Top 10 Best Actresses of All Time

We've all felt that magic moment when you're watching a movie, utterly captivated, and you forget you're even in a theater or on your couch. That's often the work of an incredible actress, breathing life into characters and making you feel things you didn't even know you could. When an actress is able to transcend the boundaries of the screen to tug at your heartstrings, bring a smile to your face, or even incite a sense of dread, you know she's something special.
The Top Ten
1 Meryl Streep Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress. Cited in the media as the "best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility in her roles, transformation into the characters she plays, and her accent adaptation.

"There's no such thing as the greatest living actress," said Meryl Streep.

For once, Meryl got it wrong. Not only is she a superb actress, but the woman was able to maintain a private life, raise four kids, and keep her 32-year marriage while sustaining a successful film career.

She never plays the same character twice. That time when she lost the Oscar to Sandra Bullock, I thought, "Well, Meryl could do Sandra's role and be better in it. But I bet my life Sandra can't and won't be able to play Julia Child the way Meryl did." She is beyond brilliant. Never one to be physically conscious, Meryl Streep just dives in and does whatever it takes to do justice to the role, regardless of whether she'll look glamorous or not.

2 Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson (born November 22, 1984) is an American actress, model, and singer. She made her film debut in North.

Johansson is considered one of Hollywood's modern sex symbols, and has frequently appeared in published lists of the sexiest women in the world. As of February 2017, she is... read more

Scarlett Johansson is a great actress. I understand that there are actresses better than her, but with Lost in Translation, Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, and her performances as Black Widow, she has proven to be one of the best of her generation.

The list might feature the greatest actresses, but you cannot blame people for voting for Scarlett Johansson. Not everybody likes soapy independent or classic films. There's something to be said about striking a balance between quality and commercial movies.

3 Emma Watson Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is a British actress, model, and activist. Born in Paris and brought up in Oxfordshire, Watson attended the Dragon School as a child and trained as an actress at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts... read more

Emma Watson is number one! Hermione Granger was spectacular. Belle in Beauty and the Beast was awesome. She is just a great person and an amazing actress.

Any girl who can go through all the Harry Potter movies perfectly at such a young age and then strive to be better is amazing. Not to mention, she went to one of the most prestigious colleges in America while handling acting and modeling. Not only that, but she is a great activist fighting for gender equality.

You'd think she'd be in her middle ages with all these great achievements, but no, she's only 25. She's only just starting. Imagine what we could accomplish with more people like her.

4 Jodie Foster Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster is an American actress, director and producer who has worked in films and on television. She has often been cited as one of the best actresses of her generation.

Believability! Realism! I never see her "acting". That's the true mark of a great actor. You enter into the story she is presenting with her voice, gestures, and emotions like a vacuum. She pulls you into her character's world, and you're helpless to escape until the credits roll.

Professionalism is her gift. She is also incredibly intelligent, with a genius-level IQ. Probably why she is so amazing.

I love Meryl Streep, but I would still give my vote to Jodie. Silence of the Lambs is still the only movie to win Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress. I've read Rob Lowe's autobiography, and he also talks about what a good person Jodie is.

I also think Julianne Moore is a great actress, but she just couldn't compare when trying to play Clarice in Hannibal. The difference was truly stunning, considering how fine an actress Moore is. Jodie is the best. All-time. Period.

5 Angelina Jolie Angelina Jolie is an American actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. She has also been cited as Hollywood's highest-paid actress... read more

I wonder why she is number 5? She is amazing. Her acting looks like it really happened. She can make us feel like we're really in the movie. When I watched Maleficent, I couldn't look away from the cinema screen.

She is also beautiful and nice. She also does social services in secret. She has won many awards. She should be at number 1 instead of Meryl Streep. For those who read, I suggest you pick Angelina Jolie.

Okay, she has been brilliant in every piece of work she has created. I love the way she worked in Salt. She approached it perfectly, showing she is trained and ready, but still shows a nervousness in her. Great job, Jolie.

I also enjoyed her in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She showed she can play a sexy wife and still lead a secret double life behind her husband. Why is she number four? She should be number two, behind Streep.

6 Natalie Portman Natalie Portman is an actress, film producer and film director with dual American and Israeli citizenship. Portman is best known for her roles as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Nina Sayers in Black Swan. She won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award,... read more

I fell in love with this actress in 2008 when I went to see the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl." Natalie Portman portrayed a capricious and stubborn character, Anne Boleyn, and blew me away with her outstanding performance. Since then, she has become my favorite actress, and I have enjoyed every movie I've seen her in (yes, even "No Strings Attached," because she is really cute in it).

I was so happy for her when she received her Oscar award. She truly deserved it. She is both talented and beautiful. She's got it all.

