Abbott and Costello Movies

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made 36 movies from 1940 to 1956

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made 36 movies from 1940 to 1956

Want to know the best Abbott and Costello movies?  How about the worst Abbott and Costello movies?  Curious about Abbott and Costello box office grosses or which Abbott and Costello movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Abbott and Costello movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences and which got the worst reviews? Well you have come to the right place….because we have all of that information.

Our most recent Ultimate Movie Ranking page asked the question….”Which Screen Duo was the most successful of all-time when looking at box office grosses?”  The answer turned out to be the Screen Duo team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.  Abbott and Costello made 36 movies together from 1940 to 1956.  Those 36 movies grossed $2.58 BILLION in adjusted domestic box office dollars.

Abbott and Costello were listed as Top Ten Box Office Stars 8 times from 1941 to 1951.  They ranked number one in 1942, when their four movies grossed over $540 million in adjusted box office dollars. This page looks at all the Abbott and Costello movies.  The movies are ranked from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.  You can decide which is the best way to rank their movies……just pick the category and sort the results.

1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein got some of the best reviews of their careers.

1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein got some of the best reviews of their careers.

Abbott and Costello Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies by the year they were made
  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies by co-stars of their movies.
  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies by domestic box office rank by year
  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort Abbott and Costello movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Use the search and sort button to make this page very interactive.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted BO Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Hold That Ghost (1941)Richard Carlson$155.4017th of 194185.00%00 / 0064.04
Who Done It (1942)William Bendix$145.3015th of 194282.00%00 / 0061.06
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Lon Chaney Jr.$124.8051st of 194882.00%00 / 0057.88
Time of Their Lives, The (1946)Gale Sondergaard$64.8078th of 194680.00%00 / 0047.64
Naughty Nineties, The (1945)Henry Travers$65.4079th of 194577.00%00 / 0046.33
Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)William Frawley$77.1074th of 195174.00%00 / 0046.73
Buck Privates (1941)Andrews Sisters$120.4012th of 194173.00%00 / 0052.97
Buck Privates Come Home (1947)Tom Brown$123.2068th of 194772.00%00 / 0052.94
Abbott & Costello in Hollywood (1945)Mike Mazurki$75.8072nd of 194570.00%00 / 0044.65
Little Giant (1946)Margaret Dumont$65.2080th of 194670.00%00 / 0043.01
Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)Boris Karloff$51.10114th of 195369.00%00 / 0040.35
Pardon My Sarong (1942)Virginia Bruce$207.6013th of 194268.00%00 / 0062.96
Hit The Ice (1943)Sheldon Leonard$144.5042nd of 194368.00%00 / 0054.36
Keep em' Flying (1941)Martha Raye$120.709th of 194168.00%00 / 0050.67
In The Navy (1941)Dick Powell$120.6010th of 194168.00%00 / 0050.65
In Society (1944)Thomas Gomez$93.5071st of 194468.00%00 / 0046.45
Here Come The Co-Eds (1945)Peggy Ryan$68.9076th of 194568.00%00 / 0042.64
Noose Hangs Loose, The (1948)Joseph Calleia$74.90109th of 194867.00%00 / 0043.10
Abbott & Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)Boris Karloff$36.30101st of 194967.00%00 / 0037.12
Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, The (1947)Marjorie Main$147.8035th of 194766.00%00 / 0053.93
It Ain't Hay (1943)Shemp Howard$128.5067th of 194366.00%00 / 0050.94
Abbott & Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)Walter Slezak$64.0092nd of 195066.00%00 / 0040.94
Mexican Hayride (1948)Virginia Grey$55.50119th of 194865.00%00 / 0039.15
Lost in Alaska (1952)Tom Ewell$63.9073rd of 195264.00%00 / 0039.98
African Screams (1949)Shemp Howard$81.7083rd of 194963.50%00 / 0042.50
Ride 'em Cowboy (1942)Ella Fitzgerald$215.9021st of 194263.00%00 / 0060.61
Abbott & Costello Meet The Keystone Kops (1955)Mack Sennett$34.50111th of 195562.00%00 / 0034.49
Rio Rita (1942)Kathryn Grayson$160.0041st of 194260.00%00 / 0053.00
Comin' Around The Mountain (1951)Margaret Hamilton$74.7078th of 195158.00%00 / 0038.84
Lost in a Harem (1944)Marilyn Maxwell$110.5066th of 194457.00%00 / 0043.92
One Night in the Tropics (1940)Robert Cummings$25.80110th of 194057.00%00 / 0030.79
Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952)Charles Laughton$85.2056th of 195356.00%00 / 0039.53
Dance With Me Henry (1956)Gigi Perreau$18.60107th of 195654.00%00 / 0028.26
Jack and the Beanstalk (1952)Buddy Baer$68.1068th of 195252.00%00 / 0035.00
Abbott & Costello Go To Mars (1953)Martha Hyer$53.20104th of 195346.00%00 / 0029.87
Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy (1955)Marie Windsor$46.3092nd of 195546.00%00 / 0028.80

