Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Favourite Actors of All Time

Two months after finishing and publishing the list of my favourite actresses, here I am again with a list of their male co-workers.

It has always been easier for me to "love" male actors than actresses. In a way that doesn't make sense, because it might be easier to relate to someone of your own sex, but maybe that's the word I'm looking for - sex (appeal). I think it's easier for male actors to leave a good impression in my head, because sometimes I don't really look to much on their performance, especially when I see the film or the actor for the first time. Females are more likely to be envied by a female audience, while men are simply admired. 
While we're talking about attractive actors/ actresses in both cases, it's true that people get more beautiful the longer you look at them, and when you've starred at a (male) person for 2 hours, there's a strong possibility that you might have found something (or more than one thing) attractive about them.

Therefore, as you can see, all of my favourite actors are (more or less) attractive (yes, even Irrfan) - though the same can be said about my favourite actresses - but I hope you still believe me when I say that I find them all to be amazing actors with great talent. As in my list of favourite actresses, these are all actors I've "known" for a long time and have seen at least three films of. Also please note that there are many actors I don't know yet or haven't seen enough of to include them here, I'm especially talking about dead ones. 
Otherwise feel free to speak your mind in the comments. 

And as always this list is in alphabetical order. 

Aamir Khan
(* March 14, 1965 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)

„Film making is like fighting a war with leadership at the front.“

He could have become just another one of the romantic heroes of the 90s, but after starring in several romantic comedies - especially alongside Juhi Chawla who also was his co-star in their big breakthrough Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (haven't seen it yet, unfortunately) - Aamir started choosing different roles as well. I don't know about the older films, but especially Ghulam, Mira Nair's Earth and Sarfarosh from the late 90s, were much different from the older films I've seen of his.
Since 2000, Aamir has been in about one film a year, and he is known for putting much effort into every detail - not just concerning his performance. He also gained international attention for his performance in 2001's Lagaan, and the most successful Indian film of all time, 3 Idiots (in my opinion the film that made good comedy fashionable in Bollywood).
Aamir has also worked as a producer in various productions and in 2007 directed his first movie, Taare Zameen Par, which was a decent debut I think.
To begin with I didn't really like Aamir Khan too much, because my taste of movies was more mainstream-orientated at that point, but ever since Fanaa and the perfect teenage-rebellion-movie Rang De Basanti, Aamir counts to my favourite Indian actors. And as it turns out, he even ended up in this list. Although I wish he would make more movies, most of them have been almost perfect in the last few years (with the exception of Ghajini maybe, though it probably was a challenge for him), and every year I eagerly await "the new Aamir film".

Films I have seen: 
Dil, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Andaz Apna Apna, Raja Hindustani, Ghulam, Earth, Sarfarosh, Mann, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, Dil Chahta Hai, The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Taare Zameen Par, Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Dhobi Ghat

Top 3 performances: 
1. Lagaan - 2. Rang De Basanti - 3. Dil Chahta Hai

Abhay Deol
(* March 15, 1976 in Chandigarh, Punjab, India)

„ I seriously hope that some intelligent writer will write a role that will justify my pairing with the Khans.

Abhay Deol is one of those actors I fell for already at the first movie. His performance in Dev.D still is my favourite of his, maybe because it's a rather dark one in comparison to many of his other roles. But you got to admit that he's great at comedy too. 
Though Abhay was born into the Bollywood-dynasty of the Deol family, he is actually talented and studied acting (in L.A.). I don't know which of the two is more important, but the result is that he turns out to be one of the best Indian actors (as always; in my opinion). Abhay is also known for working a lot with debuting/ new/ unknown directors and taking risks, which I love, because mostly something fresh and great comes out of it. Like my favourite adaption of Austen's Emma after Clueless (Aisha). Or an extraordinary Indian comedy before 2009 (Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.). 
Of course I don't always like the movies he stars in, but acting-wise, Abhay makes it all up to me. 

Films I have seen:
Socha Na Tha, Ahista Ahista, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, Manorama Six Feet Under, Dev.D, Aisha, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Top 3 performances:
1. Dev.D - 2. Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. - 3. Manorama Six Feet Under

Amitabh Bachchan
(* October 11, 1942 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India)

„I have never really been confident about my career at any stage.“

Amitabh is one of those glorious Indian stars that have fought their way up with pure and unconquerable talent. To be honest, this man is a living legend. I'm not going to retell his story of life here because it would surely take too long, but let me just say that Amitabh was in the first Indian film I saw, and I hope he will be in the last one. 
I got to know him as "the father" or "the teacher" or whatever, but nevertheless, Amitabh left a great impression on me from the start. He was always the character and never the star (that being said, I haven't seen Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap), and the more I saw of him, the more I wanted to see. He is the one who made me interested in 70s Hindi cinema, and actually the only three films I've seen from that era are with him. Through him, I got to see more older Indian films, and generally more classic films - even Hollywood - and I'm truly grateful for this. 
What I love about Amitabh is... well, I guess it's everything. His screen presence, his way of performing, his voice and height, his versatility and his daringness. And all of this makes me forget that he didn't like Slumdog Millionaire.

