Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Added by ccc25 on 16 Feb 2013 12:14
3530 Views No comments

50 Greatest American Screen Legends

Add header image

Choose file... or enter url:
Sort by: Showing 50 items
Rating: List Type:
1907 - 2003

Playing strong independent women with minds of their own
Often wore slacks instead of dresses, decades before it became fashionable for women to do so
Distinctive way of speaking, with what many say is a "Bryn Mawr" accent
Frequently worked with Cary Grant, 'Spencer Tracy', and George Cukor
Recognizable angular features
Strong outspoken personality

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)
ccc25's rating:

Typically played smart, playful, courageous, tough, occasionally reckless characters who lived in a corrupt world, anchored by a hidden moral code.
Almost always played a hard-boiled cynic who ultimately shows his noble side.
Low-key, distinctive nasal voice
Often wore bow ties
Roles in film noirs

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Casablanca (1942)
Average listal rating (337 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
1908 - 1989

Often played assertive, uncompromising, aggressive and even ruthless women, though never less than compelling
Large, distinctive eyes

All About Eve (1950)

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (455 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
1904 - 1986

Mid-Atlantic accent
Often played a handsome bachelor
Roles in romantic comedies
Chin dimple

North By Northwest (1959)

Charade (1963)
1929 - 1993

Elegant beauty.
Often cast opposite leading men who were considerably older than she was.
Often played classy High Society women.
Wide, brown eyes.
Charming characters who try to wear their troubles lightly
Delicate, thin frame

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

My Fair Lady (1964)
ccc25's rating:
1908 - 1997

Soft-spoken, extremely polite and shy manner, with a very recognizable drawl in his voice.
Often played honest, average middle class individuals who are unwittingly drawn into some kind of crisis.
Roles in westerns
After 1950 he often played tough, cynical and frequently ruthless characters.
Often had a role in the films of Frank Capra
Stuttering voice, which has often been parodied to exaggerated effect.
Tall, thin frame.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Rear Window (1954)
1915 - 1982

Tall, naturally-curvy frame
Performances in dramas where her characters were put through harrowing emotional ringers

Casablanca (1942)

Notorious (1946)
ccc25's rating:
1924 - 2004

Bizarrely unique voice with an extreme nasal tonality spoken in mumbles
Frequently played young, somewhat misunderstood rebels in his youth (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One, On the Waterfront) and later powerful criminals (The Godfather, The Formula, The Freshman, The Score).
The pioneering use of Method Acting
Often improvised his own dialogue
Was known for being very difficult to work with

The Godfather (1972)

Apocalypse Now (1979)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (243 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
1905 - 1990

Being a movie star, and this applies to all of them, means being looked at from every possible direction. You are never left at peace, you're just fair game.
Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it.
never said, "I want to be alone".I only said, "I want to be left alone". There is a whole world of difference.

Grand Hotel (1932)

Ninotchka (1939)
Average listal rating (181 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
1890 - 1987

Top Hat and Tails
His dancing

Top Hat (1935)

Swing Time (1936)
1926 - 1962

Lisp, breathless voice
Platinum blonde hair
Voluptuous figure

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Some Like It Hot (1959)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (279 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
1905 - 1982

Noticeable for his "cat-like" walk, especially in westerns: moving at a slow but clock- like tempo, throwing forward one foot at time, while letting the arms dangle loosely at his sides.
Bright blue eyes
Often played strong, defensive, heroic characters that were always seeking peace and justice.

