Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Best Actor of All Time?

When experts are asked the best actors of all time they usually respond with Lawrence Olivier or Marlon Brando, and these were two really good actors. 


Let's take a look at what they did in the movies and their IMDB ratings over 7.5. 

Olivier had Rebecca (8.1), Sleuth (8.0),  Spartacus (7.9), Romeo and Juliet (7.6), Wuthering Heights (7.6), Hamlet (7.6), Marathon Man (7.5),  and A Little Romance (7.5)

Brando had The Godfather (9.2), Apocalypse Now (8.4), On the Waterfront (8.1), and A Streetcar Named Desire (8.0).

On the other hand, my candidate for best actor of all time, Jimmy Stewart, had It's a Wonderful Life (8.6), Rear Window (8.4), Vertigo (8.3), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (8.1), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (8.1), The Shop around the Corner (8.1), Anatomy of a Murder (8.0), Rope (8.0), The Philadelphia Story (7.9), Harvey (7.9), You Can't Take It with You (7.9), The Mortal Storm (7.8), Destry Rides Again (7.7), After the  Thin Man (7.7), The Shootist (7.6), Winchester '73 (7.6), The Man Who Knew Too Much (7.6), and The Flight of the Phoenix (7.5).

In addition James Stewart was second amongst  IMDB Top 250 movies appearances by an actor. He was in eight (Rear Window, It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rope, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Harvey and The Philadelphia Story). In addition Stewart was the actor, who along with Anthony Mann, came back after World War II and redefined the way we looked at our heroes. In the Mann Westerns , Winchester ‘73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Far Country (1955), and The Man from Laramie (1955),  Stewart played a dark and troubled hero who was more acceptable to the post-war movie audiences. One of Stewart's lower rated movies, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) won the Best Picture Oscar.

Robert De Niro also was in nine (The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Once Upon a Time in America, Heat, The Deer Hunter, Casino and The Joker).  De Niro was also in The Irishman, A Bronx Tale, The Untouchables, The King of Comedy, Silver Linings Playbook, Jackie Brown, Midnight Run, The Mission, Mean Street and Wag the Dog, all movies that I love. 

It's one thing to have potential, it's another to go out there and perform. Stewart and De Niro have left a great body of work, while some other actors have left a reputation largely based on people talking about their potential.

Best Actor of All Time : Jimmy Stewart (or maybe Robert De Niro - it depends on your point of view).

It's a Wonderful Life

Rear Window

Winchester '73

The Shop Around the Corner