Ava Gardner Movies

Ava Gardner....ranked as the 25th greatest actress by AFI.

Ava Gardner….ranked as the 25th greatest actress by AFI.

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

Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was an American actress, who the American Film Institute ranked as one of the Top 50 Screen Legends of all time.  Gardner for many years was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Gardner is ranked as the 25th best actress, right behind #24 Mary Pickford.  One of our goals is to do a movie page on all 50 Screen Legends.  After completing this page we have now written movie pages on 42 (or 84%) of those performers……leaving only 6 actresses and 2 actors that still need movie pages.  Speaking of Mary Pickford….we are actually working on a Pickford movie page.  However when we were researching box office information on Pickford from 1909 through 1919 ….we got lost….we got confused…..we got scared and we came running back to doing a Gardner page.  One day we will figure out how to write a comprehensive movie page on Mary Pickford….but until then we hope you enjoy this Ava Gardner movie page.

Her IMDb page shows 69 acting credits from 1941-1986. This page will rank 40 Ava Gardner movies from Best to Worst in seven different sortable columns of information.  Uncredited roles, bit parts, shorts and television appearances were not included in the rankings.

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Ava Gardner in 1946’s The Killers….the movie role that made her a star.

Ava Gardner 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 Ava Gardner movies by the year the movie was made
  • Sort Ava Gardner movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Ava Gardner movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort Ava Gardner movies by domestic yearly box office rank
  • Sort Ava Gardner movies by how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and Oscar® wins each Ava Gardner movie received.
  • Sort Ava Gardner movies by Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score.  UMR puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Use the sort and search buttons to make this table very interactive.  For example…if you type in “Clark Gable” in the search box….the 3 Gardner/Gable movies will pop right up.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted BO Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
The Killers (1946)Burt Lancaster$162.7051st of 194687.00%04 / 0067.71
Seven Days in May (1964)Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas$91.6019th of 196486.50%02 / 0055.66
The Hucksters (1947)Clark Gable & Deborah Kerr$223.8012th of 194779.00%00 / 0068.13
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)Humphrey Bogart & Edmond O'Brien$172.8024th of 195477.50%02 / 0164.60
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)James Mason$60.2095th of 195277.50%00 / 0045.75
The Night of the Iguana (1964)Richard Burton & Deborah Kerr$111.2015th of 196473.50%04 / 0154.60
Show Boat (1951)Howard Keel & Kathryn Grayson$255.002nd of 195173.00%02 / 0066.11
Bhowani Junction (1956)Stewart Granger$92.0043rd of 195672.00%00 / 0048.10
On the Beach (1959)Gregory Peck & Fred Astaire$191.708th of 196071.67%02 / 0064.19
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)Paul Newman & Anthony Perkins$121.7012th of 197270.00%01 / 0052.16
Mogambo (1953)Clark Gable & Grace Kelly$194.808th of 195367.67%02 / 0067.29
East Side West Side (1949)Barbara Stanwyck & James Mason$82.7076th of 195066.50%00 / 0044.08
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward$276.704th of 195264.33%02 / 0062.04
Knights of the Round Table (1953)Robert Taylor & Mel Ferrer$192.4011th of 195462.50%02 / 0060.00
55 Days At Peking (1963)Charlton Heston$140.0020th of 196362.50%02 / 0051.88
Ride Vaquero! (1953)Robert Taylor & Anthony Quinn$78.1074th of 195362.00%00 / 0041.25
The Great Sinner (1949)Gregory Peck$108.9046th of 194961.67%00 / 0045.86
Maisie Goes To Reno (1944)Ann Sothern$71.8083rd of 194461.50%00 / 0040.03
The Bible: In the Beginning (1966)John Huston & George C. Scott$287.402nd of 196661.00%01 / 0060.07
She Went To The Races (1945)James Craig$31.50113th of 194560.50%00 / 0033.32
3 Men in White (1944)Lionel Barrymore$51.0067th of 194460.00%00 / 0036.10
The Bribe (1949)Robert Taylor & Vincent Price$84.9082nd of 194959.50%00 / 0041.12
The Angel Wore Red (1960)Joseph Cotten$14.30199th of 196057.50%00 / 0029.24
OneTouch of Venus (1948)Robert Walker$38.80143rd of 194857.00%00 / 0032.80
Priest of Love (1981)Ian McKellen$5.30243rd of 198156.00%00 / 0027.14
Singapore (1947)Fred MacMurray$44.30163rd of 194755.50%00 / 0032.95
The Kidnapping of the President (1980)William Shatner & Van Johnson$2.30167th of 198052.00%00 / 0024.80
The Sun Also Rises (1957)Tyrone Power & Errol Flynn$129.0020th of 195751.50%00 / 0044.20
Ghosts on the Loose (1943)Bela Lugosi$16.00230th of 194351.50%00 / 0026.68
The Devil's Widow (1970)Directed by Roddy McDowall$8.20166th of 197051.00%00 / 0025.24
Whistle Stop (1946)George Raft$94.4081st of 194650.00%00 / 0038.13
Lone Star (1952)Clark Gable & Broderick Crawford$105.5034th of 195249.50%00 / 0039.61
The Little Hut (1957)Stewart Granger & David Niven$86.0049th of 195749.50%00 / 0036.59
Mayerling (1968)James Mason & Omar Sharif$16.50102nd of 196849.50%00 / 0025.82
My Forbidden Past (1951)Robert Mitchum$55.40113th of 195148.00%00 / 0031.15
The Blue Bird (1976)Elizabeth Taylor & Jane Fonda$42.0060th of 197646.50%00 / 0028.37
Earthquake (1974)Charlton Heston & George Kennedy$462.402nd of 197445.50%04 / 0155.20
The Cassandra Crossing (1976)Sophia Loren & Martin Sheen$50.2065th of 197745.50%00 / 0029.16
The Naked Maja (1958)Anthony Franciosa$40.10112th of 195840.50%00 / 0025.26
City on Fire (1979)Henry Fonda$4.10109th of 197926.50%00 / 0013.10

