The Best Actresses in Film History People In Film
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The Best Actresses in Film History

List Criteria: Female film actresses only!

The best actresses ever are ranked here in this list of the best actresses in film history. These are the greatest actresses ever to appear on the silver screen - female only (to vote on both genders, check out this list of the greatest film actors and actresses). These women were part of some of the greatest movies of all time (or were perhaps the reason they were the best movies ever), with countless Academy Awards between them.

What are the qualities of the best actresses of all time? Is it the raw emotion they show, the parts they choose, their acting methods, or simply their effortless charm and charisma? There's no denying some of these amazing actresses belong on the list of the hottest celebrities of all time, but behind the 1000 watt smiles lies the talent that defines generations of actresses.

Who is the best actor of all time? Is it a classic actor like Katharine Hepburn, a comedic genius like Tina Fey, a stunner like Catherine Zeta-Jones, or a method actor like Meryl Streep? There are so many choices for the greatest movie actress ever that you may have a hard time choosing just one (although you can vote for as many of the actresses on this list of the greatest actresses ever as you want). If your favorite leading lady isn't on the list, make sure to add her so others can vote for her to receive the title of best actress in film history.

  • 61 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1810
    - 1106

    the people's #1 & most listed Sophie's Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer, Out of Africa

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1426
    - 859

    The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner ...

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 1089
    - 730

    Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Notorious

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1308
    - 775

    Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1001
    - 839

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, National Velvet, Cleopatra

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 1020
    - 467

    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1171
    - 641

    All About Eve, P.S. I Love You, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 944
    - 1041

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 920
    - 639

    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 897
    - 646

    Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Fire Over England

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 856
    - 583

    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 918
    - 595

    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 972
    - 796

    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 718
    - 689

    The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, The Mirror Has Two Faces

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 826
    - 896

    often listed The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 745
    - 773

    Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, The Remains of the Day

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 975
    - 610

    ranked low on reranks Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 732
    - 561

    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 809
    - 651

    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 841
    - 612

    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 688
    - 370

    Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 756
    - 540

    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 602
    - 374

    The Heiress, Gone with the Wind, To Each His Own

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 606
    - 545

    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 646
    - 676

    Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 659
    - 455

    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 507
    - 444

    Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Four Walls

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 624
    - 448

    The Wizard of Oz, Judgment at Nuremberg, A Star Is Born

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 495
    - 388

    From Here to Eternity, The King and I, Heaven Knows

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 569
    - 389

    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 430
    - 486

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Julia, Isadora, Howards End

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 602
    - 375

    Two Women, Marriage Italian-Style, It Started in Naples

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 597
    - 641

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 528
    - 514

    Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 474
    - 232

    ranked low on reranks Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 537
    - 429

    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 459
    - 256

    Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 539
    - 422

    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 503
    - 530

    Fight Club, The King's Speech, The Wings of the Dove

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 603
    - 723

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 454
    - 420

    The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 472
    - 373

    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 450
    - 300

    It Happened One Night, Since You Went Away, Private Worlds

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 335
    - 117

    ranked low on reranks Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 704
    - 532

    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 366
    - 282

    Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 394
    - 285

    The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 579
    - 474

    Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 374
    - 322

    Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 578
    - 616

    Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

    ) open
259 +

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