ComScore

Hollywood's Biggest Earners: Who Is the Highest Grossing Actor of All Time?

highest gross actor mobile
Mark Cuthbert / UK Press via Getty Images

It turns out, if you were named Chris or Tom, there's a pretttttty high chance that you're on this list.

But before we get into anything, let's make something clear: being among the highest-grossing actors of all time doesn't necessarily mean you're the greatest actor of all time—they're two completely different things. And while there is definitely some overlap, the types of movies that are able to make enormous amounts of money are largely blockbuster hits, not indie films or dramas with limited releases.

But that's also not to say that the following 10 actors are bad, either—it's just a different way of measuring success in the industry. There's something about the sheer talent of this group that enables most of them to seamlessly shift from blockbuster hit to serious drama without so much as a blink of an eye.

Figures came from The Numbers as well as sites like IMDb and Statista.

10. Harrison Ford - $4,051,252,757

GettyImages 107985635
Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Witness

Awards:

-AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

-Cecil B. DeMille Award (Golden Globe Awards)

Nominations: Academy Awards (1), Golden Globe Awards (4), BAFTA Awards (1)

The oldest of the bunch, clocking in as the number 1o highest-grossing actor of all time, is none other than our beloved Harrison Ford.

Not only is he both Indiana Jones and Han Solo, but it turns out that he can also rock a teal scarf pretty well (evidence above). In that same vein, he's been able to equally dominate both action and drama roles over the years, from his OG days in Raiders of the Lost Ark and A New Hope to darker tales like Witness.

9. Chris Evans - $4,089,027,125

GettyImages 1402938221
Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

Most Well-Known Movies: Fantastic Four, Avengers, Captain America, Knives Out

Awards:

-MTV Movie and TV Awards (Best Fight - TK)

-People's Choice Award (Favorite Action Movie Actor - TK)

Nominations: Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2), MTV Movie and TV Awards (6), People's Choice Awards (5)

Though Chris Evans tends to lean towards the more blockbuster-y flicks that launched him into success, he's also proven time and time again that he's just as capable in more toned-down films like Knives Out. And no, his chunky sweater wasn't the only incredible part of his performance in that film.

8. Bradley Cooper - $4,298,061,989

GettyImages 1240410121
ANGELA WEISS / AFP / Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Guardians of the Galaxy, A Star Is Born

Awards:

-BAFTA Film Awards (Best Film Music - A Star Is Born)

-SAG Awards (Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture - American Hustle)

-Grammy Awards (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media - A Star Is Born)

Nominations: Academy Awards (9), Golden Globe Awards (6), BAFTA Film Awards (8), Grammy Awards (3), Tony Awards (1)

If anyone absolutely dominated the 2010s, it was Bradley Cooper. For him, it was just one absolute hit after the next, starting with Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 and ending with the massive success that was A Star Is Born, which he both wrote, directed, and starred in.

7. Chris Hemsworth - $4,302,827,492

GettyImages 1404811538
Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Disney

Most Well-Known Movies: Thor, Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Rush

Awards:

-People's Choice Awards (Favorite Action Movie Actor - The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman), (Favorite Action Movie Actor - Avengers: Age of Ultron and In the Heart of the Sea), (Favorite Comedic Movie Actor - Ghostbusters), (The Action Movie Star 2020 - Extraction)

-MTV Movie Awards (Best Fight - The Avengers)

Nominations: BAFTA (1), People's Choice Awards (11), Critics' Choice Awards (1)

The seventh highest-grossing actor of all time is our favorite Asgardian, Chris Hemsworth.

While he started off on a bit of a different foot in films like Star Trek, that blinding, blockbuster light practically found him in no time, as he first appeared as Thor in the aptly titled film from 2011, Thor.

6. Chris Pratt - $4,327,057,132

GettyImages 1241151744
RB / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images / Getty Images

Most Well-Known TV Shows/Movies: Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Jurassic World

Awards:

-MTV Movie Awards (Best Action Performance - Jurassic World)

Nominations: MTV Movie Awards (7)

It's sort of wild to think that Chris Pratt got his start on Parks and Recreation as the lazy shoe-shiner, Andy Dwyer, considering what a complete left turn his entire career took after rebranding himself as an action star with Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.

5. Tom Cruise - $4,677,151,213

GettyImages 1406707240
Clive Mason / Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: Risky Business, Top Gun, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, The Firm, Jerry Maguire, Mission: Impossible, War of the Worlds, Top Gun: Maverick

Awards:

-Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film (British Academy Brittania Awards)

-Honorary Palme d'Or for Achievement in Film (Cannes Film Festival)

-Golden Globe Awards (Best Actor, Motion Picture Drama - Born on the Fourth of July), (Best Actor, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy - Jerry Maguire), Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture - Magnolia).

*Cruise returned the three Golden Globes that he won because of the controversies surrounding the awards show.

Nominations: Academy Awards (3), BAFTA (1), Golden Globe Awards (7), SAG Awards (3)

Halfway through the list, Tom Cruise clocks in as the fifth highest-grossing actor of all time.

