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The 5 Most Beautiful Actresses in Movie History

I wrote film reviews for over a decade in a variety of formats.

Hollywood Is Never Lacking For Beautiful Women

Who is the hottest movie star ever? Who is the sexiest? What is your definition of sexy? What makes an actress hot?

The movies certainly have their share of sexy women. Choosing five among the best-looking is hardly an objective matter. Of course, this is strictly my opinion. However, I would argue that the increase in nudity in movies has changed our standards. Obviously, such things have also changed our culture. How we think about women is different. As a result, I think the sexiness of our current movie stars has dropped. Movies leave little to the imagination. I blame the internet. You can search for nude pictures of almost anyone. And find them. Thus, it alters our imaginations. It changes our desire and the nature or desire. It changes how we think about women. It's sad.

I am trying to be careful with all this. Of course, what happens by pointing out the sexiness of these women. I objectify them. However, I think the entire business of Hollywood is about exactly that. It's inescapable. One cannot discuss actresses without objectifying. Movies use the sex appeal of their stars to advertise. Does that make it right? Definitely not. That these women are beautiful does not diminish their talent or intelligence. If I slip up in how I describe them, I am truly sorry. Call me out in the comments.

Nevertheless, the following is my list of the top five best-looking women in film history.

Quick List of the 5 Most Beautiful Movie Actresses

  1. Grace Kelly
  2. Salma Hayek
  3. Marilyn Monroe
  4. Ann-Margaret
  5. Raquel Welch

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief


Try to watch Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and not fall in love with Kelly. It's impossible. Jimmy Stewart certainly can't help it. Go watch High Noon. Go watch To Catch a Thief.

I know you may not be familiar with Grace Kelly. She's from an era long ago. I wasn't alive then either. However, I think if you watch her films, her beauty is other-worldly.

If my memory is correct, Jimmy Stewart wakes up at some point and as he opens his eyes, there's Grace Kelly hovering over him. She makes quite the impression. It happens at the beginning of Rear Window. Tell me, if that was you, would it not be the happiest day of your life?

Grace Kelly Essential Filmography

High Noon (1952)

Mogambo (1953)

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

To Catch a Thief (1955)

High Society (1956)

Grace Kelly Interesting Facts

  • Married Prince Ranier of Monaco in April 1956 and became Princess Grace.
  • Her movies were banned in Monaco.
  • She died in a car accident apparently caused by a stroke on Nov. 14, 1982.
  • Joseph Cotten and Ingrid Bergman were her favorite actors when she was a child.
  • The first actress to appear on a postage stamp in 1993.

Salma Hayek



"The List" comes from an episode of Friends. Its title is "The One With Frank Jr". During that episode, Ross holds up a card of five celebrities he wants to sleep with. It's a freebie card because if he scores with one of them, his partner can't object. If you could have a freebie list, who would be on it?

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As far as my male friends go, Salma Hayek was on every single list. Most of my friends would have cut off one of their limbs to have sex with Salma Hayek. And okay, objectifying Ms. Hayek that way given her intelligence, is unfair. But man could she draw eyes. Easily one of the sexiest women ever.

I think the first time I realized just how hot Salma Hayek was, was in Robert Rodriguez's Desperado in 1995. She appears topless very briefly in that film. It's one of those moments where computer image capture went through the roof. Back then, people still owned VHS machines. A lot of people fast forwarded to that scene.

Salma Hayek Essential Filmography

Desperado (1995)

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Dogma (1999)

Frida (2002)

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

Salma Hayek Interesting Facts

  • Salma is an Arabic name and means "peace" or "calm".
  • She is dyslexic.
  • Her brother designs clothes and boasts Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as clients.
  • Married to billionaire businessman Francois-Henri Pinault. Pinault dated Linda Evangelista before dating Hayek. Prior to marrying Pinault, Hayek is quoted as saying that she was looking for a man who "has more balls than I do."
  • Dog lover.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe (public domain)

Marilyn Monroe (public domain)


Could there be a list of beautiful actresses that doesn't include Monroe?

Even if, by today's standards, Monroe's sexiness is tame, her contribution to iconic standards is legendary. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Monroe died on August 5, 1962. She redefined what it meant to be a movie star. She's the ultimate sex icon.

Marilyn Monroe Essential Filmography

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

The Misfits (1961)

Marilyn Monroe Interesting Facts

  • The licensing of her name still nets about $2 million per year to her estate.
  • Appeared on the first cover of Playboy in 1953.
  • Hugh Hefner owns the closest burial vault next to hers.
  • Niagara was the only film she was in where her character died.
  • Joe DiMaggio, her ex-husband, put roses at her grave for years after her death.
  • Monroe was suggested as a possible wife for Prince Ranier of Monaco, but he went with Grace Kelly (apparently he could just choose?)
  • When Monroe divorced DiMaggio, the latter was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
  • Batman heroine Vicki Vale is based on Monroe's likeness.


