cassidy. It’s a weakness if you’re looking at his resume and comparing him with the other all-time greats. However, his 21-film archiveable resume is loaded with other top 10 films (too many to just list here—it would be easier to list the ones that aren’t in their respective years’ top 10). Back to Cool Hand Luke though and Newman- those are two non-auteur driven masterpieces. I could see arguing that this both boosts Newman’s credentials/resume (there’s no way either film is a masterpiece

The 14th Best Actor of All-Time: Paul Newman2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 15th Best Actor of All-Time: William Holden

best film:  The Wild Bunch. William Holden was in four masterpieces but none better than the 1969 Peckinpah fatalistic western. Holden leads the crew of rugged desperados (excellent work from Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and Ernest Borgnine as well) on the run from Robert Ryan. Few could do cranky and world-worn as well as Holden and here he’s just perfect as the conflicted, yet moral, outlaw who has seen it all. Network is the best film from Lumet and Lumet was rated as the 40th best director all time (with two other masterpieces) so that’s saying something. Wilder- the

The 15th Best Actor of All-Time: William Holden2020-10-27T10:51:47+00:00

The 16th Best Actor of All-Time: Klaus Kinski

best film:  Aguirre, the Wrath of God is the 31st best film of all-time and it is Herzog’s masterpiece. Kinski has actually been in some sneaky-good films outside of his famous collaborations with Herzog (Doctor Zhivago, For a Few Dollars More) but it’s Fitzcarraldo that gives Aguirre the closet  run for its money as Kinski’s best work. Still, Aguirre pervades. Herzog’s haunting jungle experience is one of the most purely ambitious films of all-time (Fitzcarraldo would be one of the main rivals for that) and I admire that so much about Herzog. best performance: Aguirre, the Wrath of God

The 16th Best Actor of All-Time: Klaus Kinski2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 17th Best Actor of All-Time: Dustin Hoffman

best film:  The Graduate remains Hoffman’s sole top 100 all-time film and it’s fitting because it’s also his best performance. I love Bonnie and Clyde and there are other important American films to mark the “New Age” of Hollywood or the American New Wave (roughly 1967-1979) but it’s The Graduate that is the most singularly important film (and just a flat out artistically and stylistically great one outside of being some historical landmark) and Hoffman is the hero of it. His Ben Braddock spoke for a generation and Hoffman was a new kind of star. Midnight Cowboy is also

The 17th Best Actor of All-Time: Dustin Hoffman2020-07-03T10:30:11+00:00

The 18th Best Actor of All-Time: Gene Hackman

best film:  The Royal Tenenbaums. This category is putting me to the test with my allegiance (as always, based on merit I hope) to Wes Anderson and his crowning masterpiece, The Royal Tenenbaums. I don’t want to say it feels wrong but it’s a little surprising that this scores out (only film currently in my top 100 of all-time) as the best Gene Hackman film. It FEELS like the choice here should be Eastwood’s best film as a director (Unforgiven), Coppola’s paranoia stylistic dazzler (The Conversation) or William Friedkin’s no-nonsense adrenaline rush (The French Connection). Still, Wes is the

The 18th Best Actor of All-Time: Gene Hackman2021-07-20T11:43:13+00:00
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