50 Great Acting Quotes | StageMilk

50 Great Acting Quotes

Written by on | Acting Tips

Okay here we go, 50 of the greatest acting quotes we’ve ever come across. And we’ll always be adding more and more to the list… Enjoy!

Philip Seymour Hoffman

“Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It’s not worth it if you are just in it for the money. You have to love it.”

philip seymour hoffman acting quote


Oscar Wilde

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Oscar Wilde Acting Quote

Lee Strasberg

“Acting isn’t something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you’re going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation, but you have unconscious results.”

Lee Strasberg Acting Quote




Sanford Meisner

“If you have the emotion, it infects you and the audience. If you don’t have it don’t bother; just say your lines as truthfully as you are capable of doing. You can’t fake emotion.”

Meisner Acting Quote

Bette Davis

“To fulfil a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.”

Bette Davis Acting Quote

Meryl Streep

“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work.”

Meryl Streep Acting Quote

Bruce Lee

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Bruce Lee Acting Quote

Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Stella Adler

“You have to understand your best. Your best isn’t Barrymore’s best or Olivier’s best or my best, but your own. Every person has his norm. And in that norm every person is a star. Olivier could stand on his head and still not be you. Only you can be you. What a privilege! Nobody can reach what you can if you do it. So do it. We need your best, your voice, your body. We don’t need for you to imitate anybody, because that would be second best. And second best is no better than your worst.”

Stella Adler Acting Quote


Michael Chekhov

“An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease.”


Stella Adler

“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 Acting Quote

Emma Stone

“What sets you apart can feel like a burden, but it’s not. A lot of the time it’s what makes you great.”

Emma Stone Acting Quote

Natalie Portman

“Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.”

Natalie Portman Acting Quote

Rami Malek

“When you do something that people respond to, and then you start altering the blueprint for what worked, it’s pretty fear-inducing. But sometimes, you have to do that, in order to push the boundaries.”

Rami Malek Acting Quote

Maggie Smith

“There is a kind of invisible thread between the actor and the audience, and when it’s there it’s stunning and there is nothing to match that.”

Maggie Smith Acting Quote

Cate Blanchett

“If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously.”

Cate Blanchett Acting quote


Sanford Meisner

“You can’t learn to act unless you’re criticized. If you tie that criticism to your childhood insecurities you’ll have a terrible time. Instead, you must take criticism objectively, pertaining it only to the work being done.”

Meisner Acting Quote

Chiwetel Ejiofor

“I think the crucial thing about being an actor is to be doing it.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor Acting Quote

Susan Batson

“Once you are gold, you need to keep yourself golden. Even the best of it needs to be cleaned and re-exposed and put into the world again”

Susan Batson Acting Quote

Marlon Brando

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”

marlon brando acting quote

Octavia Spencer

“I think that young women and little girls need to see that they don’t have to be the damsel in distress. They don’t have to not show their strength. They don’t have to be whatever the stereotype is or the tropes that we go to in our minds.”

Octavia Spencer acting quote

Ivana Chubbuck

“Acting requires faith. You just have to believe that you are the person you’re playing and that what is happening is happening to you.”

Ivana Chubbuck Acting Quote


Sterling K Brown

“Life has to be everything. It can’t be all sad. It can’t be all peaches and cream. Because the lows have you appreciate the highs. And the highs give you perspective on the lows. If it’s not everything, it becomes flat or mundane.”

Sterling K Brown acting quotes

Ellen Page

“The thing I like about acting is being able to lose yourself completely in someone else. I’m not that comfortable when I get recognised.”

Ellen page acting quote

Dame Judi Dench

“I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself. That is the best combination.”

Judi Dench acting quotes

Meryl Streep

“Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.”

meryl streep acting quote

Robert De Niro

“Be in the moment. Period. Just be there. Because if you get all like, ‘Oh I got to do this big thing.’ It just never works. It just doesn’t work. You’ve just got to let go. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Whatever you do is ok, just be truthful, honest, real, and that’s all you can ask for.”

robert deniro acting quote

Jesse Eisenberg

“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 acting quote

Adam Driver

“Acting is really about having the courage to fail in front of people.”

adam driver acting quote

Annette Bening

“Acting is not about being famous. It’s about exploring the human soul.”

