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.

  • 60 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1901
    - 1161

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1496
    - 885

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 1141
    - 750

    Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Notorious

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1384
    - 794

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

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1037
    - 871

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 1060
    - 498

    Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1227
    - 661

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

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 983
    - 1074

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 966
    - 661

    The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 905
    - 600

    California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 932
    - 665

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

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 967
    - 615

    Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1021
    - 818

    Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 750
    - 706

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 868
    - 925

    The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 781
    - 801

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

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 770
    - 597

    The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 834
    - 676

    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1006
    - 655

    Monster, North Country, Young Adult

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 883
    - 630

    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 790
    - 555

    Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 679
    - 694

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 654
    - 564

    Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 711
    - 390

    Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 595
    - 401

    The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 646
    - 466

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 622
    - 389

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

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 625
    - 388

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 552
    - 528

    often listed Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 611
    - 650

    Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 673
    - 473

    Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 514
    - 399

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 485
    - 268

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 520
    - 458

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

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 446
    - 499

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 549
    - 439

    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 499
    - 242

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

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 558
    - 440

    Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 627
    - 744

    often listed Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 524
    - 544

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

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 468
    - 430

    The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 464
    - 312

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

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 414
    - 296

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 608
    - 494

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 730
    - 552

    The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 490
    - 381

    Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 391
    - 331

    Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 378
    - 292

    Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 356
    - 124

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

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 599
    - 635

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

    ) open
259 +

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