Films I have seen:
Sholay, Kabhi Kabhie, Don, Mohabbatein, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, Khushi, Baghban, Khakee, Lakshya, Kyun! Ho Gaya Na…, Veer-Zaara, Black, Bunty Aur Babli, Parineeta, Paheli, Sarkar, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Baabul, Nishabd, Jodhaa Akbar, Delhi-6, Paa, Rann

Top 3 performances:
1. Sholay - 2. Black - 3. Don

Brad Pitt
(* December 18, 1963 in Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA)

„Fame is a bitch, man.“

One of the most obvious choices in this list actually happens to be the one actor I've seen least films of. Although I grew up with Brad Pitt being simply everywhere - especially the magazines - it wasn't until I became more obsessed with film that I found out he was a great actor. 
The first Brad Pitt film I saw was Troy, and it should take me about five years to see another one, one that should particularly guide me towards my current "interest" in film:  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. So I haven't really been familiar with the actor Brad Pitt for a long time. Perhaps you can therefore consider it a big compliment to include him in this list, because with these few performances he has already convinced me of being one of my favourite actors. 
There is something about him that is just universally likable. In that way he reminds me of the Indian actor Hrithik Roshan, whom I almost included here too but wasn't sure if I really loved enough. 

Films I have seen: 
Fight Club, Ocean's Eleven, Troy, The Mexican, Babel, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Tree of Life

Top 3 performances:
1. Fight Club - 2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 3. The Tree of Life

Irrfan Khan
(* November 30, 1962 in Jaipur, Rajasthan)

„Whatever I have, I will show it in my work and I don’t have much to say about life beyond my work.“

I already mentioned that Irrfan isn't a typical beauty, but when you see him in a leading role you'll find that you can't take your eyes off him. 
After being more of an outsider in Bollywood he has been seen in more commercial movies over the last few years, along with his main metier - off-road cinema that is sometimes quirky, sometimes dark as the Indian gangland. Of course, as an actor of his kind and his looks, Irrfan didn't have an easy start - I was really surprised about his 30-seconds-role in Salaam Bombay. However, over the years he has established himself a name in the industry and currently might be heading towards an international career as well, having already filmed with Asif Kapadia, Danny Boyle and currently Marc Webb for the new Spider Man film that I haven't seen yet. 
But I hope that he won't stop filming Indian films as well, because until now I have enjoyed his performances in these films a little more than the other ones - which perhaps is going to change once he is offered bigger roles. 

Films I have seen:
Salaam Bombay!, Maqbool, The Killer, The Namesake, Life in a Metro, Aaja Nachle, Migration (short), Slumdog Millionaire, Billu Barber, 7 Khoon Maaf

Top 3 performances:
1. Maqbool - 2. The Namesake - 3. Billu Barber

Leonardo DiCaprio
(* November 11, 1974 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA)

„As a little kid growing up in Hollywood, I was called 'a little crazy'. And now I guess I'm still that way.“

Another typical choice that is another actor I haven't seen many films of. And as you can imagine, these few films have been enough to make me name him one of my currently favourite actors. 
But Leonardo DiCaprio has even more in common with Brad Pitt; I was surrounded by news, pictures and reviews about him throughout most of my youth. And didn't see a film with him until I was 13 or 14. Luckily, this film was Titanic (it was the perfect time to see it) and yes, from that moment on I had a crush on Leonardo. Or at least the young Leonardo - I don't find him as attractive as before in his newer films, although there will always be something special about him. 
Anyhow, I continued with the classics, and then went on to see some of his newer films and well... he never failed to impress me. Every single role was different from the other, and while I'd never be able to forget my Jack-Dawson-crush (which it was, not a Leonardo-crush), Leonardo DiCaprio slowly moved in to the ranks of my favourite actors. When I heard that he was going to star in the re-filmatization of The Great Gatsby, I was in heaven (who else than him would be able to replace Robert Redford?), when I saw the trailer I was on cloud nine (funny, in German we call it cloud seven) - and when I heard it was postponed to 2013, I was crushed. 
But there's always Django Unchained to be hyping about.

