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
1,020 672
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
1,295 950
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
787 510
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
808 725
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

5
733 822
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Bette Davis All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

6
633 618
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
436 505
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
572 355
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
471 267
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
518 491
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anne Bancroft The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

11
563 746
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

12
582 965
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

13
578 645
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
530 857
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 14 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?

15
429 587
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
457 588
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

17
580 479
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

18
482 793
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

19
525 557
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

20
489 562
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
417 493
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

22
557 641
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

23
448 657
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

24
451 448
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

25
668 723
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
590 633
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

27
360 494
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
357 333
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
466 450
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 The Worst Things You Can Make Jokes About

30
271 252
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

31
308 229
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
335 388
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
228 128
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

34
305 376
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

35
293 258
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
325 559
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Goldie Hawn Overboard, First Wives Club, Private Benjamin

37
203 211
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
361 726
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

39
171 85
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

40
299 277
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
378 493
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

42
310 438
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
285 319
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Best Movies Directed by Women The Best Organic Coffee Brands

44
325 292
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

45
198 327
Anjelica Huston is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
182 170
Irene Dunne is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Irene Dunne The Awful Truth, Cimarron, Life with Father

47
248 319
Debbie Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Debbie Reynolds Singin' in the Rain, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Charlotte's Web

48
183 162
Thelma Ritter is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
punksnotdead added Thelma Ritter Rear Window, All About Eve, Miracle on 34th Street

49
189 202
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
189 148
Jessica Biel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
trotro added Jessica Biel Blade: Trinity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist