Actresses The Best English Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
16.1k votes 1.9k voters 43.7k views 74 items

List Rules Female actors from England, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.

When it comes to the best English actresses of all time, there will likely be a heated debate. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, and Audrey Hepburn immediately come to mind, but when you really start thinking, there are tons of fantastic actresses from England who have, throughout film history, made their marks as truly some of the greats. So who's the best? Your votes will help decide!

Who are the all-time top English actresses in history? Dames like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are certainly great English actresses, but so are some of the women on this list who have passed on. Fantastic actresses like Audrey Heburn and Vivien Leigh earned their rightful spots in film history by turning in classic film performances and making many great movies.

This list features the greatest English actresses of all time including Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, Emma Thompson, Julie Andrews, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Redgrave, Kate Winslet, Judi Dench, Keira Knightley, and Wendy Hiller. Don't see your favorite actress from England? Add her below so other film fans can vote. Then, be sure to vote and rerank the list according to who you think are the best English actresses to have ever graced the screen.
list ordered by

1
664 152
Maggie Smith is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Travels with My Aunt, Gosford Park

2
606 209
Judi Dench is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Notes on a Scandal, Philomena, Shakespeare in Love

3
522 199
Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

4
583 185
Helen Mirren is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Queen, The Last Station, Gosford Park

5
501 164
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, The Remains of the Day

6
493 173
Helena Bonham Carter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Wings of the Dove, Fight Club, The King's Speech

7
586 157
Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor Victoria

8
499 158
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

9
337 147
Vivien Leigh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

10
215 138
Olivia de Havilland is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Heiress, To Each His Own, The Snake Pit

11
224 115
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
ChrisBurns added Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

12
97 69
Julie Christie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Doctor Zhivago, Troy

13
136 142
Joan Fontaine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Suspicion, Rebecca, The Constant Nymph

14
221 122
Vanessa Redgrave is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Howards End, Isadora, The Bostonians

15
278 137
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate, The Picture of Dorian Gray

16
294 122
Emily Blunt is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Young Victoria, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, The Devil Wears Prada

17
259 135
Rachel Weisz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Constant Gardener, The Deep Blue Sea, Sunshine

18
147 52
Julie Walters is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

19
204 147
Tilda Swinton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Michael Clayton, The Deep End, We Need to Talk About Kevin

20
113 40
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Kasir Radojica added Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

21
89 64
Glenda Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Health, The Maids, Mary

22
309 178
Keira Knightley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, The Imitation Game, Atonement

23
361 182
Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

24
113 69
Imelda Staunton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
RobBrown added Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Alice in Wonderland

25
166 100
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Impossible, 21 Grams, Eastern Promises

26
205 133
Kate Beckinsale is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Pearl Harbor, Underworld, The Aviator

27
87 38
Deborah Kerr is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mYPicks added From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember, The King and I

28
63 53
Jacqueline Bisset is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Bullitt, Murder on the Orient Express, Airport

29
82 41
Brenda Blethyn is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, A River Runs Through It

30
134 93
Rosamund Pike is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added Gone Girl, Pride & Prejudice, The World's End

31
117 108
Kristin Scott Thomas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The English Patient, I've Loved You So Long, Nowhere Boy

32
56 47
Joanna Lumley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added The Wolf of Wall Street, Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach

33
98 98
Charlotte Rampling is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Swimming Pool, Sous le sable, Lemming

34
80 48
Catherine Zeta-Jones is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Chicago, Traffic, Ocean's Twelve

35
61 43
Minnie Driver is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Good Will Hunting, Tarzan, South Park: Bigger

36
43 44
Susannah York is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Superman, Superman II, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

37
106 127
Bonnie Wright is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mysmith50 added Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

38
69 83
Jenny Agutter is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mysmith50 added The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, An American Werewolf in London

39
55 80
Flora Robson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Clash of the Titans, Wuthering Heights, Black Narcissus

40
75 84
Elsa Lanchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Witness for the Prosecution, Come to the Stable, The Bride of Frankenstein

41
71 80
Claire Bloom is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Brideshead Revisited, Shadowlands, Limelight

42
101 93
Thandie Newton is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Crash, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 2012

43
84 78
Carey Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added An Education, Shame, Never Let Me Go

44
49 63
Sally Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added Blue Jasmine, Happy-Go-Lucky, An Education

45
61 86
Wendy Hiller is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Pygmalion, Separate Tables, A Man for All Seasons

46
50 45
Tracey Ullman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Corpse Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Bullets over Broadway

47
70 75
Merle Oberon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Wuthering Heights, The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Cowboy and the Lady

48
31 26
Sarah Lancashire is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
jobill added When Did You Last See Your Father?, Five Daughters, Cherished

49
36 40
Eileen Atkins is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Hours, Beautiful Creatures, Gosford Park

50
23 43
Sophie Okonedo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Hotel Rwanda, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, After Earth