Famous British Men

“Be British!” Captain Edward Smith’s command to his fellow Britons as the RMS Titanic was going down into the icy ocean might be one of the most famous utterances by a British man as he displayed great strength of character in the face of imminent death. The British have always been famous for their strong character, and dedication, or somewhat obsession with their ‘Britishness’. Today British men might be more famous for their love of drinking and their bad food habits, but it does not take away from Britain what all Britishers have contributed towards the world!

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 Men

 1 Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury.
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: September 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stone Town, Tanzania
Died: November 24, 1991

Legendary singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the British rock band, Queen, Frederick Bulsara adopted the name Freddie Mercury which aptly suits his on-stage vibrant and exuberant persona. A four-octave vocal range musician, Mercury owned every stage he set foot on as much with his vivid performance as with his superhuman voice modulation.  

 2 Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking.
21
Famous As: Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who despite being afflicted motor neurone disease that severely limited his physical abilities, was able to build a phenomenally successful career. He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking was ranked 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2002.

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 3 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare.
19
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

 4 Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran.
12
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 17, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Ed Sheeran is one of the most popular English singer-songwriters of the current generation. His songs Castle on the Hill and Shape of You from his third studio album broke records in several countries. He is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, having sold over 150 million records worldwide.

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 5 Louis Tomlinson

Louis Tomlinson.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 24, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Doncaster

Louis Tomlinson is best known for his association with the popular boy band One Direction. A multi-talented personality, he is also known for his acting and footballing skills; while he started his career as an actor, he was later signed by the Doncaster Rovers Football Club. He is regarded as one of the most influential people in the UK.

 6 Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill.
5
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: November 30, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Blenheim Palace
Died: January 24, 1965

The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms, Winston Churchill, is known for successfully leading his country during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany. An officer in the British army, he also served as a war correspondent before venturing into politics. One of the most influential peoples in British history, Churchill was also an accomplished painter.

 7 David Bowie

David Bowie.
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 10, 2016

English singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Dubbed "The Greatest Rock Star Ever" by Rolling Stone magazine, he rose to international prominence in the 1970s with his innovative style of music. Deeply dedicated to his profession, he remained musically active until his death in 2016.

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 8 Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson.
6
Famous As: Actor & Comedian
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.

 9 John Lennon

John Lennon.
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: December 8, 1980

John Lennon was part of the hugely successful and popular music band, Beatles. It became the first British band to break out big in the US. However, they eventually broke up. Subsequently, Lennon went solo, with 1971 album, Imagine, being his most successful and acclaimed post-Beatles efforts. Sadly he was shot dead by a deranged fan in New York.

 10 Elton John

Elton John.
18
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: March 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pinner, England
The supremely gifted English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Elton John has entertained music lovers globally since the 1970s. His phenomenal talent make him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Not to forget his tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997, which till date is one of the best-selling singles in the UK and the US.

 11 Alan Turing

Alan Turing.
8
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 7, 1954

Regarded as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Turing was a distinguished mathematician and logician. During WWII, he successfully broke the challenging German Enigma machine codes thereby reducing the duration of war by a couple of years. The scientist, who was convicted for being gay, has been an inspiration for numerous films, plays and novels.

 12 Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

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.

 13 Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman.
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 14 David Beckham

David Beckham.
6
Famous As: Former English Footballer
Birthdate: May 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Leytonstone, London, England
David Beckham is a former English footballer who was football superstar on-field and a heartthrob off-field. A former player for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan, among others, Beckham was a free-kick specialist, a brilliant crosser of the ball and the first English player to win league titles in four countries. His passion for football, charisma and fashion style have made him an international sensation.  

 15 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton.
7
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

 16 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney.
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician, Paul McCartney, is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the rock band, the Beatles. He also enjoyed a successful solo career. Besides music, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes and animal rights issues.

