Winona Ryder’s 10 Best Roles

Ranking the Queen of Halloween's 10 best (and spookiest) roles

winona ryder best roles
Stranger Things (Netflix), illustration by Steven Fiche

    This article was originally published in 2021, in honor of Winona Ryder’s birthday. 

    Today, October 29th, 2021, Winona Ryder turns 50 years old. She was just 15 when she made her film debut in David Seltzer’s 1986 romantic dramedy film Lucas, and it didn’t take much longer until the actress became one of the most recognizable and distinctive screen stars of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

    Ryder quickly became associated with off-kilter, eerie films, suiting her Halloween-season birthday. Early in her career, she established herself as a muse of sorts for Tim Burton, starring in his films Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. She continued this trend by playing a murderous high schooler in the teen black comedy Heathers, and a psychiatric hospital patient in Girl, Interrupted.

    Throughout the ‘90s, she became known as an indie darling — although to call her arresting stage presence as “darling” feels like a bit of an understatement. In the 2010s, she returned to the small screen as Joyce Byers in Netflix’s hit Stranger Things, solidifying her cross-generational appeal.


    In celebration of her birthday, and the official arrival of Halloween Weekend, we’ve rounded up Winona Ryder’s top 10 performances, from the ‘80s to the 2020s. See where your favorite Ryder film ranked below.

    Abby Jones

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