Famous British Actors

While Christian Bale, Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, and Benedict Cumberbatch might be the hottest British actors in the contemporary era, Britain has the honor of producing world class actors from the past several decades. Britain had a vibrant tradition of theatre since the Renaissance which peaked during the times of playwright William Shakespeare. Christopher Beeston, William Rowley, and Thomas Heywood were prominent stage actors in the 16th and 17th centuries. Actors like Robert Wilks, William Smith, and Barton Booth were among the most celebrated actors of the 18th century. British theatre evolved over time and many other talented actors like Harry Randall, John Bannister, and Benjamin Plim Bellamy emerged in the 19th century. With the advent of cinema in the 20th century, several prominent theatre stars like John Kefford, James Neville Mason, and David Tree ventured into films as well. Coming to more recent times, Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation with three Academy Awards for Best Actor while Ian McKellen is another respected actor whose work spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British actors.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Actors

 1 
Tom Hardy
(Actor)

Tom Hardy
15
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

English actor and producer, Tom Hard,y has been active in the entertainment industry for more than two decades. Starting his career as a model, he soon branched out into acting and did not take long to become a beloved TV actor. He has performed in theaters as well. In the 2000s, he made his film debut.

 2 
Idris Elba
(Actor)

Idris Elba
22
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 3 
Jude Law
(Academy Award-Nominated British Actor)

Jude Law
10
Birthdate: December 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

British actor Jude Law is hailed as one of the most respected and talented artists of his generation. The movie Shopping in 1994 was his breakthrough moment and he has not looked back since then. He has worked across continents, with some of his prominent films being Gattaca, The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain, Alfie, Road to Perdition, Captain Marvel and Sherlock Holmes.

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 4 

Ian McKellen
10
Birthdate: May 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Burnley, Lancashire, England

Considered a British cultural icon, Ian McKellen is one of the most respected and decorated actors of all time. An openly gay actor, his work as an LGBT activist has been as impressive as his illustrious acting career. At the 1991 New Year Honours, he was knighted for services to performing arts.

Benedict Cumberbatch
22
Birthdate: July 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most popular English actors of the current generation. Apart from his acting skills, he is also known for his charity work. In 2014, he was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world. In 2015, he was appointed a CBE for services to charity and performing arts.

 6 

Daniel Craig
14
Birthdate: March 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chester, Cheshire, England

An English actor who achieved international fame when he began starring as the title character in the James Bond film series, Daniel Craig is known for his rugged good looks and raw sex appeal. Beginning his career in the early 1990s as a theater actor, he soon ventured into cinema as well. He has been nominated for many awards.

 7 
Hugh Grant
(Actor)

Hugh Grant
17
Birthdate: September 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

The quintessential lover boy of British and American cinema, Hugh Grant is widely regarded as a meticulous performer who works hard on his acting and comic skills. One of the few celebrities to express disdain for celebrity culture, Grant's personal life has overshadowed his on-screen achievements. Also known for his charity work, Grant is a patron of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

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 8 
Charlie Chaplin
(Actor, Comedian)

Charlie Chaplin
17
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London, England
Died: December 25, 1977

Cinema lovers around the world hold Charlie Chaplin in high esteem. One of the biggest stars of the silent film era and an icon, he left the audience in splits with his comedic performances. Even today, his performances in movies like Modern Times and The Gold Rush are considered classic. The legendary actor was also a writer, director and producer.

 9 

Michael Caine
13
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rotherhithe, London, England

A British film icon, Michael Caine is one of the highest grossing box office stars. His filmography is extensive with numerous acclaimed performances. This includes Ipcress File, Hannah and Her Sisters, Educating Rita, Sleuth, The Quiet American and Inception. The esteemed actor, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, is also a bestselling author with eleven published books.

 10 
Christian Bale
(Known for Recurring Physical Transformations to Play His Roles)

Christian Bale
17
Birthdate: January 30, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

After bagging his first starring role when he was just 13, actor Christian Bale proceeded to become one of the finest actors of his generation in the ensuing years. Known for his commitment to his craft, he is considered one of the most versatile and talented actors today. He is also popularly regarded as a male sex symbol.

 11 

Henry Cavill
15
Birthdate: May 5, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey

An English actor known for his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe superhero films, Henry Cavill has been active in the film industry for around two decades. As a teenager, he met actor Russell Crowe who inspired him to take up acting. He is known for his sex appeal and is considered a male sex symbol.

 12 

Tom Holland
5
Birthdate: June 1, 1996
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, London, England
Thomas Stanley Holland, son of author and comedian Dominic Holland, soared to fame with the titular role in Billy Elliot the Musical and delivered an award-winning film debut in The Impossible. He then appeared as Spider-Man in the Marvel movie Spider-Man: Homecoming and reprised the role in several other movies.

