Where have characters like steely faced Humphrey Bogart standing in the doorway with a cigarette in one hand and a revolver in the other gone? Where has the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, James Cagney, and Robert Mitchum gone? The fact is that these actors are no longer in the land of the living, but they had such character and screen power. The women of the era were also tough cookies themselves, such as Betty Davis, Audrey Hepburn, and Lauren Becall. These women had moxie and a sexiness that jumped out through the screen.
Todays actors seem to not have the presence that the actors of yesterday possess. There are many very good actors today. Robert DeNiro is a great example of this but they are few and far between. Could it be the type of movies the actors today are given? Movies today are relying more upon the remake and that could have an effect on the acting quality in Hollywood, but even the original productions today do not have punch they once did. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Shindlers List, which are exceptional movies with great acting.
The discussion often rages about comparing eras in any genre, but todays actors generally have a lot of catch up to do. As more and more movies are made the balance may swing back to todays actor, but for the moment the greats still have the upper hand.