actresses The Best Actresses in Film History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
818.1k votes 39.5k voters 558.4k views 805 items

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
1,847 1,826
Faye Dunaway is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Faye Dunaway Network, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown

52
1,857 1,673
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Goldie Hawn Cactus Flower, Private Benjamin, There's a Girl in My Soup

53
2,396 1,713
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Reese Witherspoon American Psycho, Legally Blonde, Election

54
3,474 2,976
Natalie Portman is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Natalie Portman Black Swan, Leon: The Professional, Closer

55
2,287 1,600
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Maureen O'Hara Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

56
1,951 1,647
Hilary Swank is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

57
1,283 1,215
Angela Bassett is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Angela Bassett Boyz n the Hood, Green Lantern, Malcolm X

58
1,713 2,026
Tilda Swinton is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton, The Deep End, We Need to Talk About Kevin

59
1,933 1,804
Uma Thurman is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Dangerous Liaisons

60
1,532 1,281
Debbie Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 60 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

61
2,934 2,447
Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marilyn Monroe Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch

62
1,909 1,507
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Angela Lansbury The Manchurian Candidate, Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray

63
2,149 1,869
Greta Garbo is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Greta Garbo Anna Christie, Ninotchka, Camille

64
1,247 823
Robin Wright is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Robin Wright Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride, Unbreakable

The Most Rewatchable Movies

65
1,391 1,424
Holly Hunter is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Holly Hunter The Incredibles, Raising Arizona, O Brother

66
1,134 834
Carrie Fisher is listed (or ranked) 66 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

67
1,887 1,584
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

68
2,422 2,084
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number, Stella Dallas

69
1,518 1,484
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kathleen Turner Peggy Sue Got Married, Prizzie's Honor, Body Heat

70
2,776 2,653
Jennifer Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook, Winter's Bone, American Hustle

71
1,865 1,872
Ava Gardner is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Ava Gardner The Night of the Iguana, Mogambo, Bhowani Junction

The Best Actresses Who Won Oscars and Globes for the Same Role

72
1,715 1,438
Anjelica Huston is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Anjelica Huston The Grifters, Prizzi's Honor, Enemies: A Love Story

73
1,663 1,243
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Jessica Tandy Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cocoon

74
1,658 1,596
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Naomi Watts King Kong, The Ring, Mulholland Drive

75
2,139 1,798
Emma Stone is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Emma Stone The Amazing Spider-Man, Zombieland, Superbad

76
1,651 1,688
Bette Midler is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Bette Midler Oliver & Company, Hocus Pocus, Fantasia 2000

77
1,944 1,547
Jamie Lee Curtis is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Coolza added Jamie Lee Curtis A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places, Halloween

78
1,851 1,838
Deborah Kerr is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Deborah Kerr From Here to Eternity, The King and I, Heaven Knows

People We Wish Were Still Alive

79
1,538 1,630
Jessica Chastain is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty, The Help, A Most Violent Year

80
1,760 1,454
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Helen Hunt As Good as It Gets, The Sessions, Pay It Forward

81
1,623 1,915
Vanessa Redgrave is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Vanessa Redgrave Julia, Isadora, Howards End

82
1,972 1,819
Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Emma Watson Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

83
1,602 1,450
Marisa Tomei is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marisa Tomei My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, Crazy

84
1,303 1,423
Laura Linney is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Laura Linney The Savages, You Can Count on Me, Kinsey

85
1,756 1,409
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Shirley Temple Bright Eyes, The Little Princess, Curly Top

The Most Entertaining Awful Shark Horror Movies

86
1,598 1,507
Marion Cotillard is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose, Two Days One Night, Rust and Bone

87
1,750 1,415
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Doris Day The Man Who Knew Too Much, Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane

88
1,375 1,068
Janet Leigh is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Janet Leigh Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Touch of Evil

89
1,171 1,435
Kirsten Dunst is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Kirsten Dunst Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

90
1,815 1,597
Drew Barrymore is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Drew Barrymore E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Scream, Donnie Darko

91
1,609 1,627
Marlene Dietrich is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Marlene Dietrich Morocco, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution

92
1,438 1,453
Juliette Binoche is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Juliette Binoche The English Patient, Chocolat, Godzilla

The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

93
1,922 2,006
Keira Knightley is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Keira Knightley The Imitation Game, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement

94
1,051 1,221
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Lily Tomlin 9 to 5, Nashville, Orange County

95
1,706 1,648
Winona Ryder is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Winona Ryder Little Women, The Age of Innocence, Mermaids

96
1,510 1,561
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night, Since You Went Away, Private Worlds

97
1,408 1,148
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
1,266 759
Emily Blunt is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
angelop24 added Emily Blunt Looper, The Muppets, The Devil Wears Prada

99
2,538 2,598
Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Jessica Biel Blade: Trinity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist

100
1,347 1,195
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Actresses in Film History
Myrna Loy The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End