Some time ago the AFI (that’s the American Film Institute) released a list of the top 50 greatest screen legends from the Classic Hollywood era: 25 male and 25 female stars. I’m not sure exactly what their criteria were for reaching the top spot, but they classified a screen legend as an actor or actress:
with a significant screen presence in American feature-length (40 min) films whose screen debut occurred in or before 1950, or whose screen debut occurred after 1950 but whose death has marked a completed body of work
Below is the list of the top 25 screen actresses. The list includes everyone you would expect to be there apart from perhaps Clara Bow – surely she should be in there?! I’m also surprised Debbie Reynolds wasn’t on the list. Apart from the missing actresses I was also astonished by the 2 stars they picked as the top 2 screen legends. They may have been prolific (and of course were both Oscar winners – in face Katharine Hepburn won a staggering 4 Academy Awards) but in terms of iconic women I’m surprised Hepburn (Audrey), Monroe and Taylor weren’t at the top of the list. Bette Davis certainly would have been thrilled to beat Joan Crawford though! What do you make of the list. Do you think they got it right?
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Brigitte Bardot !
She wasn’t an American actress. This for Americans.
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Audrey Hepburn is so Beautiful .
Good thank you for sharing the amazing article.
Amiah Sanaa Robinson
these are all white women…..
They are all white women but not because of what you might think, during the golden age of cinema the leading roles were given to white women as black women were still viewed as more of a supporting cast and usually in stereotypical roles such as servants or the economically disadvantaged. This did not give them credence to showcase their true artistic talents in such two dimwmensionsl roles. Many may not like that answer but it is the truth.
That a strong top ten imho in any order.