The 40 Most Beautiful Cinema Actresses of the Past 40 Years
The following list represents some of the most beautiful and alluring actresses of the past 40 years. All of these actresses essentially enjoyed a solid portion of their careers in the 60’s through to the present (all were born after 1933 and all but one are still living), thusly, many wonderful and beautiful actresses from previous periods were not included . Models who dabble in film, and those with few film credits (including actresses mainly known for TV work) or whose work is only in obscure foreign films were not included, although several younger actresses with newer careers are on the list. An attempt was made to create a list that represented world cinema as opposed to simply choosing American born actresses.
TOP 40 Beautiful Cinema Actresses of the Past 40 Years
1. Brigette Bardot. Born 1934 in Paris, France. Credits include And God Created Woman (1956); A Very Private Affair (1962); Contempt (1963); Viva Maria (1965); Masculine-Feminine (1966). She became a top model at fifteen (appearing in Elle), and an actress soon after that. Married Roger Vadim at 18. She appeared in Vadim’s And God Created Woman(1956). The marriage (her first of four) ended the next year. She worked with Jean-Luc Godard in Contempt and Masculine and Feminineand Louis Malle in A Very Private Affair. Bardot became something of a phenomena in France, and in the U.S. Dubbed the “sex kitten,” she was for years hounded by the paparazzi. Never comfortable with the intense media scrutiny, this may have contributed to her retiring from acting in 1973 at age 39.
2. Claudia Cardinale. Born Claude Josephine Rose Cardinale in Tunis, Tunisia in 1938. Discovered at a beauty pageant at age 17. Had a child that same year. Grew up speaking French. Her first Italian film at age 18 had to be dubbed by an Italian-speaking actress. Has been with the same man since 1975. Has had over 100 film and television roles. Best known for Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958); Rocco and His Brothers (1960); Girl With a Suitcase (1961); 8 1/2 (1963); The Pink Panther (1963); The Leapord (1963); The Professionals (1966); Once upon a Time in the West (1968).
3. Sophia Loren. Born Sofia Villani Scicolone (illegitimately) in Rome, Italy in 1934 (her father refused to acknowledge her). Grew up in poverty in Pozzuoli outside of Naples. Was a contestant in the Miss Italia contest of 1950. Became an actress that same year. Met her future mate, film producer Carlo Ponti, at age 16 (he was 22 years her senior and married at the time). Their union would cause major controversy in Italy. They were together until his death in 2007 and have two children. Credits include Gold of Naples (1954); Houseboat (1958) with Cary Grant; Two Women (1960), for which she won the Academy Award; El Cid (1961); Yesterday Today and Tomorrow (1963); and Marriage Italian Style (1964), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Sophia Loren continues to act.
4. Raquel Welch. Born Jo Raquel Tejada in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, but moved to San Diego, California at age 2. Of Irish American and Bolivian descent. Married 4 times. Mother of actress Tahnee Welch (Cocoon). Credits include Bedazzled (1967); Last of Sheila (1973); Mother, Jugs, and Speed (1976); Tortilla Soup (1991). Singer and dancer with Broadway credits. Still acting.
5. Monica Belluci. Born 1964 in Umbria, Italy. Married to French actor Vincent Cassel. Credits include L’Apartment (1996); Malena (2000); Irreversible (2002); Passion of the Christ (2004).
6. Jane Fonda. Born Lady Jane Seymour Fonda in 1937 in NY, NY. Daughter of actor Henry Fonda. Brother of actor Peter Fonda. Married 3 times. Credits include Tall Story (1960); Barefoot in the Park (1967); Barbarella (1968); They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969); Klute (1971); Julia (1977); Coming Home (1978); The China Syndrome (1979); The Electric Horseman (1979); On Golden Pond (1981). Nominated 7 times for Academy Award. Won twice, for Coming Home and Klute.
7. Angelina Jolie. Born Angelina Jolie Voight in 1975 in Los Angeles, California. Daughter of actor Jon Voight. Married 3 times (to actors Jonny Lee Miller; Billy Bob Thornton and currently to Brad Pitt). Credits include Gia (1998); Girl Interrupted (1999), for which she won the best supporting Oscar Award; Pushing Tin (1999); The Good Shepard (2006); A Mighty Heart (2007).