Annette Bening acting quotes

William Shakespeare

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

Shakespeare acting quote

Tom Hiddleston

“Never stop fighting. Never stop dreaming. don’t be afraid of wearing your heart on your sleeve – in declaring the films that you love, the films that you want to make, the life that you’ve had, and the lives you can help reflect in cinema. for a long time… maybe I felt inauthentic or something, like my voice wasn’t worth hearing… So if you’ve got something to say, say it from the rooftops.”

tom hiddleston acting quote

Maggie Gyllenhaal

“Acting is a form of self-expression, it’s not becoming someone else, and it’s not playing make believe; it’s about using the fiction of being someone else to express something about yourself.”

maggie gyllenhaal acting quote

Jessica Chastain

“It’s tough, acting. you have to walk two lines of a tightrope. there’s the all consuming fear of failure… and there’s also confidence – you have to be confident to try new things – And they fight each other all the time.”

jessica chastain acting quote

Michelle Williams

“Every movie I make I find kind of excruciating. I get a lot back from it, but I feel like I’m kind of always working at the edge of my ability. I guess that’s what I’m looking for when I go to work. I am trying to become the edge.”

michelle williams acting quote

Paul Dano

“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 acting quote

Lupita Nyong’o

“No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

lupita nyong'o acting quote

Denzel Washington

“You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too.”

denzel washington acting quote

Willem Dafoe

“When you work on anything, you want to find the range of impulses. which ones get portrayed is another question, but you want to have that complexity and that fullness, even if you’re playing a cartoon character.”

willem dafoe acting quote

Jeff Daniels

“Flip it. Hit the stage and go; “Keep up”. But you’ve got to do the work. You can’t do that without preparing the work. The great ones work that hard all the way to the end.”

jeff daniels acting quote

Ralph Fiennes

“I’m sure acting is a deeply neurotic thing to do.”

ralph fiennes acting quote

Harrison Ford

“All I would tell people is to hold on to what was individual about themselves, not to allow their ambition for success to cause them to try to imitate the success of others. You’ve got to find it on your own terms.”

harrison ford acting quote

Jake Gyllenhaal

“The only way I can move past the absurdity of what I do, is to commit to the point of absurdity.”

jake gyllenhaal acting quote

Johnny Depp

“One day, the people that didn’t believe in you will tell everyone how they met you.”

johnny depp acting quote

Tatiana Maslany

“Vomit first. Then try to make something pretty with it.”

tatiana maslany acting quote

Riz Ahmed

“If any of the work, that any of us do, contributes to the stretching of culture, the stretching of boundaries of empathy that’s expected of an audience… that’s the holy grail.”

riz ahmed acting quote

Naomie Harris

“Actors should not feel scared, about the fact that they’re scared. I think it’s a good sign.”

Naomie Harris acting quote

Holly Hunter

“I feel like telling stories is a spiritual exercise and I think that it’s something that we need as a culture and as humans. You put your nightmares up there, you put your dreams up there and people can see them better because they can stand outside of it and recognise themselves inside it.”

holly hunter acting quote

Amy Adams

“Find out who you are & embrace it. It’s so much easier to face criticism when you are comfortable in your own skin.”

Amy adams acting quote

James Dean

“The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.”

James Dean acting quote

David Oyelowo

“For me, our job as artists is to serve the story, serve the director, and serve the fellow actors. And if you do that, by osmosis you’re serving yourself because you’ll get the best out of yourself.”

David Oyelowo ACTING QUOTE

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About the Author

StageMilk Team

is made up of professional actors, acting coaches and writers from around the world. This team includes Andrew, Alex, Emma, Jake, Jake, Indiana, Patrick and more. We all work together to contribute useful articles and resources for actors at all stages in their careers.

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