Hollywood Royalty Over 50: 10 Best Old School Actors

Sunday, September 4 by Shawn Lealos

When looking at the 10 best old school actors, it is interesting to find many men who set the template for the young actors starting out today. While Hollywood looks at the fresh young faces on the scene, the appearance of one of these old school actors will always elevate a movie into a more critically accepted endeavor.

Jack Nicholson Jack Nicholson began acting in 1958, an early highlight being "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Over his 50-plus year career, Nicholson has become one of the most respected best old school actors working in Hollywood today, nominated for twelve Oscars over his career.

Donald SutherlandDonald Sutherland began acting in 1962, making his name in movies as different as “The Dirty Dozen,” “MASH” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” He remains one of cinema’s best old school actors, recently appearing in the 2011 remake of “The Mechanic.”

Gary Oldman – One of the most respected character actors in Hollywood, Gary Oldman stands as one of the best old school actors working today. While Oldman got his start in smaller, indie films, more recently he has starred in blockbusters like “Dark Knight” and “Harry Potter” franchises.

Michael CaineMichael Caine began his acting career in 1955 at the age of 22. Since his debut, he has earned an Academy Award nomination in every decade since the ‘60s. Recently, he experienced a career revival thanks to the Christopher Nolan “Dark Knight” Batman movie.

Ian McKellenIan McKellen is one of the more distinguished of the best old school actors, although most early performances included mostly stage work and prestige films. He gained notice in America thanks to his Oscar nominated performance in “Gods and Monsters” and then his portrayal as Magneto in “X-Men” and Gandolf in “Lord of the Rings.”

Dustin Hoffman – Dustin Hoffman earned critical acclaim for his breakthrough movie role in “The Graduate.” Since that movie, Hoffman has become one of cinema’s best old school actors, winning two Academy Awards for “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Rain Man.”

Anthony HopkinsAnthony Hopkins is best known for his role as cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” One of the best old school actors working today, Hopkins began his career in 1967 and still works proficiently today, recently starring in the remake of “The Wolfman.”

Al Pacino – Regarded as one of the greatest actors to ever live. Al Pacino began his career in 1968 and earned worldwide acclaim for his role in “The Godfather.” He earned many Oscar nominations for roles in “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and others but finally won in 1992 for “Scent of a Woman.”

Christopher WalkenChristopher Walken began acting in 1972, reaching his highest success as an unstable Vietnam soldier in “The Deer Hunter.” He has developed into one of the best old school actors working today. While he is often recently seen playing comic roles, he has also proven to be cutting edge, such as his role in “True Romance.”

Alan Rickman – Most kids today know Alan Rickman as Snape from the “Harry Potter” franchise while older film fans know him as Hans Gruber from “Letha Weapon.” Either way, Rickman has proven to be one of the more reliable of the best old school actors working today.

-Shawn Lealos

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