Her big-screen debut was in the 1986 coming-of-age drama Lucas, starring a young Corey Haim. A series of outcast teen roles followed in Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1989) and Edward Scissorhands (1990).
Throughout her career, Ryder has balanced her work in period films, such as 1993's The Age of Innocence (for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), 1994's Little Women (for which she earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination) and The Crucible (1996), with more modern roles in Reality Bites (1994) and Girl, Interrupted (1999). She's even branched out into comedy and science fiction with Mr. Deeds (2002), Alien: Resurrection (1997) and A Scanner Darkly (2005).