There’s no doubt that Britain has its fair share of good actresses and so it was a difficult task to select the top 10 best British actresses of all time. When compiling our list, we considered a number of factors including acting ability, versatility, the number of films they’ve featured in, as well as awards and nominations.
Here are the ones that really stand out from the crowd.
10. Lena Headey
Lena Headey, now 45, was born in Hamilton, Bermuda and has starred in several movies (300, 300: Rise of the Empire and The Purge to name a few). But she’s best known for her role as Cersei Lannister in the massive hit TV series, Games of Thrones.
Headey makes our list of best British actresses as she’s always delivered a confident performance in front of the camera, giving her the edge over many other British actresses.
Since Headey has been acting, she’s starred in over 35 movies and has been nominated 41 times for numerous awards including a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her role in Games of Thrones. She also went on to win two Gold Derby awards. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
9. Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton, now 46, is a London born actress that’s been in several box office movies across many different genres including comedy, drama and sci-fi. She’s starred in Mission Impossible 2, 2012 and Norbit but she’s best known for her role in the hit film Crash which really showed us what she’s capable of.
Newton is currently starring in gripping TV Series, Westworld. It’s Newton’s exceptional acting skills that have earned her a place on our list of the best British actresses.
Since Newton started acting, she’s starred in 26 movies and has won 14 awards out of 33 nominations. This includes one BAFTA for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in (2004, Crash), an Empire Award and one Screen Actors Guild Award.
8. Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley, the youngest actress on our best British actresses list was born in London, England. At only 33, Knightley has already starred in several massive box office hit films including Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (when she was 12) and other successful movies such as Domino, Pride & Prejudice and there’s her most recent role in the The Imitation Game.
Knightley is best known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Not only is she an outstanding performer but she’s also one of the most attractive actresses going. At only 33, I’m sure we’re yet to see her best performance.
Since Knightley has been acting, she’s starred in 42 movies which she has received 28 awards and 97 nominations for including two Hollywood Film Awards and two Empire Awards (Hero Award in 2011 and Best Actress in the 2007 film Atonement). Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
7. Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike, now 39, is an actress born in London. She’s been in a large number of box office hit films including Wrath, Jack Reacher and Return but she’s best known for her role in 2014 dramatic thriller Gone Girl where she gives us an unforgettable performance.
Pike always manages to deliver when it comes to thriller type movies but she’s also proven her worth in other film genres such as sci-if, fantasy, and comedy. She’s more than capable in front of the camera and well deserving of her place on our list of the best actresses from Britain.
Since Pike has been in acting she has starred in 30 movies and has received several awards including one Saturn Award for best actress in the (2013) film Gone Girl, two Empire Awards and two London Film Critics Circle Awards. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
6. Judi Dench
Judith Olivia Dench born in Heworth, Yorkshire, now 84 has been acting for over 60 years. She’s played numeros roles in films such as such as 007 Skyfall, 007 Casino Royale and her more recent film Murder on the Orient Express. She’s best known for her dramatic performance in Shakespeare in Love.
Since Judi Dench has been in acting she’s starred in 52 movies for which she has received a total of 56 awards (with 204 nominations!). Her major awards include one Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in the (1998) film Shakespeare in Love, 6 BAFTAs and two Golden Globe Awards. Her full list of her awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
5. Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt, now 35 was born in London, United Kingdom. She’s already had a successful career starring in a number of large Hollywood box office movies such as alongside Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada, Edge of Tomorrow and her recent film, Mary Poppins Returns. It goes without saying that one of her best ever performances was her portrayal of drunk and desperate Rachel in The Girl On The Train. No matter what role she’s assigned to, Blunt will always deliver a powerful performance making her one of the best British actresses.
Since being in acting, Blunt has starred in 38 movies which she received 17 awards and 81 nominations for. Her major ones are a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gideon’s Daughter along with one BAFTA and a Critic’s Choice Movie Award. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
4. Naomi Watts
Next on our list of the best British actresses is the lovely and gorgeous Naomi Watts (50 and still looking great). Born in Kent, she’s extremely versatile when it comes to acting and her movies range from horror, fantasy, thrillers and drama.
Best known for her role in the chilling movie, The Ring, Watts has no problem taking lead parts in movies, proven by her roles in King Kong, The Impossible and The International. She’s also recently starred in Netflix series, Gypsy.
Not only is Watts an amazing actress, she’s also one of the sexiest and is featured on our over 40s sexiest actresses list.
Since Watts has been acting, she’s starred in 55 movies and has received 46 awards out of 102 nominations. This includes a Critics Choice Movie Award for best acting ensemble for her role in 2013 film Birdman and two Saturn Awards. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
3. Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren is now 73. When we think of good British actresses, a few names spring to mind and we’re sure that Mirren will be one of them. She’s been acting for over 50 years and has a staggering amount of good films under her belt.
Mirren has starred in a number of films such as The Winchester, Red and Eye in the Sky but she’s best known for her role in The Queen which most would agree she played exceptionally well.
Mirren always gives us an outstanding performance on camera and is, without question, one of the best actresses from Britain.
Since Helen Mirren started acting, she’s starred in 67 movies for which she has received over 100 nominations and 123 awards for including one Academy Award for best actress for her role in The Queen, one Golden Globe and one BAFTA. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.
2. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet is 43 and is an English born actress who was raised in Berkshire. Kate Winslet has no doubt earned her name in Hollywood what with her movie roles in The Reader, Revolutionary Road and romantic comedy Holiday. Undoubtedly, she’s best known for her role in the massive hit movie, Titanic – which also happens to be one of the most successful movies of all time. Titanic is an Oscar winning movie and holds the record for the most wins. It’s also one of the highest grossing movies ever made.
Since Kate Winslet started acting, she has starred in 43 movies for which she has received 155 nominations and 87 awards for. Her major ones include one Academy award for best actress for her role in the 2008 film, The Reader, three BAFTAs and several Golden Globe awards. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia
1. Helena Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is 52 and is a British actress born in Hampstead, London. Carter is an actress that loves the challenge of roles that most don’t want to take on (possibly out of fear of them not being able to do the role justice).
Carter can be found playing more challenging and eccentric characters. For example, in her roles alongside Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd and in Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. She’s best known for her roles in Harry Potter and the Fight Club.
There is one thing for certain….whenever Carter is in front of the camera, she overshadows most of the other actresses or actors beside her. She is exceptional in her performances and has the ability to portray any character going. This makes Carter one of the best British actresses to ever walk the earth.
Since Carter started acting, she’s starred in 51 movies for which she has won 35 awards out of 73 nominations. Her major awards include one BAFTA for best actress in a supporting role for the 2009 movie, The King’s Speech. Also, one Critic’s Choice Movie Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and many, many others. Her full list of awards and nominations can be found on Wikipedia.