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Greatest Film Performances of the 1950s (US/UK)

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Criteria: Film Performances of the 1950s are ranked based on initial and lasting acclaim, popular and cultural recognition, plus influence. In order to qualify for this list the performance has to come from a predominately English-language film produced or co-produced by American or British production companies.

List Begun: 2019-10-19
More:   2010s  |   2000s  |   1990s  |   1980s  |   1970s  |   1960s  |   1950s  |   1940s  |   1930s
  Actor - Film Title (Year of Release)
  1. Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront (1954)
  2. Gloria Swanson - Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  3. Bette Davis - All About Eve (1950)
  4. Alec Guinness - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  5. Marlon Brando - A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  6. James Dean - Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  7. Katharine Hepburn - The African Queen (1951)
  8. Henry Fonda - 12 Angry Men (1957)
  9. Judy Garland - A Star Is Born (1954)
10. Jack Lemmon - Some Like It Hot (1959)
11. Vivien Leigh - A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
12. Elizabeth Taylor - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
13. Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday (1953)
14. William Holden - Stalag 17 (1953)
15. Laurence Olivier - Richard lll (1955)
16. Gary Cooper - High Noon (1952)
17. Joanne Woodward - The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
18. Susan Hayward - I Want to Live! (1958)
19. Simone Signoret - Room at the Top (1959)
20. Cary Grant - North by Northwest (1959)
21. Marlon Brando - Viva Zapata! (1952)
22. Shirley Booth - Come Back, Little Sheba! (1952)
23. Burt Lancaster - The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
24. John Wayne - The Searchers (1956)
25. Anthony Quinn - Viva Zapata! (1952)
26. Gene Kelly - Singin' in the Rain (1952)
27. Humphrey Bogart - The African Queen (1951)
28. Anna Magnani - The Rose Tattoo (1955)
29. William Holden - Sunset Boulevard (1950)
30. Joan Crawford - Sudden Fear (1952)
31. David Niven - Separate Tables (1958)
32. James Stewart - Vertigo (1958)
33. Sidney Poitier - The Defiant Ones (1958)
34. Robert Mitchum - The Night of the Hunter (1955)
35. James Stewart - Rear Window (1954)
36. Marlon Brando - Julius Caesar (1953)
37. Montgomery Clift - From Here to Eternity (1953)
38. Paul Newman - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
39. Burt Lancaster - From Here to Eternity (1953)
40. José Ferrer - Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
41. Judy Holliday - Born Yesterday (1950)
42. Laurence Olivier - Carrie (1952)
43. Marlon Brando - Sayonara (1957)
44. Ingrid Bergman - Anastasia (1956)
45. Kirk Douglas - Lust for Life (1956)
46. Charlie Chaplin - Limelight (1952)
47. Deborah Kerr - The King and I (1956)
48. James Stewart - Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
49. Doris Day - Pillow Talk (1959)
50. Anna Magnani - Wild Is the Wind (1957)
51. Kirk Douglas - Paths of Glory (1957)
52. Charles Laughton - Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
53. Elizabeth Taylor - Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
54. Grace Kelly - The Country Girl (1954)
55. Rod Steiger - On the Waterfront (1954)
56. Marlon Brando - The Wild One (1953)
57. Alan Ladd - Shane (1953)
58. Fredric March - Death of a Salesman (1951)
59. Montgomery Clift - A Place in the Sun (1951)
60. John Wayne - The Quiet Man (1952)
61. James Stewart - Harvey (1950)
62. Humphrey Bogart - The Caine Mutiny (1954)
63. James Mason - A Star Is Born (1954)
64. Karl Malden - On the Waterfront (1954)
65. Audrey Hepburn - Sabrina (1954)
66. Deborah Kerr - From Here to Eternity (1953)
67. Audrey Hepburn - The Nun's Story (1959)
68. Marilyn Monroe - Some Like It Hot (1959)
69. Donna Reed - From Here to Eternity (1953)
70. Bing Crosby - The Country Girl (1954)
71. Dorothy Dandridge - Carmen Jones (1954)
72. Anne Baxter - All About Eve (1950)
73. Tony Curtis - Some Like It Hot (1959)
74. Ernest Borgnine - Marty (1955)
75. James Dean - East of Eden (1955)
76. Tony Curtis - The Defiant Ones (1958)
77. Orson Welles - The Touch of Evil (1958)
78. Susan Hayward - With a Song in My Heart (1952)
79. Kirk Douglas - The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
80. Alastair Sim - A Christmas Carol (1951)
81. Eleanor Parker - Caged (1950)
82. George Sanders - All About Eve (1950)
83. Spencer Tracy - The Last Hurrah (1958)
84. John Wayne - Rio Bravo (1959)
85. Charlton Heston - Ben-Hur (1959)
86. Ingrid Bergman - The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)
87. Rosalind Russell - Auntie Mame (1958)
88. Spencer Tracy - Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
89. Anthony Quinn - Lust for Life (1956)
90. James Dean - Giant (1956)
91. Yul Brynner - The King and I (1956)
92. Carroll Baker - Baby Doll (1956)
93. Tony Curtis - The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
94. Susan Hayward - I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
95. Alec Guinness - The Ladykillers (1955)
96. Katharine Hepburn - Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
97. Laurence Harvey - Room at the Top (1959)
98. Alec Guinness - The Horse's Mouth (1958)
99. Deborah Kerr - Separate Tables (1958)
100. Peter Sellers - The Mouse That Roared (1959)

