What makes a man attractive? Is it those universally adored symmetrical features we’ve heard about, the perfect ratio? The distance between eyes and length of the mouth? Is it personality? Yes, and yes. There are many good-looking men not on this list you might wonder about – Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Denzel. Considerations, certainly, but there are a blend of qualities that makes the men here truly mesmerizing. The ten that made it onto this list have that certain something, a “je ne sais quoi” that just turns fans’ hearts.
Denzel Washington, George Clooney and Brad Pitt are smooth. They’d make things easy on a girl – likely just the right amount of flirting, not too much nor too little. They could probably flirt with any woman – judging from their charming treatment of female interviewers – and that’s a wonderful quality, but when we speak of mesmerizing, we mean a man’s ability to stop you in your tracks. Part excitement, mixed with a bit of fear of the unknown. Maybe you can’t speak when he’s near for the lump in your throat. Those are the unique men on our list.
He must have an edge, though: He’s flawed and doesn’t have a perfect symmetry of facial features. He’s attractive whether smiling or surly, and not every man can get away with that. It’s important that he has a sense of humor and that he can laugh at himself as much as at the next person. He’s a straight-shooter whose ego isn’t too big, but he’s definitely confident. Not slick, but sure of himself. His eyes are intense whatever their color, and he has a screen presence even when quiet (or maybe especially when quiet), that is indisputable. Have you met any guys like that lately? Let us introduce you to ten…
10. Yul Brynner
This actor originally from Russia is probably best known for his role as the king in The King and I (1956), and as Marshal Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven. He played Ramses in The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, and his career was prolific, seeing him appear in 48 movies and TV shows. Brynner performed on Broadway many times, including a long stint in The King and I before starring in the movie. His parents were from what Dostoyevsky would have called the Russian bourgeoisie. After his father left his mother he was schooled in Manchuria, then Paris, where he met Jean Cocteau and also performed in a circus. Brynner was the original bald sex-symbol long before it was fashionable.
9. Chris Hemsworth
If a god did take human form, this actor who played Thor in the Marvel movies might well-represent what that would look like. This Hemsworth brother made his debut on Aussie television shows, eventually starring in a series called Home and Away, before breaking into the Hollywood scene in 2009 when he played the part of Captain James T. Kirk’s father in Star Trek. Since then he has been in the Thor movies, The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Dawn and more, and was recently considered for the lead role of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey. Chris Hemsworth is currently filming three movies, so his fans will have plenty of occasions to enjoy his mesmerizing on-screen presence.
8. Clark Gable
Although Clark Gable was in eighty-two films including The Misfits, It Happened One Night, The Call of the Wild and Mutiny on the Bounty, this original movie star will always be remembered most as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Rhett was both good guy and bad boy, with no virtue in some regards, yet in others had more than anyone. Sixty of Gable’s roles were as leading man. He played opposite Joan Crawford, Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner, Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe. Before film the young actor played Broadway, where a critic said of him early on, “He’s…vigorous and brutally masculine.” That sums up well the qualities of the men on this list.
7. Joaquin Phoenix
At one time, Joaquin Phoenix was just the little brother of River Phoenix. After River’s death, it seemed Joaquin might not be what his brother was, but time has proved this notion wrong. Phoenix has a quality invaluable on screen. It is as if he can see right through people, like no one would ever be able to pull the wool over his eyes. Despite his brief stint as an incoherent, overweight rapper in what ended up being a publicity stunt for a mockumentary, one gets the impression this is a characteristic he displays in his own life, a life that has been rocky both socioeconomically and emotionally. Maybe internal strife is part of what makes him mesmerizing.
6. Paul Newman
This movie star, deceased since 2008, had the bluest of eyes and a rebel attitude in real life that came across on camera. In the early part of his career he and James Dean were often considered for the same roles. Newman is one of the actors to have successfully made the transition from being a 50’s movie star to continuing success in modern cinema. His breakthrough film was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor, after which he was never short for lead roles. His marriage to actress and oft co-star Joanne Woodward is one of Hollywood’s most renowned in both duration and strength. Gorgeous, and loyal, too!
5. Idris Elba
British actor Idris Elba has been extremely prolific in his 41 years. He has been in at least twenty television shows (shows, not episodes – if we count episodes it would be upwards of sixty); twenty-seven films (including Prometheus, Thor I and II, Pacific Rim, 28 Weeks Later, American Gangster and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom); one video game; a music video; and he has three EPs. Elba has been nominated twenty-three times and has won five Best Actor awards for the British miniseries “Luther”, including a Golden Globe. He is best known in North America for HBO’s “The Wire,” where he played Stringer Bell. He can certainly “string” me along!
4. Johnny Depp
How is Depp mesmerizing? Besides his dark good looks, his intensity and his role in Chocolat? This actor, like many on this list, speaks and behaves in a way that strongly suggests he wouldn’t suffer fools gladly. He’s the guy in high school you just knew was thinking about way more interesting things, and a wider variety, than the other guys. Part rebel, part humanitarian, intellectual and one-hundred percent artsy, yet without caring who’s impressed by that. From 21 Jump Street and on, through characters such as Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco, J.M. Barrie, Willy Wonka and Jack Sparrow, this very adaptable actor might be a chameleon, a genius, or both. How deep is Depp? Mesmerizingly so.
3. Hugh Jackman
My, what sharp claws you have…. This Australian-born, very macho Man with a capital ‘M’ projects, like his cohorts here, an intense, serious side, and bad-boy capabilities that aren’t so bad as to be a turn-off. Jackman is completely masculine, whether playing the tortured Wolverine on X-Men, the poetic Leopold of Kate and Leopold, or the extremely manly Drover in Australia. In Real Steel Jackman’s portrayal of an irresponsible single-father makes you wish you were the woman to turn him around. In Les Miserables, if only Jean Valjean would hide in your attic! One thing he has that’s hard to beat: that accent!
2. Javier Bardem
Speaking of accents…. This Spaniard’s family has been in cinema since the early days of Spanish film. No wonder he’s so comfortable on camera – almost as if he were in his own…boudoir. Bardem has been in films directed by Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, John Malkovich and Pedro Almodovar, among others. He’s played a quadriplegic, a detective, a sex-addict, a famous Cuban poet, a lovesick doctor, a sociopath, Goya, a priest…and the list goes on. What makes him number two on our list? His facial structure. The expression in his eyes. His very sexy accent. And an overall intensity combined with a sort of lethargy, like a giant cat’s.
1. Clint Eastwood
Pale Rider; The Outlaw Josey Wales; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Play Misty for Me; The Bridges of Madison County; Gran Torino. This actor has mostly played a macho guy, but not always. The sheer epitome of macho, Eastwood portrays the strong, silent type, a man of few words – often gruff, and rarely wrong. His characters are smart, quick, and don’t give a good *&%**$#* what anyone else thinks. This movie star mesmerized with his piercing blue eyes (squinted, of course), his slow, California way of speaking, and the fact that no matter what injury he suffered he always caught up with the bad guys and made them wish they’d never been born. It seems no one else has ever moved so stealthily and so quickly – combining languor and intensity in that very Eastwood way – but Eastwood.