Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Ten Favorite Actors

This was such a difficult list to compile.  Not the first five -- those are pretty easy.  Though Alan recently shouldered his way to second place, the other four there have been in that order in my affections for years now.


The bottom five, though, took some thinking as to what order to put them.  And I have a bunch of actors vying for the last spot -- I could have given it to Matt Damon or Dana Andrews or Chris Hemsworth or Val Kilmer or Michael Fassbender very easily.

This is a little different from my "ten favorite" posts about movies and such, as I can't provide a synopsis of people the way I can for films.  So instead, I'm going to list the first movie I saw them in, my favorite movie of theirs, and my favorite role they played.  And give them their own big pictures, not just the thumbnails above.  I've linked their names to the post labels for them, so if you click on one of their names, it will take you to all the posts I've written that involve that particular actor.  And of course, I've linked movie titles to my reviews of them where applicable.


1.  John Wayne.  I first saw him in either Dakota (1945) or In Old California (1942) when I was a pre-teen, but didn't really start liking him bunches until I watched North to Alaska (1960) a little while later.  My favorite movie of his is The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), and my favorite character he played is probably Quirt Evans in Angel and the Badman (1947).


2.  Alan Ladd.  I first saw him in Shane (1953) when I was in my twenties, but I didn't start to care about him until last year.  My favorite movie of his is Branded (1950), and my favorite roles are a tie between Shane in Shane and Luke Smith in Whispering Smith (1948).


3.  Hugh Jackman.  I first saw him in X-Men (2000) when I was in college, and I immediately became a fan.  My favorite movie of his is X-Men:  Days of Future Past (2014), and my favorite role is Wolverine.  But I really do like him in other roles too, honest!


4.  Harrison Ford.  I first saw him in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) around the age of 13, and by the time I was sixteen, he had become a dear favorite.  My favorite movie of his is The Fugitive (1993), and my favorite role he's played is Linus Larrabee in Sabrina (1995).


5.  Glenn Ford.  I first remember seeing him in Blackboard Jungle (1955) when I was fifteen, though it's possible I had seen him in something else first.  My favorite movie of his is 3:10 to Yuma (1957), and my favorite role he's played is probably Richard Dadier in Blackboard Jungle, though I also love him as George Temple in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956).


6.  Vic Morrow.  I first saw him on Combat! (1962-67), specifically the episode "The Walking Wounded."  I love him best on that show, and his character on it, Sgt. Saunders, is definitely my favorite of his roles.  In fact, he's my favorite fictional character of all.


7.  Rudolph Valentino.  I first saw Rudy in Blood and Sand (1922) and The Sheik (1921) on the same night, a couple years after I was already done with college and married.  My favorite movie of his is Moran of the Lady Letty (1922), and my favorite roles of his are a tie between Ramon in Lady Letty and Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan in The Sheik


8.  Ioan Gruffudd.  I saw the first four A&E Horatio Hornblower movies when I was nineteen, shortly after they aired, and bought a boxed set of them on VHS as soon as I could so that I could watch them over and over.  While that series as a whole is my favorite thing he's been in, my favorite role he's played was Dr. Henry Morgan on the short-lived series Forever (2014-15), though William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace (2006) is a close second.


9.  Armie Hammer.  I'd only barely heard of him before I saw The Lone Ranger (2013) on the big screen.  I've been a devoted fan ever since.  That remains my favorite film of his, though my favorite role is probably Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015).


10.  Luke Evans.  First saw him as Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit:  Desolation of Smaug (2012), where I just liked him okay.  Then came The Hobbit:  The Battle of Five Armies (2013), whereupon he catapulted his way into my affections in a spectacular fashion.  That remains my favorite movie of his, and Bard is definitely my favorite role of his.  (Notice that Bard dominates my blog header at the moment.)

Are there any surprises here?  Who are your favorite actors?  Do we have any in common?

I'll be doing my list of favorite actresses soon too -- working on that one.

If you're wondering why Bobby Darin isn't here, it's not because I have ceased to love him.  It is because I love him more for his music than his movies.  If I did a list of "favorite entertainers," he would be at the top.

48 comments:

  1. Love this post! Though I am surprised that Dana Andrews didn't make the list. :)

    THAT PICTURE OF GLENN FORD, THOUGH. <33333333333333333

    ~Eva

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    1. Eva, I did mention that he was a runner-up. A few years ago, he would have been here, but some recent acquisitions have bumped him, I guess you could say.

      Yeah, Glenn Ford is mighty easy on the eyes.

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    2. Yep, I saw that. :) He'd be on my list of top ten favorites, but nobody's list is going to be the exact same, right?

