5 Best Sherlock Holmes Actors of All Time

‘Mr. Holmes’ is now in theaters. In the movie, Sir Ian McKellen portrays our super sleuth as a withering old man, not quite the detective he once was. His usually keen mind is now dulled behind the dust of old age. This is a very different, and certainly very interesting portrayal of Holmes; at least compared to the ones we are used to. We take this moment to list down the actors who played Sherlock Holmes portrayals. These actors did complete justice to the iconic character of Sherlock Holmes.

5. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downy Jr. Sherlock Homes

Fandom has a love-hate response to the Guy Ritchie adaptations. The first film was definitely an excellent action piece, suitably taking the same era, giving the film an enticing and riveting plot, and giving us two seasoned actors as Holmes and Watson. Downey Jr. is quick-witted, calculative and ruthless, and at the same time antisocial. The films assume that Holmes and Watson (played brilliantly by Jude Law) have been working for a long time and Watson has developed a thick skin to the sleuth’s shennanigans. Watson is more seasoned and is more than a match for our detective, who is suitably electrifying. So, more than the excellent portrayal of the detective, it is the charming relationship between our two leads which is worth noting.

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4. Peter Cushing


This veteran actor looked the part with a bony face and a defined jawline. He played Holmes as a quite and keen detective, who knows that he is brilliant. His portrayals in the 1959 “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was his first but he is remembered for the long running BBC series “Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.”

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3. Basil Rathbone


Hard core fans swear by his name. He is definitely the most enduring and the most remembered and his impact to the future portrayals can’t be denied. He played Sherlock Holmes for the longest period of time – over 200 times on radio itself. His 1939 performance in The Hound of Baskervilles is the best remembered and set a benchmark for further portrayals. The famous deerstalker look and silhoutte can be attributed to this man.

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2. Benedict Cumberbatch


I would only be repeating what has already been said. Cumberbatch’s steely, cerebral and no-nonsense detective comes so close to the one of the books. He is a maniac and a high-functioning sociopath (in his own words.) He frequently uses technology to his aide, for how else can you hope to adapt the detective in the modern age? His portrayal is for today, tomorrow and the future and will be remembered for a long time.

Ohh, I have already showered so many accolades over the last two entries. But there is still one actor left, who surpasses every other in this list.

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1. Jeremy Brett


A highly skilled actor, Jeremy Brett showed us nuances in his portrayal that will be sorely missed. He had everything going on for him; a steely gaze, a stern and intelligent demeanour, and above all those maniacal bursts of deductive reasoning, the influence of which can be seen in Cumberbatch’s Sherlock as well. Brett’s portrayal is the most definitive of all and has now etched its name in history.

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