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Abbott and Costello Table

  1. Fourteen Abbott and Costello movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 38.88% of their movies listed. Ride ’em Cowboy (1942) was their biggest box office ht when looking at adjusted domestic box office gross.
  2. An average Abbott and Costello movie grosses $93.60 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  28 of Abbott and Costello’ movies are rated as good movies…or 72.22% of their movies. Hold That Ghost (1941) is their highest rated movie while Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy (1955) was their lowest rated movie.
  4. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking  (UMR) Score is 40.00.  25 Abbott and Costello movies scored higher than that average….or 69.44% of their movies. Hold That Ghost (1941) got the the highest UMR Score while Dance With Me Henry (1956) got the lowest UMR Score.
Abbott and Costello in 1948's Africa Screams

Abbott and Costello in 1948’s Africa Screams

 

abbott 1222Bud Abbott was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 1895.  In 1909, Abbott dropped out school and started working with his father at Dreamland Park on Coney Island.  At 15 he found himself shoveling coal on a Norwegian steamer.  He returned home and starting working at carnivals and at the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  In 1923 he produced a low budget vaudeville show. He began performing as a straight man in the show when he could no longer afford to pay one.  Abbott would become known as one of the best straight men in the business.  Abbott was married one time and had two children.  He passed away on April 24th, 1974.

lou 11111Lou Costello was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1906.  Costello first attempt at Hollywood stardom did not work.  He arrived in Los Angeles in 1927…but could only find work as a laborer or extra.  In 1930, discouraged by his lack of success, he tried to hitchhike back home, but ran out of money in Missouri.  While stuck in Missouri, he started appearing in an act in a vaudeville show.  In the 1930s he started running into Bud Abbott on the vaudeville circuit.  One night when Costello’s regular partner was ill….Abbott stepped in and played opposite Costello….the rest is history.  Their most famous bit was Who’s On First and the catchphrases “Heeeeyyy, Abbott!” and “I’m a baaaaad boy!” Costello was married once and had 4 children.  He passed away on March 3rd, 1959.

Check out the Abbott and Costello career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

AFI’s Top 25 Screen Legend Actors….with links to my movie pages on the Screen Legend

2.   Cary Grant
16. Orson Welles
21. Buster Keaton

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Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.

 

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28 thoughts on “Abbott and Costello Movies

  1. 1 When I started watching them in the 1950s Abbott & Costello were past their heyday but each of their many 1940s films was given continual reruns in the cheap cinemas so that I got the impression that they had made hundreds of films Back then I took their screen personas as gospel and it was not until later that I learned that apparently Bud was the kinder of the two and Lou was allegedly aggressive and not at all nice. He also had a reputation for making a bit of a nuisance of himself [Chaplin fashion] with the young ladies so that ,whilst you will see all-smiles publicity stills of A & C with Deanna Durbin, apparently when she and they were working on adjacent lots Universal took great care to see that she was well chaperoned.

