Kim Fielding's Top 5 Classic Movie Actors

Thursday July 26, 2018


I love old films. Sure, you don’t get all the explosive CGI effects of modern movies, and you often have to be willing to acknowledge the misogyny and other biases so evident in the past. But the cinematography can be gorgeous and the scripts sharp as a tack. And then there are those leading men….

Here are five of my very favorites.


Jimmy Stewart—I love pretty much every movie he ever made, but Rear Window and Vertigo probably top the list. And of course, who hasn’t watched It’s a Wonderful Life a zillion times? Stewart was entirely credible as a man whose dreams were hopelessly shattered yet tried hard to fulfill his obligations.

Cary Grant—He was handsome and debonair, but what I especially love about Grant was his flair for comedy. In Arsenic and Old Lace, for instance, where he had to sort of play straight man for his extremely eccentric family, he was perfect. Even his facial expressions were spot-on.

Humphrey Bogart—Of course I love Bogart’s noir roles, like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, but he could pull off a romantic lead with equal ease. He played off Hepburn perfectly in The African Queen, a film he made fairly late in his career.

Paul Newman—Newman was an actor who could manage a wide range of on-screen personas. I think my favorite role of his was grifter Henry Gondorff in The Sting, although Cool Hand Luke is another personal favorite. I also admire his dedication to philanthropy. 

Gregory Peck—Okay, I’ll be honest. Peck makes my list because of one specific role: Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Nobody could have done a more perfect job.

Who are your favorite classic movie actors? Let’s limit our lists to actors who were active in the industry in the 1950s, but go ahead and list actresses too, if you like.

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