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The A.F.I. Top 25 Male Silver Screen Performers List
Compiled by Rob Paul

The A.F.I. does like its lists and while some of your favorites may not have made the cut, I think it would be hard to say that none of these men are well deserving of the attention they received.

1. Humphrey Bogart

"Tell me, who was it you left me for? Was it Laszlo, or were there others in between? Or -- aren't you the kind that tells?" - As Rick Blaine to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in Casablanca.

Favorite Film: Casablanca
Great Freakin' Performance!: Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Oscar winning performance: The African Queen

2. Cary Grant

"Cary is marvellous, you see. One doesn't direct Cary Grant, one simply puts him in front of a camera. And, you see, he enables the audience to identify with the main character. I mean by that, Cary Grant represents a man we know. He's not a stranger." - Alfred Hitchcock

Favourite Film: HIs Girl Friday
Just for wicked fun: The Awful Truth
Oscar winning performance: 73 films in 34 years and no Oscars? Something isn't right there. But how about one for The Philadelphia Story?

3. James Stewart "Well, you look about the kind of angel I'd get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren't you? What happened to your wings?" - As George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life

Favourite Film: It's A Wonderful Life (I'm a sucker for this flick every time).
Equally great Stewart: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Oscar winning performance: Oh, right, Cary (see above) couldn't win for The Philadelphia Story because good ol' Jimmy did.

4. Marlon Brando

"What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you." - ' - as Vito Corleone in The Godfather

Favourite Film: The Godfather - I am always stunned by people who have never sat through this film. Like missing out on a classic novel or a free steak and lobster dinner.
Brilliant without a Script: Apocalypse Now!
Oscar winning performance(s): On The Waterfront

5. Fred Astaire

"Can't Act. Can't Sing. Slightly Bald. Can dance a litte." - Studio talent scout on Astaire's first screen test.

Favourite Film: Top Hat
Interesting Change of Pace: The Towering Inferno
Oscar winning performance: An Honorary one back in 1949. Although the fans do love What about Holiday Inn?

6. Henry Fonda

"In Hollywood a girl's virtue is much less important than her hairdo. You're judged by how you look, not by what you are. Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty." - Herself

Favourite Film: Mister Roberts
Poignant, Powerful and Worth Your Time: 12 Angry Men
Oscar winning performance: On Golden Pond. With over 60 film credits to his name, it took his final performance to earn the golden statuette. Fonda at 74 was too ill to attend the ceremony and died five months later.

7. Clark Gable

"[Rhett Butler] was one of the best roles ever offered in Hollywood and my screen character saw himself emerging from the film as a dashing-type fellow. But I said no. I didn't see myself as quite that dashing, and later, when I saw Clark Gable play the role to perfection, I knew I was right." - Gary Cooper

Favourite Film: It Happened One Night (See Oscar Performance below)
Gable and Harlow Worth Watching: Red Dust
Oscar winning performance: Nominated for Gone With The Wind but he only ever won for his performance in It Happened One Night.

8. James Cagney

"There's not much to say about acting but this. Never settle back on your heels. Never relax. If you relax, the audience relaxes. And always mean everything you say. " - James Cagney.

Favourite Film: Public Enemy
When he was bad, he was awesome: Mister Roberts.
Oscar winning performance: Yankee Doodle Dandy

9. Spencer Tracy

"Spence is the best we have because you don't see the mechanism at work" - Humphrey Bogart

Great no matter how you slice it: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
Great Comedy: Adam's Rib
Oscar winning performance: Boys Town) and Captains Courageous.

10. Charlie Chaplin

"When he found a voice to say what was on his mind, he was like a child of 8 writing lyrics for Beethoven's Ninth." - Billy Wilder

Favourite Film: City Lights
Funny and Heart Wrenching: The Kid
Oscar winning performance: For versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus. Though nominated for best actor, the academy decided to remove Chaplin's name from the competitive classes and instead award him a Special Award.

11. Gary Cooper

"His great power is in his presence. That guy just represents America to me. He's strong, he's able, he's kind, he wouldn't steal a penny from you, but if you cross his path, he'll kill you. Or at least give you a punch in the mouth. That is what America is, I think." - Frank Capra.

