The top 25 cult film actors

They may not be household names like their A-list colleagues, but the actors on this list have appeared in some of our all-time favourite geek movies...

Some actors dabble in sci-fi; others dip their toe into fantasy; some may even make an appearance in the odd horror film – all before returning to the safety of the genres in which they feel more comfortable – perhaps a nice, award-chasing period drama, or a well-paid romantic comedy.

A-listers may see the geeky films that we on this site enjoy and celebrate as fun little side-projects, but there are actors out there who commit full-time to these types of movies. It is high time, therefore, that we credited these individuals with the recognition they deserve.

Besides the stipulation that, in order to be included, an actor had to still be alive and working today, there were no strict criteria that had to be met in order to warrant inclusion on this list.

As such, we use ‘cult’ in the loosest sense of the word: it could be a character actor who thrives in supporting roles, or one who simply discovered horror, fantasy, action and sci-fi by accident and steadfastly stuck with them, right through to the heavyweights who have become almost synonymous with the genres in which they so regularly appear.

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The one thing they all share is – despite the odd threat to do so – they never settled into the bland rut of the A-list movie star. They either keep coming back to the dark side (or light side, depending on your personal predilections) of geekdom, or they simply never left. Either way, they deserve our gratitude, because they’ve all contributed much to the films we know and love.

As always, no list is ever truly exhaustive, and the order of lists like these – not to mention omissions from it – are always subjects of, let’s call it, ‘discussion’, so chime in with your own suggestions in the comments below.

And, alas, we must begin with a special mention:

Nathan Fillion

This list is, for the most part, skewed towards cinema actors whose appearances on TV are taken into account to support them, yet it would be unforgivably remiss not to at least shine a light on the work of Nathan Fillion – a man dear in the hearts of geeks everywhere.

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While he has a few cracking films to his name (Saving Private Ryan and the majestic Serenity in particular), it was mainly his TV work that ingratiated Fillion so resolutely with his worldwide fanbase. His magnetic presence in Castle, Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly marked him out as a formidable screen personality, and one who – with a few more features under his belt – would certainly place highly on this list.

As it is, he gets his own category, and wins hands down, albeit by default: ‘Most-loved geek TV actor in the world today.’ We hope this will suffice, and on the infinitesimal chance that he reads this, we’d just like to say: Nathan-we-love-you-and-we-think-you’re-awesome-please-will-you-be-our-friend.

Now, with that out of the way (and our pride completely intact), we start at number 25:

25. Udo Kier

The name may not ring any bells but the face surely does, and it is stalwarts of ubiquitous anonymity such as these that this list, in part, aims to celebrate.

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Kier’s vulcnanic appearance, piercing gaze and exotic Germanic lilt have been used by Hollywood to portray a range of spectacular bastardry over the years. Most famously, Kier played Dragonetti in the original Blade, yet appearances in the 2007 version of Halloween, Johnny Mnemonic, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Grindhouse, the reluctantly enjoyable End Of Days and Nosferatu tale Shadow Of The Vampire are perhaps more memorable than the films themselves.

Even an alarming propensity for working with cinematic Bernard Matthews Uwe Boll (Bloodrayne, Far Cry) cannot detract from Kier’s finest work, with Melancholia and Dario Argento’s Suspiria remaining his ‘best’ (in a strictly critical sense) films. An appearance from Kier however, in pretty much anything, is always welcome.

24. Carl Weathers

Of course, Carl Weathers’ place in the hearts of film fans everywhere would be guaranteed had his only cinematic appearances been those where he played Rocky Balboa’s nemesis-cum-best pal Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films (ie, the good ones).

Yet Weathers’ portrayal of Dillon in John McTiernan’s ultimate testosterone-jungle actioner Predator is also the stuff of legend (Weathers – quite literally – standing bicep to bicep with the Governator), with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Happy Gilmore serving as other career highlights ensuring that – despite working far more in TV nowadays – Weathers’ place on this list is a safe one.

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23. Ian Holm

Holm’s trademark jittery-yet-threatening Englishness was never put to better use than as the unhinged android Ash in Ridley Scott’s Alien, from which Holm would go on to shine in Terry Gilliam’s excellent Brazil, Kenneth Branagh’s unfairly maligned Frankenstein and Luc Besson’s pompously rip-roaring The Fifth Element.

