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.

  • 68 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 2082
    - 1348

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1620
    - 998

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 1229
    - 850

    Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Notorious

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1494
    - 892

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

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1121
    - 976

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 1172
    - 573

    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1322
    - 753

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

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 1073
    - 1185

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 1044
    - 751

    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 1024
    - 735

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

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 988
    - 681

    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1050
    - 700

    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1123
    - 898

    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 963
    - 1012

    The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 806
    - 793

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 863
    - 881

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

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 890
    - 757

    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 672
    - 424

    ranked low on reranks
    The Heiress, Gone with the Wind, To Each His Own

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 725
    - 629

    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1109
    - 787

    Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 862
    - 719

    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 954
    - 704

    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 787
    - 438

    Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 870
    - 593

    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 646
    - 436

    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 723
    - 508

    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 592
    - 479

    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 751
    - 758

    Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 610
    - 569

    Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 612
    - 471

    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 541
    - 303

    Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 552
    - 434

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 695
    - 506

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 675
    - 425

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

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 538
    - 272

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 648
    - 695

    Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 484
    - 533

    Julia, Isadora, Howards End

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 394
    - 159

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 677
    - 797

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 559
    - 494

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

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 427
    - 318

    Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 786
    - 594

    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 507
    - 340

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 572
    - 583

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 501
    - 464

    The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 530
    - 407

    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 426
    - 361

    Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 380
    - 194

    I Want to Live!, My Foolish Heart, With a Song in My Heart

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 386
    - 194

    ranked low on reranks
    Annie Hall, Marvin's Room, Reds

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 443
    - 326

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

    ) open
261 +

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