T Nation

Best Male Actors in Last 20 Years

Who would you choose as the top actors (male) over the past 20 years? You can pick four only.

Bruce Lee

Morgan Freeman, Ed Norton, Al Pacino, Ian McKellen.

Honorable mention: Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburn, Brad Pitt (don’t laugh, he’s an underrated actor, IMO), Robert De Niro.

Ed Norton, Brad Pitt(looking at Se7en, Fight Club, and Snatch), Morgan Freeman, and Christian Bale(American Psycho blew me away)

Bruce Willis

Who would you choose as the top actors (male) over the past 20 years? You can pick four only.

If purely for work over that period then Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel. Insanely talented and brave with their role choices. Never scared to go out of the comfort zone, unlike some other ‘greats’.

Donald Sutherland

Ed Norton
Denzel Washington
Morgan Freeman
Val Kilmer–when he’s not just picking up a paycheck


Most underrated Great actor in history. He’s up there with DeNiro, IMHO. He not only sucks me into each of his scenes making me want to see more, he also scares the sh*t out of me too. Anticipating, excited, engrossed and on the edge of your seat terrified all at one time. Just like DeNiro.

Robert DeNiro, of course, is an icon.

And Dustin Hoffman. After Meet the Fockers, makes you realize they don’t make actors like they used to.

ed norton
daniel day louis
al pacino
kevin spacey

honorable mention:
gabriel byrne
ed harris
john malkovich
robert deniro

keanu reeves
nicholas cage
ben affleck

just my opinion

Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey. Patrick Stewart too.

Did I mention I hate Tom Cruise? I still may watch MI3 though.

Harrison Ford.

Harrison Ford.

Wow, some good choices and I would have to agree with almost all of them.

Morgan Freeman- the man has class, and is as cool as they come. The driver from Driving Miss Daisy, Red from Shawshank Redemption, the detective in Seven, the Muslim from Robin Hood, the president in Independance day are just a few of his roles. He comes across as so calm and collected.

Brad Pitt- Although he recieves much hate on this forum, and I can’t deny he is a pretty boy, he is a great actor of our times. Twelve Monkeys is one of my favorite movies, and he has that role pinned. Fight Club defines the lost of our generation. Achilles from Troy is just a plain bad ass. If you haven’t seen him in Snatch, rent that movie.

Deniro- nothing further needs to be said.

Christian Bale- not one of my favorites, but possibly a great. His dedication to his roles are impressive. To watch his physique change from American Psycho to the Machinist to Batman is amazing.

Steven Seagal

Who else could deliver lines like this from Under Siege 2: “You think this is being shot? This aint being shot.”

Ed Norton. DeNiro. Freeman. Russel Crowe- he might have a bad tude- but he is a good actor.

Also had to agree with whomever mentioned Daniel Day Lewis- his performance in ‘Gangs of New York’ was riveting.

Warwick Davis

Bruce Campbell


Correction, Bill Pullman was President in Independence Day. Morgan Freeman was President in Deep Impact.

Robert De Niro
Vincent Cassel
Christian Bale
Bruce Lee

A few of you mentioned Kevin Spacey and I’m a big fan of his work. Who doesn’t enjoy Usual Suspects? At the same time, I don’t think I can buy him as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Superman movie. Granted, I’ve only seen the trailers and haven’t seen his performance in the movie yet. Also I enjoy the original Superman movies and I like Gene Hackman but I didn’t like him as Luthor either. I just guess I’m picky.

Some actors and movies I enjoyed the in:

Robert Redford (The Natural, Unfinished Life)

Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China - Best Movie Ever!)

Jeremy Piven (Many smaller films, he’s in Entourage recently, he’s better than the roles he’s given.)

Johnny Depp (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, probably the most diverse actor around.)

For the last 20 years:Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale,Kevin Spacey,Morgan Freeman,Tim Robbins[I’d put him here strictly for Shawshank Redemption],Denzel Washington,Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson, John Turturro,Gabriel Byrne… There are so many, those are just the first few who popped in my head.I feel like I’m forgetting some people…

I think the worst actor of this generation, if not all time, goes to Nicholas Cage.