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.
  • 52 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1286
    Down 559

    the people's #1 The Deer Hunter, Out of Africa, Kramer vs. Kramer

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1079
    Down 422

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 844
    Down 345

    Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Notorious

    open
  4. 4
    Up 990
    Down 336

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 764
    Down 438

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 855
    Down 287

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

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  7. 7
    Up 684
    Down 298

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

    open
  8. 8
    Up 643
    Down 229

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the ...

    open
  9. 9
    Up 698
    Down 238

    Casino Royale, Skyfall, Shakespeare in Love

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  10. 10
    Up 693
    Down 560

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

    open
  11. 11
    Up 670
    Down 274

    Monsters University, RED, Excalibur

    open
  12. 12
    Up 549
    Down 318

    Misery, The Shootist, Dogville

    open
  13. 13
    Up 566
    Down 340

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the ...

    open
  14. 14
    Up 689
    Down 371

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The ...

    open
  15. 15
    Up 555
    Down 327

    Mars Attacks!, Hook, Tarzan

    open
  16. 16
    Up 631
    Down 446

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland

    open
  17. 17
    Up 583
    Down 283

    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    open
  18. 18
    Up 472
    Down 314

    often listed The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai

    open
  19. 19
    Up 572
    Down 235

    ranked low on reranks Titanic, The Blind Side, Misery

    open
  20. 20
    Up 635
    Down 276

    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Shrek 2

    open
  21. 21
    Up 479
    Down 320

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bull Durham, Enchanted

    open
  22. 22
    Up 335
    Down 239

    Mission: Impossible, Cars 2, Deep Impact

    open
  23. 23
    Up 409
    Down 266

    Alien, Avatar, Ghostbusters

    open
  24. 24
    Up 435
    Down 211

    Blazing Saddles, The Graduate, The Elephant Man

    open
  25. 25
    Up 466
    Down 188

    ranked low on reranks Gone with the Wind, Cinema Paradiso, The Adventures of Robin Hood

    open
  26. 26
    Up 431
    Down 241

    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

    open
  27. 27
    Up 391
    Down 287

    Fight Club, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Alice in ...

    open
  28. 28
    Up 352
    Down 244

    Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Sentinel, The Killers

    open
  29. 29
    Up 473
    Down 248

    The Wizard of Oz, P.S. I Love You, Judgment at Nuremberg

    open
  30. 30
    Up 512
    Down 266

    Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, Forty Guns

    open
  31. 31
    Up 382
    Down 230

    From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember, The Innocents

    open
  32. 32
    Up 402
    Down 214

    Big Fish, Cape Fear, Tootsie

    open
  33. 33
    Up 493
    Down 202

    Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Lincoln

    open
  34. 34
    Up 421
    Down 295

    Scarface, Batman Returns, Stardust

    open
  35. 35
    Up 394
    Down 270

    Grand Hotel, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Mildred Pierce

    open
  36. 36
    Up 459
    Down 470

    often listed Pretty Woman, Ocean's Eleven, Hook

    open
  37. 37
    Up 462
    Down 243

    El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Cassandra Crossing

    open
  38. 38
    Up 374
    Down 237

    Cinema Paradiso, Annie, Grand Hotel

    open
  39. 39
    Up 450
    Down 360

    The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Children of Men

    open
  40. 40
    Up 511
    Down 366

    Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Devil's Advocate

    open
  41. 41
    Up 314
    Down 181

    The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain

    open
  42. 42
    Up 283
    Down 190

    Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde, Network

    open
  43. 43
    Up 324
    Down 167

    Steel Magnolias, The Apartment, Terms of Endearment

    open
  44. 44
    Up 446
    Down 341

    Some Like It Hot, All About Eve, The Misfits

    open
  45. 45
    Up 547
    Down 366

    The Blind Side, Crash, Gravity

    open
  46. 46
    Up 367
    Down 214

    It Happened One Night, It's a Wonderful World, The Palm Beach Story

    open
  47. 47
    Up 455
    Down 435

    Thor, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: ...

    open
  48. 48
    Up 303
    Down 222

    Touch of Evil, Judgment at Nuremberg, Get Shorty

    open
  49. 49
    Up 342
    Down 157

    ranked low on reranks Carrie, JFK, The Help

    open
  50. 50
    Up 240
    Down 218

    Oz the Great and Powerful, The Mummy, The Fountain

    open
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