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
1,143 695
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
1,364 1,054
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
846 539
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
712 636
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
857 743
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
769 878
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
644 371
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
473 562
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
513 282
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
564 505
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
450 608
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Frances McDormand Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

12
495 611
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
585 800
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

14
558 908
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 14 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?

15
606 662
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

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16
610 1,020
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
650 490
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
507 848
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
519 580
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
588 654
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
568 565
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
440 508
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
479 451
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
468 706
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

25
414 358
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

26
721 732
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
633 649
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
298 263
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
507 463
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

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30
377 506
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
252 140
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
355 237
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
333 383
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
349 570
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
349 399
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
308 269
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
195 90
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
337 287
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
377 769
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
215 219
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
209 78
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
406 505
Amy Adams is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amy Adams Her, American Hustle, Enchanted

43
350 302
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

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44
174 78
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

45
349 440
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

46
184 252
Sharon Stone is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Sharon Stone Casino, Total Recall, Basic Instinct

47
319 324
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

48
280 207
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
456 363
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
231 208
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 50 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