The 10 Best Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked

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Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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8. Linda in The Deer Hunter (1978)

The role that would earn Streep her first Oscar nod didn’t immediately catch the future legend’s eye — in fact, just the opposite. She called Linda “essentially a man’s view of a woman,” marked by passivity and vulnerability, but she took the part to spend more time with her boyfriend, actor John Cazale, who was dying of lung cancer. In this brutal, three-hour Vietnam War epic, Linda stands out as the emotional core, and Streep mines real emotions from the stock “girl back home” character. It’s easy to see why best friends Mike (Robert De Niro, 77) and Nick (Christopher Walken, 78) were both smitten with her.

The Most Meryl Moment: When Mike returns from Vietnam, Linda is the only one left at his welcome home party, and her warm and exuberant “Oh, Michael!” conveys so much about their shared history and affection.

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Awards Attention: Academy Awards (nomination), BAFTAs (nomination), Golden Globes (nomination), plus wins from the American Movie Awards and the National Society of Film Critics Awards

Watch It: The Deer Hunter, on Peacock

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