American People The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
163.3k votes 11.5k voters 82.4k 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
1,974 1,064
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
2,390 1,686
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
1,347 1,293
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel
4
1,198 1,036
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
1,423 1,213
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
1,059 1,019
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side
7
1,370 902
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce
8
1,324 662
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
974 520
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
1,053 1,484
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
848 993
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous
12
994 1,306
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
969 1,196
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
966 730
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
996 883
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
921 1,010
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
937 805
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
1,193 677
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
1,031 957
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
876 1,241
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar
21
763 709
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
1,104 892
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias
23
793 616
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street
24
963 758
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath
25
1,284 922
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side