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.
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51
1,816 1,311
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maureen O'Hara Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

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52
1,793 1,565
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

53
1,385 1,299
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

54
1,368 1,322
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Goldie Hawn Cactus Flower, Private Benjamin, There's a Girl in My Soup

55
1,182 1,159
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kathleen Turner Peggy Sue Got Married, Prizzie's Honor, Body Heat

56
1,524 1,307
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

57
3,323 3,418
Charlize Theron is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Charlize Theron Monster, North Country, Young Adult

58
614 418
Carrie Fisher is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
david-p-griffith added Carrie Fisher Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

59
1,354 1,140
Anjelica Huston is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Anjelica Huston The Grifters, Prizzi's Honor, Enemies: A Love Story

60
1,420 1,528
Faye Dunaway is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Faye Dunaway Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown

61
1,287 1,620
Tilda Swinton is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton, The Deep End, We Need to Talk About Kevin

62
2,311 2,078
Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marilyn Monroe Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch

63
1,312 987
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Jessica Tandy Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cocoon

64
1,270 1,263
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Naomi Watts King Kong, The Ring, Mulholland Drive

65
792 537
Robin Wright is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Robin Wright Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride, Unbreakable

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66
1,440 1,452
Uma Thurman is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Dangerous Liaisons

67
1,111 1,007
Debbie Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
tafish123 added Debbie Reynolds Singin' in the Rain, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Charlotte's Web

68
1,035 1,129
Holly Hunter is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Holly Hunter The Incredibles, Raising Arizona, O Brother

69
1,522 1,593
Ava Gardner is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ava Gardner The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

70
2,304 2,159
Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Biel Blade: Trinity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist

71
2,004 1,807
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

72
861 905
Angela Bassett is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Angela Bassett Boyz n the Hood, Green Lantern, Malcolm X

73
2,640 2,673
Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Natalie Portman Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

74
1,547 1,557
Deborah Kerr is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Deborah Kerr From Here to Eternity, The King and I, Heaven Knows

75
1,340 1,152
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helen Hunt As Good as It Gets, The Sessions, Pay It Forward

76
1,254 1,207
Marion Cotillard is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose, Two Days One Night, Rust and Bone

77
1,241 1,369
Bette Midler is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Bette Midler Oliver & Company, Hocus Pocus, Fantasia 2000

78
862 1,058
Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kirsten Dunst Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

79
1,436 1,256
Jamie Lee Curtis is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Jamie Lee Curtis A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places, Halloween

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80
1,067 858
Janet Leigh is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Janet Leigh Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Touch of Evil

81
998 1,130
Laura Linney is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Laura Linney The Savages, You Can Count on Me, Kinsey

82
1,357 1,155
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Shirley Temple Bright Eyes, The Little Princess, Curly Top

83
1,345 1,648
Vanessa Redgrave is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Vanessa Redgrave Julia, Isadora, Howards End

84
1,154 1,182
Juliette Binoche is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Juliette Binoche The English Patient, Chocolat, Godzilla

85
1,214 1,171
Marisa Tomei is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marisa Tomei My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, Crazy

86
1,386 1,183
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Doris Day The Man Who Knew Too Much, Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane

87
1,555 1,473
Emma Stone is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Emma Stone The Amazing Spider-Man, Zombieland, Superbad

88
2,037 2,224
Jennifer Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook, Winter's Bone, American Hustle

89
1,254 1,323
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night, Since You Went Away, Private Worlds

90
1,314 1,393
Marlene Dietrich is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marlene Dietrich Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

91
1,145 1,352
Jessica Chastain is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty, The Help, A Most Violent Year

92
1,075 976
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Myrna Loy The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End

93
1,264 1,035
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Susan Hayward I Want to Live!, My Foolish Heart, With a Song in My Heart

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94
1,332 1,298
Drew Barrymore is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Drew Barrymore E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Scream, Donnie Darko

95
777 931
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Lily Tomlin 9 to 5, Nashville, Orange County

96
830 523
Emily Blunt is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
angelop24 added Emily Blunt Looper, The Muppets, The Devil Wears Prada

97
1,093 955
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Summer Wishes Winter Dreams, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

98
1,185 1,005
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ginger Rogers Kitty Foyle, Gold Diggers of 1933, Young Man of Manhattan

99
554 460
Madeline Kahn is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
2probb added Madeline Kahn Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, A Bug's Life

100
1,114 1,267
Sharon Stone is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Sharon Stone Casino, Total Recall, Basic Instinct