The 78-year-old Oscar winner, who played M for the last time in the James Bond series last year, triumphed in the poll which put women on top, with Dame Maggie Smith finishing second.
Nostalgia magazine Best Of British, which polled its readers, found broadcaster Sir David Attenborough to be the greatest living British man, with scientist Stephen Hawking in second spot. The top living British woman was the Queen while Baroness Thatcher took the runner-up position.
BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid was voted by readers into fifth place. The top male in the great British actor list was Sir Michael Caine, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month and finished third overall.
Daniel Day-Lewis – who won a record-breaking third best actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in Lincoln – was number five in the list.