70 Acting Quotes To Help You Appreciate the Art

Read through these insightful acting quotes and scroll to the bottom and share which quote was your favorite.

Acting is an activity in which people tell a story by adopting the personality and life of a character.

This can be done through theatre, television, film, radio, or any other medium that allows for imitation.

Many famous actors share their thoughts on just what acting is in these acting quotes.

Acting is a profession or talent that involves a variety of skills, including active imagination, emotional understanding, and the ability to interpret drama.

It also requires the actor to master physical expressivity, vocal projection, and clarity of speech.

An actor must also connect with the audience, and make them believe they are “meeting” the character and not the actor.

Some people are naturally talented actors, but the vast majority of professional actors have undergone extensive training.

This training includes things like mastering different dialects, accents, and even mime.

Actors also learn how to do improv, observe and emulate, and move around the stage.

Many of these acting quotes express the job requirements for being an excellent actor.

Keep reading to learn more fun facts about acting, and even words you can use to describe “a good actor.”

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

Check out our entire collection of motivational quotes here. 

Acting quotes from famous actors

1. “I’m curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.” — Meryl Streep

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2. “All an actor has is their blind faith that they are who they say they are today, in any scene.” — Meryl Streep

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3. “I need to go where people are serious about acting.” — Meryl Streep

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4. “With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise, it’s just not acting. It’s lying.” — Johnny Depp

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5. “Just let the wardrobe do the acting.” — Jack Nicholson

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6. “One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price.” — Robert De Niro

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7. “Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It’s a bum’s life. Quitting acting, that’s the sign of maturity.” — Marlon Brando

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8. “It’s got to do with putting yourself in other people’s shoes and seeing how far you can come to truly understand them. I like the empathy that comes from acting.” — Christian Bale

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9. “Comedy is acting out optimism.” — Robin Williams

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10. “Acting is like lying. The art of lying well. I’m paid to tell elaborate lies.” — Mel Gibson

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‘Acting is’ quotes about what acting means to people

11. “Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” — Sanford Meisner

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12. “Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.” — Rosalind Russell

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13. “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” — George Burns

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14. “Acting is magical. Change your look and your attitude, and you can be anyone.” — Alicia Witt

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15. “Acting is the greatest answer to my loneliness that I have found.” — Claire Danes

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16. “Acting is reacting. You can’t react if you’re not paying attention if you’re not listening.” — Reid Scott

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17. “Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on.” — River Phoenix

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18. “Acting is not about being famous, it’s about exploring the human soul.” — Annette Bening

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19. “Good acting—real acting, is impossible to spot. Do you ever catch talents like Robert Duvall or Kathy Bates acting? No. I defy you to show me where.” — William Esper

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20. “Acting is a way of living out one’s insanity.” — Isabelle Huppert

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Short acting quotes

21. “An actor is a fool for God.” — Gerardine Clark

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22. “Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.” — Bette Davis

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23. “Stop explaining yourself. Shut up and act!” — Craig MacDonald

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24. “An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease.” — Michael Chekhov

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25. “Creating relationships is the heart of acting. It is basic. It is essential.” — Michael Shurtleff

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26. “I love acting. It is so much more real than life.” — Oscar Wilde

27. “The first step to a better audition is to give up character and use yourself.” — Michael Shurtleff

28. “Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors.” — Constantin Stanislavski

29. “The best acting is instinctive. It’s not intellectual, it’s not mechanical, it’s instinctive.” — Craig MacDonald

30. “The theater has never been any good since the actors became gentlemen.” — W.H. Auden

Funny and inspirational acting quotes

31. “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” — Meryl Streep

32. “Actors die so loud.” — Henry Miller

33. “Acting is not rocket science, but it is an art form. What you are doing is illuminating humanity. Or not.” — Viola Davis

34. “That’s what makes acting so attractive. You get to break all your own rules.” — Gerardine Clark

35. “I’m a skilled professional actor. Whether or not I’ve any talent is beside the point.” — Michael Caine

36. “Show me a great actor and I’ll show you a lousy husband. Show me a great actress, and you’ve seen the devil.” — W. C. Fields

37. “Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life.” — Bette Davis

38. “If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be a secret agent.” — Thornton Wilder

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39. “Acting in theatre or television or screen is only for the irrecoverably diseased, those so smitten with the need that there is no choice.” — Michael Shurtleff