That he also played Bilbo Baggins is the elephant in the room, of course, yet The Day After Tomorrow, eXistenZ and Jack the Ripper horror From Hell are also, in their own ways, more than worthy of your time.

22. Gary Busey

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Busey’s unsettlingly toothy grin has mainly been contained within modest, straight-to-video fare for the past decade or so, with fluff like Hallettsville, Succubus: Hell Bent (which is, if anything, worse than it sounds) and the frankly odd The Gingerdead Man offering poor returns for his talents. Busey’s previous output however, more than makes up for any recent indiscretions.

His wild-eyed portrayal of Joshua in the original (and, in no small part due to Busey’s involvement, best) Lethal Weapon was followed by equally impressive turns in the criminally underrated Predator 2, The Firm, Drop Zone, Point Break and next to Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege (in a scenery-gobbling pairing of such overblown awesomeness that it’s a genuine threat to your TV).

A king of a type of cinema that fell out of popular favour in the 90s, Busey’s can sleep soundly in the knowledge that his contributions to action movie history will not be forgotten any time soon.21. Malcolm McDowell

The problem for actors like Malcolm McDowell, who embrace the new technology of videogames, is that such work fades with time: they’re evolving so quickly that the work, unlike film, has has a shelf life of pear-esque brevity. This leaves McDowell’s parts in the (at the time, revolutionary) Wing Commander series wallowing in the past, where voice work on Killzone 3 and Fallout 3 will inevitably be joining it before long.

This sits in obvious juxtaposition to the timeless roles McDowell has enjoyed over the years, most notably as Alex in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, in Star Trek: Generations and as the aged Paul Bettany in Gangster No. 1.

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Trashier fare like Tank Girl, TV sci-fi oddity Lexx and the misguided but enjoyable Hughes Brothers sci-fi The Book Of Eli as well as myriad TV movies, still give McDowell chances to shine as, no matter what he’s in, when he’s good, he’s very good indeed.

20. Peter Weller

Ever since being reduced to bullet-strewn offal in famously sadistic and protracted fashion in RoboCop, Peter Weller has enjoyed the sympathies of sci-fi fans everywhere. Yet unlike some of the actors on this list, who are best known for a single iconic role, Weller didn’t scrape the RoboCop barrel, appearing in only two films as the steel-balled lawman.

Yet it is his appearances in B-movie semi-classic Screamers, as well as numerous subsequent appearances in genre TV classics like Enterprise, 24, Fringe and Dexter that cement his place on this list.

The news that Weller has joined the cast of Star Trek 2 is also very welcome indeed.

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19. Christopher Lambert

Lambert first came to widespread prominence starring opposite Andie MacDowell and Ian Holm as the titular jungle-yodeler in 1984’s Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes, yet his portrayal of the immortal Highlander Connor MacLeod which would turn out to be the role for which he would be best remembered. Lambert appeared in the original trilogy of films, as well as featuring in the TV series and spin-off HIghlander: Endgame.

He also bolstered his CV with an impressive array of B-movies, starring as Raiden in the much-maligned original Mortal Kombat, making two fun (if not, it has to be said, particularly ‘good’) Fortress films, and kept busy in trashy pleasures like The Hunted and Mean Guns.

It is the projects he has in the pipeline that are perhaps more interesting, though: he will soon star in Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, sci-fi horror Dark Star Hollow (with Josh Hartnett and Billy Zane) and will also appear alongside cult legends Brad Dourif and Lance Henriksen (more of them later) in fun-looking vampiric comedy/horror Blood Shot.

18. Hugo Weaving

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Mr Weaving has had the pleasure of playing both an irredeemably bastardous vessel of pure evil and a wise paragon of honour in two of the most successful trilogies of all time, in The Matrix and The Lord Of The Rings, respectively. While the latter two Matrix films weren’t a patch on the first, Weaving’s Agent Smith was as despicable as ever, and Weaving is also set to reprise his role as Elrond in the two upcoming Hobbit films.

He also voiced Megatron in the Transformers movies, was one of many plusses of the troubled 2010 production of The Wolfman, helped Captain America: The First Avenger to be the resounding success that it was, as well as playing the masked avenger in the flawed but still worthy V For Vendetta.

Hugo Weaving is great. That is all.

