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OT: The Greatest Leading Men

 
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OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 2:55:32 PM   
Canoerebel


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Received this message from my daughter yesterday: “Daddy, in Old Testamant Poetry today, [the professor] whistled a song and said that anyone who knew the song or what movie it was from, we would get two points extra on our final exam. I was the only one who raised my hand. Can you guess what song it was? Bridge on the River Kwai!"

This started a long conversation among the family about great movies and great actors. Gradually, we focused in on "who were/are the greatest leading men of all time"?

We thought there were five candidates: Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks.

There were a host of others that we considered strongly: Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Marlon Brando, Clark Gable, William Holden, Henry Fonda, Christopher Plummer, Jack Lemon, Clint Eastwood, Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracey, Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and others. We were brain storming (no computer use), so we may have missed an obvious candidate or two.

Edited to add some later candidates mentioned by the Forum: Johnny Depp, Groucho Marx, Paul Newman, Robert Redford; Robert Donat, Robert Cummings, James Mason, James Cagney, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, James Dean, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Lawrence Olivier, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Duval, Kurt Russell, George C. Scott, Randolph Scott, Lionel Barrymore, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, Russell Crowe, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Al Pacino, Charles Loughton, Leslie Howard, Charlton Heston, Alec Guiness, Peter O'Toole, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Basil Rathbone, Edward G. Robinson, Yul Brenner, Jack Nicholson, Anthony Quinn, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Tom Cruise, Ed Harris, Cliff Robertson, Dustin Hoffman, George Clooney, Jack Hawkins, Robert Shaw.

Who do you think was the greatest leading man of all time?

Forum Nominations for the Single "Greatest" (thus far): Groucho Marx, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin


< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 11/9/2012 1:55:41 PM >
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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 2:58:13 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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Groucho Marx, hands down.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 3:06:55 PM   
Canoerebel


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Well, now, he was not on our list! Are you serious?

Johnny Depp might be a worthy candidate.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 3:41:26 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Well, now, he was not on our list! Are you serious?

Johnny Depp might be a worthy candidate.



So what's the definition of leading man then? Groucho carried every movie he was ever in.


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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:08:48 PM   
Canoerebel


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I don't know what the definition is. This is loose and casual topic. I wasn't sure whether you were being serious or not (now I know; but I wasn't disparaging Groucho Marx, I'm just not very familiar with him).

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 11/8/2012 4:14:30 PM >

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:10:59 PM   
bradfordkay

 

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I didn't see Paul Newman on your list. He's certainly worthy of consideration...

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:13:24 PM   
Canoerebel


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Yeah, he could be included. Robert Redford too. I'll add them in.

Am I right in classifying those first five as the leading candidates?

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:16:01 PM   
Alfred

 

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Some other candidates would be:

Paul Newman
James Mason
James Cagney
Rudolph Valentino
Charlie Chaplin
Robert Mitchum
Robert Donat
Gary Cooper

Alfred

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:19:16 PM   
Canoerebel


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Good mentions, Alfred. (Actually, Gary Cooper was on the list we discussed last night. In fact, he and Gregory Peck were originally included in the final group.)

Robert Donat is a great candidate. He's just wonderful in Hitchock's "The 39 Steps."

Robert Cummings is another possibilty. See him in Hitchcock's "Saboteur."

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:21:44 PM   
Canoerebel


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I've added in the additional names mentioned. Arguably, I think the "first five" are still the elite of the elite. Anyone disagree, thinking that one (or more) of them should be replaced by one (or more) of the "honorable mentions." Gary Cooper ahead of Jimmy Stewart? Groucho Marx over Tom Hanks?

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:25:41 PM   
John 3rd


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The Duke hands down. He was a/THE Box Office top draw for nearly 50 years. From Stagecoach to The Shootist he defined a leading man.


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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:34:01 PM   
Canoerebel


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Here is the Forum choices as the "elite of the elite": Groucho Marx, John Wayne

(To be added to if more votes come in.)

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 4:37:54 PM   
slinkytwf


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Richard Burton.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:00:20 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58


quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Well, now, he was not on our list! Are you serious?

Johnny Depp might be a worthy candidate.



So what's the definition of leading man then? Groucho carried every movie he was ever in.



Not so. Harpo was much more the life of that group, IMO. I will decline putting Harpo on your list, CR.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:01:29 PM   
Chickenboy


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My vote is for Gregory Peck. Always thought of him as a great actor of the time. Liked him in everything I saw him in.

