American People The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

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164.2k 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
1,987 1,074
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
2,411 1,698
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
1,366 1,299
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 1,047
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 1,221
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
1,378 908
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
1,065 1,028
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
1,336 668
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
986 523
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 1,492
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
1,006 1,310
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
857 1,000
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 1,203
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
971 734
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
1,001 890
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
928 1,016
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
946 809
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
1,201 683
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
1,038 965
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 1,247
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar
21
771 713
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
801 621
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
1,109 899
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias
24
966 763
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath
25
1,288 927
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side