The Flash: All 5 Barry Allen actors ranked from worst to best

Barry Allen is the man behind The Flash, but which actors did the best job of bringing the character to life?

The Flash -- "Heart of the Matter, Part 1" -- Image Number: FLA717a_0043r.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
The Flash -- "Heart of the Matter, Part 1" -- Image Number: FLA717a_0043r.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /
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2. John Wesley Shipp

Long before The CW brought Barry Allen to the small screen in his own series, CBS did the same in the '90s. The Flash starred John Wesley Shipp in the title role and, with strong production values and a larger-than-life feel, the show was very cinematic for its time. It was also highly expensive so even though it was successful, it only lasted one season.

Shipp's performance is considered legendary among fans of the show, and it's easy to see why. He was the first actor who got to provide some nuance to the character in the live-action format, showing audiences why Barry Allen was such a beloved aspect of the comic books. Times had changed from the cartoony and campy portrayal of the '70s, so we actually got to see Barry behave like a real person with real thoughts and feelings and motivations.

The character was portrayed as more of a typical leading man than other adaptations and Shipp's performance captured that well. While he certainly had nerdy qualities about him, he had charm and charisma that made Barry an incredibly alluring - and endearing - character. You understood his desire to protect others and save Central City from threats because Shipp sold it so well.

We don't talk about John Wesley Shipp's performance enough; he was the definitive version of Barry Allen for the longest time - and for many, he understandably still is.