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The Best Actresses In Film History

Updated May 4, 2021 1.1m votes 64.9k voters 780.9k views349 items

List RulesVote up the women in film, living or passed, who consistently turned out the best performances.

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 (for the co-ed list, check out 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. Women like Meryl Streep and Ingrid Bergman are some of the most famous actresses of all time.

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 their 1000 watt smiles is the talent that defines generations of actresses.

Who is the best actor of all time? There are so many choices for the greatest movie actress ever that you don't have to limit yourself to voting for just one! Vote up your favorite famous movie actresses below, and then check back to see how your top actresses ranked!

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  • 1
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    5,293

    Bette Davis

    Lowell, Massachusetts

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Dangerous (1936), and Jezebel (1939)

    Nominated for Best Actress Golden Globe for All About Eve (1951), Pocketful of Miracles (1962), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1963)

    Winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (1974)

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  • 2
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    4,438

    Maggie Smith

    Ilford, London

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1970) and Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Califorina Suite (1979)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for California Suite (1979) and Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for A Room with a View (1987)

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  • 3
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    4,274

    Ingrid Bergman

    Stockholm, Sweden

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Gaslight (1945) and Anastasia (1957) and Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Murder on the Orient Express (1975)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Gaslight (1945), The Bells of St. Mary's (1946), and Anastasia (1957)

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  • 4
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    4,530

    Judi Dench

    Heworth, United Kingdom

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love (1999)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Mrs Brown (1998)

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  • 5
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    4,723

    Helen Mirren

    Hammersmith, London

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Queen (2007)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Queen (2007)

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  • 6
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    Kathy Bates

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Misery (1991)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Misery ​​​​​​​(1991)

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  • 7
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    Julie Andrews

    Walton-on-Thames, United Kingdom

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Mary Poppins (1965)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Mary Poppins (1965), The Sound of Music (1966), and Victor Victoria (1983) and World Film Favorite Female Golden Globe (1967, 1968)

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  • 8
    8,553
    5,025

    Kate Winslet

    Reading, United Kingdom

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Reader (2009)

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for The Reader (2009) and Steve Jobs (2016) and Best Actress Golden Globe for Revolutionary Road (2009)

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  • 9
    7,301
    3,954

    Helena Bonham Carter

    Golders Green, London

    Nominated for Best Actress Oscar for The Wings of the Dove (1998) and Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The King's Speech (2011)

    Nominated for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Wings of the Dove (1998) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2008) and Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for The King's Speech (2011)

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  • 10
    7,029
    4,236

    Emma Thompson

    Paddington, London

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Howards End (1993)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Howards End ​​​​​​​(1993)

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  • 11
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    3,407

    Judy Garland

    Grand Rapids, Minnesota

    Nominated for Best Actress Oscar for A Star Is Born (1955) and Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Judgment at Nuremberg (1962)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for A Star Is Born (1955)

    Winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (1962)

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  • 12
    7,605
    4,719

    Vivien Leigh

    Darjeeling, India

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Gone with the Wind (1940) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1952)

    Nominated for Best Actress Golden Globe for A Streetcar Named Desire (1952)

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  • 13
    12,214
    7,587

    Audrey Hepburn

    Ixelles, Belgium

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Roman Holiday (1954)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Roman Holiday (1954) and Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite Female (1955)

    Winner of the Cecil B DeMille Award (1990)

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  • 14
    4,353
    2,679

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for To Each His Own (1947) and The Heiress (1950)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Heiress (1950)

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  • 15
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    3,601

    Michelle Pfeiffer

    Santa Ana, California

    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Dangerous Liaisons (1989) and Best Actress Oscar for The Fabulous Baker Boys (1990) and Love Field (1993)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Fabulous Baker Boys (1990)

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  • 16
    8,256
    5,102

    Jodie Foster

    Los Angeles, California

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Accused (1989) and The Silence of the Lambs (1992)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Accused (1989) and Silence of the Lambs (1992) and Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for The Mauritanian (2021)

    Winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (2013)

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  • 17
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    Meryl Streep

    Summit, New Jersey

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Best Actress Oscar for Sophie's Choice (1983) and The Iron Lady (2012)

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for Kramer vs. Kramer (1980) and Adaptation. (2003) and Best Actress Golden Globe for The French Lieutenant's Woman (1982), Sophie's Choice (1983), Angels in America (2004), The Devil Wears Prada (2007), Julie & Julia (2010), and The Iron Lady (2012)

    Winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (2017)

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  • 18
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    Maureen O'Hara

    Ranelagh, Republic of Ireland

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  • 19
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    Sally Field

    Pasadena, California

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Norma Rae (1980) and Places in the Heart (1985)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Norma Rae (1980) and Places in the Heart ​​​​​​​(1985)

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  • 20
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    Nicole Kidman

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Hours (2003)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for To Die For (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2002),  and The Hours (2003)

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  • 21
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    3,718

    Natalie Portman

    Jerusalem, Israel

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan (2011)

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for Closer (2005) and Best Actress Golden Globe for Black Swan (2011)

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  • 22
    7,323
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    Elizabeth Taylor

    Hampstead Garden Suburb, United Kingdom

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Butterfield 8 (1961) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1967)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Suddenly, Last Summer (1960) and World Film Favorite Female Golden Globe (1974)

    Winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (1985)

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  • 23
    5,203
    3,127

    Grace Kelly

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Country Girl (1955)

    Won for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for Mogambo (1954), Best Actress Golden Globe for The Country Girl (1955), and World Film Favorite Female Golden Globe (1956)

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  • 24
    7,553
    4,479

    Sandra Bullock

    Virginia, United States of America

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side (2010)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for The Blind Side (2010)

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  • 25
    4,832
    2,994

    Diane Keaton

    Los Angeles, California

    Won for Best Actress Oscar for Annie Hall (1978)

    Won for Best Actress Golden Globe for Annie Hall (1978) and Something's Gotta Give (2004)

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