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The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated May 10, 2020 194.8k votes 13k voters 92.7k views 216 items

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. Who is the greatest American actress of all time? 

These actresses are the ones who deliver time and again, regardless of how good the script or the production of the film is. From classic Hollywood legends to new rising stars, 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. 

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list ordered by
1
Katharine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Bringing Up Baby
2
Meryl Streep is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Iron Lady, Kramer vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada
3
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
DolittleD added Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire
4
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
stefan-komisch added The Wizard of Oz, P.S. I Love You, Judgment at Nuremberg
5
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
stefan-komisch added What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce
6
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder
7
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side
8
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused
9
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man
10
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
CraigAlarm added The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End
11
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath
12
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
looksharp added Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm
13
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
looksharp added Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear
14
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
pload added The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai
15
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street
16
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added American Psycho, Legally Blonde, Election
17
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel
18
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, How to Marry a Millionaire
19
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias
20
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
CraigAlarm added Demetrius and the Gladiators, I Want to Live!, Valley of the Dolls
21
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
DolittleD added Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side
22
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
Amos added Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee
23
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
24
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel
25
Helen Hayes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses Of All Time
looksharp added Cinema Paradiso, Airport, Herbie Rides Again