      Those dimples!

      ~Eva

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    3. Eva, exactly. My list isn't even the same as it would have been five years ago. Five years ago, no Alan, Armie, or Luke there.

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  2. I don't think I've really watched enough movies to really HAVE favorite actors/actresses . . . I can identify favorite films, favorite characters, favorite themes, etc., but I can't really pick out the actors behind them and say, "I love his WORK as an actor specifically." I expect that will come with time.

    Oh, by the way--after seeing "Wall-E," I decided I'd probably better watch "Hello, Dolly" as well; and I LOVED it. It was so much fun :-) I expect I will be looking up more old musicals now . . . "Fiddler on the Roof" will probably be next, as the story/setting really intrigues me. I love Eastern European history, even though it's often very sad.

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    1. Jessica, I hear you there. I didn't really start figuring out favorite actors and actresses until I'd seen dozens of movies, so probably around age 12. Back then, my favorites were John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Gene Kelly for guys, and Maureen O'Hara, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Simmons.

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    2. Oh, and I'm so glad you liked "Hello, Dolly!" Such a supremely fun musical. I kind of wanted to be Dolly Levi when I was a kid.

      "Fiddler on the Roof" is beautiful, but too sad for me to watch more than once every ten years or so.

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    3. I don't know if I would precisely want to *be* Dolly Levi, but I definitely admire her, very much. I really like how smart and savvy and independent she is.

      It does sound sad, but it sounds like the kind of sad story I would really love, if that makes sense? If something is the right "sort" of sad it can actually end up being one of my very favorites. I'm sort of . . . melancholy . . . in a way; and for some reason sadness really resonates with me.

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    4. Jessica, yes, Fiddler is an uplifting sad story. Obviously, as rabid a fan of Hamlet as I am, sadness in a story does not turn me away from a story. But particular types of sadness are hard for me. "Families getting separated, presumably forever" is extremely hard for me.

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  3. We love Armie Hammer as Illya; he is SO sweet.

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    1. Livia, yesssss, Armie's Illya is just perfect.

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  4. Hi! First-time commenter, long-time fan of your blog - I had a now-defunct blog years ago, but didn't realize I still had a Blogger account until earlier this week! So I'm excited to finally comment on here. :-)

    We share some favorites - Harrison Ford would definitely be in my top ten, and I love some of the others, especially Armie Hammer and Luke Evans.

    I actually have seen, or come close to seeing, a few of the guys on here in person! I saw Ioan Gruffudd sing at a Christmas charity concert in New York City a few years ago - he has a very charming voice! Armie Hammer's wife owns a bakery in the city I grew up in, and it remains my favorite bakery to this day - I met his wife there once and she was incredibly kind. (I found out that Armie himself came into the bakery about an hour after I left that day and I'm quite sad about it.) To top things off, my sister once saw Hugh Jackman come out of a shop - I may forever be jealous about that! :-)

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    1. Hello, Claire! I'm so glad you've figured out a way to leave comments (though I do allow anonymous ones). I look forward to chatting more with you now :-)

      How lucky you are to have gotten to see Ioan Gruffudd in person, and singing, no less! He does have such a nice singing voice. And it is one of my life goals to get to that bakery that Elizabeth Chambers runs -- it sounds completely amazing. I love bakeries.

      I was in NYC when Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were starring in a play there together, and I got to walk past the theater, but that's as close as I got to seeing them -- the tickets were long gone. Instead, I got to see Jude Law play Hamlet, which was amazing.

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    2. Oh, I can only imagine Jude Law was an amazing Hamlet! (Did you see that he'll be playing young Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts sequel? I'm so excited for that.) I just bought tickets to see Oscar Isaac play Hamlet in the fall and I get giddy just thinking about it.

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    3. Claire, he was breathtaking. I am so, so sad they never filmed the production, because it also had an amazing Horatio. And yes, I saw he's going to be Dumbledore -- I'm sure he'll rock that!

      Thanks for the heads-up about Oscar Isaac playing Hamlet. I have a friend who is exceedingly fond of him, and you never know, maybe we'll have to make a special trip together to see that.

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  5. Nice choices. :)

    I'm not sure I have a specific list of favorite actors, but some of my usual favorites (as in, they might entice me to watch a movie I might not have chosen otherwise) are Stephen Dillane, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Northam, and Anthony Andrews. :)

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    1. (Oh, and Russel Crowe. That obsession started with Gladiator. ;)

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    2. Thanks, Charity! Russell Crowe is a favorite of mine too, just not on my top ten list. I do watch movies just because he's in them, quite often, but he 'belongs' to a friend, so I never quite feel like he's MY favorite.