8. Ann Margaret. Born Anne-Margret Olsen in 1941 in Sweden. Married to the same man since 1967. Family moved to the U.S. when she was six. She is an accomplished singer and dancer. Was a cabaret singer when she discovered by George Burns; had a single in the Top Twenty on the charts around the same time. Credits include State Fair (1962); Bye Bye Birdie (1963);Viva Las Vegas (1963); The Cincinnati Kid (1965); Carnal Knowledge (1972); Tommy (1975); Twice in a Lifetime (1985); Any Given Sunday (1999). Twice nominated for an Academy Award - for Tommy and Carnal Knowledge. Still acting.
9. Scarlett Johansson. Born 1984 in NY, NY. Appeared in movie North at age 10. Married to actor Ryan Reynolds. Credits include The Horse Whisperer (1998); Ghost World (2001); Lost in Translation (2003); Girl in the Pearl Earring (2003); Match Point (2005); The Black Dahlia (2006). To date has appeared in three Woody Allen films (Match Point; Scoop (2006); and Vicki Cristina Barcelona (2008)
10. Salma Hayek. Born Salma Valgarma Hayek-Jimenez in 1966 in Veracruz, Mexico. Father is of Lebanese descent. Credits include My Vida Loca (1993) Desperado (1995); Fools Rush In (1997); Timecode (2000); Traffic (2000); Frida (2002). Has appeared in several other Robert Rodriguez films since Desperado. Creator and executive producer of television hit Ugly Betty.
11. Marion Cotillard Born 1975 in Paris, France. Her Credits include Love Me if You Dare (2003); Big Fish (2003); A Very Long Engagement (2004); A Good Year (2006); La Vie en Rose (2007). Won the Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.
12. Anna Karina. Born Hanne Karen Blarke Bayer in 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Arrived in Paris at age 18 and immediately became a top model. Married Jean Luc Godard at age 19 (it lasted until 1967). Best known for her roles in Godard’s films, including A Woman is a Woman (1961); My Life to Live(1962); Le Petit Soldad (1963); Band of Outsiders (1964); Alphaville (1965); Piere Le Fou (1965); Made in the USA (1966). Also a singer. Married 4 times. Has written 3 novels. Wrote and directed the 1973 film Living Together.
13. Britt Ekland Born Britt-Marie Ekland in 1942 in Stockholm, Sweden. Married twice. Peter Sellers had a heart attack on their wedding night. Played by Charlize Theron in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004). Credits include Get Carter (1971); The Wicker Man (1973); Man With a Golden Gun (1974). Dated singer Rod Stewart; involved in very public break-up. Has only acted in one television role since 1992.
14. Julie Christie. Born 1941 in Chabra Assam, India. Her father was a tea grower. Was sent to England, and then France, for her education. Began acting professionally in the theater at age 16. Had a very publicized long-term relationship with Warren Beatty. Turned down a number of high profile lead roles in films that went on to be successful and win awards. Credits include Billy Liar (1963); Darling (1965); Dr. Zhivago (1965); Fahrenheit 451 (1966); Petulia (1968); The Go-Between (1970); McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971); Don’t Look Now (1973); Shampoo (1975); Heaven Can Wait (1978); Power (1986); Afterglow (1997); Finding Neverland (2004); Secret Life of Words (2005); Away from Her (2006). Still acting.
15. Sienna Miller. Born 1981 in NY, NY, but raised in London England. Credits include Layer Cake (2004); Alfie (2004); Casanova (2005); Factory Girl (2006); Interview (2007).
16. Kate Winslet Born 1975 in Berkshire England. Parents were both stage actors. Married twice; currently to stage and film director Sam Mendes (America Beauty; Road to Perdition). Credits include Sense and Sensibility; Jude (1996); Titanic (1997); Hideous Kinky (1998); Holy Smoke (1999); Quills (2000); Enigma (2001); Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); Finding Neverland (2004); Little Children (2006); Revolutionary Road (2008).
