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
+ - 5,287 4,182
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
+ - 4,504 2,471
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
+ - 2,995 2,570
Cate Blanchett is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth The Aviator

4
+ - 3,233 2,391
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
+ - 2,926 1,984
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
+ - 2,885 2,582
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
+ - 2,879 2,404
Ingrid Bergman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ingrid Bergman Casablanca, Notorious Cinema Paradiso

8
+ - 2,616 2,987
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
+ - 2,606 2,458
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
+ - 2,486 1,928
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
+ - 2,538 2,218
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
+ - 2,433 1,924
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
+ - 2,359 2,045
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
+ - 2,091 1,796
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
+ - 1,964 1,884
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
+ - 2,062 1,981
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
+ - 2,279 1,699
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
+ - 2,085 1,617
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
+ - 1,763 1,313
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
+ - 1,694 1,591
Helena Bonham Carter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helena Bonham Carter Fight Club, The King's Speech The Wings of the Dove

21
+ - 1,882 1,369
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sally Field Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae Forrest Gump

22
+ - 1,693 1,407
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Lange Blue Sky, Tootsie King Kong

23
+ - 1,577 1,645
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
+ - 1,780 1,789
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
+ - 1,705 1,373
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, Judgment at Nuremberg A Star Is Born

26
+ - 2,066 1,839
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sandra Bullock The Blind Side, Gravity Speed

27
+ - 1,561 1,382
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
+ - 1,376 1,036
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
+ - 1,222 1,050
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Amy Adams American Hustle, The Master Doubt

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30
+ - 1,426 1,193
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment The Turning Point

31
+ - 1,925 2,024
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Michelle Pfeiffer The Fabulous Baker Boys, Scarface Dangerous Liaisons

32
+ - 1,882 1,950
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
+ - 1,527 1,320
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
+ - 1,791 1,947
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
+ - 1,332 1,156
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka Camille

36
+ - 2,336 2,510
Charlize Theron is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Charlize Theron Monster, North Country Young Adult

37
+ - 1,404 1,236
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
+ - 1,337 1,329
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
+ - 1,255 1,047
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter In the Bedroom

40
+ - 879 714
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Frances McDormand Fargo, Mississippi Burning North Country

41
+ - 938 930
Jennifer Connelly is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Connelly A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream House of Sand and Fog

42
+ - 1,201 925
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
+ - 1,361 1,520
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
+ - 1,613 1,592
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
+ - 1,068 1,110
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
+ - 1,355 1,306
Nicole Kidman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Nicole Kidman The Hours, Moulin Rouge! Rabbit Hole

47
+ - 1,522 1,441
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number Stella Dallas

48
+ - 919 829
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
+ - 1,156 1,212
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
+ - 1,044 924
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore