American People The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
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164k votes 11.6k voters 82.9k views 169 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
1,985 1,073
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
2,408 1,697
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
1,364 1,298
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel
4
1,205 1,043
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
1,429 1,218
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
1,377 906
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
1,064 1,026
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
1,336 665
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
984 522
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
1,057 1,489
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking
11
1,004 1,309
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
12
856 999
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous
13
977 1,201
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
970 733
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
1,001 888
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
927 1,014
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
945 809
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, How to Marry a Millionaire
18
1,200 681
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder
19
1,037 963
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
881 1,245
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar
21
771 711
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
801 619
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
1,109 896
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias
24
965 762
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath
25
1,288 925
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side