Rank These Three Legendary Screen Actresses

Categories: Film

2735166631_d40fdf5d1d.jpg

Rank them in order of their talent, their careers, their legend.

In other words, who was/is the best? And second best? And third best?

(With these three, even "third best" is pretty amazing, so don't be trepidacious about putting someone in that slot.)

Do not throw in other names as in, "Well, none of them were as good as Jane Russell," or "Shouldn't it be the other Hepburn -- Audrey -- on the list?"

I don't want to hear it.

Just rank THESE THREE, with #1 going to the best of the trio and so on.


Here's mine:

1) Katharine Hepburn

2) Meryl Streep

3) Bette Davis


Now quit your screaming and hand in your freakin' list.


tumblr_licj4ps3kf1qg1naao1_500.jpg

little foxes 3.jpg


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
64 comments
Manny Espinola
Manny Espinola

1. Bette Davis - Even when she was bad she was the best2. Meryl Streep - From the neck up her performances are already worth the ticket3. Katharine Hepburn - Her acting range run the gamut from A to B, with bonus head ticks and twitches towards the end 

WWJD7PJ
WWJD7PJ

MYRL STREEPAUDRY HEPBURNBETTE DAVIS

WWJD7PJ
WWJD7PJ

MYRL STREEP IS A TALENTED GREAT ACTRESS

Dclintmyers
Dclintmyers

I don't pick favorites for one reason...I have too many....but I think Liz belongs in here....Judy...Shirley McClaine def. 

Peter
Peter

One mustn't forget Dame Maggie Smith!

Gino Balestra
Gino Balestra

hello,.anna magnani!!,bette davis,katharine hepburn..i have very mixed feelings about meryl...i genuinely love some of her performances but overs are so overly nuanced with sighs and head scratching etc that they leave me cold..sort of like she's method acting with fleas..but yes she deserves her oscars and if she could only workover those cringe-worthy acceptance speechs..ok..shutting up now :-)

brian
brian

Is this one of those FMK things?

Strickla
Strickla

Went to a Bette Davis film festival years ago at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco and thought I'd see a couple of her films. Ended up seeing about 30 of them in a row, and even when the movies were terrible, she was consistently fabulous in different ways. "Marked Woman," "Old Acquaintance," "All About Eve," jeesh, I don't think I've ever seen a bad performance from her.

Meryl amuses when she's not being serious and annoying.

Went to a Kate Hepburn festival at the same theatre not long after the Bette one and was flabbergasted by how limited a range she had. Doesn't belong in the top three.

ArpadtheMagyar
ArpadtheMagyar

All three are nothing to look at. I would counter with these three smokeshows:Ingrid BergmanSophia LorenLiv Ulmann

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Ohmygawd...decisions, decisions...

1. Bette Davis...a FORCE to be reckoned with!!  (Not only in the movies, she was fierce on the occasional talk show as well.)

2. Kate - yuuuul goottta luuuv the voice.

3. Streep - Amazing and she's still living.  I met her back in her Public Theater days...before she was MERYL....she was very [genuinely] nice.

Pjb0556
Pjb0556

1) Meryl Streep, 2) Katherine Hepburn and 3) Bette Davis

DickC
DickC

1. Bette2. Kate3. Meryl

billyjoe
billyjoe

Will Meryl have to apologize again for winning when she receives the best actress Oscar for "August: Osage County"?

Bellestarrr1946
Bellestarrr1946

Meryl streep is amazing so im putting her first because she is currentnext bette davis...because she was a great actress but also high camp in real lifehepburn 3rd because she always reminded me of a man..perhaps she was??

bsomers
bsomers

1. Bette2. Meryl3. Hepburn

VonD
VonD

1) Bette2) Meryl3) Kate

I could see Bette playing all the roles Meryl did, but better, but Kate could never have been the lead in *Silkwood,* in *The Devil Wears Prada*, or have deigned to be caught dead in *Mamma Mia*!

Dan
Dan

Kate, Meryl, Bette, same as yours.

Monsieur Cinema
Monsieur Cinema

Musto, I agree with you on this one, 1--Kate 2--Meryl 3--Bette

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

I'd say a tie between Streep and Davis for now - to be re-evaluated when Meryl's career has also ended. Hepburn doesn't belong in the same league so she'll have to settle for third - at best.

mousetomato
mousetomato

1) Davis - for sheer star power/magnetism2) Streep - for technical skills (or pyrotechnical skills)3) Hepburn - for incandescence

--Helene

Movielover
Movielover

Love them all, but I think I'd switch the 1st place and 3rd place in the order you have, Mikey.  Meryl staying in the #2 spot.  Bette seems like she could do almost anything and has a huge body of work.  She also had to work against not being an actual beauty (in the sense of professional actress beauty).  Katherine so often played herself and must have relied on her beauty, though why shouldn't she?  But, like you say, they're all in extraordinary company with each other. 