40. “There’s nothing more boring than unintelligent actors because all they have to talk about is themselves and acting. There have to be other things.” — Tim Robbins

Acting quotes about the job of an actor and how acting is work

41. “The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.” — Stella Adler

42. “If you really do want to be an actor who can satisfy himself and his audience, you need to be vulnerable.” — Jack Lemmon

43. “Every scene you will ever act begins in the middle, and it is up to you, the actor, to provide what comes before.” — Michael Shurtleff

44. “Why, except as a means of livelihood, a man should desire to act on the stage when he has the whole world to act in, is not clear to me.” — George Bernard Shaw

45. “It is easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling than to feel yourself into a new way of acting.” — Harry Stack Sullivan

46. “I always thought acting was all lights, camera, action. It’s a job; you have to do your job correctly.” — Corey Haim

47. “Money was always on my mind when I was growing up. So I was always wondering how we were going to afford this and that. Acting seemed to be a shortcut out of the mess.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

48. “Acting is a freelance career… you never stop having to prove yourself and fight for work.” — Miranda Otto

49. “My dad was really complex, and I was raised by that. My mom is really bright – very book bright – and so those things collide… I learned that I could put all of that stuff together in the world of acting, and I could make a dollar at it.” — Omari Hardwick

50. “I may not have made humongous sums of money through acting, but I have enough to lead a stress-free life.” — Sowcar Janaki

Inspiring Acting Quotes From Famous Actors

51. “Acting isn’t something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs.” — Lee Strasberg

52. “You’ve got to believe in yourself, and you just have to work harder at it than you’ve ever worked at anything before in your life. And if you keep doing that and keep believing in yourself, great things do happen.” — Kate McKinnon

53. “The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.” — Blake Lively

54. “The only failure is not to try.” — George Clooney

55. “I live my life through fear. If I’m afraid of it, I’ll do it just so I’m not afraid of it anymore.” — Jeremy Renner

56. “Even as far back as when I started acting at 14, I know I’ve never considered failure.” —Jennifer Lawrence

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57. “I think there was something in me at a young age that was not worried about success but was worried about becoming a better actor.” — Paul Dano

58. “Wanting to be a good actor is not good enough. You must want to be a great actor. You just have to have that.” — Gary Oldman

59. “The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.” — Chadwick Boseman

60. “Building a house is like producing a movie. There’s no right way to do it but a lot of wrong ways. You have to be flexible and creative.” — Jeremy Renner

Best Acting Quotes To Express Actor’s Journey

61. “If you’re an actor, even a successful one, you’re still waiting for the phone to ring.” — Kevin Bacon

62.An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.” — Marlon Brando

63. “The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing.” — Ralph Richardson

64. “Acting is a spiritual quest to touch human beings.” — Larry Moss

65. “Acting is not being emotional, but being able to fully express emotion.” — Kate Reid

66. “As an actor you try to bring as much of yourself to a part to try and create a feeling of authenticity and emotional truth and resonance.” — Jesse Eisenberg

67. “Film acting is one of the only industries where you’re criticized for working hard. In any other industry, it’s considered a quality and something to behold.” — Nicolas Cage

68. “Great acting is not easy; anyone who says it is is either shallow or a charlatan. And one of the hardest things about acting is admitting that it is hard.” — Robert Cohen

69. “The actual joy of acting lies in the absence of personality.” ― Ethan Hawke

70. “In acting, talent is a euphemism for the ability to pretend … convincingly.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Just how old is the profession of acting?

Well, one of the first known actors was an ancient Greek called Thespis of Icaria in Athens.

The story, as written by Aristotle, goes that Thespis stepped out of the chorus that was narrating a story, and spoke as if he was the character.

Thespis’ name might remind you of a common term for actors—thespians!

You might wonder if there is some special way you can tell someone that they are a “good actor.”

I mean, sure, you could say they were magnificent or brilliant, but you can actually use words that compliment their craft.

So next time you are at a school play, local theater event, or if you have the chance to talk to a famous actor, you could say things like:

  • That was such an effective and realistic performance!
  • You told such an imaginative and artistic story!
  • I loved the empathy and emotion you brought to the role.

Who do you think is the best actor of all time and why?

Let us know in the comments below.

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