Films I have seen:
Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, (The Beach), The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inception

Top 3 performances:
1. Blood Diamond - 2. The Aviator - 3. Revolutionary Road

Mads Mikkelsen
(* November 22, 1965 in Copenhagen, Denmark)

„I'm a beer man.“

It's funny, but I don't really like any Danish actresses. I mean, I like some, for example Paprika Steen and Sidse Babett Knudsen, but there are none I'm just all crazy about. With Danish actors though, it's a whole different story. I love many of them - Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Thure Lindhardt, Jesper Christensen. And last but not least, there's Mads Mikkelsen. 
Our story begins one ordinary evening, I don't remember the season, when I had gone to visit my dear grandmother. She wanted to go to bed early, so I searched out a movie on TV that sounded interesting. "Oh, Adam's Apples, my mother told me about that one... sounds interesting, I'll watch it". This thought changed my life. 
Okay, not exactly, but that film, that man, was something truly special. Tall and lanky, and especially older-looking than my usual favourite actors, I couldn't forget this Mads Mikkelsen. That I had seen him in King Arthur many years ago I didn't remember, so I count this film to be my first one of his. Anyhow, I saw more films with him, calling him my favourite Danish actor, and now we are here, in this list... and I guess he must be one of my favourite actors of all time. And in case I haven't convinced you yet, he won the Best Actor Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. So go out and watch some of his films, will you?

Films I have seen:
Elsker dig for evigt, De grønne slagtere, King Arthur, Adams Æbler, Efter brylluppet, Casino Royale, Flammen & Citronen, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, (Valhalla Rising), En kongelig affære

Top 3 performances:
1. Adams Æbler - 2. Elsker dig for evigt - 3. De grønne slagtere

Shah Rukh Khan
(* November 2, 1965 in New Delhi, India)

„I'd rather sink trying to be different, than stay afloat like everyone else.“

It amuses me that the last person in this list happens to be Shah Rukh Khan. He of all people.
He, my first favourite actor, and probably the one person in the world I've seen most films of. Sure, there are some of his films from the more or less horrible 90s I haven't seen yet, plus a few of the newer ones, but mainly there aren't many I'm still to see. 
If you've heard of Shah Rukh you probably either love him, or you're filled with the prejudice that many people have against him and the romantic side of Bollywood. It's true that many, many films of his are love stories and that he is known as a romantic hero, but Shah Rukh is just... more than that. Whatever he does, he gives 200%, and if you've ever seen an interview with him, you will realize how incredibly smart he is. It's not that everything he touches turns gold, as with Aamir Khan, but you can't help but admire his passion and commitment.
Take one of his latest films, the CGI-ambitious superhero movie Ra.One - a rather poor movie, but Shah Rukh makes it worth a watch. It is his performance that lifts up the whole movie. It was him who brought Indian film or at least Bollywood to many foreign countries, especially Germany which may be considered his #2 fan domain after India. Really, everyone here likes Shah Rukh, if not loves him. 
It's also the fact that he made his way into the industry without any help, when everyone said he was too short and too dark (!) to be a hero. His villain roles from that time are a real treat if you're getting tired of the notorious good-guy characters he usually plays. That being said, there are bad Shah Rukh Khan films, and don't get me started on the 90s. 
What I've gone through for him is... impressive. 
Yes, Shah Rukh was my first favourite actor, and although I think he's going through a lesser great phase at the time movie-wise, I'm sure he will forever remain in this list, no matter how often it will be updated. Because every time I see him in a movie he reminds me of the reason why I love movies.

Films I have seen:
Deewana, Baazigar, Darr, Ram Jaane, Karan Arjun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, English Babu Desi mem, Army, Dushman Duniya Ka, Koyla, Yes Boss, Dil To Pagal Hai, Pardes, Dil Se.., Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Josh, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega…, Mohabbatein, One 2 Ka 4, Asoka, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, Devdas, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, Shakthi: The Power, Saathiya, Chalte Chalte, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke, Main Hoon Na, Veer-Zaara, Swades: We, the People, Kaal, Paheli, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Don, I See You, Chak De India!, Heyy Babyy, Om Shanti Om, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Billu Barber, My Name Is Khan, Ra.One

Top 3 performances:
1. Dil Se.. - 2. Devdas - 3. Asoka


  1. YAAAY FOR SRK! He will always be my favourite actor, even though he's more of a star than an actor (unfortunately). I love Aamir Khan and Brad Pitt too. Others like Abhay Deol, Irrfan Khan and Leo I respect.
    My favourite "actor" actor is Johnny Depp of course.

