The Best Actresses in Film History People In Film

The Best Actresses in Film History

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316k votes 20k voters 283k views 547 items tags f p @

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.

List Photo: 20th Century Fox
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 115 ReRanks
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    • Men
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 4,159
    - 2,855

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,265
    - 1,708

    ranked low on reranks
    Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,782
    - 2,221


    Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2,391
    - 1,741


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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,177
    - 1,814


    Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso

    ;
  6. 6
    + 2,077
    - 1,422


    Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,096
    - 1,947


    Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    ;
  8. 8
    + 1,982
    - 2,056

    often listed
    The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2,242
    - 1,749


    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1,915
    - 1,585


    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ;
  11. 11
    + 1,928
    - 1,530


    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,830
    - 1,447


    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1,909
    - 1,480


    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1,910
    - 1,795

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1,567
    - 1,345


    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,754
    - 1,338


    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1,354
    - 972


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,604
    - 1,588


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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,444
    - 1,002

    ranked low on reranks
    Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1,482
    - 1,471

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1,522
    - 1,272


    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,394
    - 1,461

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, The Mirror Has Two Faces

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,314
    - 1,035


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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,551
    - 1,376


    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,211
    - 1,207


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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1,507
    - 1,617


    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,215
    - 1,087


    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1,162
    - 1,279

    often listed
    Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,340
    - 1,496

    often listed
    Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,498
    - 1,613

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,155
    - 1,017


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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,182
    - 1,045

    ranked low on reranks
    Two Women, Marriage Italian-Style, It Started in Naples

    ;
  33. 33
    + 963
    - 700


    Annie Hall, Marvin's Room, Reds

    ;
  34. 34
    + 890
    - 613

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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1,025
    - 855


    Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,822
    - 1,960


    Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,072
    - 1,190


    Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,205
    - 1,106


    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,079
    - 940


    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,015
    - 1,005


    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ;
  41. 41
    + 883
    - 930


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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 922
    - 774


    Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

    ;
  43. 43
    + 923
    - 900


    The Hours, Moulin Rouge!, Rabbit Hole

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,262
    - 1,471


    Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

    ;
  45. 45
    + 772
    - 761


    Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome

    ;
  46. 46
    + 865
    - 988

    often listed
    The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,199
    - 1,200


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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 931
    - 891


    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ;
  49. 49
    + 808
    - 767


    American Hustle, The Master, Doubt

    ;
  50. 50
    + 739
    - 611


    The Man Who Knew Too Much, Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane

    ;
548 +

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