film The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

Originally by
81k votes 7.7k voters 42k views 140 items Follow Embed

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
+ - 853 623
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 Best Netflix Original Drama Movies

2
+ - 1,154 798
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
+ - 699 443
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joan Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce

4
+ - 647 743
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
+ - 723 681
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
+ - 524 571
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jessica Lange Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

7
+ - 356 422
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Kathy Bates Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

8
+ - 495 658
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

9
+ - 515 871
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

10
+ - 452 319
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

11
+ - 458 773
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 11 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?

12
+ - 403 525
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

13
+ - 506 600
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

14
+ - 449 454
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anne Bancroft The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

15
+ - 373 557
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

The Best Actresses Who Won Oscars and Globes for the Same Role 50 Movies That Contained Future Stars

16
+ - 394 240
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, P.S. I Love You, Judgment at Nuremberg

17
+ - 423 718
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

18
+ - 485 614
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
+ - 370 461
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
+ - 394 575
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
+ - 459 527
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
+ - 429 501
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
+ - 484 462
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

24
+ - 528 591
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
+ - 589 692
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
+ - 398 426
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

27
+ - 315 467
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

28
+ - 275 279
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

29
+ - 386 425
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

The Best Living American Actresses Being an Introvert Is. . .

30
+ - 255 205
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Myrna Loy The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End

31
+ - 292 368
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

32
+ - 214 234
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

33
+ - 284 526
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
+ - 251 230
Mary Tyler Moore is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Mary Tyler Moore Ordinary People, Moon, Flirting with Disaster

35
+ - 256 343
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

36
+ - 277 248
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jean Stapleton You've Got Mail, Klute, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

37
+ - 165 274
Anjelica Huston is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anjelica Huston One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, This Is Spinal Tap, The Royal Tenenbaums

38
+ - 168 112
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

39
+ - 171 186
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Kathleen Turner Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Virgin Suicides, The War of the Roses

40
+ - 283 262
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

41
+ - 437 779
Mary McDonnell is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Mary McDonnell Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Independence Day

42
+ - 318 663
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

43
+ - 255 421
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

The Best Movies Directed by Women The Best Netflix Original Documentary Series

44
+ - 322 473
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

45
+ - 261 433
Meg Ryan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Meg Ryan When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle

46
+ - 118 68
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

47
+ - 243 297
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

48
+ - 158 242
Barbra Streisand is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbra Streisand What's Up, Doc?, Meet the Fockers

49
+ - 136 145
Thelma Ritter is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Thelma Ritter Rear Window, All About Eve, Miracle on 34th Street

50
+ - 263 486
Ava Gardner is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ava Gardner The Barefoot Contessa, The Killers, The Sun Also Rises