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I like several of them and have used most of them. In my opinion, none of them is a clear "best." (For what it's worth, Windows doesn't have one that is head and shoulders above the competition either.) I finally decided to go with Totem.
Totem with the xine engine works the best on my video lightweight IBM T20 laptop. With Totem I've little problem with the audio and video being out of sync and considering the low video capabilities of the lappy, the picture is reasonably good.
I use totem most of the time for the drag & drop playlist, if it can't play something I go with mplayer. But I gave my vote to vlc! Because it can play anything too, it's available for every platform out there and it's extremely low on resources. I haven't used it alot myself, but every time someone asked me for a player, I said: vlc. And everybody liked it so far.
Distribution: Linux Mint 8, Ubuntu Studio 9.10, DSL 4.1
VLC for me. I like it's cross-platform support (like most of us here, forever trying to switch friends over from Windows is an arduous task but the more & more you show 'em apps/things you can do on Linux, the more they see "the light" hehe) & LOVE the fact that it plays ANYTHING I throw at it.