7 Cate Blanchett Catherine Élise "Cate" Blanchett is an Australian actress and theatre director. She has received international acclaim and many accolades for her work, including two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTA Awards, six AACTA Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Cate Blanchett's range surpasses that of any other actor of her generation. She possesses a chameleon-like ability to transform herself into any role. All her performances maintain a standard that is rarely seen. Her depth and emotional connection with audiences are evident in all her films.

Her convincing and award-winning portrayals of real-life characters, such as movie star Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator," Queen Elizabeth I in "Elizabeth," and Jude Quinn (Bob Dylan) in "I'm Not There," are performed with unsurpassed honesty, empathy, and integrity.

8 Kate Winslet Kate Elizabeth Winslet, is an English actress and singer. She is the recipient of an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, four Golden Globe Awards, a Grammy Award, and three BAFTA Awards.

I think Kate Winslet should be the number one actress. She is very talented. My first favorite movie with Kate Winslet is Titanic, the second is Revolutionary Road, and the third is The Reader. I love her so much!

And I think she and Leonardo DiCaprio should marry! If you ever watched Titanic, she and Leo played a romantic role. Kate played Rose and Leo played Jack in Titanic. They also acted together in Revolutionary Road. The Titanic movie is heartbreaking. Revolutionary Road isn't, but both Kate and Leo played outstanding roles in both movies!

9 Sandra Bullock Sandra Annette Bullock is an American actress and producer. She is one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses, and is an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winner.

Amazing! My favorite with her is The Blind Side! She was absolutely fantastic. It was a fantastic and inspirational movie. I cried, laughed, and awed more than I can even begin to explain. She nails every single one of her roles, whether it's comedy, drama, romantic, or action. She is a fantastic actress!

Sandra is not only beautiful, but she portrays the emotions of her characters with such originality and realism. She also knows how to have fun - something that is commonly lost these days.

She is a wonderful mother, and I cry just thinking about her in The Blind Side. There couldn't be a more beautiful, kind, loving, and talented actress out there.

10 Nicole Kidman Nicole Mary Kidman is an Australian-American actress and film producer. Kidman's breakthrough roles were in the 1989 feature film thriller Dead Calm and television thriller miniseries Bangkok Hilton.

The most amazing actress of our time and already a Hollywood icon in fashion and acting, classy, gorgeous, poised, incredibly talented and versatile in the different roles she always takes. She'll always be the Nicole Kidman that we'll always know, who even gives an amount of money to various charities. The fact is, she can steal the show even with just a glimpse of her. Her accent and beauty steal the show, to the point that you forget about everything else.

Here's the kicker: she can actually sing and dance, hence Moulin Rouge (2001). She can do drama (The Hours, Cold Mountain), horror (The Others), and she's incredibly funny (Bewitched, To Die For, Flirting), all while winning awards along the way. With that kind of natural talent, poise, and beauty, she'll probably even win three Oscars.

The Newcomers

? Bodil Udsen
? Kelli Berglund Kelli Berglund is an American actress, dancer, and singer. She portrays Bree Davenport, a bionic teenager with lightning speed, in the Disney XD series Lab Rats, and its spinoff Lab Rats: Elite Force.
The Contenders
11 Helena Bonham Carter Helena Bonham Carter is an English actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Kate Croy in The Wings of the Dove, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth in The King's Speech.

Helena Bonham Carter is a master of psychotic, difficult characters! She started with small-town, rich little girls in classical English history movies and quickly developed an impressive range of roles. She can play anything and is always a scene-stealer. Even in The King's Speech, she was able to challenge Colin Firth's perfect leading performance.

Sadly, she is mostly known for her Burton movies. However, she can play much more, as we have seen in Live from Baghdad, The Wings of the Dove, Frankenstein, Enid, Burton & Taylor, Suffragette, and so on. Even in blockbusters like Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, or Dark Shadows, she plays with such edginess that it is outstanding.

She is one of the best actresses of all time, and I am excited to see what the future holds for her.

12 Emma Stone Emily Jean "Emma" Stone (born November 6, 1988) is an American actress. She is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Golden Globe Award. In 2017, she was the world's highest-paid actress and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential... read more

She ticks all the boxes. She can portray many different characters, and she can sing surprisingly well. She seems humble and doesn't let fame get to her head. She's so beautiful she looks like an angel. Her eyes are amazing in how they shine like emeralds.

I've had a thing for her since Zombieland. Her character Wichita was such a badass, and she's won me over since. She has seldom put a foot wrong in her career. She's talented, funny, beautiful, and seems just as likable off-set as she is on it.

Come on, this actress needs to be ranked higher. If you watch a movie of hers, like, for instance, "Easy A," it's difficult not to like her. Even in more serious roles, like one of her latest movies, "Irrational Man", she's irresistible.

It also proves that this adorable actress is very talented in portraying diverse characters. She is one of the best actresses of the new generation.

