Americans The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

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161.1k votes 11.4k voters 80.7k views 160 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. 

list ordered by

1
1,942 1,044
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
2,333 1,670
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
1,309 1,287
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

4
1,173 1,017
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

5
1,401 1,196
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

6
1,352 891
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce

7
1,032 1,005
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

8
1,309 652
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

9
1,033 1,473
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

10
952 514
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
834 981
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

12
978 1,293
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

13
947 1,185
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

14
954 721
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

15
976 876
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

16
905 999
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

17
1,180 671
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

18
913 802
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
1,013 951
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

20
863 1,227
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

21
747 699
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

22
780 610
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

23
1,080 880
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

24
946 751
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

25
1,263 913
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side