Acting Sayings and Quotes

A great actor can make a movie or play seem real. They get audiences completely invested in the journey, and if we’re being entertained we’re happy to go along with the ride. Get more insight on this fascinating craft with the collection of wise and humorous acting quotes below.

Acting is the least mysterious of all crafts. Whenever we want something from somebody or when we want to hide something or pretend, we're acting. Most people do it all day long. Marlon Brando
Acting is a marvelous profession ... If you can spend enough time playing other people, you don't have to think too much about your own character and motivations. Dean Koontz
Acting is a sport. On stage you must be ready to move like a tennis player on his toes. Your concentration must be keen, your reflexes sharp; your body and mind are in top gear, the chase is on. Acting is energy. In the theatre people pay to see energy. Clive Swift
Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself. Rodney Dangerfield
Acting is magical. Change your look and your attitude, and you can be anyone. Alicia Witt
Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made. George Burns
Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. Quitting acting, that's the sign of maturity. Marlon Brando
Acting is a nice childish profession - pretending you're someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself. Katharine Hepburn
Acting is not about being famous, it's about exploring the human soul. Annette Bening
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
Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience. Paul Newman
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
Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself. John Gielgud
Acting is not being emotional, but being able to fully express emotion. Kate Reid
Acting is a spiritual quest to touch human beings. Larry Moss
Acting provides the fulfillment of never being fulfilled. You're never as good as you'd like to be. So there's always something to hope for. Washington Irving
Acting is nothing more or less than playing. The idea is to humanize life. George Eliot
Acting doesn't bring anything to a text. On the contrary, it detracts from it. Marguerite Duras
Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant. Glenda Jackson
I must say that acting was good training for the political life that lay ahead of us. Nancy Reagan
Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there. Meryl Streep
As always, with acting, you can't be too self-conscious. You shouldn't care about what people are thinking about you at the time because they're not caring about you, they're caring about the character. Freddie Highmore
The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing. Ralph Richardson
People acting in their own self-interest is the fuel for all the discovery, innovation, and prosperity that powers the world. John Stossel
Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on. River Phoenix
Acting is happy agony. Jean-Paul Sartre
Acting is a matter of giving away secrets. Ellen Barkin
I really think that effective acting has to do literally with the movement of molecules. Charlotte Whitton
Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly. Rosalind Russell
Conflict is what creates drama. The more conflict actors find, the more interesting the performance. Michael Shurtleff
Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. Sanford Meisner
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 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
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
The difference between acting and reacting is that in a bad picture, you see them acting all over the place. In a good picture, they react in a logical way to a situation they're in, so the audience can identify with the actors. John Wayne
I merely try to act naturally. If I start acting phony on the screen, you start looking at me instead of feeling with me. John Wayne
Acting... is the ability to react to imaginary stimuli; and its essential elements remain the twin requisites... 'unusual sensitivity and extraordinary intelligence,' this latter not in the form of book learning but in the ability to comprehend the workings of the human soul. The essential problems in acting—does the actor 'feel' or does he merely imitate? Should he speak naturally or rhetorically? What is natural? etc.—are as old as acting itself. They derive not from the realistic movement but from the nature of the acting process. Lee Strasberg
Of all the arts, I think acting must be the least concrete, the most solitary. One gains experience continually, both at rehearsals and in performance, from the presence of a large assembly of people. These people are essential to the development of one's performance—they are the living canvas upon which one hopes to paint the finished portrait which one has envisaged. Sir John Gielgud
Acting is horrible, painful, and yet also intoxicating and emotionally liberating. Jodie Foster
Acting is an intimate thing. You entrust your partner with something very private, a tremendous bond develops and that intimacy is like love. Kevin Kline
Acting provides the fulfillment of never being fulfilled. You're never as good as you'd like to be. So there's always something to hope for. Glenda Jackson
Acting is simply my way of investigating human nature and having fun at the same time. Meryl Streep
Acting is the ability to dream on cue. Sir Ralph Richardson
Acting is a sad business where you crawl from hope to hope. Walter Slezak
Acting is a leap of faith. There has to be that moment where you go, I give myself to ... the spirit. Christopher Walken
Thrust into my profession without any training whatsoever, I had to just flounder and just find my way. It was an agonizing experience. It's like jumping off a diving board in the Olympic contest without knowing how to swim or dive, and I just had to find my way. So one day, I said to Jimmy Cagney, 'Jimmy, what is acting?' and he said, 'I don't know.' He said, 'All I can tell you is whatever you say, mean it,' and I thought that marvelous counsel. It is key. Wonderful. Olivia de Havilland
Acting is a great panacea. I can turn the world to right, all the sad and distressing things that happen in real life can be transformed into something soothing and great. Sir Derek Jacobi
Like all actors, I really just reveal my shadow every time I work. And the shadow is all the pain, shame, anger and rage, the creativity and sexuality. John Cusack
Acting is so pure. It's not necessarily all the mundane moments that we have in real life. It's like condensed drama. It's all the exciting moments in two hours. Your senses have to be heightened. Sam Rockwell
Actors are people who were good at playing 'Let's Pretend' as kids and now we're getting money to play house. Michael J. Fox
They say that all great actors are crazy. Life has driven them mad, but that madness gives them a well of opportunity to draw experiences from 'til they can relate to what seems obscure and far away and out of reach. Terrence Howard
Acting is only the second oldest profession, but society has always looked on both trades with equal suspicion. Charlton Heston
An actor is akin to the magician—an illusionist in the profession of making things look real. Brian Adams
Being the wood that the nail banged into doesn't feel good—that's what acting is. Sean Penn
Sometimes you want to tell the audience, "If you only knew what we've been going through!" Burt Lancaster
Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four. Katharine Hepburn
The mere mechanical technique of acting can be taught, but the spirit that is to give life to lifeless forms must be born in a man. No dramatic college can teach its pupils to think or to feel. Oscar Wilde
Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation. Bette Davis
Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself. Jeanne Moreau
Acting is like prize fighting. The downtown gyms are smelly, but that's where the champions are. Kirk Douglas
The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting. Charlie Chaplin
You spend all your life trying to do something they put people in asylums for. Jane Fonda
Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult. Laurence Olivier
A painter paints, a musician plays, a writer writes - but a movie actor waits. Mary Astor
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 is just making stuff up. But, that's okay. Life is a rehearsal. Life is an improvisation. Marlon Brando
We could change the whole story of love / Same old play I'm getting tired / No more acting these predictable roles / Just us living / Unconditional love. Esperanza Spalding