101. Shelley Winters - A Place in the Sun (1951)
102. Jane Wyman - Magnificent Obsession (1954)
103. James Mason - Julius Caesar (1953)
104. Leslie Caron - Lili (1953)
105. James Cagney - Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
106. Katharine Hepburn - Summertime (1955)
107. Lee J. Kobb - 12 Angry Men (1957)
108. Jack Lemmon - Mister Roberts (1955)
109. Sal Mineo - Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
110. Frank Sinatra - The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
111. Rock Hudson - Giant (1956)
112. Cantinflas - Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
113. Lee J. Cobb - On the Waterfront (1954)
114. Grace Kelly - Rear Window (1954)
115. Robert Walker - Strangers on a Train (1951)
116. Louis Calhern - The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
117. Sterling Hayden - The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
118. Josephine Hull - Harvey (1950)
119. Alec Guinness - The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
120. Spencer Tracy - The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
121. Paul Newman - The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
122. Marlon Brando - The Young Lions (1958)
123. Rock Hudson - Pillow Talk (1959)
124. George C. Scott - Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
125. James Mason - North by Northwest (1959)
126. Anthony Franciosa - A Hatful of Rain (1957)
127. Spencer Tracy - Father of the Bride (1950)
128. Eva Marie Saint - On the Waterfront (1954)
129. Grace Kelly - Mogambo (1953)
130. Jack Palance - Shane (1953)
131. Spencer Tracy - The Actress (1953)
132. Gregory Peck - Roman Holiday (1953)
133. Frank Sinatra - From Here to Eternity (1953)
134. Marlene Dietrich - Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
135. Marilyn Monroe - Bus Stop (1956)
136. Yul Brynner - The Ten Commandments (1956)
137. James Stewart - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
138. Eva Marie Saint - A Hatful of Rain (1957)
139. Sessue Hayakawa - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
140. Charlton Heston - The Ten Commandments (1956)
141. Katharine Hepburn - The Rainmaker (1956)
142. Kim Novak - Vertigo (1958)
143. Marlon Brando - The Men (1950)
144. Jean Simmons - The Actress (1953)
145. Julie Harris - The Member of the Wedding (1952)
146. Donald O'Connor - Singin' In the Rain (1952)
147. Eleanor Parker - Detective Story (1951)
148. Elizabeth Taylor - A Place in the Sun (1951)
149. Ava Gardner - The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
150. José Ferrer - Moulin Rouge (1952)
151. Burl Ives - The Big Country (1958)
152. Robert Donat - The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)
153. Anthony Quinn - Wild Is the Wind (1957)
154. Jennifer Jones - Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
155. Marisa Pavan - The Rose Tattoo (1955)
156. Sam Jaffe - The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
157. Humphrey Bogart - In a Lonely Place (1950)
158. Maureen O'Hara - The Quit Man (1952)
159. Bette Davis - Star (1952)
160. Lee Grant - Detective Story (1951)
161. Dan O'Herlihy - Robinson Crusoe (1954)
162. Kim Hunter - A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
163. Kirk Douglas - Detective Story (1951)
164. Karl Malden - A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
165. Arthur Kennedy - Bright Victory (1951)
166. Kirk Douglas - Ace in the Hole (1951)
167. Jane Wyman - The Blue Veil (1951)
168. Nancy Kelly - The Bad Seed (1956)
169. Karl Malden - Baby Doll (1956)
170. Deborah Kerr - Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
171. Elsa Lanchester - Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
172. Dean Martin - Rio Bravo (1959)
173. Christopher Lee - The Horror of Dracula (1958)
174. Grace Kelly - Dial M for Murder (1954)
175. Ray Milland - Dial M for Murder (1954)
176. John Dall - Gun Crazy (1950)
177. Richard Widmark - No Way Out (1950)
178. Peggy Cummins - Gun Crazy (1950)
179. Erich von Stroheim - Sunset Boulevard (1950)
180. William Holden - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
181. Glenn Ford - Blackboard Jungle (1955)
182. Julie Harris - East of Eden (1955)
183. Natalie Wood - Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
184. Katie Johnson - The Ladykillers (1955)
185. Colette Marchand - Moulin Rouge (1952)
186. Ava Gardner - Mogambo (1953)
187. Shelley Winters - The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
188. Juanita Moore - Imitation of Life (1959)
189. Peter Ustinov - Quo Vadis (1951)
190. Victor McLaglen - The Quiet Man (1952)
191. Debbie Reynolds - Singin' In the Rain (1952)
192. Dorothy Malone - Written on the Wind (1956)
193. Doris Day - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
194. Helen Hayes - Anastasia (1956)
195. Fred Astaire - The Band Wagon (1953)
196. Jack Palance - Sudden Fear (1952)
197. Marilyn Monroe - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
198. Red Buttons - Sayonara (1957)
199. Robert Mitchum - Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
200. Edmond O'Brien - The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

scene from On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando

scene from Sunset Boulevard with Gloria Swanson

scene from All About Eve with Bette Davis

scene from The Bridge on the River Kwai with Alec Guinness

scene from A Streetcar Named Desire with Marlon Brando

scene from Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean








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