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
+ - 5,255 4,129
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
+ - 4,454 2,446
Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady Roman Holiday

3
+ - 2,978 2,530
Cate Blanchett is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth The Aviator

4
+ - 3,169 2,377
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 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?

5
+ - 2,875 1,973
Vivien Leigh is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire Ship of Fools

6
+ - 2,844 2,568
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra, National Velvet Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

7
+ - 2,839 2,392
Ingrid Bergman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ingrid Bergman Casablanca, Notorious Cinema Paradiso

8
+ - 2,596 2,950
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver The Accused

9
+ - 2,587 2,423
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kate Winslet The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Titanic

10
+ - 2,466 1,904
Judi Dench is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Judi Dench Philomena, Notes on a Scandal Shakespeare in Love

11
+ - 2,519 2,197
Helen Mirren is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helen Mirren The Queen, Gosford Park The Last Station

12
+ - 2,412 1,915
Maggie Smith is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maggie Smith California Suite, Gosford Park A Room with a View

13
+ - 2,344 2,030
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
+ - 2,074 1,786
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julianne Moore Still Alice, The End of the Affair Boogie Nights

15
+ - 1,948 1,870
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Susan Sarandon Dead Man Walking, The Client Thelma & Louise

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16
+ - 2,045 1,972
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, Howards End The Remains of the Day

17
+ - 2,260 1,689
Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julie Andrews The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins Thoroughly Modern Millie

18
+ - 2,066 1,609
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kathy Bates Misery, About Schmidt Fried Green Tomatoes

19
+ - 1,743 1,304
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Four Walls

20
+ - 1,870 1,354
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
+ - 1,686 1,581
Helena Bonham Carter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helena Bonham Carter Fight Club, The King's Speech The Wings of the Dove

22
+ - 1,670 1,397
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Lange Blue Sky, Tootsie King Kong

23
+ - 1,566 1,631
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
+ - 1,764 1,779
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Lauren Bacall The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not The Mirror Has Two Faces

25
+ - 2,051 1,822
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sandra Bullock The Blind Side, Gravity Speed

26
+ - 1,690 1,363
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, Judgment at Nuremberg A Star Is Born

27
+ - 1,550 1,373
Sophia Loren is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sophia Loren Two Women, Marriage Italian-Style It Started in Naples

28
+ - 1,364 1,026
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Marvin's Room Reds

29
+ - 1,412 1,183
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment The Turning Point

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30
+ - 1,915 2,013
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Michelle Pfeiffer The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface Dangerous Liaisons

31
+ - 1,209 1,043
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Amy Adams American Hustle, The Master Doubt

32
+ - 1,872 1,940
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Grace Kelly Rear Window, High Noon Dial M for Murder

33
+ - 1,512 1,314
Olivia de Havilland is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Olivia de Havilland The Heiress, Gone with the Wind To Each His Own

34
+ - 1,778 1,932
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Julia Roberts Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman Steel Magnolias

35
+ - 1,321 1,146
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka Camille

36
+ - 2,322 2,493
Charlize Theron is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Charlize Theron Monster, North Country Young Adult

37
+ - 1,388 1,227
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Anne Bancroft The Miracle Worker, The Graduate The Turning Point

38
+ - 1,325 1,318
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Natalie Wood West Side Story, The Searchers Rebel Without a Cause

39
+ - 931 918
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Connelly A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream House of Sand and Fog

40
+ - 1,241 1,039
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter In the Bedroom

41
+ - 869 706
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Frances McDormand Fargo, Mississippi Burning North Country

42
+ - 1,189 917
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
+ - 1,353 1,511
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Rita Hayworth Gilda, Circus World The Lady from Shanghai

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44
+ - 1,599 1,580
Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marilyn Monroe Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes The Seven Year Itch

45
+ - 1,064 1,095
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jane Fonda Klute, Coming Home The China Syndrome

46
+ - 1,512 1,430
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number Stella Dallas

47
+ - 1,338 1,300
Nicole Kidman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Nicole Kidman The Hours, Moulin Rouge! Rabbit Hole

48
+ - 907 822
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Annette Bening American Beauty, The Grifters Being Julia

49
+ - 1,146 1,204
Deborah Kerr is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Deborah Kerr From Here to Eternity, The King and I Heaven Knows

50
+ - 820 646
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Tandy Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes Cocoon