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Ava Gardner Table

  1. Sixteen Ava Gardner movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 40.00% of her movies listed. Earthquake (1974) was her biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Ava Gardner movie grosses $107.70 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  21 of Ava Gardner’s movies are rated as good movies…or 52.50% of her movies.  The Killers (1946) was her highest rated movie while City on Fire (1979) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Thirteen Ava Gardner movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 32.50% of her movies.
  5. Three Ava Gardner movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 7.50% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  22 Ava Gardner movies scored higher that average….or 55.00% of her movies.  The Hucksters (1947) got the the highest UMR Movie Score while City on Fire (1979) got the lowest UMR Movie Score.
Clark Gable and Ava Gardner in 1953's Mogambo....one of three movies they made together

Clark Gable and Ava Gardner in 1953’s Mogambo….one of three movies they made together

Possibly Interesting Facts About Ava Gardner

1. Ava Lavina Gardner was born in Grabtown, North Carolina in 1922….she was a Christmas Eve baby.

2. Ava Gardner was nominated for one acting Oscar®…Best Actress for Mogambo (1953) and one acting Golden Globe®….Best Actress for Night of the Iguana (1964).

3. Ava Gardner’s biggest box office hit was 1974’s Earthquake.  Earthquake is also one of her least liked movies by critics and audiences.  In our 23,000 movie database it is one of the biggest box office hits with the lowest critic audience rating.  It joins all the Transformers movies and Armageddon in that strange club.

4. Ava Gardner was continuously under contract at MGM from 1941-1958.

5. Ava Gardner’s own singing voice was used in her breakthrough role in The Killers (1947).  Much to her disgust…MGM dubbed her voice in the rest of her MGM movies.

6. According to the American Film Institute, Ava Gardner is the 25th greatest female star of all-time.

7. Ava Gardner was married three times in her life but did not have any children.  All three of her marriages were very much in the public eye….the Angelina Jolie of the 1940s and 1950s?  Her first marriage was to actor Mickey Rooney from 1942 to 1943.  Her second marriage was to singer Artie Shaw from 1945-1946.  Her third and final marriage was to Frank Sinatra from 1951-1957. Her three husbands were eventually married to a total of 20 brides between them.

