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The 100 Greatest Actress Performances of All Time

Gena Rowlands in an unceasing harrowing role is the greatest performance I've ever seen in A Woman Under the Influence. It's a level of devastating intensity I've never since seen equaled.

Unlike many similar compiled performances, I don't punish beautiful women from making my list; that seems to be the M.O., a woman has to be ugly and suffer to be taken seriously for her greatness.

Next 15+: Catherine Denueve, Tristana; Kathleen Turner, The War of the Roses; Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise; Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Lousie; Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice; Delphine Seyrig, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Ashley Judd, Ruby in Paradise; Piper Laurie, Carrie; Pam Grier, Jackie Brown; Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven; Eihi Shiina, Audition; Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures; Mo'Nique, Precious; Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music; Ronit Elkabetz, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem; Shelley Duvall, 3 Women.

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  • A Woman Under the Influence

    1

  • Monster

    2

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    3

  • Safe

    4

  • Poetry

    5

  • Julia

    6

  • TÁR

    7

  • The Wizard of Oz

    8

  • Repulsion

    9

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin

    10

  • Breaking the Waves

    11

  • Blue Jasmine

    12

  • The Silence of the Lambs

    13

  • Fargo

    14

  • Network

    15

  • Out of Africa

    16

  • Vox Lux

    17

  • The Fabulous Baker Boys

    18

  • Carrie

    19

  • The Passion of Joan of Arc

    20

  • The Piano

    21

  • Requiem for a Dream

    22

  • Make Way for Tomorrow

    23

  • Election

    24

  • The Deep End

    25

  • Nymphomaniac: Vol. I

    26

  • Damage

    27

  • Shakespeare in Love

    28

  • Testament

    29

  • Mulholland Drive

    30

  • A Star Is Born

    31

  • Oasis

    32

  • The Florida Project

    33

  • Gone Girl

    34

  • The Bridges of Madison County

    35

  • Take This Waltz

    36

  • Boys Don't Cry

    37

  • Annie Hall

    38

  • Persona

    39

  • The Cranes Are Flying

    40

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    41

  • Raise the Red Lantern

    42

  • Coal Miner's Daughter

    43

  • The Lady Eve

    44

  • Amour

    45

  • Monster's Ball

    46

  • Orlando

    47

  • Us

    48

  • Singin' in the Rain

    49

  • Million Dollar Baby

    50

  • Far from Heaven

    51

  • The Shining

    52

  • Some Like It Hot

    53

  • Atlantic City

    54

  • Star 80

    55

  • Misery

    56

  • Chinatown

    57

  • Gravity

    58

  • Silkwood

    59

  • Funny Face

    60

  • The Grifters

    61

  • Black Swan

    62

  • Belle de Jour

    63

  • Revolutionary Road

    64

  • Aliens

    65

  • To Die For

    66

  • West Side Story

    67

  • Baby Face

    68

  • The Exorcist

    69

  • The Age of Innocence

    70

  • Dead Man Walking

    71

  • Arrival

    72

  • Rosemary's Baby

    73

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    74

  • The Tree of Life

    75

  • Mary Poppins

    76

  • Jackie

    77

  • La La Land

    78

  • The Piano Teacher

    79

  • Vortex

    80

  • Beatriz at Dinner

    81

  • A New Leaf

    82

  • Silver Linings Playbook

    83

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    84

  • Moonstruck

    85

  • Hereditary

    86

  • Dogville

    87

  • I, Tonya

    88

  • Spencer

    89

  • Promising Young Woman

    90

  • Nights of Cabiria

    91

  • Gattaca

    92

  • Pretty Woman

    93

  • Peggy Sue Got Married

    94

  • American Hustle

    95

  • Interiors

    96

  • Roman Holiday

    97

  • Walk the Line

    98

  • Room

    99

  • Rachel, Rachel

    100