17. Zhang Ziyi. Born Zhang Zi-Yi in 1979 in Beijing, China. Also known as Ziyi Zhang. Credits include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000); Hero (2002); House of Flying Daggers (2004); 2046 (2004); Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
18. Virginie Ledoyen. Born Virginie Fernandez in 1976 in Paris, France. Was a model beginning at age 2. Credits include Cold Water (1994); A Single Girl (1995); La Ceremonie (1995); Mahjong (1996); Late August, Early September (1998); The Beach (2000); The Valet (2006); Holly (2006)
19. Charlize Theron. Born 1975 in Gautteng, SouthAfrica. Grew up speaking Afrikaans. Learned English as a teen by watching soap operas. Mother German; Father French. Witnessed a tragic situation when she was young - Mother shot Father to death in self-defense (she wasn’t charged with a crime). Classically trained ballerina. Won a modeling contract at sixteen and became a professional model. Worked in Europe; travelled to New York City to model. Won a spot with Joffrey Ballet. Forced to quit dancing due to a knee injury. Sent by her mother to Los Angeles to try to act at 18. Credits include Two days in the Valley (1996); Celebrity (1998); The Devil’s Advocate (1997); The Yards (2000); Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004); Monster (2003), for which she won the Academy Award; North Country (2005); Battle in Seattle (2007); In the Valley of Elah (2007)
20. Qu Shi.Born Li-Hui-Lin in 1976 in Tapei, Taiwan. Credits include Millennium Mambo (2001); The Transporter (2002); Three Times (2005); New York, I Love You (2008)
21. Tuesday Weld Born Susan Ker Weld in 1943 in NY, NY. Father died at age 3. Became a successful child model. Had a very tumultuous childhood that reportedly included very early drinking, sex, and a suicide attempt. Became a very popular teenage movie and television star beginning at age 13. Married twice; once to actor Dudley Moore, with whom she has a son. Credits include The Cincinatti Kid (1965); Pretty Poison (1968); Play it as it Lays (1972); Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977); Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978); Thief (1981); Author Author (1982); Falling Down (1993); Chelsea Walls (2001)
22. Halle Berry Born 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio. At 17 was Miss Teen Ohio. At 18 was runner up in the Miss USA Pageant. Married twice. Has appeared in four films with actor Hugh Jackman. Credits include Jungle Fever (1991); Losing Isaiah (1995); Bulworth 91998); Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999); Monster’s Ball (2001), for which she received the Academy Award; Things We Lost in the Fire (2007).
23. Jessica BielBorn 1982 in Ely, Minnestoa, but raised in Boulder, Colorado. Also sings and dances. Former model. Credits include Ulee’s Gold (1997); Rules of Attraction (2002); Elizabethtown (2005); Stealth (2005); The Illusionist (2006)
24. Kerry Washington Born 1977 in the Bronx, New York. Credits include Our Song (2000); Lift (2001); Human Stain (2003); Ray (2004); Last King of Scotland (2006); The Dead Girl (2006)
25. Jacqueline Bisset Born 1944 in Surrey, England. Father French, but did not grow up speaking it. Former model. Credits include Two for the Road (1967); Bullitt (1968); Day for Night (1973); The Deep (1977); Under the Volcano (1984); La Ceremonie (1995). Still acting.
26.Marisa Tomei Born 1964 in Brooklyn, NY. Moves to Los Angeles at 18. Credits include My Cousin Vinny (1992); Untamed Heart (1993); Unhook the Stars (1996); Welcome to Sarajevo (1997); Slums of Beverly Hills (1998); Happy Accidents (2000); In the Bedroom (2001); Factotum (2005); Before the Devil Knows Your Dead (2007); The Wrestler (2008).
27. Thandie Newton Born 1972 in London, England. Mother is from Zimbabwe; Father is British. Lived in Zambia until age 11 when family was forced to move to UK because of unrest in Africa. Lived in Cornwall, England. Married with two children. Credits include Flirting (1991); Jefferson in Paris (1995); Beloved (1998); Besieged (1998); Crash (2004); Pursuit of Happyness (2008)
28. Paz VegaBorn Paz Campos Triga in 1976 in Seville, Spain. Credits include Sex & Lucia (2001); Talk to Her (2002); Spanglish (2004); 10 Items or Less (2006)
29. Natalie Wood Born Natalia Nikolovena Zaharenko in San Francisco in 1938. Parents were Russian emigres who barely spoke English. The family changed their name to Gurdin after arriving in U.S. The name Wood came from director Sam Wood. Mother had been a ballerina; father an architect. Was taught to dance ballet from the time she could walk. Mother began bringing her auditions as a very small child. First role at age 5. Married three times (twice to Robert Wagner). Mother of Natasha Gergson Wagner. Turned down lead in Bonnie and Clyde. Sister of actress Lana Wood. Died tragically in 1981 of drowning. Credits include Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947); Miracle on 34th Street (1947); Rebel Without a Cause (1955); The Searchers (1956); Kings Go Forth (1958); Splendor in the Grass (1961); West Side Story (1961); Gypsy (1962); Love With a Proper Stranger (1963); Bob and Carol & Ted and Alice (1969); Brainstorm (1983). She was twice nominated for an Academy Award (for Splendor in the Grass and Love With a Proper Stranger)
30. Carla Gugino Born 1971 in Sarasota, Florida. Moved to Paradise, California at age 5. Became a model at fifteen, although too short to get runway work. Credits include The Jimmy Show (2001); Sin City (2005); American Gangster (2007); The Lookout (2007)
31. Gabrielle AnwarBorn 1970 in Middlesex, England. Has a child with actor Craig Sheffer. Credits include Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991); Scent of a Woman (1992); Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995).