Voxpop
Voxpop

 1) Meryl Streep

2) Bette Davis3) Katharine Hepburn

Val Sherman
Val Sherman

oh, you devil. you're giving us a Sophie's Choice +1. reading the other posts, think this is a generational divide.

1. meryl2. kate3. bette(kate and bette, forgive me)

mjm
mjm

 1) Kate 2) Bette  3) Meryl

CMG
CMG

1.) Bette2.) Meryl3.) Kate

I am more into Huppert and Deneuve, personally.  

Philip Crosby
Philip Crosby

1) Bette Davis.  Without her, neither of the other two would have had the careers or opportunities she did.2)  Meryl Streep.  The range, oh the range.  She wins on talent, Davis gets the nod for historical importance.3) Katharine Hepburn.  Yes, in this group #3 is damn good.

Muscato
Muscato

Oh, Dear...

1.  As actress, Miss Streep.  Now that she's ripening, she's even emerging as an interesting star (a very different thing), which for a long while (even as she was incandescent on screen) she wasn't.  I may be wrong, but I think that side of her started around Death Becomes Her.

2.  But still...Bette.  Margo.  Jane.  Charlotte.  the anti-Joan (couldn't help mentioning at least one more).  I place Miss Davis second only because, while she was an absolute virtuoso of what she did well, that range wasn't as broad on a purely technical basis as Miss Streep's (that said, whose is?).  That was something, of course, that troubled the studio that paid her not at all, so there wasn't, in her prime, much incentive to stretch.  And when she did, you ended up with something like Beyond the Forest - fun, but for none of the right reasons.

3.  Miss Hepburn.  She's someone, I think, whose legend is getting less and less interesting as we learn just how self-consciously created it all was, and almost right from day one.  In her element, she's flat-out heaven, but it's interesting that we think of Davis as a monstrous egotist, but it's Hepburn who titled her memoirs Me.  Don't get me wrong:  goddess, total, but technically even narrower than Davis (albeit generally more deft than Crawford - sorry, she just keeps popping up).  And the whole "Spencah waaas a god," business just gets on my nerves...

But of course, we won't really know for a few decades more - it's hardly fair to pit one who's wiht us against two only in memory... 

Melinda9
Melinda9

1) Meryl S2) Bette (love her although she was mannered)3) KHepburn - I don't really like her as an actress that much - but I like some of her work like Bringing Up Baby.

L. Ray
L. Ray

merylkatherinebette

could be bud
could be bud

Bette - sublime in The LetterMeryl - the comedies Hepburn - just Suddenly Last Summer !

Oil
Oil

Oh shut up. They do not. And he said to keep it to those three.

Oil
Oil

Yes, one must. He picked 3 American screen goddesses.

Jack M
Jack M

Bette, Meryl, Kate

Melinda9
Melinda9

 That works too -Bette - FMeryl - MKate - K

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet
Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

This isn't a beauty contest. Of the three, Bette Davis emerges, as the all time greatest. From Jezebel to the ill fated Judith, she was always unforgettable. Even in later years, she managed to incite genuine terror with, " What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?"  Would they have been contemporaneous, she would have given Pacino or Redford a run for the money.

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Rick Shaw
Rick Shaw

OK, OK.....Bette, Kate, and then the Streep...god Streep is so overrated. Sorry! Truth!....then again, so is Kate..ha!

Dclintmyers
Dclintmyers

aren't faye and joan the same person....lol...she nailed crawford in mommie dearest. 

Parva
Parva

Well, Kate had amazing range too, even if she was always sort of played herself. From Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby to African Queen and Long Day's Journey (not to mention Lion in Winter, Golden Pond, etc), she did it all. She even played Asian!

VonD
VonD

Oh but don't forget Bette Davis in All About Eve, in Jezebel, in Now Voyager, and in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Little Foxes(two of the sublime performances of American cinema, she's so out there!), etc. Bette is in a category all her own.

Meryl is quite exceptional too.

Kate always played the same role, but she could inhabit those roles powerfully.

Drysophila
Drysophila

Meryl #1 because she still has many more movies to come.

#2 a tie between Kate and Bette.

Loading...