17. Milla Jovovich

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Following brief early appearances in the critically favoured Chaplin and the downright revered coming-of-age drama Dazed And Confused, Jovovich began a career in sci-fi with Luc Besson’s oddly seductive and bombastic The Fifth Element, before her turn (again directed by now-husband Besson) as Joan Of Arc led her to Paul WS Anderson’s Resident Evil.

Granted, it would be difficult to critically argue in favour of the quality of the Resident Evil films, yet as their continued lucrativeness shows that they do certainly have their fans, meaning Jovovich would go on to play Alice in each of the (if you include the upcoming Retribution) sequels.

The silly Ultraviolet and the never-less-than-interesting The Fourth Kind assured Jovovich’s standing in sci-fi’s Bullingdon Club, while last year’s disarmingly ridiculous, steampunk-inspired The Three Musketeers certainly did her reputation no harm.16. Danny Trejo

Musclebound Mexican mountain of moustachioed manliness Danny Trejo’s distinctively grizzled fizzog has graced so many genre movies over the last few decades that it’s easy to forget the remarkable journey he embarked upon to get there. Emerging from a life of crime and incarceration (he makes no secret of his drug and robbery-peppered past), he is now the go-to guy when a casting director is given the remit ‘Hard. Mean. Mexican.’

His lucrative association with his second cousin Robert Rodriguez saw career-defining turns in every installment of the Mariachi, Spy Kids and From Dusk Till Dawn trilogies, yet his triple-A geek credentials also boast his memorable appearances in Con Air, Predators, Heat, Anaconda, The X-Files, The Devil’s Rejects as well as countless others, not to mention Machete – the tailor-made vehicle for all his growly awesomeness.15. Michael Biehn

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Few other actors on this list can attribute their place on it so squarely to a fruitful relationship with a single director. For the excellent Michael Biehn, this director just happened to be the beardy perfectionist himself, James Cameron, therefore it’s probably no great surprise that Michael Biehn’s CV is adorned with some of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

Biehn had been acting professionally since the late 70s, until his performance as the doomed Kyle Reece in the original Terminator would lead him to further memorable Cameron collaborations in the seminal Aliens and The Abyss, as the psychotic Lt Coffey (Biehn’s brief appearance in Terminator 2: Judgment Day wouldn’t be seen until the release of the special edition in 1993).

There’s plenty to like in Navy Seals and K2 too, while Tombstone, The Rock, Planet Terror and Grindhouse – while not up to the standard of his work in the 80s – are still great. If Michael isn’t asked to be a part of Avatar 2, then James Cameron is officially an idiot.

14. Warwick Davis

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However you gauge the merit of his recent involvement with divisive comedian Ricky Gervais, since his debut as Wicket in Return Of The Jedi at the tender age of 11, Warwick Davis has busied himself almost exclusively within the realms of fantasy and sci-fi with a hit-rate that is surely the envy of many of his contemporaries.

Bit-parts in the Ewok TV movies and Labyrinth led to the title role in Ron Howard’s Willow – a film which, despite its idiosyncrasies, is worthy of its place amongst the best fantasies the 80s produced.

Then Davis signed up to appear in comedy/horror Leprechaun (the first of seven increasingly kitsch Leprechaun films, in which he would continue to appear) and big-budget TV serials Gulliver’s Travels and The 10th Kingdom.

He also reunited with George Lucas for a cameo in The Phantom Menace, before taking on dual roles as Gringotts grump Griphook and Professor Flitwick in each successive Harry Potter film – a saga that kept him busy for ten years – as well as appearing in Prince Caspian and ‘doing a Prowse’ as Marvin the Paranoid Android in the underrated Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

Davis is the very essence of a great cult actor: he unselfishly thrives in supporting roles (quite unlike his solipsistic Life’s Too Short alter-ego), sprinkles his resume with some of the biggest cult brands in history, and he clearly relishes the opportunity to come to the fore when given opportunity to do so.

Hopefully, his faux-Brentian mockumentary shtick will not steal him away for too long.

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13. Bill Paxton

If nothing else, Bill Paxton deserves credit for never having (publicly) assaulted anyone in response to having “Game over, man!” yelled at him in the street for the billionth time. Yet his place on this list is a no-brainer, after such a memorable performance in a film held in such high regard.

