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. 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
1,123 690
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

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2
1,351 1,026
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
837 530
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
846 737
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
700 629
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Jessica Lange Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

6
760 867
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Bette Davis All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

7
629 369
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

8
505 277
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
466 552
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Kathy Bates Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

10
554 502
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
552 899
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
635 487
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

13
486 605
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

14
579 790
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

15
442 605
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

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16
599 657
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

17
604 1,009
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

18
510 578
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
504 836
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

20
561 562
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

21
473 450
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

22
581 651
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
436 504
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

24
404 352
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

25
461 699
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

26
293 259
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

27
711 729
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sandra Bullock Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side

28
625 645
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

29
374 501
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

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30
347 234
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
503 460
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

32
249 137
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

33
328 381
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

34
347 395
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

35
306 265
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
343 567
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
190 89
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

38
331 285
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
374 762
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

40
348 300
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

41
210 218
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
344 439
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
312 322
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

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44
399 504
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

45
198 77
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Susan Hayward Demetrius and the Gladiators, I Want to Live!, Valley of the Dolls

46
270 207
Helen Hayes is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Helen Hayes Cinema Paradiso, Airport, Herbie Rides Again

47
221 207
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
169 76
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

49
199 176
Irene Dunne is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Irene Dunne The Awful Truth, Cimarron, Life with Father

50
261 355
Debbie Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 50 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