The 1980s produced some of cinema’s most legendary leading ladies. These iconic actresses defined the decade with their influential roles, timeless style, and remarkable talents.
Let’s look back at 33 fabulous actresses who ruled the 80s:
1. Meryl Streep
The revered Meryl Streep cemented her status as Hollywood royalty with unforgettable roles in Out of Africa, Silkwood, and Sophie’s Choice.
2. Sally Field
Sally Field captivated audiences, winning acclaim for Norma Rae, Places in the Heart, Steel Magnolias, and more.
3. Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange hypnotized with her emotive performances in Tootsie, Frances, and Sweet Dreams.
4. Geena Davis
Geena Davis displayed her comedic chops in Fletch, Beetlejuice, and Thelma & Louise.
5. Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton charmed in Baby Boom, Crimes of the Heart, and Mrs. Soffel, while reprising her Annie Hall role.
6. Glenn Close
With her versatility, Glenn Close excelled in 80s hits like The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and Fatal Attraction.
7. Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer cemented her star status as the Catwoman in Batman Returns and in cult classics like Scarface.
8. Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver portrayed legendary heroine Ripley while battling aliens in the epic sci-fi sequel Aliens.
9. Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher immortalized her role as Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back.
10. Barbara Hershey
Barbara Hershey took on daring roles in Hannah and Her Sisters, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Beaches.
11. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster matured from child star to adult powerhouse in 80s favorites like The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs.
12. Jamie Lee Curtis
The revered “scream queen,” Jamie Lee Curtis spooked audiences in Halloween II and horror classic A Fish Called Wanda.
13. Mary Steenburgen
Mary Steenburgen lit up the screen in Time After Time, Melvin and Howard, and Parenthood.
14. Sean Young
Sean Young smoldered in Blade Runner, Dune, Wall Street, and No Way Out.
15. Debra Winger
Three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger stole scenes in Urban Cowboy, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Terms of Endearment.
16. Kathleen Turner
Kathleen Turner oozed screen presence in Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Prizzi’s Honor.
17. Amy Irving
Amy Irving impressed in films like Crossing Delancey, Carrie, and Yentl.
18. Andie MacDowell
Andie MacDowell emerged as the L’Oréal spokesperson with hits like Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
19. Anjelica Huston
With her statuesque elegance, Anjelica Huston commanded attention in Prizzi’s Honor, The Witches, and The Dead.
20. Jennifer Grey
Jennifer Grey embodied the perfect 80s ingenue in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dirty Dancing.
21. Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Cates became the decade’s teen dream after her sexy pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
22. Lea Thompson
Lea Thompson cemented her fame as Lorraine McFly in Back to the Future and its sequels.
23. Kelly LeBrock
Kelly LeBrock memorably portrayed the fantasy woman in the hit comedy Weird Science.
24. Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter delivered quirky, Gothic performances in A Room with a View and Lady Jane.
25. Linda Hamilton
Linda Hamilton wowed action fans as Sarah Connor in The Terminator and its sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
26. Daryl Hannah
Daryl Hannah made waves as replicant Pris in Blade Runner and hilarious mermaid Madison in Splash.
27. Ally Sheedy
Ally Sheedy embodied shy outsiders in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire.
28. Jennifer Beals
Jennifer Beals broke out playing iconic dancer Alex Owens in Flashdance.
29. Elizabeth McGovern
Elizabeth McGovern charmed in Ordinary People, Once Upon a Time in America, and Ragtime.
30. Mary Stuart Masterson
Mary Stuart Masterson impressed in At Close Range, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Fried Green Tomatoes.
31. Martha Plimpton
Martha Plimpton delivered strong early work in The Goonies, The Mosquito Coast, and Running on Empty.
32. Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen graced the screen in Electric Dreams, Creator, and Modern Girls.
33. Justine Bateman
Justine Bateman portrayed Mallory Keaton on the hit sitcom Family Ties.
Unforgettable Icons of the Decade
With remarkable talent and elegance, these 33 actresses came to define the era and still inspire audiences today with their legendary performances.