actresses The Best Actresses in Film History  

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List Rules 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.

1
+ - 5,684 4,702
Meryl Streep is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Meryl Streep Sophie's Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer, Out of Africa

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2
+ - 3,280 2,911
Cate Blanchett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

3
+ - 4,928 2,794
Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

4
+ - 3,219 2,143
Vivien Leigh is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

5
+ - 3,650 2,538
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Bette Davis All About Eve, P.S. I Love You, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

6
+ - 2,753 2,101
Judi Dench is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Judi Dench Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love

7
+ - 2,781 2,389
Helen Mirren is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helen Mirren The Queen, Gosford Park, The Last Station

8
+ - 3,196 2,521
Ingrid Bergman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ingrid Bergman Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso

9
+ - 3,185 2,753
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

10
+ - 2,697 2,069
Maggie Smith is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maggie Smith California Suite, Gosford Park, A Room with a View

11
+ - 2,333 1,744
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kathy Bates Misery, About Schmidt, Fried Green Tomatoes

12
+ - 2,192 2,041
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Susan Sarandon Dead Man Walking, The Client, Thelma & Louise

13
+ - 2,523 2,231
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Glenn Close Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs

14
+ - 2,265 2,122
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, The Remains of the Day

15
+ - 2,874 2,700
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kate Winslet The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

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16
+ - 2,514 1,819
Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julie Andrews The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie

17
+ - 2,863 3,226
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

18
+ - 1,905 1,539
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Lange Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

19
+ - 2,289 1,941
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julianne Moore Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

20
+ - 2,070 1,492
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sally Field Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

21
+ - 1,691 1,508
Sophia Loren is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sophia Loren Two Women, Marriage Italian-Style, It Started in Naples

22
+ - 1,587 1,312
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, The Turning Point

23
+ - 1,961 1,435
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Four Walls

24
+ - 1,739 1,786
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sigourney Weaver Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

25
+ - 1,907 1,732
Helena Bonham Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helena Bonham Carter Fight Club, The King's Speech, The Wings of the Dove

26
+ - 1,412 1,156
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

27
+ - 1,953 1,885
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Lauren Bacall The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, The Mirror Has Two Faces

28
+ - 1,179 1,265
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jane Fonda Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome

29
+ - 992 818
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Frances McDormand Fargo, Mississippi Burning, North Country

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30
+ - 1,881 1,466
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, Judgment at Nuremberg, A Star Is Born

31
+ - 2,269 1,987
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sandra Bullock The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

32
+ - 1,031 942
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Annette Bening American Beauty, The Grifters, Being Julia

33
+ - 1,398 1,181
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Amy Adams American Hustle, The Master, Doubt

34
+ - 1,532 1,152
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Marvin's Room, Reds

35
+ - 1,022 822
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Diane Lane Unfaithful, Rumble Fish, A Walk on the Moon

36
+ - 2,104 2,126
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Michelle Pfeiffer The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

37
+ - 2,052 2,046
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Grace Kelly Rear Window, High Noon, Dial M for Murder

38
+ - 1,560 1,322
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Anne Bancroft The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

39
+ - 1,667 1,413
Olivia de Havilland is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Olivia de Havilland The Heiress, Gone with the Wind, To Each His Own

40
+ - 1,047 1,065
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Connelly A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream, House of Sand and Fog

41
+ - 1,983 2,100
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julia Roberts Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias

42
+ - 1,472 1,421
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Natalie Wood West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

43
+ - 1,529 1,406
Nicole Kidman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Nicole Kidman The Hours, Moulin Rouge!, Rabbit Hole

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44
+ - 1,446 1,249
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

45
+ - 1,344 998
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maureen O'Hara Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

46
+ - 1,471 1,607
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Rita Hayworth Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

47
+ - 2,515 2,755
Charlize Theron is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Charlize Theron Monster, North Country, Young Adult

48
+ - 1,138 999
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

49
+ - 1,063 871
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Angela Lansbury The Manchurian Candidate, Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray

50
+ - 969 898
Hilary Swank is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer