Meryl Streep

The 5 Most Iconic Performances by Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep has often been cited as the best actress of her generation. With the amount of recognition she has gotten from critics and award shows alike, there is no doubt that Streep’s acting prowess will go down in Hollywood history.

Streep has over 70 film, television, and stage credits under her name. She celebrates yet another milestone in her incredible film career with her 20th Oscar nomination for Best Actress for the movie Florence Foster Jenkins. 

To honor the acting veteran, Explore Talent is counting down Meryl Streep’s most iconic performances. Find out which ones made it to the list below.

The Best Performances of Oscar Winner Meryl Streep

5. The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter was Meryl Streep’s first major film role with which she managed to earn her very first Oscar nomination. The film is set in a small Pennsylvania town and it occasionally cuts off to scenes set in the Vietnam war.

Meryl Streep got to play Christopher Walken’s girlfriend in the epic war drama, which was named the 53rd greatest American film of all time by the American Film Institute in 2007.

4. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Kramer vs. Kramer

 The 1979 American drama film Kramer vs. Kramer came at the height of Streep’s career. It is based on the novel by Avery Corman and adapted onscreen by director Robert Benton. The plot centers around a couple who got a divorce after the woman (played by Streep) decides to leave her husband and young son behind to “find herself.”
Although she was absent for the most parts of the film, Streep’s performance was highly praised and she managed to win her first Oscar for a supporting role.

3. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County earned Streep yet another Academy Award nomination. It is based on the best-selling romance novel by Robert James Waller. The story line may have glorified adultery, but the characters were well-portrayed, and the movie was good enough to break the hearts of the viewers with its story.
Meryl Streep plays an Italian war bride who falls for Clint Eastwood‘s character, a National Geographic photographer assigned to take photos in Iowa. Aside from starring in the film, Eastwood doubled as director and producer at the same time.

2. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

The Devil Wears Prada

In another book-to-movie adaptation, Streep puts on very fashionable heels to play a cold-hearted editor-in-chief. From her very first scene, it is clear that nobody can play Miranda Priestly like Meryl Streep. She is icy, vile, and seemingly does not have a shred of humanity in her as the film plays out. Caught in the crossfire is Anne Hathaway, who plays her unlucky assistant.
The character was said to be based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who seemed unfazed by the satire portrayal of her. She even went on to praise Streep for her stunning performance.

1. The Iron Lady (2011)

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady is a biopic about the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While the film may have been met with mixed reviews, there was unanimous praise for Streep’s acting. Many critics have even gone on to say that it was the best performance of her career.
The movie earned Streep her third Oscar, which came 29 years after her first win as Best Actress for the film Sophie’s Choice.