 17 Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin.
7
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 18 George Michael

George Michael.
9
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: East Finchley, London, England
Died: December 25, 2016

George Michael is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham and later went solo. His first solo single Careless Whisper reached number one in over 20 countries. He came out as gay in 1998. He was often in news for his personal life and legal troubles.

 19 Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin.
6
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London
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.

 20 Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin.
4
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milk Street, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 17, 1790

Benjamin Franklin is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States as he was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was a writer, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, an accomplished diplomat and much more. He is a key figure in the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.

 21 David Attenborough

David Attenborough.
8
Famous As: Broadcaster
Birthdate: May 8, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Isleworth, England

Widely regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom, Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received BAFTAs for TV shows meant for different television sets, such as black and white, color, 3D, HD, and 4K. In 2002, he was mentioned in BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

 22 Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton.
11
Famous As: Formula One Driver
Birthdate: January 7, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stevenage, United Kingdom

The name Lewis Hamilton has become synonymous with Formula One, and such is the greatness of Hamilton. Honoured with MBE by the Queen, Lewis Hamilton is one of the most successful Formula One Grand Prix Racing Driver. Hamilton was the first Black driver to win the Championship and has 6 World Championship titles and 90 race victories to his name.

 23 J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died: September 2, 1973

Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.

 24 George Harrison

George Harrison.
5
Famous As: Musician & Singer
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: November 29, 2001

Gaining fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band, the Beatles, English musician, George Harrison, helped broaden the scope of popular music in the Western world. He was also successful as a solo performer and released many best-selling albums. He was named in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

 25 Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger.
2
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dartford, England

Mick Jagger is widely regarded as one of the most influential frontmen in rock & roll history. Known for his energetic performances on-stage and multiple relationships off-stage, Mick is frequently portrayed as a countercultural figure. He is an inductee to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame.

 26 Christian Bale

Christian Bale.
5
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.

 27 Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan.
5
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: July 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

British-American writer and director, Christopher Nolan is known for his distinctive kind of films which are often intelligent, deep and nonlinear. He gained international recognition with Memento and further reached greater heights with big budget movies like The Dark Knight film series, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. The multiple award winning director began shooting short films at the age of seven.

 28 Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne.
4
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aston, Birmingham, England

The lead vocalist of the hard rock band, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne is an iconic hard rock star. His successful stint with the band was followed by an equally successful solo career with albums like No More Tears. However, the Godfather of Metal has also attracted media glare owing to his alcohol and drug abuse issues and crazy public behaviour.

 29 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great.
0
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Birthplace: Wantage, United Kingdom
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 30 Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl.
8
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 13, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales
Died: November 23, 1990

British writer, Roald Dahl, is considered as one of the greatest children’s authors. He is one of the best-selling authors of all-time and had a career spanning decades. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, The Twits and Matilda are some of his classic works. He also wrote short stories and novels meant for adults.

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 31 Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landport
Died: June 9, 1870

Widely considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens was an English writer famous for creating world-renowned fictional characters. Regarded by critics and scholars as a literary genius, most of his short stories and novels are read around the world even today. His distinctive style of writing is referred to as Dickensian.

 32 Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 12, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wythenshawe, Manchester, England

 33 Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr.
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dingle, Liverpool, United Kingdom

English musician, singer, and songwriter, Ringo Starr, gained international fame as the drummer for the rock band, the Beatles. Raised by a single mother, he had a difficult childhood. He sought solace in music and it became his vocation. After finding success with the Beatles, he embarked on a solo career as well.

 34 Brian May

Brian May.
2
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton, London, England

Queen guitarist and singer-songwriter Brian May is also a PhD in astrophysics. One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Guitar World’s second-greatest guitarist, he received a CBE. He was a Chancellor of Liverpool at John Moores University, has worked with NASA, and fights for animal rights.

 35 Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale.
11
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: July 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

The charismatic Welsh footballer player, Gareth Frank Bale played for Southampton football club and Tottenham Hotspur extensively before joining Real Madrid in 2013 for a fees that exceeded Christiano Ronaldo’s earlier record fee. Known for his speed and accuracy, Gareth Bales is also the captain of Wales national team and plays for Tottenham Hotspur, on loan from Real Madrid.

