The Most Famous Silent Movie Actor: Ranking the Icons of Early Cinema

Choose the silent movie actor you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 08:20
Step right up and get ready to dive into the enchanting world of silent cinema! Here at StrawPoll, we're hosting the ultimate showdown to discover the most famous silent movie actor of all time. With their tantalizing expressions and captivating performances, these stars of the silver screen continue to be celebrated and admired today. So, who will take the crown in this battle of the legends? Will it be the iconic Charlie Chaplin, the mesmerizing Buster Keaton, or the enchanting Mary Pickford? The choice is yours, dear voter! Explore our carefully curated list of these timeless talents, cast your vote for your favorite, and even suggest a missing contender. Unleash your inner film critic and let's discover, together, the brightest star of the silent era—only on StrawPoll!

Who Is the Most Famous Silent Movie Actor?

  1. 1
    Charlie Chaplin
    Strauss-Peyton Studio · Public domain
    Charlie Chaplin is he is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of the silent era, and his character "The Tramp" is an iconic figure in cinema history.
    Charlie Chaplin in other rankings
  2. 2
    Buster Keaton
    Bain News Service · Public domain
    Buster Keaton is known for his physical comedy and stoic expression, Keaton was a master of the silent film era.
    Buster Keaton in other rankings
  3. 3
    Harold Lloyd
    Directed by Fred Newmeyer · Public domain
    Harold Lloyd - famous for his daredevil stunts and his character "The Glasses Guy," Lloyd was one of the most popular silent film stars of his time.
    Harold Lloyd in other rankings
  4. 4
    Rudolph Valentino
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Rudolph Valentino is known as the "Latin Lover," Valentino was a heartthrob of the silent era and starred in several romantic dramas.
  5. 5
    Lon Chaney
    Screenshot by Wayne77 · Public domain
    Lon Chaney - famous for his roles in horror films, Chaney was known for his ability to transform himself with elaborate makeup and prosthetics.
  6. 6
    Douglas Fairbanks
    Allan warren · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Douglas Fairbanks is a swashbuckling hero of the silent era, Fairbanks starred in adventure films such as "The Mark of Zorro" and "Robin Hood."
    Douglas Fairbanks in other rankings
  7. 7
    Mary Pickford
    Rufus Porter Moody · Public domain
    Mary Pickford - one of the most popular actresses of the silent era, Pickford was known for her portrayals of innocent, wholesome characters.
    Mary Pickford is a classic cocktail that was created during the Prohibition era in the United States. It is a refreshing and fruity drink with a hint of sweetness. The cocktail is named after the famous Canadian-American silent film actress, Mary Pickford.
    • Primary alcohol: Rum
    • Secondary alcohol: Maraschino liqueur
    • Additional alcohol: Pineapple juice
    • Other ingredients: Grenadine
    • Glass: Cocktail
    Mary Pickford in other rankings
  8. 8
    Gloria Swanson
    James Abbe · Public domain
    Gloria Swanson is a major star of the silent era, Swanson is perhaps best known for her role in the film "Sunset Boulevard."
  9. 9
    Clara Bow
    D.D.Teoli Jr. · Public domain
    Clara Bow is known as the "It Girl," Bow was a popular actress in the 1920s and starred in films such as "It" and "Wings."
  10. 10
    Greta Garbo is a Swedish actress who became a major star in Hollywood, Garbo was known for her dramatic performances and her enigmatic persona.
    Greta Garbo in other rankings

Missing your favorite silent movie actor?


Ranking factors for famous silent movie actor

  1. Popularity during the silent film era
    Consider the actor's level of success and popularity during the time when silent films were at their peak, which generally spanned from the late 19th century to the late 1920s.
  2. Box office success
    Assess the actor's ability to draw audiences and generate significant box office numbers. Actors who consistently delivered successful films and attracted a wide audience are likely to rank higher.
  3. Filmography
    Evaluate the actor's body of work, including the number of films they made, the versatility of their roles, and their contribution to the development of the silent film industry.
  4. Cultural impact
    Consider the actor's influence on popular culture and their lasting legacy. This could include their impact on future generations of actors, film techniques, or their overall contribution to the art of filmmaking.
  5. Critical acclaim
    Take into account the recognition and accolades received by the actor, both during their time and in retrospect. This may include awards, praises from critics, and accolades from film institutions.
  6. Longevity and post-silent era success
    Assess the actor's success and relevance beyond the silent film era. Actors who successfully transitioned to sound films or continued to have a significant career afterward can be given higher consideration.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous silent movie actor. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or actor is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 178 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each actor once every 24 hours. The rank of each actor is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most famous silent movie actor

Silent movies were the earliest form of motion pictures, and they were popular from the late 1800s until the 1920s. During this era, many actors became household names, thanks to their performances in silent films. While some of these actors faded into obscurity as the era passed, others remained beloved and iconic figures in cinema history. One such actor is Charlie Chaplin, who is often hailed as the most famous silent movie actor of all time. Chaplin was known for his comedic performances, which blended slapstick humor with social commentary. His most famous character was the Tramp, a lovable but down-on-his-luck figure who appeared in many of Chaplin's films. Other notable silent movie actors include Buster Keaton, who was known for his acrobatic stunts and deadpan humor, and Rudolph Valentino, who was known for his smoldering good looks and romantic roles. These actors and many others helped to shape the early days of cinema, and their legacies continue to inspire and entertain audiences today.

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