 13 

Rowan Atkinson
19
Birthdate: January 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Consett, County Durham, England

British comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson has entertained audience globally with his brilliant performance as the eponymous character in the Mr. Bean series and its film adaptations. Earlier, he established himself as a fine comedy actor with Blackadder and then went on to work in movies like Never Say Never Again, The Witches and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

 14 

Alan Rickman
15
Birthdate: February 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Died: January 14, 2016

One of the most admired British actors, Alan Rickman gained global recognition for his work on stage and screen. The late actor excelled at portraying villainous characters especially in movies like Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. Other notable works of the versatile actor include Harry Potter film series and Truly, Madly, Deeply.

 15 

Ewan McGregor
14
Birthdate: March 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Perth, Scotland

A critically acclaimed actor, known for working in many small independent films, Ewan McGregor’s first notable film was Shallow Grave, followed by Trainspotting which propelled him to stardom. Films like Emma, A Life Less Ordinary and Moulin Rouge and the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the three Star Wars prequels, plus the television series Fargo are his other notable works.

 16 
Jason Statham
(Actor - Known for Action-Thriller Films)

Jason Statham
13
Birthdate: July 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shirebrook. England

One of Hollywood's most important action heroes, Jason Statham debuted with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and later starred in more action film series like The Transporter, The Expendables and The Fast and the Furious. The martial artist, known for performing most of his own stunts himself, was once a world class diver, fashion model and black-market salesman.

 17 

Martin Freeman
7
Birthdate: September 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Aldershot, Hampshire, England

Martin Freeman is an English actor best known for playing iconic characters, such as Dr. Watson and Bilbo Baggins. A frequent contributor to charity and a avid cricket fan, Martin umpired a charity cricket match in 2011 in order to raise money to help the victims affected by the Christchurch earthquake.

 18 

Gary Oldman
13
Birthdate: March 21, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Cross, London, England

Gary Oldman is an English actor who can be best described as a chameleon, for his remarkable ability to imbibe the traits and mannerisms of the character he portrays. Whether playing a Cold War spy or a Sci-fi villain or Winston Churchill, this acting genius has earned the praise of millions of fans around the world.

 19 

Daniel Radcliffe
18
Birthdate: July 23, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Gaining international fame as a child actor in the Harry Potter movie series, English actor and producer Daniel Radcliffe has been active in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. After playing Harry Potter, he became one of the highest-paid actors in the world. He supports LGBTQA+ rights and contributes to various charities.

 20 

Robert Pattinson
18
Birthdate: May 13, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

Though Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first major film for actor Robert Pattinson, he became an international star with the Twilight movie series. Since then, he has gained immense accolades for working in independent films like The Lost City of Z, Good Time and The Lighthouse. The talented actor is also known for his philanthropic activities.

 21 

Patrick Stewart
9
Birthdate: July 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mirfield, Yorkshire, England

Eminent British actor, Patrick Stewart, is best known for his work in television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and four films associated with it. Another project that brought him immense recognition was the X-Men film series. A passionate stage artist, he has devoted considerable time to stage and delivered strong performances in Anthony and Cleopatra and A Christmas Carol

 22 

Tom Hiddleston
11
Birthdate: February 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

Best known for playing the menacing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, English actor Tom Hiddleston is far from being menacing in real life. In fact, he is often described as the nicest person on earth, an image which he lives up to by supporting several charities and donating items for auction. He is also a UK ambassador of UNICEF.

 23 
Ralph Fiennes
(Actor, Director)

Ralph Fiennes
15
Birthdate: December 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ipswich, England

A Tony Award recipient, Ralph Fiennes is one of the most respected English actors of the current generation. He is known for playing important roles in notable films, such as the Harry Potter and James Bond film series. A Stanislavsky Award recipient, he is also known for his work behind the camera.

 24 

Andrew Garfield
9
Birthdate: August 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Best known as Spider-Man from The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, Andrew Garfield is also a Tony-winning theater actor. His role in The Social Network earned him BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Hacksaw Ridge. He is also a WWO ambassador of sport.

 25 

Hugh Laurie
10
Birthdate: June 11, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

A Guinness record holder for the most-watched leading man on TV, three-time Golden Globe-winner and two-time SAG Award-winner Hugh Laurie has also dabbled in blues music and written a novel. From starting his career with sketch comedy, to winning the OBE and CBE, the actor/comedian has come a long way.

 26 
Orlando Bloom
(Known for His Roles in Fantasy, Historical & Adventure Films)

Orlando Bloom
9
Birthdate: January 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Canterbury, England

British heartthrob Orlando Bloom shot to fame fir playing elf warrior Legolas in the fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings and later achieved success with more high profile films like The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Hobbit film trilogy, Troy and Elizabethtown. In between, he made his Broadway debut with Romeo Juliet and was also named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

 27 

Kit Harington
11
Birthdate: December 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

English actor, Kit Harington, became a widely acclaimed and recognized celebrity after playing Jon Snow in one of the most popular TV shows of all time - Game of Thrones. Also known for his charity work, Kit Harington has been an ambassador for a charity organization called The Royal Mencap Society since 2016.

