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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.

The Best Actresses in Film History People In Film
  • 93 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 3305
    - 2304

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

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  2. 2
    + 2333
    - 1774


    Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2523
    - 1395

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

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  4. 4
    + 1984
    - 1332


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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1850
    - 1460


    Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1675
    - 1628

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    ;
  7. 7
    + 1645
    - 1159


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

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  8. 8
    + 1583
    - 1722

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

    ;
  9. 9
    + 1591
    - 1255


    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

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  10. 10
    + 1714
    - 1446


    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ;
  11. 11
    + 1536
    - 1315


    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1532
    - 1255


    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1468
    - 1209


    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1104
    - 783


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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1419
    - 1128


    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1463
    - 1539


    The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1186
    - 1236


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1200
    - 1118


    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1281
    - 1373

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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1157
    - 819

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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1238
    - 1083


    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1152
    - 1268

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

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  23. 23
    + 1076
    - 859


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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 981
    - 843


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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 721
    - 448

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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1225
    - 1100


    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ;
  27. 27
    + 920
    - 1090

    often listed
    Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

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  28. 28
    + 721
    - 524


    Annie Hall, Marvin's Room, Reds

    ;
  29. 29
    + 954
    - 907


    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ;
  30. 30
    + 856
    - 845


    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ;
  31. 31
    + 826
    - 675

    ranked low on reranks
    Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1217
    - 1389

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ;
  33. 33
    + 912
    - 790


    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

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  34. 34
    + 912
    - 1019


    Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

    ;
  35. 35
    + 959
    - 864

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

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  36. 36
    + 1021
    - 1256

    often listed
    Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1266
    - 1376


    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1532
    - 1597


    Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1020
    - 939


    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ;
  40. 40
    + 732
    - 819

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

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  41. 41
    + 909
    - 1028


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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 800
    - 727


    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ;
  43. 43
    + 603
    - 448

    ranked low on reranks
    The Man Who Knew Too Much, Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane

    ;
  44. 44
    + 995
    - 1130


    Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

    ;
  45. 45
    + 713
    - 671


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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 756
    - 788


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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 607
    - 570


    Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome

    ;
  48. 48
    + 656
    - 705


    Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

    ;
  49. 49
    + 762
    - 616

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

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  50. 50
    + 987
    - 990


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

    ;
526 +

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