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
+ - 3,455 3,088
Cate Blanchett is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator

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2
+ - 5,943 4,898
Meryl Streep is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Meryl Streep Sophie's Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer, Out of Africa

3
+ - 5,127 2,926
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
+ - 3,359 2,228
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
+ - 3,777 2,606
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
+ - 2,891 2,169
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
+ - 2,933 2,452
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
+ - 3,288 2,827
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

9
+ - 3,321 2,573
Ingrid Bergman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ingrid Bergman Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso

10
+ - 2,831 2,127
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
+ - 2,473 1,812
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
+ - 2,295 2,114
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
+ - 2,613 2,310
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
+ - 2,369 2,181
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
+ - 2,986 3,297
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

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16
+ - 2,638 1,873
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
+ - 3,004 2,754
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kate Winslet The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

18
+ - 1,995 1,609
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Lange Blue Sky, Tootsie, King Kong

19
+ - 2,183 1,544
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sally Field Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump

20
+ - 2,375 2,004
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julianne Moore Still Alice, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights

21
+ - 1,748 1,575
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
+ - 1,659 1,368
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
+ - 1,829 1,847
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sigourney Weaver Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl

24
+ - 2,023 1,497
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Four Walls

25
+ - 2,013 1,790
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
+ - 1,477 1,213
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
+ - 2,016 1,934
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
+ - 1,043 869
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Frances McDormand Fargo, Mississippi Burning, North Country

29
+ - 1,228 1,351
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jane Fonda Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome

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30
+ - 1,959 1,511
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
+ - 2,383 2,049
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sandra Bullock The Blind Side, Gravity, Speed

32
+ - 1,088 998
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
+ - 1,487 1,244
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Amy Adams American Hustle, The Master, Doubt

34
+ - 1,620 1,208
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
+ - 2,183 2,179
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Michelle Pfeiffer The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons

36
+ - 1,088 870
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Diane Lane Unfaithful, Rumble Fish, A Walk on the Moon

37
+ - 2,131 2,086
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
+ - 1,631 1,463
Nicole Kidman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Nicole Kidman The Hours, Moulin Rouge!, Rabbit Hole

39
+ - 1,729 1,455
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
+ - 1,611 1,365
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Anne Bancroft The Miracle Worker, The Graduate, The Turning Point

41
+ - 2,077 2,168
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
+ - 1,414 1,034
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maureen O'Hara Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

43
+ - 1,090 1,122
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Connelly A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream, House of Sand and Fog

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44
+ - 1,520 1,472
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Natalie Wood West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause

45
+ - 1,486 1,295
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

46
+ - 1,210 1,043
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

47
+ - 1,521 1,648
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Rita Hayworth Gilda, Circus World, The Lady from Shanghai

48
+ - 1,132 913
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Angela Lansbury The Manchurian Candidate, Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray

49
+ - 1,084 1,135
Rachel Weisz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Rachel Weisz The Constant Gardener, The Deep Blue Sea, About a Boy

50
+ - 1,050 946
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