Paxton had, of course, been the unlucky punk on the receiving end of a particularly probing punch from the original Terminator, while Weird Science and Aliens acted as the springboard to films like Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, as well as Navy Seals and Predator 2.

Even less successful (both critically and commercially) genre projects like Futureshock, Brain Dead (not the hilarious Peter Jackson one, mind) and Slipstream were elevated by his mere, manic presence, which was thankfully put to much better use throughout the 90s: Tombstone, True Lies, Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic and Jonathan Mostow’s brilliant (if factually spurious) U-571 were all great (yes, in this writer’s opinion, even Twister), and the fact he’s back in cinemas with Haywire is nothing short of fantastic news. 

12. Brad Dourif

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In his prolific 36-year career, Brad Dourif has gradually become almost synonymous with horror, fantasy and sci-fi, yet it was in 1975’s revered adaptation of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest that Dourif’s bulging weirdness was first put to good effect.

He then became a common sight in the good, the bad and the weird of cinema, starring in Dune, Blue Velvet, The Excorcist III, Alien: Resurrection, the Halloween remakes and the surprisingly decent Nightwatch amongst others, as well as lending his slimy services to episodes of The X-Files, Millennium, Star Trek: Voyager, Deadwood and Fringe.

Yet his is best known for two wildly different roles: as the voice of homicidal doll Chucky in the Child’s Play series (in which he is clearly having a ball) and as Grimer Wormtongue in the second two Lord Of The Rings films.

Mr Dourif, we salute you.

11. Alan Rickman

He’s not the most prolific of actors, but whenever Alan Rickman makes an appearance it’s generally an utter joy.

Clearly, he is still known best knows for his delectably evil turns as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Sheriff George of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, yet his note-perfect voicing of Marvin in A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy was perhaps the greatest part of the film. He was also quite marvelous in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, whatever your thoughts may be on the film itself, and as bitter thesp Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest.

For the last ten years of course, Rickman’s time has been largely taken up with playing Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films. These have kept him very much in the public eye, his performances throughout playing beautifully to his prickly, drawly qualities. Now free of this commitment, it will be extremely interesting to see what he comes up with next.

10. Jason Statham

What can be said about the punchy cockney King of Slapheads that hasn’t been said on this site already? Probably not much that isn’t a full-on confession of man-love, but here goes:

Until the Stath, the action icon had been consigned to the bargain bin of quaint, pre-metrosexual silliness, with Eraser seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger sign off the genre of the muscles, guns and cheesy one-liner actioner he had such an instrumental paw in creating.

The renaissance of the dumb actioner came from the unlikely source of Statham, who followed up a career-making pair of Guy Richie films (you know, the good ones) with the risable Ghosts Of Mars, before Mean Machine and Jet Li vehicle The One (not to mention some serious gym time) led him to The Transporter – the first in a line of unapologetically tongue-in-cheek actioners in which Statham would soon forge a genre almost of his own.

Statham has grabbed the role of the 21st century action star with both hands, and from Cellular to Crank, Death Race to The Expendables (his casting in which is surely the affirmation of his new standing as a totem of his trade) he has carved an impressive niche in the hearts of fans of a genre that was in serious danger of being forgotten.

It’s a genre in which he seems perfectly content too, and it is this continued enthusiasm coupled with his ensuing popularity that makes Statham one of the only out-and-out action stars high on this list.

9. Ron Perlman

Ron Perlman is an actor of such distinctive appearance that it’s odd he spends so much of his screen time buried beneath increasingly complex layers of prosthetics.

His most famous part of recent years has most certainly been on such a role: as Hellboy in Guillermo del Toro’s excellent adaptations of Mike Mignola’s comic book anti-hero. It’s been his fruitful partnership with del Toro that has, over the years, been responsible for some of Perlman’s best work, with Cronos and Blade II (not to mention Pacific Rim, when it eventually comes out) standing tall.

Perlman was arguably the best thing about Alien: Resurrection, while Titan: A.E. will hopefully be soon regarded as the brave, ambitious film that it was.

Sure, no one wants The Island Of Doctor Moreau or Police Academy: Mission To Moscow in their filmography, but Enemy At The Gates, Star Trek: Nemesis and Outlander, not to mention this site’s film of the year Drive, more than make up for it.

8. Robert Englund

Typecast is an ugly word for any actor, yet few have embraced a definitive role as wholeheartedly as Robert Englund, whose increasingly nudge-nudge-wink-wink appearances as stripe-and-spiked dream-botherer Freddy Krueger have kept the pay cheques rolling in ever since 1984’s iconic original A Nightmare On Elm Street.

That role allowed him the freedom to play on his horror credentials with myriad self-referential cameos, in Urban Legend, Wishmaster, Night Terrors and The Mangler, as well as appearances in episodes of Babylon 5, Knight Rider, and the original (and excellent) V TV series.

His other work does tend to have a few, let’s say, ‘quality control issues’, but it doesn’t matter; an appearance from Englund is reason enough to watch anything.

7. Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell has occasionally scratched at the ankles of the A-list, but his heart clearly lies amongst more wholesome fare. A remarkable run of form beginning in the 80s bore The Thing, Escape From New York, the sublime Big Trouble In Little China, Tango & Cash and Backdraft, before roles in Tombstone, Stargate, Breakdown, Soldier and a further adventure for Snake Plissken fleshed out his impressive body of work.

Sure, he has, at some point, tried his hand at everything from comedy to drama, but his best work is undeniably in sci-fi and action – an opinion his excellent recent appearances in the surprisingly solid Poseidon remake and Grindhouse seem to echo.

6. Rutger Hauer

“Like tears…in rain.” And lo: otherworldly Aryan Hauer passed into cinematic history; his improvised soliloquy at Blade Runner’s end becoming the cherry on top of what would have already been a classic.

His fantastically unhinged portrayal of John Ryder in The Hitcher followed in this psychopathic vein, while a penchant for fun-yet-daft actioners took in Blind Fury, Wanted: Dead Or Alive and Beyond Justice, before, in the 90s, he chewed up the scenery in the original cinematic Buffy The Vampire Slayer and clearly had fun in sci-fi pulp like Omega Doom and Redline.

In the noughties Hauer enjoyed something of a resurgence: still taking the time to lend his services to TV in Alias, Lexx and Smallville, plus an array of smaller feature-length projects, he was cast to brilliant effect in high-profile films like Batman Begins, Sin City and, most recently, his almost-homage to himself, Hobo With A Shotgun.

5. Bruce Campbell

The Evil Dead is now 30 years young, yet the continued relish with which the Almighty Chin still enjoys referencing his most famous role is evidence of how successfully the film and its sequels have stood the test of time.

Campbell knows he will forever be Ash, yet his excellence in Darkman, Maniac Cop 1 and 2, the horrendously overlooked Elvis-Mummy-Com Bubba Ho-Tep and meta-comedy My Name Is Bruce, not to mention TV appearances in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, American Gothic and Burn Notice mean he’s never too far from our screens.

Yet it’s the infectious enthusiasm exuded, both for the fans and genres responsible for his continued success, that make him a cult titan; a true lover of horror, loved by true lovers of horror.

Beelzebub bless you, Bruce.4. Sigourney Weaver

She may have taken the big bucks to appear in the Alien sequels, but in doing so she created one of the most enduring characters in the history of sci-fi cinema. Few would argue that these appearances weren’t worth every penny, too – she is also one of the few actors to receive an Oscar nod for a role in a sci-fi film (for her performance in Aliens), in the process bringing much-deserved critical acclaim to an often criminally-overlooked genre.

Ripley alone is enough reason for inclusion on this list, yet combining this with her roles in both Ghostbusters films, Avatar, thriller/chiller Copycat, Shyamalan’s okay-ish The Village, her brilliantly self-aware turns in Paul and the frankly marvelous Galaxy Quest, all elevate Weaver to a status of true eminence.

That she also voiced Futurama’s Planet Express ship is merely the cherry on top of the cake.

3. Michael Ironside

The best cult actors share a cinematic magnetism that makes even the most misguided (see: shit) film in which they appear worth watching solely due to their presence in it, and no actor symbolises this phenomenon in a more psychotically enjoyable fashion than B-movie hero Michael Ironside.

This is not to say he has only appeared in bad films. Far from it – Starship Troopers, Scanners, Total Recall, The Perfect Storm, The Machinist and X-Men: First Class, plus the original V TV series, are generally well-regarded, even by those without the unconditional love of sci-fi that can blind some to rubbishness that is gratingly evident to everyone else.

