Actresses The Best English Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
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17.9k votes 2.1k voters 47.8k 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
731 174
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
568 218
Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

3
652 231
Judi Dench is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Notes on a Scandal, Philomena, Shakespeare in Love

4
626 209
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
540 183
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
538 197
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
630 174
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
376 160
Vivien Leigh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

9
537 172
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

10
236 150
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
246 126
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
107 80
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
144 154
Joan Fontaine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Suspicion, Rebecca, The Constant Nymph

14
308 149
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate, The Picture of Dorian Gray

15
241 132
Vanessa Redgrave is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Howards End, Isadora, The Bostonians

16
323 135
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
281 149
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
166 63
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
218 160
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
138 55
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
104 72
Glenda Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Health, The Maids, Mary

22
332 192
Keira Knightley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, The Imitation Game, Atonement

23
384 199
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
127 82
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
182 110
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
The Impossible, 21 Grams, Eastern Promises