10 Best Australian Male Actors

Saturday, March 19 by William Gish

The 10 best Australian male actors are a brawny, brainy, and bawdy lot. From the enraged escapes of Russell Crowe to the unpredictable turns of Heath Ledger, these men are always fascinating to behold. 

  1. Russell Crowe – Russell Crowe throws phones at people, shoots paparazzi with bee bee guns, cares very little what other people think of him and is far and away one of the best Australian male actors. Whether he’s chopping heads off in “Gladitor,” chasing down drug dealers and crooked cops in “American Gangster,” or ordering the obliteration of cavalcades in “Body of Lies,” Crowe embodies his characters' physically and mentally.
  2. Geoffrey Rush – Rush has been nominated for several Oscars. Most famous for playing Captain Barbosa in the “Pirates of the Carribean” films, this Australian thespian is ribald and depraved as Marquis De Sade in “Quills,” hilarious as a broke theater producer in “Shakespeare in Love,” and mesmerizing as pianist David Helfgott.
  3. Heath Ledger – Heath Ledger isn’t just one of the best Australian actors, he one of the best of his generation, period. His characters in “Brokeback Mountain,” “Monster’s Ball” and “The Dark Knight” are performances for the ages, and his dedication to the craft of acting was inimitable.
  4. Eric BanaEric Bana is an Australian actor with phenomenal range. He can play a deranged and hilarious Australian psycho (“Chopper”) just as well as he can play a soft-spoken Israeli assassin (“Munich”) and a malevolent Romulan (“Star Trek”).
  5. Errol Flynn – Errol Flynn is a tricky man. He is of British descent, is considered an American actor, but was born in Australia. For our purposes, that makes him one of the great Australian male actors. The man set the template for the suave, smart, arrogant, masculine swashbuckler, paving the way for James Bond, John McClane and countless others.
  6. Hugh Jackman – Though Jackman is most well known for playing Wolverine in the “X-Men” films, he prefers to ply his trade on stage, signing and dancing. The Australian won a Tony for his Broadway turn in “The Boy from Oz.” In that production, he played a gay man. During a scene in which he was charged with kissing another man, Jackman faced adversity when an audience member shouted, “Don’t do it Wolverine!”
  7. Mel Gibson – There’s no denying it: you’d have to be an incredible actor to be a racist anti-Semite who’s making friends and going places in Los Angeles. Gibson pulled of that fantastic feat while making America fall in love with him in the “Letha Weapon Series,” “Braveheart,” and “The Year of Living Dangerously.” 
  8. Guy Pearce – Pearce is best as a taciturn and hard boiled tough guy like the ones he plays in “Memento,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “LA Confidential.” He was a nasty villain in “The Count of Monte Cristo” and played a hard-as-nails Australian cowboy in the brutal and bleak Aussie western “The Proposition.”
  9. Sam Worthington Sam Worthington is Hollywood’s “It” boy of the moment, having put masses in seats for both “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans.” It’s easy to not realize his skill as an actor in those movies; in the former he is skillfully understated and in the latter the film’s digital mess overpowers him. It’s “Terminator Salvation” that allows him to show off, and prove that he is one of Australia’s best male actors.
  10. Paul Hogan – "That’s not a knife. This is a knife." That, friends, is Crocodile Dundee, AK Paul Hogan, Or, as he’s known in these parts, one of the best Australian male actors.