americans The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
125.6k votes 9.7k voters 59.1k views 146 items Embed

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
1,502 830
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
1,750 1,364
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
1,085 897
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

4
1,088 661
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
928 775
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
967 468
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

7
959 1,077
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Bette Davis All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

8
711 758
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
690 363
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
748 588
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
684 769
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

12
590 778
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Frances McDormand Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

13
714 1,092
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
782 1,239
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

15
713 994
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

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

16
903 549
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

17
776 774
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

18
652 1,040
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
675 668
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
548 576
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

21
730 732
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

22
726 625
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

23
586 509
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

24
618 504
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
398 319
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

26
956 795
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
588 867
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

28
824 728
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
606 533
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
462 437
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

31
452 575
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

32
358 198
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
515 301
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
429 456
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
454 697
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Goldie Hawn Overboard, First Wives Club, Private Benjamin

36
402 324
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
383 128
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
514 489
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

39
454 341
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
383 260
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
479 377
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

42
279 143
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

43
446 931
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked The Best New Kids Movies Since 2015

44
284 291
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
203 50
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
pload added Rita Hayworth The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai

46
424 259
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
451 370
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

48
322 146
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
404 557
Hilary Swank is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Hilary Swank Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers

50
677 419
Reese Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Reese Witherspoon American Psycho, Legally Blonde, Election