Favourite Film: Pride of the Yankees
A classic: Meet John Doe
Oscar winning performance (s): High Noon and Sergeant York

12. Gregory Peck

"If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." - as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Favourite Film: Twelve O'Clock High
Charming Leading Man Type Role: Roman Holiday
Oscar winning performance: To Kill A Mockingbird

13. John Wayne

"I play John Wayne in every part regardless of the character, and I've been doing okay, haven't I?" - Himself

Favourite Film: Rooster Cogburn
Best Brawling Wayne: The Quiet Man
Oscar winning performance: True Grit

14. Laurence Olivier

"Relax your feet." - The only acting advice he would give.

Favourite Film: A Little Romance (if you can find it, watch it)
Damn Fine Dentistry: Marathon Man
Oscar winning performance: Hamlet

15. Gene Kelly

"That's quite a dress you almost have on." - to Nina Foch in An American In Paris.

Favourite Film: Singin' In The Rain
Runner-Up: On The Town
Oscar winning performance: He received an an Honorary one back in 1951. An American In Paris is also a noteworthy classic.

16. Orson Welles

"I started at the top and worked down" - Himself

Favourite Film: Touch of Evil.
A very close second fave: The Third Man
Oscar winning performance...well screenplay at least.: Citizen Kane.

17. Kirk Douglas

"I've made a career of playing sons of bitches."" - Himself

Favourite Film: Paths of Glory
Just plain fascinating: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Oscar winning performance: An Honorary one in 1996. Spartacus is certainly worthy.

18. James Dean

"It's a good thing [James] Dean died when he did. If he'd lived, he'd never have been able to live up to the publicity." " - Humphrey Bogart

Favourite Film: Giant.
The Standard Classic: Rebel Without a Cause
Oscar winning performance: He landed the first posthumous nomination ever with East of Eden which was followed by a second one the next year for Giant but he never actually won the award, alive or dead.

19. Burt Lancaster

"Most people seem to think I'm the kind of guy who shaves with a blowtorch. Actually I'm bookish and worrisome." - Himself

Favourite Film: Run Silent, Run Deep
Brief but Noteworthy Role: Field of Dreams.
Oscar winning performance: Elmer Gantry.

20. The Marx Brothers (Groucho's Link)

Groucho: How about you and I passing out on the veranda, or would you rather pass out here?
Woman: Sir, you have the advantage of me!
Groucho: Not yet I haven't, but wait till I get you outside.
- Monkey Business

Favourite Film: A Night At The Opera (it was a toss up between this and Duck Soup
A Guilty Pleasure: Horse Feathers
Oscar winning performance: No awards! Travesty! Duck Soup is certainly worthy. Groucho did receive an honorary one in 1974 in recognition of his brilliant creativity and for the unequaled achievements of the Marx Brothers in the art of motion picture comedy. Sadly neither Harpo nor Chico were around to get theirs.

21. Buster Keaton

"No man can be a genius in slapshoes and a flat hat." - Himself

Favourite Film: The Navigator. Favorite is unfair, I love so much of this man's work.
Brilliant and Way Ahead of its Time: Sherlock, Jr..
Oscar winning performance: The General is a worthy contender but was a year before the awards began. In 1960 he picked up an honorary award for his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the screen.

22. Sidney Poitier

"Sidney has a greatness and professionalism and a deep, deep sensitivity..." - Stanley Kramer

Favourite Film: Sneakers - It's just so damn smart and fun.
Daring for it's time...and still edgy: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
Oscar winning performance: Lilies of the Field.

23. Robert Mitchum

"All the tough talk is a blind. He is a literate, gracious, kind man with wonderful manners and he speaks beautifully - when he wants to. He would make the best Macbeth of any actor living."" - Charles Laughton

Worthy Film Watching: Made For Each Other
Wonderful Screwball fun: Nothing Sacred
Oscar winning performance: No Oscars here...but nominated for My Man Godfrey

24. Edward G. Robinson

"Some people have youth, some have beauty - I have menace" - Himself

Favourite Film: Double Indemnity
A Bit of a Surprise: Soylent Green
Oscar winning performance: Coquette

25. William Holden

"For me, acting is not an all-consuming thing, except for the moment when I am actually doing it." - Himself

Favorite Film: Sunset Boulevard
Just Damn Fine Filmmaking All the Way Around: Bridge on the River Kwai
Oscar winning performance: Stalag 17

Copyright© Staffwriter: Compiled By Rob Paul

Evil Ash

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