The Best Actresses in Film History

350k votes 21k voters 309k views 604 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.
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  • 118 ReRanks
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    • Men
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  1. 1
    + 4,514
    - 3,212

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,649
    - 1,890

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3,000
    - 2,471


    Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2,317
    - 2,164


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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,578
    - 1,991


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

    ;
  6. 6
    + 2,331
    - 2,067


    Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,304
    - 1,640

    ranked low on reranks
    Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,181
    - 2,331

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

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2,451
    - 2,037


    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ;
  10. 10
    + 2,078
    - 1,828


    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2,122
    - 1,979


    The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ;
  12. 12
    + 2,016
    - 1,637


    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,059
    - 1,723


    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,067
    - 1,625


    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1,718
    - 1,509


    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,908
    - 1,459


    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1,488
    - 1,075


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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,733
    - 1,713

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,625
    - 1,601


    Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1,690
    - 1,377


    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1,568
    - 1,123

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

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,508
    - 1,569


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

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,363
    - 1,331


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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,419
    - 1,162


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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,352
    - 1,183


    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1,296
    - 1,391


    Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,694
    - 1,525


    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1,627
    - 1,762

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,469
    - 1,639


    Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,611
    - 1,719


    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,260
    - 1,117


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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,285
    - 1,153


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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 1,974
    - 2,104

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,068
    - 801


    Annie Hall, Marvin's Room, Reds

    ;
  35. 35
    + 985
    - 716


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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,119
    - 957


    Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,157
    - 1,297

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,307
    - 1,194


    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,178
    - 1,028


    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,120
    - 1,094


    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,040
    - 970


    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,018
    - 865


    Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

    ;
  43. 43
    + 958
    - 1,023


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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,380
    - 1,617


    Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,037
    - 1,015


    The Hours, Moulin Rouge!, Rabbit Hole

    ;
  46. 46
    + 859
    - 857


    Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,316
    - 1,305


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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 932
    - 1,074

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

    ;
  49. 49
    + 645
    - 685

    often listed
    A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream, House of Sand and Fog

    ;
  50. 50
    + 889
    - 847


    American Hustle, The Master, Doubt

    ;
605 +

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