Ann-Margret (public domain)

Ann-Margret (public domain)


Ann-Margaret is Swedish. Her birth name is Ann-Margret Olsson and she actually came to America as a singer. It's hard to imagine the vivacious Ann-Margret as an introverted child, but it's true. She's probably the original sex kitten. She starred with the Elvis in Viva Las Vegas. Most people saw her as little more than an accessory. However, she went on and earned an Oscar nomination for Carnal Knowledge. She does appear nude in that film, so it's worth watching for that, among other reasons.

Ann-Margret Essential Filmography

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

Carnal Knowledge (1971)

Tommy (1975)

52 Pick-Up (1986)

Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Ann-Margret Interesting Facts

  • Survived a dramatic 22 foot fall in 1972 from a stage in Lake Tahoe. It left her with a broken arm, five facial fractures, and a concussion.
  • Had a romance with Elvis.
  • Discovered by comedian George Burns.
  • A keen motorcyclist.
  • Is not a natural redhead.
  • Guest-starred on The Flintstones as Ann-Margrock
  • Experienced a resurgence in popularity in 2013 as a result of her most famous film being featured in an episode of Mad Men.

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch


Part of Raquel Welch's appeal is that it seems she's been hot all her life. Even as she entered old age, she still scored high on the sexy scale.

Welch's iconic moment was emerging in One Million Years B.C. in that skimpy outfit. She revealed a body that suddenly gave a new meaning to the word "buxom". Oh sure, there had been the Jane Russells and the Jayne Mansfields. However, it was the 1960s and with it came a change in the relationship between desire and possibility.

Raquel Welch represented it all.

Raquel Welch Essential Filmography

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Bedazzled (1967)

Myra Breckenridge (1970)

Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976)

Legally Blonde (2001)

Raquel Welch Interesting Facts

  • Her father was Bolivian.
  • MGM fired her from Cannery Row in 1982. She was replaced by Debra Winger. Welch then successfully sued for $10 million.
  • She is mentioned in the theme song for The Fall Guy.
  • Had a notorious feud with Mae West on the set of Myra Breckenridge.
  • Lost the role of Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island to Dawn Wells.
  • Has American ancestry dating back to John Quincy Adams and the Mayflower.


Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on March 03, 2014:

Thanks for the kind comments!

epigramman on March 02, 2014:

Well it's a good day to be a man reading and looking at a fabulous hub presentation like this - will gleefully post this link to my FB timeline for all of the Bookfacers to see and read as well. Bravo for a job well done - Canada time 12:54am

Shelly Elliott on February 27, 2014:

I think women are beautiful. I am a make-up artist and all women should feel secure in their own skin. To become a star takes a lot of raw talent and faith in destiny. Movies make it magic!

Jayne Lancer from West London, UK on February 25, 2014:

I agree with Janshares. If you're talking about 'sexiest, hottest', Rita Hayworth has to be among them.

I think Grace Kelly was beautiful, but she was the 'ice queen', not 'hot and sexy'.

Anya Brodech from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607 on February 22, 2014:

I'd add Rachel McAdams, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Sofia Vergara (even though she doesn't really do movies)

Sparklea from Upstate New York on February 21, 2014:

Crankalicious: Voted up, interesting and awesome! This is a terrific hub and I love the details. When I spotted your title, even before reading it, I IMMEDIATELY thought to myself, GRACE KELLY! She has ALWAYS been my favorite actress, and the most beautiful person ever! ( In my opinion). I saw her in a couple Alfred Hitchcock movies, and I could not get over how gorgeous she was. Right now, if asked who I think is the most gorgeous living female, I have to say Jennifer Lopez. She is flawless. I also loved your additional picks. I loved Ann Margaret with Elvis Presley. Thanks for a very interesting nostalgic read. Blessings, Sparklea :)

Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on February 21, 2014:


Thanks for the comments! I have no argument with Rita Hayworth. Good choice! mrsannestedt, I tried to go with actresses who had some gravitas in addition to hotness and I don't think as many on your list qualify with the exception of Halle Berry and Jamie Lee Curtis. Megan Fox barely qualifies as an actress! :) And Jeannie, I think of Aniston as more of a tv star, but since I'm writing a similar article on tv stars, I think I have to seriously consider her.

Jeannie Randall from South Dakota on February 21, 2014:

You forgot Jennifer Aniston! Nice article and I do agree with your pics-just hard to narrow down 5 when there are so many greats to choose from.

Stacey Annestedt from Alabama on February 20, 2014:

I think hottest/ sexiest movie stars ever are Megan Fox, Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria, Halle Berry and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on February 20, 2014:

Great choices, crankalicious. Nice format and presentation of information. But you must check out some video of Rita Hayworth. You may change your picks to the "6" hottest, sexiest female actresses ever. Voted up.

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