Best Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked

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Search Meryl Streep’s filmography and the results are impressive. The most recent example is don’t look up, is a Netflix film in which she plays none other than the President of the United States. His career began in 1977 with a role in the film Julia, and she burst into the Hollywood spotlight with a supporting role in The deer hunter in 1979. This critically acclaimed film about the aftermath of the Vietnam War on survivors resulted in Streep’s first Oscar nomination.

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It wouldn’t be the last. Streep would spend the next few decades wowing audiences with his versatility and reach. She could completely change her appearance from role to role and could handle drama and comedy with equal professional expertise. These days, Meryl Streep is one of the biggest names in the movie world, and decades later, the hits just keep on coming.

ten Sophie’s Choice (1982)


Screenshot of Sophie's Choice

A scary story that has marked the conscience of society, everyone knows what this movie is about even if they haven’t seen it. The story itself is set in post-WWII New York City and follows Stingo’s character as he attempts to write a novel.

In doing so, he befriends Polish immigrant Sophie and her lover Nathan. By delivering an incredible performance, Streep truly earned the Oscar that would be awarded to him for this role. She learned German and Polish, including learning an authentic accent, to play the titular character.

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9 A Cry in the Dark (1988)


a scream in the dark screenshot outside the courthouse

A true story of a heartbreaking tragedy followed by a miscarriage of justice, here is another famous film that is so iconic that people still refer to it today without understanding the source material. A wild animal attacking a child isn’t so funny, no matter how silly the accent may seem.

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A cry in the dark, known as evil angels in Oceania, is based on the true story of Lindy Chamberlain, who claimed a dingo snatched her baby from their tent while on a camping trip. The child’s body was never found, and authorities charged Chamberlain with murder. The film focuses on the courtroom drama and the media circus that has spiraled out of control, rather than the veracity of the claims themselves.

8 Death Becomes Her (1992)


Death becomes his promotional image

Anyone who doubted Meryl Streep’s talent for comedy was converted by Death becomes her. Another pleasant surprise is Bruce Willis, who plays against type by taking on the nerdy, goofy character of Dr. Ernest Menville.

On the surface, this movie is a clever satirical comedy that takes a realistic, literal take on what eternal life can look like. The deeper message concerns the unrealistic demands the media places on public figures, especially actors and musicians, when it comes to staying young and attractive.

seven Postcards from the Edge (1990)


Age Streep and Maclean screenshot postcards

Carrie Fisher wrote a semi-autobiography of her life, and when it came time to make a movie, she also wrote the screenplay. Postcards from the edge is a funny yet sad story about the quirks of growing up in a family with deep ties to the entertainment industry.

Streep plays the lead role of an actress who needs to detox at home. She’s great in the role, but Shirley MacLane really steals the show as her mother, Doris. The character is based on real-life actress Debbie Reynolds, who was a Hollywood staple for decades and started working in movies before she was twenty.

6 Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)


kramer vs kramer screenshot family together

Kramer versus Kramer received a lot of positive and negative attention at the time. It was through this movie that people were able to recognize that divorce was not just a real thing, but actually a fairly common occurrence that could happen for any number of reasons.

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Critics compare contemporary shows like A wedding story to historical films like Kramer versus Kramer on the same subject. The plot combines family intrigue, economic pressure and legal drama. Also, unlike other stories of broken marriages at the time, he refuses to take sides.

5 Madison County Bridges (1995)


Bridges-Madison-County Eastwood and Streep bridge in the abckground

Few moviegoers think of romance and art when it comes to Clint Eastwood, but it seems Meryl Streep has that effect on people. On the other hand, that’s pretty much what Robert Kincaid’s character is supposed to be anyway.

A notorious teardrop in the minds of movies like Notebook, The story of this film is told mostly in flashbacks after the death of Streep’s character, Francesca, and her children uncover memories of an interesting weekend Mom spent home alone while they were away at the State Fair with their father. The moral of the story is not just about the secret lives of our loved ones, but also how those memories affect the way we live.


4 Into the Woods (2014)


promotional image in the woods main characters

This film adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical features a witch, a forest, a couple desperate to lift a curse, and there must be a handsome prince out there somewhere. Perfect for movie buffs who love The princess to be married Where Stardust, in the woods is also a modern retelling of an ancient fairy tale. Which, though, is the question, since the plot includes as many fantasy tropes as possible as part of the inside joke.

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A deliberate mix of Brothers Grimm stories fill most of the plot, and viewers will recognize footage of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. Meryl Streep plays the antagonist this time, the essential detail to the evil witch.


3 The Iron Lady (2011)


the iron lady screenshot strep as thatcher

There are many debates to be had regarding Margaret Thatcher’s actual politics. However, everyone agrees that Meryl Streep nailed the character when she took on the role in The Iron Woman.

The film is a dramatization, told in flashbacks by the main character as she reflects on her life after her husband’s recent death, and includes moments from her childhood and career. Streep has been credited with giving a divisive political figure a more sympathetic and humane portrayal.

2 Mama Mia! (2008)


mama-mia

Did Meryl Streep also sing and dance on her resume? It turns out the answer is yes. Some of her first public performances as a teenager involved singing, and she plays one of the lead roles in one of the world’s most popular musicals.

Another Broadway adaptation to film, Mom Mia made the musical jukebox a big deal, mostly in terms of how efficiently it could turn a profit with familiar tunes and a cheerful, upbeat story.

1 silk wood


Screenshot of expensive silkwood streep russell in factory

Remember when people were concerned about worker safety and nuclear power, sometimes even at the same time? silk wood is an interesting time capsule from another era, but it’s also important to note how little the hostility of management and corporate interests towards unions has changed. This film is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood, a whistleblower who was investigating dangerous conditions at the factory where she worked.

Speaking of time capsules, this Kurt Russell movie isn’t playing an action hero for the first time either, and Cher is also joining the cast in one of his first serious roles that doesn’t involve a musical performance. Although Streep is the star, the supporting cast only makes the movie better.

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