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    3. Oh honey, there is enough Crowe to go around. ;)

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    4. This is probably true :-) And he has such a diverse body of work! Western, check. Neo-noir, check. Costume drama, check. Musical, check. Weepy drama, check. Underdog boxing story, check. Cerebral drama, check...

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  6. No Matt Damon?? :'( ;)

    Well, I know a lot (if not all) of these. I agree about Harrison Ford, Armie Hammer and Luke Evans. They're all darlings. <3

    I've no idea what my top 10 would be, and I'm not going to tear myself apart trying to come up with it. :P I guess somewhere in the mix would be Russel Crowe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Christian Bale and Matt Damon. I have a soft spot for them. ;)

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. Miss Meg, well, Matt was a contender :-) In the end, I went with Luke because he's played a character that's very dear to me (Bard).

      Your list has some great names on it! Russell Crowe is a favorite of mine too -- maybe I should do a "top fifty" list some time so I don't have to leave anyone off? Lol!

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  7. Of all your actors, I suppose I'd agree with Hugh Jackman and probably Ioan Gruffudd (largely for Amazing Grace). After that? Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, Daniel Auteuil, Jean Dujardin, Daniel Craig (for Defiance more than even James Bond), Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle. (As much as I love him, Pierre's not on the list because he really didn't have a solid enough body of work to justify it. But I still love his Caje ...)

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    1. I guess I could shoehorn Javier Bardem in there too. :)

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    2. Janet, wow, Russell Crowe's getting a lot of love in these comments! I do love him tons, but not top-ten level of love.

      Defiance is an amazing movie. Liev Schreiber is another fave of mine. I'm starting to think I should do a "top fifty" list or something!

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    3. Liev Schreiber's wonderful. Absolument d'accord! And an honorable mention for Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort to M to Amon Goeth is quite a range). I like Joseph Fiennes a lot, too. He was a remarkable Luther and you turned me on to him in "Risen". (He was also very good in Shakespeare in Love and in Enemy at the Gates.

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    4. Ahhhh, Liev. One of the most underappreciated actors of our day, IMHO. And Joseph Fiennes continues to impress me! Love him so much in Risen, Luther, and Enemy at the Gates.

      If you like Ralph Fiennes, have you seen The Grand Budapest Hotel? Quirky and odd little movie.

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    5. I've heard of TGBH, but have never seen it. It sounds wondeful! (Now I know what to download next from Amazon!) :)

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    6. Janet, TGBH is quite strange. Don't go into it with any preconceived notions. Just be there to enjoy Ralph Fiennes and Jude Law and everyone else who randomly pops up.

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  8. Oh yes! Many of these are my favorites too! Such a cool list you put together! I can't wait for your favorite actresses list!

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    1. Thanks, MC! I've got my fave actresses list sorted out, just working on writing up the post :-)

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  9. Love your list! We share Harrison Ford and Vic Morrow in our top ten favorites. I dig that. :-D I also love how your favorite movie for an actor often has nothing to do with your favorite character they've portrayed. I'd have to think about that, but I'm not sure mine would be different like that... Must ponder!

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    1. DKoren, I also LOVE that we both have Harrison Ford and Vic Morrow on our lists. Especially since it was Vic who brought us together in the first place.

      Yes, loving a movie and loving a character are somewhat separate things. Obviously, sometimes my love for a character makes me love a movie more, but I can love a movie and not as much single characters, and vice versa. But partly that's because my main criterion for loving a story is wanting to be friends with the characters, whereas yours is more focused on a single character, so I bet yours is more closely linked.

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  10. I know Hugh Jackman, he plays in Australia, and Ian Gruffud. For the rest, I don't know them.

    Sadly enough all of these actors aren't my favourite's, maybe just because I don't know them.

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    1. Rachel, yes! Hugh Jackman is wonderful in Australia. The Drover would probably be my second-favorite character he's played.

      Yeah, you would have to know an actor to call them a favorite :-) So who ARE some of your favorites?

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    2. Never have seen The Drover.

      Some of my favorites are: Richard Madden, Matthew McNulty, Dan Stevens, Matthew MacFayden.

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    3. Rachel, sorry I wasn't clear ;-) "Drover" is the name of Hugh Jackman's character in Australia.

      I've only seen Richard Madden in Cinderella, but I'd love to see him in more things. Dan Stevens was awesome in both Sense and Sensibility and Beauty and the Beast. And I'm very fond of Matthew MacFayden in Pride & Prejudice, though I felt he was wasted in The Three Musketeers.

      I think the only thing I've seen Matthew McNulty in is Cranford, and I was paying too much attention to Tom Hiddleston to notice him much, I'm afraid.