Yet it’s Ironside’s appearances in films like Highlander II, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Hostile Takeover, Terminator: Salvation and Dead Awake in which he appears to be having the most fun, and when he’s having fun there’s an extremely good chance that you’ll be having it too.

Seriously, go on to his IMDb page, pick a film you haven’t heard of at random and buy it, and (if you like your B-movies) you will almost certainly enjoy it. This is solely down to Ironside’s involvement, and few actors (cult or otherwise) can make similar boasts.

2. Lance Henriksen

Famously, Henriksen was the actor that James Cameron originally had in mind to play The Terminator, with his original vision seeing the T-800 as a slight everyman able to blend into a crowd (an idea that came to elegant fruition with Robert Patrick’s T-1000). Cameron instead cast gruff method actor Henriksen in as Detective Vukovich in a much less prominent role, yet he eventually atoned for this by giving Henriksen his most famous role as Bishop in Aliens.

This led to reprisals of the character (of sorts) in Alien 3 and AVP, yet Henriksen’s varied career has led him from early work in the respected Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Dog Day Afternoon right through to straight-to-video guff like Alone In The Dark 2 and In The Spider’s Web.

Yet lovers of the trashy B-movie revere the preposterously excellent Pumpkinhead, find plenty to love in Abominable (one death scene involving a large person and small window is particularly good) and will enjoy The Nature Of The Beast (with the excellent tagline ‘All Men are created Evil’). There are so many Henriksen B-movies to seek out, yet he rarely appears in anything so bad that can’t be enjoyed on some level, and he always seems fully aware of the level he’s aiming for.

Couple this with the criminally short-lived Millennium, Scream 3, Hard Target, Super Mario Bros (which, believe it or not, has its fans), not to mention a range of videogame appearances, and you’re left with a true cult movie icon.1. Christopher Lee

The King, the Count, the Elder Statesman, the White Wizard, the Legend.

With all other entries on this, list it’s possible list a few of the films in which they’ve appeared to justify their inclusion on it, overlooking the vast majority of their actual output while retaining the essence of what makes them great (against the nonsensical criteria of this list, anyway). Yet with Christopher Lee, the sheer quantity of films not getting a mention here will be well over 200 – the man’s work-rate over his 65-year career has been nothing short of staggering.

What’s more remarkable is that, for a man so involved such a transformative period in horror in the 60s and 70s, he is still knocking out films at a rate of an actor a quarter of his age. Lee has, quite simply, played some of the most iconic roles in some of the most iconic films of all time, and –what’s more – has generally done so quite brilliantly.

Lee’s (famously, sometimes reluctant) involvement in Hammer Horror’s heyday began when he played Frankenstein’s monster opposite Peter Cushing in 1957’s The Curse Of Frankenstein, before he donned fangs and cape for his inaugural outing as Dracula in 1958’s film of the same name. The lucrative Dracula series would see Lee play Stoker’s count in nine films in total, right through to 1973’s disappointing The Satanic Rites Of Dracula.

Yet Lee was too irrepressible to be typecast; he appeared in The Mummy, five Sherlock Holmes films (only thrice as the man himself, however) as well as myriad further horror films, most famously his deliciously eccentric performance as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man and as tri-nippled über-criminal Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun.

This was all prior to his most recent well-known roles as Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels (well, it wasn’t his fault they were shit) and Saruman in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, not to mention the upcoming Hobbit movie. And we haven’t even got to Sleepy Hollow, his fantastic voicing of Death in adaptations of the Discworld novels, plus Scorsese’s Hugo.

Naming all the great man’s great works would require us to be here for some time, so let’s just say that without the immeasurable contribution of Christopher Lee, the worlds of horror, fantasy and sci-fi would be much poorer indeed. No one has invested in these genres as much as he, and, when it came down to it, the choice for number one on this list was an extremely easy one.

Honourable mentions:

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. both have found huge success in sci fi and fantasy, but both are actors whose hearts lie on the stage. As such, they were omitted.

Action stars of the 80s. Dolph, JCVD, Seagal – these fine chaps deserve a list of their own.

Up-and-comers – Sam Rockwell, Michael Fassbender, Cillian Murphy. Who knows what the future holds, but they haven’t quite done enough yet to make it on to the list.

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