    2 VIDEO COMMENTS (1) My favourite were Keystone Kops, Lost in Alaska [chance would be a fine thing!], and A & C Go to Mars but unfortunately they are all at the bottom of your chart with an average rating of 5.3 (2) your great run of posters flatter the content of some of the films concerned as your ratings often indicate but for me best posters were Go to Mars, Invisible Man, and Keystone Kops with the stills of the Mummy, Jekyll and Hyde and Pardon my Sarong impressing me most. (3) Bruce and you agree on 4 of the Top 5 but in a completely different order (4) most of their films were with Universal but they made Meet Captain Kidd & Jack and the Beanstalk for Warners but you did not rate either highly, and despite his recent love affair with Warners Bruce too regards them as a couple of clinkers Good stuff overall though and 9.1

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for reviewing and rating my A & C video, always appreciated. I liked their films but was never a huge fan. I sometimes have one of their films on in the background when I’m on the computer. I always thought Bud was the bully going by his screen persona, interesting to read from you that Lou was the nasty one.

      Looking at Bruce’s critics chart, he has your favorites even lower down than I have, which makes me feel a little bit better. To tell the truth Go to Mars was out of my top 30 too but I had to squeeze it in there, a lot of people remember that one and might find it odd that I didn’t include it. The critics just hated it. Let’s be honest it wasn’t one of their best comedies and they didn’t even go to Mars, they ended up on Venus instead.

      Leonard Maltin helped “Meet Frankenstein” reach the top by giving it 9 out of 10, which is a bit much, a fun movie with Bela Lugosi reprising his iconic Dracula role, but 9 out of 10? That’s a higher score than he gives most of the entries in his Movie Guide.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z30_8Oy6ORc

      1. HI STEVE

        1 . Critics generally seem to almost regard as A & C’s classic Meet Frankenstein [or Frankie as we boys used to nickname the Monster over here not realising that Frankenstein was actually the creator].

        2 I loved the duo when I was a kid but I don’t think that I would care for their films much now “When I became a man I put away childish things.” Also the magic started to wear off when I was told that lovable, cuddly little Lou was in fact a b*****d who had designs on my Deanna. Please see my post of 6 Sept on this page for more about how he behaved.

        3 Though even back in my boyhood part of the attraction was that they were made by Universal International who also produced reasonable B westerns one of which would usually be on the same bill as an A & C movie. For example The Cimarron Kid supported Lost in Alaska and Gunsmoke was on the 2nd half of a double bill to A & C Go to Mars. Both westerns starred Audie Murphy and ironically Bruce gave the Murphy movies an average of 62.5 % and the 2 A & C flicks just 55% average. A Rory Calhoun/Walter Brennan western Four Guns to the Border was the supporting feature to A & C Meet the Keystone Kops. The tagline for the western was “One for all and all for trouble.”

        4 Anyway thanks for your own further comments as I like chatting with you almost as much as I like your videos! Hope that doesn’t offend you.

        1. Thanks for the always interesting info you provide Bob. I’m glad you like the videos.

          You must have been going to the cinema every week back in the day. Watching these classics on the big screen when they were still fairly new.

          I remember there was always 4-6 months delay before a big new film arrived in Britain. I would be reading about Star Wars record breaking US release in the summer of 1977 and I had to wait and wait until it opened in a few select cinemas in London’s West End in December that year. And than it had a wider release across the rest of London in March 1978, nearly a year after it’s American premiere.

          These days we sometimes get a major release a week or two before the US, things have certainly changed.

          Londoner Leslie Townes Hope is coming up next.

          1. 1 On Xmas day I went into 3 separate cinemas in 1954. 2PM to see Genevieve the Brit comedy 6PM to see Martin/Lewis Living it Up and 9pm to watch an obscure western The Jubilee Trail produced by the Duke’s old Republic Pictures though he was not in that one. I ideally fit that line in some movie or other “You didn’t have a boyhood – Errol Flynn and Clark Gable got it all!”