13 Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Shrader Lawrence is an American actress. Lawrence began her career in television, playing her first major role as a main cast member on the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show... read more

I think Jennifer Lawrence should have a higher standing on this list. She's so young and talented. She's at the top of every director's list because of her ability to understand the character and the situation.

Every role she plays, she does better and differently. Each character has its features, and she plays them exceptionally well. Amazingly, she really delves into the character. You can see that she thoroughly understands the behavior and personality traits of each character she embodies. She's exciting, funny, and sweeps you off your feet.

14 Sigourney Weaver Susan Alexandra "Sigourney" Weaver is an American actress and film producer. Following her film debut as a minor character in Annie Hall, she quickly came to prominence in 1979 with her first lead role as Ellen Ripley in Alien.

She's an awesome actress! Her performances in Death and the Maiden, Gorillas in the Mist, and Prayers for Bobby are unique, and in Alien, Ellen Ripley became her alter ego. The two better ideas of the last two Alien films, the death of Ripley (Alien 3) and making love with an alien (Resurrection), come from her.

I had to choose her not only because she is a wonderful actress, playing heroes, damsels, and even villains. She also has such a powerful, commanding voice that allowed her to appear in films like Wall-E, Cabin in the Woods, Paul, and many others.

She may be a sci-fi legend, but she has also starred in many well-known comedy and drama movies.

15 Maggie Smith Dame Margaret Natalie "Maggie" Smith is an English actress. She has had an extensive, varied career on stage, film, and television, spanning over 66 years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films, and is one of Britain's most recognizable actresses.

Dame Maggie is my absolute favorite actress of all time. Her ability to play any character there is makes me truly in awe of her talent. Her performances as Jean Brodie, Judith Hearne, Diana Barrie, and Minerva McGonagall make my heart melt.

She truly is the best actress of all time. Highly underrated? Of course. Highly under-appreciated? Yes. But she really is the best.

She is just incredible. I could watch her drink a glass of water. Maybe she'll be the next Batman. We can only hope. Why isn't Maggie in everything? There should be a remake of Harry Potter starring her as every single character. That would be incredible. Maggie Smith for president.

16 Marilyn Monroe Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson Baker; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, singer and model. Decades after her unexpected death, she has remained one of Hollywood's greatest sex symbols with her eye-catching style, champagne blond hair, and breathless manner of speaking... read more

So glad to see the comments from knowledgeable observers! Watch Marilyn in Bus Stop and try to imagine any other female actor in her role. She was panned because she was a sex symbol during the most sexist period in American film history.

I can watch her films over and over - a true charismatic with a rare gift for acting like Brando.

Geez, what can I say? Marilyn was, and still is, beautiful, funny, talented, strong, and just amazing. She was outstanding throughout her acting career, and her singing was unique and beautiful.

Marilyn is iconic throughout the world because of her beauty, intelligence, and passion. Rest in peace, darling.

17 Carrie Fisher Carrie Frances Fisher (1956-2016) was an American actress, screenwriter, author, producer, and humorist. She was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series.

She was never able (because of the media) to get rid of her "Princess Leia" image, which did slow down her career as an actress (plus personal problems). Nevertheless, she did a lot of "unknown" movies (sometimes as the lead actress or in supporting roles, but also a lot of cameo roles) and always performed with all her heart and soul.

She will mainly be remembered as the "Star Wars" princess, but also as an icon and legend of the seventh art.

You will always be Leia, and you will live in everyone's heart. May the Force be with you.

18 Anne Hathaway Anne Jacqueline Hathaway is an American actress and singer. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and brought up in Millburn, New Jersey. Hathaway was inspired to act by her mother... read more

She is a natural talent. She has that uniquely versatile face which is suitable for performing in all movie genres and the roles of many famous antique or modern characters. Her innate acting ability, combined with her skillful facial expressions and gestures that easily pull you into the aura of movies, makes her one of the best of all time in the business.

She is also a beautiful, cute, classy, and sexy lady. Oh, and don't forget! She is also a wizard in singing, rapping, and impersonating, which also makes her a great diverse entertainer.

19 Katharine Hepburn Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress. Known for her fierce independence and spirited personality, Hepburn was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years.

Katharine Hepburn is the true number one among the best actresses. She took risks that even Meryl Streep could never have dared to take. Her on-screen charisma is undoubtedly superior to Meryl Streep's. In fact, comparing Katharine Hepburn's talent to the overrated Meryl Streep is not even possible.

She portrayed such complex characters that no other actress, even in our present time, would be capable of. All of her movies are enjoyable to watch and exceptionally well-acted, which cannot be said about Meryl Streep. Katharine Hepburn's ranking on this list is so low that it's almost insulting and ridiculously absurd.