32. Maria Bello Born 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Credits include Auto Focus (2002); The Cooler (2003); History of Violence (2005); Thank You for Smoking (2005); World Trade Center (2006)
33. Audrey Tautou Born 1976 in Beaumont, France. Grew up in Montlucon. Credits include Venus Beauty Institute (1996); Amelie (2001); Happenstance (2000); Auberge Espagnole (2002); A Very Long Angagement (2003); Russian Dolla (2003) Priceless (2006)
34. Jennifer Aniston Born 1969 in Sherman Oaks, CA. Father sopa opera actor John Aniston. Attended New York School of the Performing Arts (know as the Fame school). Married and divorced actor Brad Pitt. Starred in popular television series Friends from 1995-2004. Credits include She’s the One (1996); Object of My Affection (1997); Office Space (1999); The Good Girl (2002); Derailed (2005); Friends With Money (2006); The Break-Up (2006)
35. Eva Mendes Born 1974 in Los Angeles, CA. Is of Cuban-American descent. Credits include Training Day (2001); Once Upon a Time In mexico (2003); Trust the Man (2005); We Own the Night (2007)
36. Saffron Burrows Born 1972 in London, England. Became a model at 15. Acted in her first film at 17. Openly Bisexual. Credits include Circle of friends (1995); The Matchmaker (1997); Timecode (2000); Gangster #1 (2000); Frida (2002); Enigma (2001); Fay Grim (2006); The Bank Job (2008)
37. Diane Lane Born 1965 in NY, NY. Father was an acting coach; Mother a nightclub singer/model. Made her stage debut at age 6. Acted in her first film at 13. Has appeared in 4 films for director Francis Ford Coppola. Married twice; presently, to actor Josh Brolin. Credits include A Little Romance (1979); The Outsiders (1983); Rumble Fish (1983); Cotton Club (1984); Chaplin (1992); Indian Summer (1993); Walk on the Moon (1999); Perfect Storm (2000); Unfaithful (2002); Under the Tuscan Sun (2003); Hollywoodland (2006)
38. Gong LiBorn 1965 in Sheyang, China. Raised in Jinan. Had long working (and personal) relationship with director Zhang Yimou. Their off screen coupling ended in 1995. Li is married. Credits include Ju Dou (1990); Raise the Red Lantern (1991); The Story of Qiu Ju (1992); Farewell My Concubine (1993); To Live (1994); Shanghai Triad (1995); 2046 (2004); Memoirs of a Geisha (2005); Miami Vice (2006)
39. Catherine DeneuveBorn 1943 in Paris, France. Both her parents were actors. She has appeared in well over 100 films. Married for seven years and divorced. Has a child by Director Roger Vadim. The list of directors she has worked throughout her career is nothing short of staggering, reading like a veritable who’s-who of French film, including: Techine; Godard; Ruiz; Truffuat; Demy; Varda; Chabrol; Carax; Ozon; de Oliviera; Jaquot; Garrel; de Broca; Berri; Robert; Lelouch; Bunuel; Vadim; Polanski; Camus; Rappeneau; Melville. Many of these directors have used her multiple times; she has appeared in at least seven films for Andre’ Technine. Her credits include The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967); Belle De Jour (1967); Mississippi Mermaid (1969); Peau d’ane (1970); Un Flic 91972; The Last metro (1981); Indochine (1992); Les Voluers (1996); Time Regained (2000); Dancer in the Dark (2000); Changing Times (2004); A Christmas Tale (2008). She is still actively working in relevant films at an astoundingly prolific rate.
40. Emmanuel Beart Born 1964 in St. Tropez, France. Grew up on a farm, but was sent to Montreal, Canada in her teens for four years to study English. Was married to actor Daniel Auteil; they are divorced and have a son together. Beart re-married. Her credits include Manon of the Spring (1986); La Belle Noiseuse (1991); Un Coev de Hier (1992); L’enfer (1994); Nelly and Monsiuer Arnaud (1995); Time Regained (1999); La Buche (1999); Nathalie (2003).