The 10 best American male actors are masters of the performing arts. Capable of radiating emotion with even the most subtle gestures and facial expression, these male actors have earned the respect of millions of American movie fans.

  1. Robert De Niro Ever since his breakthrough performance in 1974’s “The Godfather II,” this American male actor has captivated audiences with his tough-guy persona. De Niro’s roles in iconic films like “Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver,” “Goodfellas” and “Casino” prove that he’s got the market cornered on unruly Italians.

  2. Tom Hanks No American male actor has spread himself across the spectrum of maturity quite like Tom Hanks. He began his career with a string of guy-next-door roles, most notably 1984’s “Splash.” Hanks began to show his dramatic skills with “Philadelphia” in 1993, then hit his stride with masterful performances in movies like “Forrest Gump” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

  3. Al Pacino Often mentioned in the same breath as Robert De Niro, this American male actor has parlayed a similar tough-guy style to critical and commercial success. 1972’s “The Godfather” was Pacino’s first iconic role, followed by equally memorable characters in the films “Scent of a Woman,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Scarface.”

  4. Marlon Brando Born in 1924, Brando was working long before the other members of the ten best American male actors. During his 80 years of life, Brando possessed an unrivaled onscreen presence, first rising to prominence in 1951’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” This actor’s many other noteworthy films include “On The Waterfront,” “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now.”

  5. Morgan Freeman With a soothing diction and silky-smooth onscreen demeanor, this American male actor is the ultimate in relaxed cool. 1988’s “Glory” offered the first hints of Freeman’s talents, and after his famous roles in films like “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Million Dollar Baby,” there’s no doubt as to his abilities.

  6. Brad Pitt Like a fine wine, this American male actor just gets better with age. In 1992’s “A River Runs Through It,” Pitt showed flashes of the talented actor he would become. His craft seems to improve with each passing year, as evident in movies like “12 Monkeys,” “Fight Club,” “Babel” and “Inglourious Basterds.”

  7. Ed Norton With his first major feature film role, 1996’s “Primal Fear,” this American male actor was showing the world just how much ability he had. Norton delivered on that early promise, taking over such films as “American History X,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Fight Club.”

  8. Johnny Depp Likely the biggest heartthrob of the ten best American male actors, Depp has proved that he’s not just a pretty face. After winning America over in his 1980’s TV series “21 Jump Street,” Depp went on to star in crowd-pleasing and critically acclaimed fare such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Chocolat” and “Blow.”

  9. Denzel Washington As the go-to guy for incomparable dramatic ability, this American male actor has made a career out of intensity. First garnering praise in the 1989 Civil War epic “Glory,” Washington has consistently been one of the most captivating actors in America. The films “Philadelphia” and “Training Day” are two on a long list of winners.

  10. Jack Nicholson With his gruff, no-nonsense style, this American male actor immediately takes over any film in which he appears. Nicholson’s career has spanned seven decades, and with classic films like 1969’s “Easy Rider” and 1980’s “The Shining” to his credit, it’s easy to see why this actor is one of the all-time best.