Finney shot to fame as the star of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, playing a rambunctious factory worker.
He started out in William Shakespeare plays before portraying the titular hero in the Oscar-winning adventure-comedy "Tom Jones", which made him a major film star.
Finney did, however, win two Baftas, for Most Promising Newcomer for his role in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and Best Actor at the Bafta TV Awards for The Gathering Storm, in which he played Winston Churchill.
Our thoughts are with Finney's family and friends at this hard time.
Albert Finney's friends and peers are remembering the acclaimed actor after learning the news of his passing. Finney also used his popularity at the time to spark a directing career with a film called Charlie Bubbles in 1968.
The Salford native won two BAFTA Awards from 13 nominations overall and received a British Academy Fellowship in 2001.
The son of a bookmaker, Finney was born May 9, 1936, and grew up in northern England on the outskirts of Manchester.
He most recently starred in the James Bond film Skyfall and the Bourne films.
He was also reluctant to discuss his craft.
Finney had a son, Simon, with his first wife, actress Jane Wenham.
Finney was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007.
That doesn't mean that there aren't roles of Finney's that we don't instantly think of when we hear his name. "The world has lost a giant".
Fellow film-maker Ava DuVernay paid tribute to his versatility, saying "that's what acting means". There's also, of course, his unforgettable turn in the Coen Brothers classic Miller's Crossing. I had the enormous privilege of working with him early on.
"I've always been very lazy as well as being lucky, and now I'm even lazier", Finney said.
Albert Finney as Tom Jones in the 1963 movie Tom Jones.
Albert Finney was a five-time Oscar nominee.