            2 Anyway looking forward to L T Hope.

          2. An enjoyable conversation between the two of you. Lots of good pieces of information throughout the comments.

      2. He gave it 9 out of 10 because Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is one of the best movies of all time, certainly the best horror comedy of all time. As for Lou being the “nasty one”. That is not true. He was the most outgoing one certainly. That horrible biography “Bud and Lou” and subsequent horrible movie propagated that nonsense.

        1. Hey Paul….thanks for the mini review on A & C Meet Frankenstein. I have read different sources with different views on their off screen relationship. Seems to go from both spectrums….I imagine the truth is somewhere in the middle. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. 1 Apparently Lou did not regard Bud as an equal partner and it is reported that the latter got just 25% of their team earnings. After they became firmly established Lou even pressed Universal to change the billing to Costello and Abbott but the studio refused saying that the public were used to the current order and would be more comfortable with it.

    2 Other than their profession their only common bond was an addiction to gambling and the set of every A & C film had endless card schools operating during filming intervals often with many of the rest of the cast and production staff involved.

    3. My favourite sketch from an A & C movie was in I think Little Giant [1946] called On the Carpet in this country. Lou is grabbed in the street by a passer by who shakes him and shouts “How dare you make a pass at my wife” Smack! A panic-stricken Lou protests “You’ve got the wrong guy and believe me I wouldn’t go near your wife.” “Oh so my wife isn’t good enough for you.” Smack! Smack! Exchanges in this vein go on for about two minutes.

    4 The four most popular comedy duos of the classic era were probably A & C, Laurel/Hardy, Martin/Lewis, & Hope/Crosby and it is noteworthy that the American Film Institute did not include any of them in its list of Screen Legends either as a team or as solo artists in the case of the latter two pairs.

    5 A recently published comprehensive survey of movie and TV stars found that in comedy duos the funny man had an average of 2 years less life expectancy than the straight man and the survey concluded that performing comedy could put greater strain on an individual than straight acting. As Bruce’s short biographies on A & C above illustrate Lou unfortunately got nowhere near benefiting from even the 2 year average.

    1. Hey Bob….I have read some books on A & C and I have read the same thing. When I was younger they fascinated me. I used to watch a new to me A & C movie every Saturday on an old UHF channel. Over time I can hardly remember which movies I have seen and which ones I have not seen. I was never a fan of Who’s On First…..but I will try and track down the one from Little Giant that you mentioned. I have pages on all the comedy duos you mentioned with the exception of Laurel and Hardy. I have done some research on them but I have come out empty handed every single time. Interesting study about the funny man and the straight man’s life expectancy. As always….you have provided an enjoyable comment.

    2. That is patently untrue that Abbott got 25% of the income. They got 50/50. In their burlesque days the straight man got 60% because he was regarded as the most important Redon on a team. When they got to zHollywood it was 50/50. Yes they had squabbles but loved each other like brothers. Bud was a pall bearer at Lou’s funeral.

      1. Hey Paul…..thanks for the information on Abbott and Costello. I am sure any long term relationships is going to have its ups and downs. Maybe some of their disagreements have been over emphasized. In the end they were the greatest movie duo of all time. 🙂

  3. I am sorry but i did not find a film we call in France
    HELLZAPOPPING
    where there is a phrase with at the beginning of the films a little tree and a question where is mrs JONES
    Very funny film

    1. Hey Pierre….Abbott & Costello were not in Hellzapoppin!…..but I do have it in my database…..it was one of the big hits of 1941….earning about $1.7 million in rentals….which translates to about $160 million in adjusted box office (Domestic total). Glad to hear it was funny. Thanks for the question and the visit.

      1. hello Bruce,

        i am really sorry and of course i was wrong but in the films one of top billing is Martha Raye and somebody very well known in that days Misha Auer.
        Merci for your return and à bientôt

        pierre

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