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.
  • 55 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1451
    Down 694

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1197
    Down 541

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 937
    Down 455

    Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Notorious

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1103
    Down 447

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 845
    Down 557

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 952
    Down 390

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

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  7. 7
    Up 758
    Down 400

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

    open
  8. 8
    Up 765
    Down 701

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

    open
  9. 9
    Up 719
    Down 334

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

    open
  10. 10
    Up 746
    Down 378

    Monsters University, RED, Excalibur

    open
  11. 11
    Up 698
    Down 360

    Mars Attacks!, Hook, Tarzan

    open
  12. 12
    Up 770
    Down 345

    Casino Royale, Skyfall, Shakespeare in Love

    open
  13. 13
    Up 604
    Down 431

    Misery, The Shootist, Dogville

    open
  14. 14
    Up 772
    Down 509

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

    open
  15. 15
    Up 627
    Down 485

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

    open
  16. 16
    Up 701
    Down 589

    Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland

    open
  17. 17
    Up 637
    Down 394

    Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

    open
  18. 18
    Up 543
    Down 432

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bull Durham, Enchanted

    open
  19. 19
    Up 517
    Down 419

    The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai

    open
  20. 20
    Up 703
    Down 380

    The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Shrek 2

    open
  21. 21
    Up 638
    Down 340

    ranked low on reranks Titanic, The Blind Side, Misery

    open
  22. 22
    Up 457
    Down 379

    Alien, Avatar, Ghostbusters

    open
  23. 23
    Up 367
    Down 348

    Mission: Impossible, Cars 2, Deep Impact

    open
  24. 24
    Up 440
    Down 398

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

    open
  25. 25
    Up 643
    Down 424

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

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  26. 26
    Up 508
    Down 391

    Scarface, Batman Returns, Stardust

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  27. 27
    Up 472
    Down 313

    Blazing Saddles, The Graduate, The Elephant Man

    open
  28. 28
    Up 456
    Down 316

    Big Fish, Cape Fear, Tootsie

    open
  29. 29
    Up 530
    Down 350

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

    open
  30. 30
    Up 553
    Down 291

    Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Lincoln

    open
  31. 31
    Up 510
    Down 280

    Gone with the Wind, Cinema Paradiso, The Adventures of Robin Hood

    open
  32. 32
    Up 390
    Down 345

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

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  33. 33
    Up 472
    Down 338

    West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

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  34. 34
    Up 434
    Down 378

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

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  35. 35
    Up 558
    Down 363

    Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, Forty Guns

    open
  36. 36
    Up 423
    Down 325

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

    open
  37. 37
    Up 515
    Down 609

    often listed Pretty Woman, Ocean's Eleven, Hook

    open
  38. 38
    Up 497
    Down 475

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Children of Men

    open
  39. 39
    Up 398
    Down 190

    ranked low on reranks Carrie, JFK, The Help

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  40. 40
    Up 371
    Down 214

    Steel Magnolias, The Apartment, Terms of Endearment

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  41. 41
    Up 508
    Down 330

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

    open
  42. 42
    Up 411
    Down 321

    Cinema Paradiso, Annie, Grand Hotel

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  43. 43
    Up 614
    Down 450

    The Blind Side, Crash, Gravity

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  44. 44
    Up 342
    Down 245

    The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain

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  45. 45
    Up 325
    Down 268

    Touch of Evil, Judgment at Nuremberg, Get Shorty

    open
  46. 46
    Up 266
    Down 253

    Oz the Great and Powerful, The Mummy, The Fountain

    open
  47. 47
    Up 490
    Down 419

    Some Like It Hot, All About Eve, The Misfits

    open
  48. 48
    Up 390
    Down 260

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

    open
  49. 49
    Up 504
    Down 531

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

    open
  50. 50
    Up 303
    Down 245

    Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde, Network

    open
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