 36 Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman.
6
Famous As: Actor
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.

 37 Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls.
7
Famous As: Adventurer
Birthdate: June 7, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Donaghadee, Northern Ireland

A former Special Air Service serviceman and honorary lieutenant-colonel, Bear Grylls is best known as an adventurer who does interesting things—from eating goat testicles to drinking elephant dung juice—in the TV series Man vs. Wild. Also known for his charity and humanitarian efforts, Bear was appointed OBE in 2019 for services to charity, young people, and the media.

 38 Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins.
0
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales

Highly renowned Welsh actor, Anthony Hopkins is best known for his portrayal of a cannibalistic serial killer in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. The portrayal earned him prestigious awards and also a place in the list of best villains of all time. Other notable films of the celebrated character actor include Remains of the Day, Nixon and Amistad.

 39 Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes.
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ipswich, United Kingdom

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.

 40 Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton.
3
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ripley, England

Eric Clapton, the rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time. In the 1970s, he recorded a number of successful solo albums and continued to do so over the next several decades and is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has had issues with alcohol and drugs.

 41 George V

George V.
15
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marlborough House, London, England
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 42 Phil Collins

Phil Collins.
8
Famous As: Drummer, Singer
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiswick, Middlesex, London, United Kingdom

Phil Collins is best known for his work with the popular rock band Genesis. Having sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Phil is one of three recording artists who have sold more than 100 million records both as principal members of a band and as solo artists.

 43 Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney.
3
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 24, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Croxteth, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

Regarded as one of the best football players of the current era, Wayne Rooney is the record goal-scorer for the Manchester United FC and England national team. Originally a boxer, Wayne continues to pursue boxing as a recreational activity. Wayne has been controversy's favorite child for many years now; from allegations of infidelity to legal issues, he has faced them all!

 44 George Orwell

George Orwell.
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Motihari, Bihar, India
Died: January 21, 1950

The king of dystopia and satire, George Orwell, the pen name adopted by Eric Arthur Blair, was a well-known novelist and critic of the 20th century. A man with a strong mind of his own, Orwell never backed down from stating his views on the socio-political climate he lived in, which he expressed profusely through his influential essays and novels.

 45 Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greenwich, United Kingdom

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.

 46 Andy Murray

Andy Murray.
5
Famous As: Tennis Player
Birthdate: May 15, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow

One of the best British professional tennis players of all time, Andy Murray is popularly known as the Great Scot since he was born in Scotland. He is the only tennis player to have won two Olympic gold medals in singles competition. Also known for his charitable work, Andy Murray has played key roles in raising money for many charity organizations.

 47 Colin Firth

Colin Firth.
1
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grayshott

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.

 48 Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

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.

 49 Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay.
10
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: November 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstone, Scotland

A celebrated chef and restaurateur, British national Gordon Ramsay is also a writer and television personality. His TV shows about competitive cookery and food is quite popular. The Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in Chelsea, is his signature restaurant. Known for his bluntness, short temper and strict manner, Ramsay has historically expressed a dislike for vegetarianism and veganism.

 50 Robert Plant

Robert Plant.
1
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England

Regarded as one of the most influential music artists of all time, Robert Anthony Plant was the lead singer and song writer of the extremely successful rock group Led Zeppelin. After the band disbanded, the Grammy award winning artist, with his powerful and wide vocal range, established a successful solo career. He has also collaborated with other artists and bands.

Britain has always had a rich literary tradition and it is unimaginable what the literary world would have been like had the likes of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Milton not existed? British men’s contribution to science has also been immense. After all Charles Dickens who propounded the theory of evolution was a proud British man, as was the eminent physicist, Sir Isaac Newton who is considered among the top scientists to have ever lived. The contemporary British man too is not someone to be left behind his ancestors when it comes to his achievements! Browse this section to read all about the famous British men who helped shape the world.