Actresses The Best English Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
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15.6k votes 1.9k voters 42.1k 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.

1
644 144
Maggie Smith is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Maggie Smith The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Travels with My Aunt, Gosford Park

2
590 205
Judi Dench is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Judi Dench Notes on a Scandal, Philomena, Shakespeare in Love

3
509 191
Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday

4
564 181
Helen Mirren is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Helen Mirren The Queen, The Last Station, Gosford Park

5
487 160
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, The Remains of the Day

6
474 166
Helena Bonham Carter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Helena Bonham Carter The Wings of the Dove, Fight Club, The King's Speech

7
573 156
Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Julie Andrews Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor Victoria

8
484 157
Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Kate Winslet The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic

9
330 145
Vivien Leigh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ship of Fools

10
212 136
Olivia de Havilland is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Olivia de Havilland The Heiress, To Each His Own, The Snake Pit

11
218 112
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
ChrisBurns added Maureen O'Hara Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

12
95 67
Julie Christie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Julie Christie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Doctor Zhivago, Troy

13
134 138
Joan Fontaine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Joan Fontaine Suspicion, Rebecca, The Constant Nymph

14
272 133
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Angela Lansbury Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate, The Picture of Dorian Gray

15
284 119
Emily Blunt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Emily Blunt The Young Victoria, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, The Devil Wears Prada

16
211 122
Vanessa Redgrave is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Vanessa Redgrave Howards End, Isadora, The Bostonians

17
252 132
Rachel Weisz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Rachel Weisz The Constant Gardener, The Deep Blue Sea, Sunshine

18
142 50
Julie Walters is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Julie Walters Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

19
196 143
Tilda Swinton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton, The Deep End, We Need to Talk About Kevin

20
106 39
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Kasir Radojica added Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

21
302 173
Keira Knightley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice, The Imitation Game, Atonement

22
353 178
Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Emma Watson Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

23
85 63
Glenda Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Glenda Jackson Health, The Maids, Mary

24
107 68
Imelda Staunton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
RobBrown added Imelda Staunton Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Alice in Wonderland

25
199 128
Kate Beckinsale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Kate Beckinsale Pearl Harbor, Underworld, The Aviator

26
162 98
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Naomi Watts The Impossible, 21 Grams, Eastern Promises

27
84 37
Deborah Kerr is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mYPicks added Deborah Kerr From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember, The King and I

28
62 52
Jacqueline Bisset is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Jacqueline Bisset Bullitt, Murder on the Orient Express, Airport

29
80 40
Brenda Blethyn is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Brenda Blethyn Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, A River Runs Through It

30
131 89
Rosamund Pike is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added Rosamund Pike Gone Girl, Pride & Prejudice, The World's End

31
113 105
Kristin Scott Thomas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Kristin Scott Thomas The English Patient, I've Loved You So Long, Nowhere Boy

32
56 45
Joanna Lumley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Joanna Lumley The Wolf of Wall Street, Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach

33
97 97
Charlotte Rampling is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Charlotte Rampling Swimming Pool, Sous le sable, Lemming

34
42 43
Susannah York is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Susannah York Superman, Superman II, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

35
57 40
Minnie Driver is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Minnie Driver Good Will Hunting, Tarzan, South Park: Bigger

36
74 45
Catherine Zeta-Jones is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
IanHarvey added Catherine Zeta-Jones Chicago, Traffic, Ocean's Twelve

37
103 124
Bonnie Wright is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mysmith50 added Bonnie Wright Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

38
69 81
Jenny Agutter is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
mysmith50 added Jenny Agutter The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, An American Werewolf in London

39
55 78
Flora Robson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Flora Robson Clash of the Titans, Wuthering Heights, Black Narcissus

40
71 78
Claire Bloom is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Claire Bloom Brideshead Revisited, Shadowlands, Limelight

41
74 83
Elsa Lanchester is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Elsa Lanchester Witness for the Prosecution, Come to the Stable, The Bride of Frankenstein

42
98 91
Thandie Newton is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Thandie Newton Crash, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 2012

43
82 75
Carey Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added Carey Mulligan An Education, Shame, Never Let Me Go

44
48 61
Sally Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
louiskasatkin added Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine, Happy-Go-Lucky, An Education

45
48 43
Tracey Ullman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Tracey Ullman Corpse Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Bullets over Broadway

46
59 84
Wendy Hiller is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Wendy Hiller Pygmalion, Separate Tables, A Man for All Seasons

47
69 74
Merle Oberon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Merle Oberon Wuthering Heights, The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Cowboy and the Lady

48
29 25
Sarah Lancashire is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
jobill added Sarah Lancashire When Did You Last See Your Father?, Five Daughters, Cherished

49
33 39
Eileen Atkins is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Eileen Atkins The Hours, Beautiful Creatures, Gosford Park

50
41 55
Peggy Ashcroft is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Actresses of All Time
Peggy Ashcroft The 39 Steps, A Passage to India, Sunday Bloody Sunday