The 50 Greatest Male Sex Symbols in Film History

By Kate Hakala and Daniel Addice

Last week, we ranked the 50 greatest female sex symbols of film. This week, we're tackling the men, before they tackle us. Remember, there's an important distinction here. These aren't just sexy men; they're men who had a seismic impact on male sexuality. To be safe, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.

50. John Travolta

In his younger days, Travolta had a distinctly masculine grace and sensitivity that recalled the young Marlon Brando. Neither actor aged especially well, but we'll always have Grease.

49. James Franco

Go ahead and laugh at his pretensions and his ubiquity, but James Franco perfectly captured a particular brand of irresistible teen bad boy in Freaks and Geeks, and his good looks and undeniable talent keep him among the ranks of contemporary sex symbols despite his best attempts to silly-art-project his fame away.

48. Viggo Mortensen

There's a reason the Lord of the Rings movies sold millions of tickets to people who didn't really care about hobbits.

47. Leonardo DiCaprio

Had he stuck with his floppy hairstyle from Titanic, we might remember Leonardo DiCaprio as we do Leif Garrett. Luckily, he put his good looks to better use, establishing himself as a globe-trotting, supermodel-nailing sex symbol for grown-ups.

46. Tom Cruise

We know it's tough at the moment, but try to remember why Tom Cruise got famous in Risky Business, Top Gun, et al. The fact that he alienated Katie Holmes doesn't negate that when she was in high school, she and every other teen girl in Christendom wanted a piece of him.

45. Bruce Willis

Women want him, men want to be him, etc. Bruce Willis has swagger.

44. Gregory Peck

Contemporary audiences mostly remember Gregory Peck for his genteel nobility as the ultimate Southern gentleman in To Kill a Mockingbird. But he'd already established his sex appeal in a series of Westerns that used his angular jaw to the fullest. In that light, the hot-dad quality of his Mockingbird performance seems inevitable.

43. Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem's face looks like it was chiseled from a red sequoia by a Cubist, mescaline-amped sculptor, and it's disturbingly sexy. That's probably how he managed to secure People's Sexiest Man Alive award while sporting the doofiest haircut in the annals of film villainy.

42. Richard Roundtree

Emerging from the beige eroticism of the '70s, Richard Roundtree was a black-as-hell sexual pioneer, instantly iconic as a sex machine to all the chicks.

41. Alain Delon

Just being French generally makes you sexier than most people, but Alain Delon's sly and seductive performance in Purple Noon, as the sexually ambivalent Tom Ripley, propelled him into a new realm of lust.


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