12 Angry Men (1957)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
1932 - 2011

Dark hair
Light complexion
Love affair with beautiful jewelry
Her multiple marriages and divorces.
Violet eyes

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (278 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
1901 - 1960

Pencil thin mustache that hugged his upper lip
Often played a virile, lovable rogue whose gruff facade only thinly masked a natural charm and goodness.
Distinctive, powerful voice
Oversized ears

It Happened One Night (1934)

Gone with the Wind (1939)
1922 - 1922

Beautiful contralto singing voice
Frequently played sensitive, sweet girls and women
Small, delicate physical presence

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Average listal rating (143 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
1899 - 1986

Famous for his gangster roles he played in the 1930s and 1940s (which made his only Oscar win as the musical composer/dancer/actor George M.Cohan most ironic).
Diminutive but nimble frame
Unmistakable rapid-fire speaking voice
Wise-cracking New Yorker persona
Compelling intensity

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

White Heat (1949)
1901 - 1922

Low and sensual voice
Wearing tuxedoes, men's hats, and men's tailored suits
Aura of glamour and luxury

The Blue Angel (1930)

Witness for the Prosecution (1958)
ccc25's rating:
1900 - 1967

Often wore a lopsided fedora hat in his films
Blocky shoulders
Plain, everyman looks
Raspy but strong voice
Relatable characters who must change their way of thinking

Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1904 - 1977

Glamorous sense of fashion
Frequently played women put through an extensive amount of suffering

Mildred Pierce (1945)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
1889 - 1977

A tramp with toothbrush mustache, undersized bowler hat and bamboo cane who struggled to survive while keeping his dignity in a world with great social injustice.
Highly descriptive facial expressions
Stories often reflect his liberal political beliefs
Comedy with a deep undercurrent of pathos
On-screen and off-screen, favored the company of much younger women, who were often innocent if troubled

Modern Times (1936)

The Great Dictator (1940)
1907 - 1990

Husky voice
Frequently was casted as women who must deal with their low class standing
Shapely legs

The Lady Eve (1941)

Double Indemnity(1944)
Average listal rating (337 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
1916 - 2003

Almost always played courageous, nobly heroic good guys who saw injustice and fought it.
Distinctive low-pitched voice
Films often reflected his liberal political views
Imposing stature
Often plays leaders or authority figures

Roman Holiday (1953)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
ccc25's rating:
1903 - 19966

Most of us don't know about happiness until it's over.
I've always believed that acting is instinct to start with; you either have it or you don't.
Audiences always sound like they're glad to see me, and I'm damned glad to see them. If they want you, you want to do it.

It Happened One Night (1934)

Since You Went Away (1944)
Average listal rating (164 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
1901 - 1961

Roles in westerns
Slow, very deliberate delivery

Sergeant York (1941)

High Noon (1952)
Average listal rating (564 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
1929 - 1982

Poised, calm, cool and collected demeanor
Blond hair often coiffed in a bun
Often cast as the love interest of the leading man who is over 20 years older.

Rear Window (1954)

Dial M for Murder (1954)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (280 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
1907 - 1979

Slow talk and distinctive, gravelly voice
War movies
Distinctive cat-like walk
His movies frequently reflected his conservative values
Often starred with Maureen O'Hara

The Searchers (1956)

Rio Bravo (1959)
1911 - 1995

Often starred with Fred Astaire
Corn-fed good looks

Top Hat (1935)

Swing Time (1936)
1907 - 1989

Roles in Shakespeare adaptations
Often played noble and fiercely proud leaders and royalty figures
Often directed himself in his films
Rich smooth voice

Rebecca (1940)

Hamlet (1948)
Average listal rating (91 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
1893 - 1980

Queen of the World
The Statue of Libido

I'm No Angel (1933)

She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Average listal rating (209 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
1912 - 1996

Known for his innovative, athletic style of dancing

An American in Paris (1951)

Singing' in the Rain (1952)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (364 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
1913 - 1967

Cat like smile
Raised right eyebrow

Gone with the Wind (1939)

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
ccc25's rating:
Average listal rating (384 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
1915 - 1985

One of the most recognizable deep voices in all of film, radio or television.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Touch of Evil (1958)
Average listal rating (102 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
1893 - 1993

Small frame
Doll-like looks
Early roles as innocent, virginal characters who are victimized by a cruel world
Later often played willful but conflicted women

The Birth of a Nation (1915)

The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Average listal rating (225 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Born in 1916

Gravelly voice
Dimpled chin
Frequently played manipulative, angry and often cruel leading characters that bordered on unsympathetic but were always compelling

Paths of Glory (1957)

Spartacus (1960)
Born in 1928

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.
Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle.
I class myself with Rin Tin Tin. People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog and a little girl.

