10 Best Classic Movie Stars

Friday, December 3 by George Root

The 10 best classic movie stars helped to make the golden age of Hollywood the success it was. Back when these actors made movies, there was no television to distract movie audiences. The ten best classic movies stars were the best of an era that produced some of the greatest actors of all time.

  1. James Stewart He was also known as Jimmy Stewart, but he preferred James. He starred in such classics as "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) and Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958). He was a favorite of directors Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock, as well as many others in Hollywood. He was a two-time Academy Award winner.
  2. Clark Gable Clark Gable was a dashing leading man from the 1930s to the 1950s. He won an Oscar for "It Happened One Night" (1934), but he is best-known for his role as Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind" (1939).
  3. Vivien Leigh Vivien Leigh was a British actress who became famous for some very American roles. She won an Oscar for her performance in "Gone With the Wind" (1939) and again for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). She was a persistent and hard working actress that deserves to be recognized as one of the best classic movie stars of all time.
  4. Groucho Marx Without Groucho there would not have been a Marx Brothers act. He was the cornerstone of the brother comedy team and he also had a hand in writing much of their material. He was a natural comedian who had a long career in show business even after the Marx Brothers stopped making films.
  5. Charlton Heston Charlton Heston bridged that gap between the 1940s and 1960s. He is known for his performance as Moses in "The Ten Commandments" (1956), but he is also famous for his role as George Taylor in "The Planet of the Apes" (1968).
  6. Orson Welles Orson Welles is the one entry on the list of best classic movie stars that worked outside of the studio system. In a time when the studios called the shots, Welles would write, produce and find financing for his own films. In some cases, such as the movie "Touch of Evil" (1958), he was tied to a studio. But he called the shots on his greatest masterpiece, "Citizen Kane" (1941), on his own.
  7. John Wayne "The Duke" was one of the world's favorite tough guys. His forte was westerns and war movies and he was damn good in either one. One of his best westerns was a movie called "The Alamo" (1960) and one of his more popular war movies was "Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949).
  8. Bette Davis Bette Davis was an incredibly intelligent actress. When she was a Hollywood bombshell, she took on sexy roles such as "The Girl From 10th Avenue" (1935). As her career and age advanced, she started taking more mature but still very interesting roles such as the one she played in "Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964). Davis was highly regarded for her talent and her acting range.
  9. Joan Crawford Joan Crawford's parenting skills may be questionable, but her place on the list of the best classic movie stars is not. Her performances in movies such as "The Bride Wore Red" (1937) and "Mildred Pierce" (1945) are inspiring and impressive.
  10. Humphrey Bogart The thing that set Humphrey Bogart apart from many of the other actors and actresses on the list of best classic movie stars was the way he continually re-invented himself in each movie. In "Casablanca" (1942) he was the savvy and cool club owner. Then in "The African Queen" (1951) he plays the manic steamship captain. His distinctive voice and timing were also what helped make him famous.