film The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

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List Rules Vote up and add the best AMERICAN actresses to have ever lived. Vote on each actress's entire body of work. Remember, Helen Mirren is not American.

It takes a lot to make a movie great. There has to be excellent writing, production, direction, editing, and of course, acting. While the crew draws out the parameters for a movie, the actors are who color in the film to bring it to life, and without great acting, a great film can crumble. 

 These actresses are the ones who deliver time and again, regardless of how good the script or the production of the film is. These are the greatest American actresses ever. Who are the best actresses? That's up to you to decide. This list is votable and rerankable, and if you don't see someone on here that deserves a spot, feel free to add them. 
list ordered by

1
925 651
Katharine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Katharine Hepburn The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Bringing Up Baby

The Best Living American Actors The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

2
1,216 867
Meryl Streep is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Meryl Streep The Iron Lady, Kramer vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada

3
737 476
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added Joan Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce

4
688 779
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Bette Davis All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

5
761 703
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

6
572 594
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Jessica Lange Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

7
392 459
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Kathy Bates Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

8
501 340
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

9
524 700
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

10
540 918
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

11
485 473
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anne Bancroft The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

12
489 814
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Elizabeth Taylor Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

13
430 555
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

14
533 626
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

15
399 574
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Frances McDormand Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

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16
418 257
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, P.S. I Love You, Judgment at Nuremberg

17
445 754
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

18
517 627
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

19
392 476
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

20
418 611
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

21
490 538
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

22
523 471
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

23
455 529
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Lauren Bacall To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, How to Marry a Millionaire

24
553 609
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

25
621 708
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sandra Bullock Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side

26
339 480
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

27
421 438
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

28
310 304
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

29
241 243
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

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30
419 437
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

31
283 217
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Myrna Loy The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End

32
313 379
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

33
300 540
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Goldie Hawn Overboard, First Wives Club, Private Benjamin

34
195 118
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

35
269 244
Mary Tyler Moore is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Mary Tyler Moore Ordinary People, Moon, Flirting with Disaster

36
270 358
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

37
290 264
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jean Stapleton You've Got Mail, Klute, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

38
183 201
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Kathleen Turner Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Virgin Suicides, The War of the Roses

39
339 694
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

40
175 303
Anjelica Huston is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Anjelica Huston One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, This Is Spinal Tap, The Royal Tenenbaums

41
298 282
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

42
276 432
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

43
443 813
Mary McDonnell is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Mary McDonnell Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Independence Day

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44
164 154
Thelma Ritter is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
punksnotdead added Thelma Ritter Rear Window, All About Eve, Miracle on 34th Street

45
140 77
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

46
346 486
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

47
161 194
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
screwballcomedyfan added Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night, The Palm Beach Story, It's a Wonderful World

48
107 60
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

49
259 310
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

50
170 162
Irene Dunne is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Irene Dunne The Awful Truth, Cimarron, Life with Father