10 Best Old Time Actors

Thursday, March 24 by Peter Matthews

As the names on this list of 10 best old time actors show, young Hollywood has some pretty big shoes to fill. Skip the newest offering at the multiplex and watch one of these Golden Age stars on DVD to see what a real man can bring to a movie.

  1. Humphrey Bogart. Humphrey Bogart's commanding performances brought strength and presence to some of the greatest movies ever filmed. From “Casablanca” to  the “The Treasure of the Sierra Madres,” old time Hollywood would not have been the same without Bogie.
  2. William Powell. William Powell is probably the least well-known person on this list of 10 best old time actors. That is unfortunate because Powell's work with Myrna Loy in “The Thin Man” and its sequels is the stuff of legend.
  3. Cary Grant. Stunning good looks and an instantly recognizable voice made Cary Grant a household name during his prime. Equally at home in comedies like “Topper” and tense, action-packed features like “North by Northwest,” Grant boasted an incredible range as an actor.
  4. James Cagney. Cagney was unquestionably the king of film noir. His ability to play memorable tough guys and gangsters secured his place on this list of 10 best old time actors, and his distinctive delivery has inspired millions to try to imitate his voice at least once in their lifetime.
  5. Clark Gable. Gable will forever be remembered for one line: “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.” His acting in “Gone With the Wind” earned Gable an Oscar nomination, but this screen legend's only Academy Award was in recognition of his work in the unexpected classic, “It Happened One Night.”
  6. John Wayne. American man. Wayne is best known for his work in westerns, and indeed, it was work on a western, “True Grit,” that led to his only Academy Award. In addition to westerns, Wayne's tough image made him perfect for war movies including “The Longest Day” and “The Sands of Iwo Jima.”
  7. Spencer Tracy. A fine actor who excelled at both comedy and drama, Spencer Tracy was a huge presence in Hollywood's Golden Age. His long-time love for Katherine Hepburn is almost as fondly remembered as his work on the silver screen.
  8. Gregory Peck. Generations of Americans have grown up thinking of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch from the film adaptation of Harper Lee's “To Kill a Mockingbird.” While the role earned Peck his only Oscar, he was a very accomplished actor with many Academy Award nominations and a large number of Golden Globes to his credit.
  9. Jimmy Stewart. Able to successfully play many types of roles, Jimmy Stewart portrayed everyone from the loveable George Bailey in “It's a Wonderful Life” to the voyeuristic Jeff Jeffries in Hitckcock's “Rear Window.” Although often gentle on-screen, Stewart served as part of a bomber crew during World War II.
  10. Gary Cooper. Two-time Academy Award winner Gary Cooper was one of America's greatest actors. Known for his westerns, Cooper also played in films as diverse as “Sargent York” and “A Farewell to Arms.”