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    4. O, that's a character, I didn't read it so good.

      Matthew McNulty also plays in Jamaica Inn and The Musketeers bbc season 3.

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    5. Rachel, alas, I haven't seen either of those :-(

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  11. Wow! What an eclectic mix - and a couple of Welsh boys in there, too! I'm not sure how I'd come up with ten faves - I might have to categorize them into ten fave romantic leads, and ten general. I mean, I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the greatest actors to come out of Hollywood, ever, yet I wouldn't have thought of him first for romance. And then there's Al Pacino - a dish in his early days - or Anthony Hopkins (back to the Welsh talent, again).
    Tom Hanks crosses both boundaries, romantic boy-next-door at one time, and utterly watchable in anything he does.
    Jim Carrey is much more than a comic actor (think The Truman Show - one of my all-time faves).
    Paul Newman scored for me, every time, over Eastwood or Redford, back in the day.
    Cary Grant could crack me up in comedies - I particularly remember him in Arsenic and Old Lace.
    Jack Nicholson doesn't do it for me romantically, but boy, he's so watchable.
    Samuel L Jackson is very charismatic, then there's Robin Williams, Tommy Lee Jones, Idris Elba...
    No, finding ten would be soo difficult.
    Worth pondering, though.
    Thanks!!

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    1. Rosie, yeah, I realized that I have covered every single decade of Hollywood from the 1920s until now with this list. Which accurately represents my movie taste, huh?

      I have a special fondness for the Welsh, it's true. I'm also a big fan of Richard Burton. His Hamlet is a force to be reckoned with.

      I could see doing two lists, one for all-around and one for romantic, especially if romantic films are really important to you. I myself am drawn to total-package actors who can satisfy all levels of my interest, which is pretty much what you find here.

      Tom Hanks is such fun! I enjoy a lot of his movies. I really like The Truman Show too. I like Eastwood better than Newman, but both of them better than Redford. Cary Grant is awesome -- love him in Charade especially much. Samuel L. Jackson is always a good time, as is Tommy Lee Jones. I've only really seen Idris Elba in the Thor movies, but he's very cool in them. Not a big fan of Jack Nicholson, mostly cuz his voice bothers me a bit. Robin Williams is hit or miss for me -- some roles, I love him in (Dead Poets Society in particular) and other times he got a little too silly for my taste.

      Finding ten was hard!!! I had about 25 that I narrowed it down from. Maybe I should do an expanded list of the top 25 or something.

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    2. You did well.
      And on the subject of Hugh Jackman - who cares if he can act - he's so easy on the eye! (Tch! very bad girl!!)

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  12. I haven't seen him as Wolverine, but Hugh Jackman was a fantastic Valjean.

    Harrison Ford-- yes!! He's great as both the younger and older Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

    I didn't even know who Ioan Gruffudd was until reading this, but I agree he played William Wilberforce well. I can imagine he'd be good in other roles.

    And, last but not least, Luke Evans is great because he can made Bard so heroic and Gaston so repulsive. :)

    If I had to choose my ten favorite actors off the top of my head they would be Tom Hiddleston, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Kelly, Dick Van Dyke, Martin Freeman, Luke Evans, Tom Hanks, Dan Stevens, Richard Armitage, and Harrison Ford. The first three I've only seen as one character each, but I have a feeling they are good with other characters as well. :)

    I'm looking forward to finding out who your ten favorite actresses are!

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    1. Meredith, YES. Hugh Jackman was amazing as Valjean. I can only watch that film once in a great while because it is so powerful.

      Have you see the movie 42, the biopic of Jackie Robinson? Harrison Ford is wonderful in it!

      And you're right, Luke Evans definitely has a lot of range, which is awesome. He also made a sympathetic vampire in Dracula Untold, which was much, much better than I was expecting.

      Jimmy Stewart and Gene Kelly would be in my top 20.

      I posted my list of 10 fave actresses here a few days after this post.

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    2. I haven't seen 42 yet, but maybe I should!

      Yes, after I submitted the comment I realized you'd already posted it. xD I'm off to read that. :)

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    3. Meredith, 42 is excellent!!! I definitely recommend it, even if you're not into baseball.

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  13. "Horatio Hornblower" was terrific! And Armie Hammer was hilariously smarmy in "Reaper" as the son of the Devil.

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    1. John Smith, I agree! I wish they'd made more HH movies... but they did make 8, so I guess I shouldn't be too greedy.

      I haven't watched Reaper, but I can see that Armie Hammer would do "smarmy" in a very amusing way :-)

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Agree or disagree? That is the question...

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)