John Wayne was iconic, but (don't shoot me) not the best actor in the world.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:23:44 PM   
obvert


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In our own time George Clooney comes to mind.

Some more English actors could appear here. Most of the ones with a sir before their name.

Anthony Hopkins

Sean Connery

Michael Caine

Laurence Olivier

Patrick Stewart (although did more theater other than time on Star Trek)




< Message edited by obvert -- 11/8/2012 5:24:05 PM >


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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:27:22 PM   
obvert


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My list would be:

Jimmy Stewart

Anthony Hopkins

Charlie Chaplin

Humphrey Bogart

Cary Grant

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:46:35 PM   
HansBolter


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I would add Robert Duval and Kurt Russel

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 5:51:01 PM   
Lecivius


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I'll have to go with John Wayne as well. Long story short my family dissolved when I was 15. He was my role model/icon, scary as that may be. I actually got a chance to see him from across the park in Ridgeway, CO when he was making True Grit. I still go elk hunting a mile away from his famous charge in that movie.

Gawd help me, I even have a bit of a squint like he did

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 6:03:39 PM   
Encircled


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Clint Eastwood

There are also actors who have done ok, but are absolutely outstanding in certain films

Scott in Patton for example

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 6:12:44 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

I don't know what the definition is. This is loose and casual topic. I wasn't sure whether you were being serious or not (now I know; but I wasn't disparaging Groucho Marx, I'm just not very familiar with him).


Half of each.

Groucho is underrated. One of my favorite quotes of all time: "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 6:12:52 PM   
RevRick


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John Wayne
Jimmy Stewart
Laurence Olivier
Robert Mitchum
Anthony Hopkins

< Message edited by RevRick -- 11/8/2012 6:13:10 PM >


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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:01:31 PM   
SqzMyLemon


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Burt Lancaster and Steve McQueen.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:07:29 PM   
Hiltibrant

 

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I second James Stewart. If you are asking for an actor who single-handedly defined the movies he was in and made those movies great, I think that he is my top choice. So many great movies that were simply great because he was the lead actor in them.

< Message edited by Hiltibrant -- 11/8/2012 8:08:30 PM >

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:30:33 PM   
jeffk3510


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John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, and Russell Crowe are my favorites.

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:36:47 PM   
Canoerebel


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Okay, you guys are in trouble. I just spoke with my mother, who is about to celebrate her 83rd birthday. She's smart, she's classy, she's funny, she's given to the worst verbal goofs I've ever heard ("hyponemic durdle" and "Ingledink Hunkleburt" being my two favorites of all time). I didn't tell her about this little excercise, but I had told her about my daughter's "Bridge On the River Kwai" episode yesterday. Thus prompted, my mom opined that Cary Grant is the greatest leading man of all time. She says Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace was just about perfection.

Truly, Grant may be the greatest leading man of all time. Anybody care to argue with my mom?

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:39:38 PM   
geofflambert


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+1 Stormwolf on Robert Duval, he's one of the greatest actors I've ever seen.

How did you forget Charles Laughton? Captain Bligh and the Hunchback.

Or Robert Newton? Everyone in the world knows his Long John Silver, "Arrrrrrrrr".

Was Al Pacino on the list? Peter Sellers? Dustin Hoffman? James Dean?

Here's one that excelled in two categories: Drama, "Forbidden Planet" and Comedy, "Naked Gun" - Leslie Nielsen

I like Robert Mitchum a lot, but I won't say the greatest. Marlon Brando is real strong.

I've got to mention Denzel Washington, too. And frigging Sydney Poitier!

Was Tom Hanks on the list?

< Message edited by geofflambert -- 11/8/2012 8:44:21 PM >

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:42:34 PM   
geofflambert


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Oh, and since we're only talking about leading MEN, what about Sigourney Weaver in "Alien"?

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:42:44 PM   
Canoerebel


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I've edited the list as nominations have come in. The list is huge! There have been a heckuva lot of memorable leading men.

I will say, though, that the vast majority of these are clearly not in the "elite" class. I think the truly elite might number around 10. Then you can argue number one. (But I think mom may be right....)

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RE: OT: The Greatest Leading Men - 11/8/2012 8:46:34 PM   
geofflambert


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Alec Guiness? Peter O'Toole?

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