The Little Princess (1939)

Fort Apache (1948)
Average listal rating (470 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
1931 - 1955

Frequently played angry youths
Squinty, sleepy eyes
Impulsive emotional acting style
Known for playing well-meaning but deeply troubled characters
The red jacket, white T-shirt and blue jeans from Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

East of Eden (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
ccc25's rating:
1918 - 1987

Red hair and brown eyes
Voluptuous figure
Deep sultry voice

Gilda (1946)

The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
1913 - 1994

A killer smile, which he called "The Grin"
A great physique, of which director John Frankenheimer said, "Nobody ever looked like Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate (1952) ."
His movies often reflected his very liberal political beliefs
Roles in westerns
Very distinctive, clipped manner of speaking

From Here to Eternity (1953)

Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)
Born in 1924

Deep, sexy voice
Cat-like eyes

To Have and Have Not (1944)

The Big Sleep (1946)
Groucho Marx (1980 - 1977)

Chico Marx (1887 - 1961)

Harpo Marx (1888 - 1964)

Duck Soup (1933)

A Day at the Races (1937)
Born in 1924

Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got.
A woman's dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.
Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.

Two Women (La Ciociara) (1960)

El Cid (1961)
ccc25's rating:
1895 - 1966

Pork pie hat, slapshoes, deadpan expression
His films contain elaborate gadgets of his own devising
Used the camera to help comedy, e.g to create effect of rocking boat in beginning of The Boat (1921).
Small and slight frame

Sherlock Jr. (1926)

The General (1924)
Average listal rating (124 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0

Wise-cracking platinum blonde

The Public Enemy (1931)

Red Dust (1932)
Born in 1927

We all suffer from the preoccupation that there exists ... in the loved one, perfection.

I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father's life.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1908 - 1942

The Profane Angel
The Hoosier Tornado
Ma (by Clark Gable)

My Man Godfrey (1936)

To Be or Not yo Be (1942)
1917 - 1997

On and off-screen, he was known for his facade of cool, sleepy-eyed indifference
Deep, commanding, yet lively voice
Dimpled chin
Often played loners and drifters

Out of the Past (1947)

The Night of the Hunter(1955)

Baby Gladys
"The Girl with the Golden Hair"
"The Glad Girl"
America's Sweetheart (abroad, The World's Sweetheart)
Little Mary

The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

Coquette (1929)

Trade Marks:
Prideful, nasty and violent characters involved in the underworld
Unconventional, almost catfish-like mug
Short, squat frame

Double Indemnity (1944)

Key Largo (1948)
Average listal rating (308 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
1922 - 1990

Trade Marks:
Known off-screen for bawdy language and humor and free spirit
Dimpled chin
Her sultry beauty

Known for:
The Kiilers (1946)

One the Beach (1959)

Trade Marks:
Gravelly, smoke-burnished voice
Often infused his parts, even the more serious ones, with sardonic humor
Dimpled chin

Known for:
Sunset Boulevard (1950)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)


From American Film Institute

Added to

Related lists

AFI's 25 Greatest Male Screen Legends - 1999
25 item list by AFIoscar
9 votes
The 10 Greatest Screen Legends
324 item list by Moon River
40 votes 7 comments
50 Screen Legends
3 item list by DazedForDays
1 votes
Total Film's 50 Greatest American Indies Films
50 item list by moviebuff
7 votes
Tribute to the living screen legends!
63 item list by Moon River
40 votes 4 comments
50 Greatest Actresses!
50 item list by Happy Vader
8 votes 6 comments
50 Greatest Comedy Films (Channel 4)
50 item list by tartan_skirt
15 votes
50 Greatest Filipino Films Of All Time
51 item list by Kester
28 votes 6 comments
Greek legends
30 item list by propelas
32 votes 2 comments

View more top voted lists

People who voted for this also voted for

More lists from ccc25

Post comment

Insert image

drop image here
(or click)
or enter URL:
 link image?  square?

Insert video

Format block