americans 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
1,386 792
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
1,648 1,273
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
1,006 621
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
881 733
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
1,028 824
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
874 433
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
889 1,016
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
652 693
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
618 339
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
690 563
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
551 717
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
622 718
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
662 1,035
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
731 1,167
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
674 929
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
726 716
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

17
823 525
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
626 624
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
616 974
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

20
510 551
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
681 702
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
672 607
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
546 489
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
560 455
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
366 301
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
551 811
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

27
877 775
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sandra Bullock Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side

28
574 506
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

29
768 702
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

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

30
424 414
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
424 547
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
322 178
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
458 279
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
399 433
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
421 642
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
378 303
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
329 107
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
431 325
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
457 476
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

40
170 26
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
pload added Rita Hayworth The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai

41
253 124
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

42
332 242
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
422 879
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

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44
422 360
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

45
255 264
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
420 337
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

47
289 125
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

48
373 243
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
378 531
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
230 314
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