What makes a great actor? Is it the acting techniques and output or the inherent physical attributes that he possesses? An actor is an artist; being called “just a celebrity” would be an insult for any good actor. Some celebrities are not artists, and the same goes for not all artists are celebrities.

An actor’s main job is to portray a character, and it’s not as simple as it sounds. For an art to be perfected, the minutest details must be of perfection too. That is why a film production needs directors, producers, sound engineers, film fixers whose job is to make sure everything required to film is readily available, and of course, the actors. The way the eyes glare, body movements, tone of voice, and memorization of long scripts are a lot of work that requires consistency.

A good actor disappears in the scene, for he no longer is that actor, but instead, he has transformed into the character he’s portraying. He is the character.

Here are some male leads who transformed the film industry:

Charlie Chaplin

The world is watching, thousands, even millions, what are you going to say? Well, this actor need not say anything at all, and yet the world still understood him. His name will always be synonymous with genius.

He wrote, directed, and starred in the films he was in. He was a perfectionist who left a mark in history and he became one of the most influential figures in the film industry.

Marlon Brando

Have you ever seen the Godfather? Well, if you did, then you know who he is, Don Vito Corleone. One of the most influential actors of his time, Marlon won his 2nd Best Actor Oscar with his performance in The Godfather. He refused to show up for his second Oscar; instead, he gave his allotted time to a Native American who was advocating for unprejudiced representation, which is something Brando was advocating himself.

Anthony Hopkins

His performance in Silence of the Lambs as Dr. Hannibal Lecter is unforgettable, the way he played a brilliant psychiatrist whose hobbies include dismembering people and, once in a while, if the mood hits, eat them. This psychological thriller would have come out differently if not for Anthony Hopkins’ stellar performance. His eyes would creep into your very soul.

His very recent films The Two Popes and The Father deserve some Oscar nods too. His acting is aging like fine wine. His presence on the big screen still gives off an aura of tireless curiosity.


Morgan Freeman

Shawshank Redemption would always be part of anyone’s top 10 must-watch movie list. This classic would have been quite different if it had been narrated by someone else.

It’s that soothing fatherly vocal that has this deep and calming effect. Whether playing a likable chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy, playing as God in Bruce Almighty, or an overqualified mechanic genius in Bucket List, Morgan Freeman makes great acting look effortless.

Tim Curry

You’ve seen him as Pennywise in the first IT movie. He was the obnoxious steward in Titanic, Daniel Rooster in Annie, Evil Manta in Little Mermaid, Captain Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, and you might’ve noticed him as a Hotel clerk on Home Alone too.

Tim Curry is the side character or villain everyone thought they didn’t need, but the success of his movies would find itself incomplete without him. There is a good reason why Rocky Horror Show has a cult following.

Robert De Niro

If you’re into Mafia movies, then you know him. He played the young Godfather, Vito Corleone, which was as perfect as Brando did with the Old Vito Corleone. Starring in almost all mafia-related films, and all of them are worth watching. It must be the calming effect that his presence emits yet still gives off a very dangerous aura. He also directed an unforgettable Oscar-worthy film, and A Bronx Tale is definitely in everyone’s Top 10.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams is a beautiful soul on and off-screen. The sincerity and life he contributes in films ooze and can be felt like such kindness is reaching out to the audience. Performances that ascend beyond film, taking you to a different level of emotional experience. Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams, Hook, Flubber, and Jack are just a few of his masterpieces.

Also, he pioneered adding comical relief in animated characters. His work in Aladdin was groundbreaking, paving the way to comics playing unforgettable animated characters.

Tom Hanks

Run, Forest! Run! You can picture him running already. He is easy on the eyes, but he looks like someone trustworthy, the characters he portrays are surprisingly ordinary, yet he makes them feel attractive. That’s Tom Hanks magic right there.

He can be funny even when not trying, makes peace adorable, meek but not a pushover—someone you might pass for nothing but attributes this innate aura of triumph.

Johnny Depp

Here’s a character who becomes unrecognizable when on character. Johnny Depp does not act at all. He disappears into the character itself. He is one of the chameleons of Hollywood; audiences will be left impressed by how he changes looks and personality in every character he portrays.

But even when he disappears into the characters he plays, there is still that closure or familiarity, that distinct feature that makes you say, ‘yeah, that was Johnny Depp.’

Leonardo Di Caprio

The one and only Leo. The world demanded that this man be given an Oscar, and the world was indeed more than satisfied when he finally did.

He is not just some actor with that boyish look. He is one of the most brilliant actors of today. Every movie he’s in turns into solid gold. Leo is just that face everyone would be excited to watch because he ceases to impress. You can feel his intensity, wrath, and passion. An experience that you don’t usually get from other actors. If he is cast as a villain, it will be almost forgivable if the audience would be rooting for him,

There are many good reasons why these actors are known and have followings all over the globe. They represent something very dear and intimate, and they represent the audience. They are what the audience feels inside, a hero, a little villain, a side character, an advocate. For an audience to think that particular connection with these actors, when they’re relatable, when for a moment, they cease to be a high paying actor, and they become someone you know, someone familiar, someone close, someone relatable, that is how brilliant artistry is measured.

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