 28 

Gerard Butler
9
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Gerard Butler is one of the most popular and successful actors from Scotland. He came into prominence with the portrayal of King Leonidas in the fantasy war film 300. Apart from acting, he participates in fundraising events and charity programs. Interestingly, Butler tried his hand at acting only after being fired a week before becoming a qualified lawyer!

 29 

Charlie Hunnam
8
Birthdate: April 10, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Charles Hunnam is an English actor. Some of his well-known works on television are the drama Queer as Folk, comedy series Undeclared and drama series Sons of Anarchy. His notable films are Nicholas Nickleby, Green Street, Pacific Rim, The Lost City of Z, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Crimson Peak and The Gentlemen. He is also a screenplay writer.

 30 
Kiefer Sutherland
(Played Lead Role in TV Series '24')

Kiefer Sutherland
7
Birthdate: December 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England

The son of famous Canadian actors, Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland followed in his parents' footsteps to become a famous actor. Apart from being a respected and decorated actor, Kiefer is also one of the controversy's favorite children, having been on the wrong side of the law several times.

 31 
Daniel Day-Lewis
(Only Actor to Have Won Three 'Academy Awards for Best Actor')

Daniel Day-Lewis
14
Birthdate: April 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

Retired English actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, is widely regarded as one of the best cinema actors. Known for his dedication to method acting, he has entertained audience with both positive and negative roles. His work in movies like My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln and Gangs of New York have won him fame, critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards.

 32 
Cary Grant
(One of the Leading Men of Classic Hollywood)

Cary Grant
11
Birthdate: January 18, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Horfield, Bristol, England
Died: November 29, 1986

Considered one of the greatest actors ever, Cary Grant’s good looks, popular appeal and a knack for romantic comedy made him an enduring Hollywood star from the 1930s to the 1960s. Penny Serenade, An Affair to Remember, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest and Charade are some of his classic films. He was bestowed an honorary Oscar in 1970.

 33 
Sacha Baron Cohen
(Known for Portrayal of the Fictional Satirical Characters)

Sacha Baron Cohen
18
Birthdate: October 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

An English comedian, actor, writer, and director, Sacha Baron Cohen, is the creator of many fictional satirical characters, including Ali G and Borat Sagdiyev. He adopts a variety of accents and guises while playing these characters. He has been criticized for passing sexist and sexual comments. He is a mildly controversial figure and has been involved in a few lawsuits.

 34 

Christopher Lee
10
Birthdate: May 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belgravia, Westminster, London, England
Died: June 7, 2015

Christopher Lee was one of the most respected actors of his generation. Such was his impact on the British and American film industries that David Cameron described him as a titan of the golden age of cinema following his death in 2015. Famous for his deep, strong voice, Christopher Lee was also a popular singer who worked with several metal bands.

 35 

Michael Sheen
11
Birthdate: February 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales

Michael Sheen is a Welsh actor and started his career as a theatre artist. He rose to fame in the 2000s as a screen actor after working in various biographical films. He starred in television films like The Deal, The Queen and The Special Relationship. Some of his notable films are The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Midnight in Paris.

 36 

Colin Firth
11
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grayshott, England

One of the most decorated English actors of his generation, Colin Firth has had a major impact in both British and American film industries. Also one of the most bankable actors, his movies have grossed over $3 billion worldwide. Also renowned for his activism, Colin was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list in 2011.

 37 
Kenneth Branagh
(Actor, Director)

Kenneth Branagh
7
Birthdate: December 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Irish actor, director, and producer, Kenneth Branagh, is a respected figure in Hollywood. Beginning his career as a theater artist in Northern Ireland, he eventually moved to films. He is famous for starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards five times.

 38 

Richard Madden
9
Birthdate: June 18, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Scottish actor Richard Madden is famous worldwide as Robb Stark from the hugely successful HBO series, Game of Thrones. The series has a cult following and Madden starred in it from 2011 to 2013. He also received critical acclaim for his acting in the series Bodyguard. He has also acted in films like Cinderella, Bastille Day and 1917.

 39 
Eddie Redmayne
(Known for His Roles in Biopics)

Eddie Redmayne
9
Birthdate: January 6, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

Eddie Redmayne is a British actor who has prestigious awards, such as the Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Tony Award under his belt. Over the years, Redmayne has made important contributions to the field of entertainment for which he was appointed OBE in the 2015 Birthday Honours.

