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
1,196 700
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

Oscar-Nominated Actors Who Also Played Comic Book Characters Actors Who Consistently Make Great Movies

2
1,407 1,110
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
890 547
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
748 644
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Jessica Lange Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

5
887 752
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

6
786 916
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
692 377
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
491 597
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Kathy Bates Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

9
526 287
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
461 616
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Frances McDormand Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

11
584 512
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anne Bancroft The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

12
510 620
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

13
574 939
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 13 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?

14
594 833
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
619 666
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

The Best Living American Actresses The Hottest Actresses Who Can Actually Act

16
626 1,054
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

17
688 493
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

18
519 879
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

19
532 584
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
598 656
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

21
584 569
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

22
448 513
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

23
450 368
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

24
487 456
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

25
476 733
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
743 735
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sandra Bullock Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side

27
648 655
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

28
309 269
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

29
522 466
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

The Most Overrated Actors of All Time 95+ Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from Iconic Movies

30
385 510
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

31
260 145
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

32
380 243
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
344 387
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
359 572
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Goldie Hawn Overboard, First Wives Club, Private Benjamin

35
353 404
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

36
326 270
Mary Tyler Moore is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Mary Tyler Moore Ordinary People, Moon, Flirting with Disaster

37
358 291
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
208 93
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

39
239 81
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
382 799
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

41
200 83
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

42
220 225
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
415 525
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

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44
377 444
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

45
363 303
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

46
344 329
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

47
257 213
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
306 212
Helen Hayes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Helen Hayes Cinema Paradiso, Airport, Herbie Rides Again

49
488 365
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Reese Witherspoon American Psycho, Legally Blonde, Election

50
191 273
Sharon Stone is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Sharon Stone Casino, Total Recall, Basic Instinct