With the absolute smash hit that became Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise proved that he's unstoppable both on and off the screen, performing basically all of his own stunts for the movies he's in. And yes, that included flying a real F/A 18F plane for the Top Gun sequel.

4. Tom Hanks - $5,065,897,608

GettyImages 1399383625
Lionel Hahn / Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: Big, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, The Post, Captain Phillips, Toy Story

Awards:

-AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

-Kennedy Center Honors

-Presidential Medal of Freedom

-French Legion of Honor

-Cecil B. DeMille Award (Golden Globe Awards)

-Academy Awards (Best Actor - Philadelphia), (Best Actor - Forrest Gump)

-Emmy Awards (Oustanding Limited Series - From the Earth to the Moon), (Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Television Movie or Special - Band of Brothers), (Outstanding Limited Series - Band of Brothers), (Outstanding Limited Series - John Adams), (Outstanding Limited Series - The Pacific), (Outstanding Limited Series - Game Change), (Outstanding Limited Series - Olive Kitteridge)

-Golden Globe Awards (Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy - Big), (Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama - Philadelphia), (Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama - Forrest Gump), (Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama - Cast Away)

-SAG Awards (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture - Forrest Gump), (Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture - Apollo 13)

Nominations: Academy Awards (6), BAFTA Awards (5), Emmy Awards (10), Golden Globe Awards (10), SAG Awards (7), Tony Awards (1)

If the novel that the above list of awards is isn't proof enough that Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of our generation, then I'm not sure what is. There's not a decade of his life where he didn't have a successful film premiering, from his beginnings with Big and Forrest Grump, to rom-com classics like You've Got Mail, all the way to serious dramas like The Post and Saving Private Ryan.

3. Scarlett Johansson - $5,289,001,669

GettyImages 1358662085
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: The Horse Whisperer, Lost in Translation, Her, Marriage Story, Iron Man 2, Avengers, Black Widow

Awards:

-BAFTA Awards (Best Actress in a Leading Role - Lost in Translation)

-Tony Awards (Best Featured Actress in a Play - A View from the Bridge)

Nominations: Academy Awards (2), BAFTA Awards (4), Golden Globe Awards (5), SAG Awards (3), Tony Awards (1)

The only actor on this list with a Tony Award win, Scarlett Johansson is a total chameleon, capable of perfectly transforming herself into a multitude of different characters, from the big-screen Black Widow to Nicole Barber in the Netflix film, Marriage Story. Her time on Broadway served her well, allowing her to seamlessly adapt from character to character even further.

2. Robert Downey Jr. - $5,474,166,329

GettyImages 803020960
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Most Well-Known TV Shows/Movies: Ally McBeal, Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man, Avengers, Spider-Man: Homecoming

Awards:

-BAFTA Awards (Best Actor in a Leading Role - Chaplin)

-Golden Globe Awards (Special Award for Ensemble - Short Cuts), (Best Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries, or Television Film - Ally McBeal), (Best Actor, Motion Picture Musical or Comedy - Sherlock Holmes)

-SAG Awards (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series - Ally McBeal)

Nominations: Academy Awards (2), BAFTA Awards (2), Golden Globe Awards (5), Emmy Awards (1), SAG Awards (3)

Okay, we're almost there: the second highest-grossing actor of all time is none other than our beloved Tony Stark: Robert Downey Jr.

Though he left the Marvel Extended Universe (MCU) with a bang in 2019, there's no denying this man's staying power when it comes to film. Robert Downey Jr. has been on the scene since 1970, hitting his first major strides in the 1980s and '90s and again in the late 2000s with the major success of Iron Man, which snowballed into something that no one ever could have imagined.

1. Samuel L. Jackson - $5,718,504,196

GettyImages 1241277965
Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Most Well-Known Movies: Coming to America, Goodfellas, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Jurassic Park, School Daze, Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, The Incredibles, Star Wars, Iron Man, Avengers, Captain America

Awards:

-Honorary Academy Award (Academy Awards)

-BAFTA Awards (Best Film Actor in a Supporting Role - Pulp Fiction)

-Independent Spirit Awards (Best Male Lead in a Feature Film - Pulp Fiction), (Best First Feature Film - Eve's Bayou)

-Cannes Film Festival (Award for Best Actor - Jungle Fever)

-Berlin International Film Festival (Silver Bear for Best Actor - Jackie Brown)

Nominations: Academy Awards (1), BAFTA Awards (1), Golden Globe Awards (2), Independent Spirit Awards (4), SAG Awards (1), Cannes Film Festival (1), Berlin International Film Festival (1)

Is there anyone more deserving of being the highest-grossing actor of all time other than Samuel L. Jackson?

Jackson has had the sort of career that everyone dreams of: a perfect balance of passion projects, blockbuster smash hits, and serious dramas to balance it all out. For someone who's appeared in every possible genre and has been watched by audiences of all ages, there wasn't a person in the theater who didn't lose it when Frozone (Jackson) slid onto the screen during Incredibles 2.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked