We now realize that trying to cram Britain’s best actors into a list of five was a fool’s errand. So, we’ve decided to have at it again and narrow the category by country, the first of which is England.
That said, it’s still going to be tough—but we know you’re up to the challenge. Everyone has their favorites–and we hope that you, too, will share yours in the comment section.
So, without further ado, we present each of our Top 5 Favorite ENGLISH Actors:
Elizabeth’s Brit Picks: Top Five English Actors
Favorite Role: Everything except for Hope Springs
Why? I don’t mean to start on a downer, but Colin Firth has so much talent that it should never be used for evil or mind-blowing boring. Nobody brought Mr. Darcy to life like he did. And, the Bridget Jones movies make you want to take him home and tickle him under the chin. Oh, only I wanted to that? The King’s Speech is one of my all-time favorite flicks and Colin embodied a king and crafted him into an ordinary man who struggled daily with a stutter. He so deserved the Oscar. Call me.
Favorite Role: Everything he has ever done and will do
Why? Daniel Day-Lewis is one of those actors that cannot do a bad film. From Abraham Lincoln to Hawkeye (my personal favorite for obvious reasons…besides the acting) to Christy Brown in My Left Foot, you see the range that most actors only dream of achieving one day. He is a true artist and I wish he would do more films, but I appreciate the fact that he picks the ones that need to be made.
Favorite Role: Elliot (Hannah and her Sisters)
Why? I just loved how Caine played Elliot, a middle-aged financial advisor, who is falling in love with Barbara Hershey’s Lee. He was charming and so vulnerable and I loved this unforgettable line: “For all my education, accomplishments and so-called wisdom, I can’t fathom my own heart.” Plus, people said I reminded them on Dianne Wiest’s Holly. Still working through that.
Favorite Roles: Billy Mack (Love Actually); Dad (About Time)
Why? What is not to love when you sit down with a bag of popcorn in the dark and you see a familiar face take on a new character that is so believable? How can you not fall in love with him? I only like to catch Mr. Nighy in comedic roles, because I think that face, that voice and that man has more charm than you will find in 100 men. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – I would run away with him. Don’t tell Colin.
Favorite Roles: Saul (An Unmarried Woman)
Why? Bates was one of those leading men when London was a swinging place to be – the 1960s. He was sexy without saying a word and he gave performances that stayed with you. Saul, in An Unmarried Woman, was the type of man that a lot of women back in 1978 might have said: “Wrap him up. I’ll take him home.”
Nicole’s Brit Picks: Top Five English Actors
Favorite Role: C.K. Dexter Haven (The Philadelphia Story)
Why? It’s self-explanatory, isn’t it? No one embodies the ideal British gentleman more than Cary Grant. He was such a well-rounded actor, able to play screwball comedy (My Favorite Wife), angst-ridden action (North by Northwest), and tear-jerking romance (An Affair to Remember) with ease and finesse. He’s incomparable.
Favorite Role: Col. Christopher Brandon (Sense & Sensibility)
Why? Because Willoughby was a cheating cad of a prat, that’s why. And, Marianne should have realized what a priceless gem Col. Brandon was from the very beginning. There, I said it. But, Rickman’s CV is full of amazing roles, Sense & Sensibility being just a small example of his boundless talent. He can play baddy (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and romantic lead (Truly, Madly, Deeply) with equal prowess. And, that voice… What’s not to love?
Favorite Role: Sherlock Holmes (BBC’s Sherlock)
Why? Need you ask? He’s a scene stealer. Every single performance I’ve seen of his (from his small, but pivotal, role in August: Osage County to leading ones like Parade’s End) he absolutely transforms into the character he’s playing. He is a truly remarkably gifted actor whose range is limitless. I’d watch him read the phone book.
Favorite Role: Maurice Bendrix (The End of the Affair)
Why? I love his willingness to portray tortured characters and reveal the depths of their souls – good or bad. I first encountered his work as Heathcliff in the 1992 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights, starring opposite Juliette Binoche. He drew me in like no other Heathcliff before or after. And, if you haven’t seen him in The Grand Budapest Hotel (in theaters now) DO!
Favorite Role: Loki (Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers)
Why? Hiddleston already has an impressive body of work, but I predict that he will have a very long and respected career. His intensity and committal to every part is astounding. Only Hiddleston can take a Marvel villain like Loki, turn him into one of the most-beloved characters, and make people root for him instead of the hero. Now, that’s talent.
Who makes it into your Top 5? Share your list in the comments section.
The Film Fatales are two acid-tongued, sassy broads who rant and rave about the best and worst of modern and classic cinema. Elizabeth Cassidy is an artist, creativity coach for artists and writers, an award-winning blogger and the fifth Beatle. To know Elizabeth is to be slightly afraid of her. Avid blogger and smart-arse, Nicole Dauenhauer is an advertising copywriter by day and an aspiring fiction/non-fiction writer by night. She’s an incorrigible Anglophile whose inner voice speaks in a British accent and prefers her Earl Grey with milk and sugar – not lemon.