20 Audrey Hepburn Audrey Hepburn, born Audrey Kathleen Ruston (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognized as a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood's Golden Age. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the 3rd greatest female screen legend in American... read more

Audrey should be at least in the top 3. Not only did she imbue her characters' personalities with sincerity and conviction on the screen, but she also took on a variety of roles. A charming lady of beautiful grace, poise, and class, she is an acting legend.

The reason she probably isn't ranked higher is that few people watch her movies these days and are instead exposed to the work of Jolie, Bullock, Kidman, etc.

I only just discovered Audrey Hepburn's movies, and I can't believe I've never seen her before. I was totally captivated by her immediately with her incredible presence, her natural beauty, her innocence, and her personality that just wins your heart.

I think anyone who didn't vote for her as the number one actress hasn't seen her. No one on the top 10 list here is in her league.

21 Jennifer Aniston Jennifer Joanna Aniston is an American actress, producer, and businesswoman. She is the daughter of Greek actor John Aniston and American actress Nancy Dow... read more

This woman is gifted at reaching an audience and owning a stage/set instantly. FRIENDS was successful because of her. They all owe her a world of thanks. She does not gravitate to drama roles, but that should not exclude her from the greatest of all time.

Timing, delivery, grace, stamina, patience, and the ability to effortlessly allow her fellow actors to shine are her gifts. Few actors possess all of them.

Jennifer Aniston is amazing. She's a great woman, and I can say she can play anything. Some people believe F.R.I.E.N.D.S. made her popular, but it's her talent that brought her to the red carpet.

She played Rachel Green, a girl who went through many social difficulties. Obviously, she portrayed all the situations in an amazing way! She deserves to be "on the top of the hill."

22 Michelle Pfeiffer Michelle Marie Pfeiffer is an American actress and producer. One of the most popular actresses of the 1980s and 1990s, she has received international acclaim and many accolades for her work in both comedic and dramatic films.

She is absolutely the best, the top, and by far, number one. I love her chemistry with her leading men. She makes them shine, which is also a tribute to her generosity and her consummate acting ability.

She was so vulnerable yet funny with Al Pacino in "Frankie and Johnny" and was surely a standout with him in the cult classic "Scarface." She inhabits any role to its fullest, and there's never a question that she's the only choice for that role. She is heaven on earth.

She has a great talent and she can use it. I just love movies with her. She always dominates the whole film.

She can play in all types of movies. It doesn't matter if it's a comedy like Married to the Mob or (most people say it's bad, but I didn't agree with them) The Family, a thriller/horror like Wolf or What Lies Beneath, or a melodrama like Dangerous Liaisons.

She can play bad characters as well as good characters - a wonderful role in White Oleander and amazing in Batman Returns. She is very, very beautiful. I think she is the most beautiful actress in Hollywood, and she has a good voice too. I love her songs from Hairspray, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and The Prince of Egypt.

I've watched many interviews with her, and I must say that she is so cute and intelligent. One word - perfect!

23 Amy Adams Amy Lou Adams is an American actress and singer. She is the recipient of two Golden Globe Awards, and has received five nominations each from the Academy Award and BAFTA Award ceremonies.

The most underrated actress in the movie business is an actress with very wide acting capacities. She is highly versatile in the roles she's playing. This woman deserves to win Academy Awards, but for some reasons we don't understand, Hollywood executives prefer to waste their time on overrated actresses. I'm sure that winning an Oscar would move her up in this list in a second.

I would vote for her. I mean, she is the best of the best, especially her role in Psycho Beach Party. I love that movie. The funny scenes and stuff... It looks underrated, but if you just look at it and understand it like watching a movie just for fun, it would be the best. I like it.

24 Zendaya Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman is an American actress, singer and producer. She began her career as a child model and backup dancer, before gaining prominence for her role as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up. Her film roles include supporting parts in the musical drama The Greatest... read more

She needs to go to the top now. She achieved her acting success from child star to who she is now. She promotes positivity, and she's a great model with beauty.

She has achieved her success over just 10 years. To the present, she's becoming the queen of acting. She was also the youngest actress to win an Emmy award. Like I said, it only took several years to become the world's best and most hardworking actress. She's even beaten Jennifer Aniston and all the others.

Her latest movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, has the most viewed trailer in 24 hours (355.5 million) and is bound to beat Avengers: Endgame as the highest-grossing movie of all time. She deserves to be #1 NOW!

25 Anna Kendrick Anna Kendrick is an American actress and singer. She began her career as a child actor in theater productions.

That voice! Her smile, wit, and charm are just intoxicating. A born entertainer. I hope her career has just begun because I want to see her in many more works of art for years to come.

She is humble and shares the spotlight in a way that will ensure her inclusion in Hollywood culture for as long as she likes.

Anna is amazing in Pitch Perfect. She is a great actress with a wonderful singing voice. She has been nominated for awards and is really, really funny. Additionally, she is very kind and performs great in any role!

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