    1. Of course ;).
      I wish Shah Rukh would focus a little more on his "actor" side sometimes, especially lately. I feel like he hasn't done anything extraordinary since... Swades?

  2. I'm not familiar with most of those actors, but Mads Mikkelsen is very interesting choice, I like him too - though I haven't seen as many of his films as you did.

    I think Brad Pitt is seriously overlooked - or at least he was until now, with Moneyball and all. I'm really glad he's going through a more serious phase in his career for I think he's immensely talented. Some of my favorite performances of him are Mr. O'Brien and Benjamin Button (agreed!), and especially Jesse James and Richard Jones (Babel).

    As for DiCaprio, I'm always surprised to learn he's made so few movies! I too liked him in The Aviator and Revolutionary Road, plus Inception (the window scene is mind-blowing), Shutter Island, Catch Me If You Can, and especially The Departed - he's subtle, but really good. I haven't watched Blood Diamond yet, because someone spoiled the ending for me... maybe one day I'll forget!

    Anyway, I like these lists and the time you take to explain every choice. Nicely done, Mette!

    1. Thank you! It really took time to write all this.
      I expected many readers to not know all of these actors, however I'm glad you are familiar with Mads Mikkelsen - many of his Hollywood roles are too small for his talent.

      Was Brad Pitt overlooked? Well, as a serious actor maybe, that might be true. There was a time when all you really knew from him was Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the Ocean's franchise (except if you were a movie buff, which I wasn't at that point). I definitely need to see Jesse James.

      I thought the same thing when I had a look at DiCaprio's filmography. Actually I've seen most of his latest films, except for J. Edgar. There are many split opinions on his performance in Blood Diamond and the film in general, but I think he was fantastic, and the film was okay too. Hopefully you'll see it some day.
      Thanks again, Sofia.

    2. Yes I meant as a serious actor and for non film buffs - he's obviously not overlooked by anyone in the looks department...! But that just makes it more annoying because even in earlier roles where he was great, everyone just kept referring to him as the hot blonde guy who eats peanut butter (that's Meet Joe Black, the one film that is ALWAYS on tv around here). And if he looked somewhat worse, like Snatch or something, no one bothered to watch...

      I rant sometimes about Brad Pitt because my friends just laugh when I say he's good, I'm sorry haha!

  3. In case of Amitabh, I agree that he is one of the Best in the Industry. But seriously, you have to watch his early stuff to really understand why he is great. There are so many and so varied performances like Anand, Janjeer, Deewar, Chupke Chupke and while we are at performances, probably my favorite Agneepath. The more you watch him, the more you will appreciate him.

    Same goes for Brad Pitt too.

    1. I can imagine that.
      What I've seen of Amitabh's early movies has been outstanding - all three of them. Yes, I know, I need to see more old movies.
      Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Oh you should definetly see more films with Pitt - the guy is almost a guarantee for great movies - Snatch, Burn after Reading, Interview with a Vampire, Moneyball and Se7en! Oh, you've gotta see Se7en :)

    1. I know, I know... so many movies, so little time.

  5. Nice list, I'm a big fan of Aamir, Brad and Leo(my favourite actor). You haven't even seen some of Brad's best performances (Se7en, Snatch, Burn After Reading, Moneyball, 12 Monkeys). Don't hate me, but I don't like SRK much.

    1. Doesn't matter - I can understand why. You either like him or you don't I guess.
      I'm looking forward to seeing more of Brad, especially when people say I haven't seen many of his best performances.

  6. I haven't seen many (or any) films from some of your picks, but the fellas I'm aware of are definitely great. I agree with Sati, there are some truly remarkable Pitt performances you just gotta see. Great list.

  7. I am glad for the list that you compiled. I understand that this list represents your sole choices and, I am no one to comment on this. Still, you may reconsider your decision once you have watched movies like; Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster: Russell Crowe; Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Cast Away: Tom Hanks; Schindler's List: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley; Departed, One flew over the cuckoo's nest: Jack Nicholson; Seven Pounds, Pursuit of Happyness: Will Smith; Shawshank Redemption, Bucket List: Morgan Freeman; Scent of a Woman, Godfather: Al Pacino; Godfather: Marlon Brando and there are many more....!! Watch these movies once and make an honest judgement... :-)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Atanu!
      Of the movies you've mentioned I've seen Forrest Gump, Schindler's List, The Shawshank Redemption, The Bucket List and The Godfather and I appreciate the actors you've mentioned as well. However I guess they all belong to the category "love, but haven't seen enough of". I just don't know them just as well as the ones I mentioned here - but yes, I am trying to change this, but it'll certainly take time.


Let the discussion begin!