 40 
Simon Pegg
(Actor)

Simon Pegg
8
Birthdate: February 14, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brockworth, England

Simon Pegg is a British actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter. Simon Pegg achieved popularity and is best known for playing nerdy characters. Apart from being a popular actor, he is also an ardent supporter of HeForShe, a feminist campaign. In 2020, he signed an open letter urging the wealthiest to pay more tax to help fight inequality.

 41 
Wentworth Miller
(Played Lead Role in the Series 'Prison Break')

Wentworth Miller
8
Birthdate: June 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England

Wentworth Miller is known for his sturdy role as Michael Scofield in the popular TV series Prison Break. As sturdy as his character Michael in real life, Miller went on to establish a successful career despite suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts since his childhood. As an openly gay actor, he also serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community.

 42 

Freddie Highmore
11
Birthdate: February 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Camden Town, London

English actor Freddie Highmore became internationally known for playing Norman Bates in the drama-thriller series Bates Motel. The son of a talent agent and an actor, he was introduced to films when he was a child. After establishing himself as an actor, he turned to screenwriting as well. He is averse to social media!

 43 
Roger Moore
(Famous as Fictional British Secret Agent James Bond)

Roger Moore
8
Birthdate: October 14, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockwell, London, England
Died: May 23, 2017

Widely regarded as one of the most popular actors to play the iconic secret agent James Bond in films, Roger Moore was more than just an actor. He was also well-known for his humanitarian work, so much so that he was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to charity.

 44 

David Tennant
8
Birthdate: April 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bathgate, Scotland

A celebrated son of Scotland, David Tennant is best known for his lead role in the BBC series, Doctor Who, from 2005-10. The show made him a household name and a sex symbol. His career continues to flourish with lead roles in films and television. He’s also a prolific theater actor having played Shakespearean characters like Hamlet and Richard II.

 45 

Jamie Dornan
6
Birthdate: May 1, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland

One of the most popular model-turned-actors from Northern Ireland, Jamie Dornan was named by Vogue in its list of 25 Biggest Male Models of All Time. He earned international recognition after portraying Sheriff Graham Humbert in Once Upon a Time. Known for his looks and acting skills, Dornan is regarded as one of the greatest film actors of Ireland.

 46 
Tim Curry
(Actor)

Tim Curry
10
Birthdate: April 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Grappenhall, Cheshire, England

Tim Curry, who idolized the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as a teenager, went on to become an actor and singer. He serves as an inspiration to many as he continues to contribute to the film and TV industry even after suffering a major stroke, which has left him wheelchair-bound since 2012.

 47 

Paul Bettany
8
Birthdate: May 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

Paul Bettany is the voice behind Marvel films' one of the most iconic characters - J.A.R.V.I.S., an artificial intelligence. He is also known for his acting roles in movies like A Knight's Tale and Creation. One of the most envied men in Hollywood, Paul Bettany is married to the beautiful actress, Jennifer Connelly.

 48 

Rupert Grint
8
Birthdate: August 24, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Harlow, Essex, England

Rupert Grint is an English actor famous for playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter film series. Thanks to the popularity of the film series, many children of the 2000s identify themselves with the character of Ron Weasley. Apart from being an actor, Rupert Grint is also a well-known charity worker, having donated several items to charity auctions.

 49 
John Hurt
(Actor)

John Hurt
7
Birthdate: January 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, UK
Died: January 27, 2017
John Hurt is best remembered for his Academy Award-nominated performances in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man. His death scene in Alien is considered one of the most memorable in history. He lent his voice to The Lord of The Rings and appeared in the Harry Potter and Hellboy films.

 50 

Ben Kingsley
10
Birthdate: December 31, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Snainton, North Riding of Yorkshire, England

Ben Kingsley is one of the most respected and decorated English actors of his generation. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Kingsley has played iconic characters in popular films, such as Gandhi. In 2002, he was appointed Knight Bachelor for services to the film industry. 

While Christian Bale, Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, and Benedict Cumberbatch might be the hottest British actors in the contemporary era, Britain has the honor of producing world class actors from the past several decades. Britain had a vibrant tradition of theatre since the Renaissance which peaked during the times of playwright William Shakespeare. Christopher Beeston, William Rowley, and Thomas Heywood were prominent stage actors in the 16th and 17th centuries. Actors like Robert Wilks, William Smith, and Barton Booth were among the most celebrated actors of the 18th century. British theatre evolved over time and many other talented actors like Harry Randall, John Bannister, and Benjamin Plim Bellamy emerged in the 19th century. With the advent of cinema in the 20th century, several prominent theatre stars like John Kefford, James Neville Mason, and David Tree ventured into films as well. Coming to more recent times, Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation with three Academy Awards for Best Actor while Ian McKellen is another respected actor whose work spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British actors.