8. Our favorite Ava Gardner quote comes from Louis B. Mayer.  He said….. “She can’t talk, she can’t act, she’s terrific”.

9. Ava Gardner turned down or was seriously considered for these roles:  Elizabeth Taylor role in Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor role in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Doris Day role in Love Me or Leave Me, Capucine role in The Pink Panther and Geraldine Page in Sweet Bird of Youth.

10. Check out Ava Gardner’s movie career compared to current and classic stars on our Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time page.

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America Film Institutes’ Top 25 Screen Legend Actress and UMR’s Links That Rank All Of Their Movies.

12. Claudette Colbert
17. Lillian Gish
19. Rita Hayworth
23. Carole Lombard
24. Mary Pickford
Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.  Golden Globes® are the registered trademark and service mark of the Hollywood Foreign Press.
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37 thoughts on “Ava Gardner Movies

  1. 1 Film stars can be attracted to issues that will often surface as a central theme in their films. We have discussed how McQueen seemed preoccupied with escaping in his movies. In Ava’s case from time to time there would be the physical incapacity of her on-screen love interest.

    2 For example in The Sun Also Rises she loves Ty Power’s journalist Jake Barnes but because of war injuries Jake could never consummate their relationship. In Barefoot Contessa she marries Nobleman Rossano Brazzi who then informs her he can never consummate the marriage. The irony is that posters for the film tell us that the Nobleman has married “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal”.

    3 In real life Ava was certainly one of the latter and as Bruce illustrates above AFI cited her among its legends. Accordingly I regard her as one of the important stars of the classic era so I have been eagerly awaiting for this update

  2. 1 In all of her highest grossing movies in the table above Ava was never billed higher than second and had always a great star like the King, Ty Power or Bob Taylor to help her carry the movie. Thus in the 1950s her box office power was questioned by film journalists and I have always been ambivalent about her inclusion in the AFI Legends lists.

    2 However she was GLAMOROUS and indeed your poster for her Bogie movie The Barefoot Contessa calls her “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal”. Indeed such was her feminine appeal that in the 1950s the boys in the”locker room” as The Donald would express it would when referring to her remove from her surname the G and replace it with H. Because of all this and as a lady who married BOTH Sinatra and Joe Yule Jr she must have had a pretty strong character I was always been historically interested in Ava’s career so I welcomed your video.

    3 COMMENTS (a) the scores are some of the lowest I’v seen so far in your videos (b) deliciously witty opening quote and particularly stunning posters for Bhowani Junction and My Forbidden Past (3) you and Bruce are in sync with about 3 of your top 5 but he gives 55 Days at Peking just a 15th slot and your inclusion of it in your Top 5 reminds me of a sitcom that I saw years ago where the comedian proclaimed “I’m gonna throw MY OWN party and I’LL decide whose invited.” (4) Ava mad 2 films with Stewart Granger whom we recently discussed and they were Bhowani Junction and Little Hut and you and Bruce give the former OK ratings but were clearly very dismissive of the latter. I agree but ironically according to Wikipedia because of high production costs Bhowani Junction although the bigger grosser lost money whereas Little Hut turned a profit.

    4 Stewart and Ava were life long friends and Granger would often visit her in her reclining years. Possibly hinting at suicide he said that on his final visit before her death at just 67 officially from pneumonia she had become so disenchanted with everything that he thought that she had lost the will to live. If so that was a very sad end to a once vibrant life and career. .

      1. Hi Bob, looking at my files Ava did get a lot of low scores, only three movies got the full 10 and they were On the Beach, Showboat and The Killers. On the Beach received average scores elsewhere and it dropped down the chart. 55 Days at Peking had an average score of 7 but because the others did even worse it managed to get into the top 5.

        The Little Hut got low scores across the board. I was surprised I remember enjoying the film when I last saw it.

        Thanks for posting!

        1. Hey Bob and Steve….your video (Steve’s) was a fun one to see…while your comments (Bobs) were enjoyable to read. I read in one of her biographies that she was not too impressed with her own career….seems she was underestimating her performances. Funny line about Donald and Ava. I have not seen The Little Hut….but Steve’s memory of it makes me somewhat interested in seeing it. Thanks for the Ava talk….it is greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi
    One of her best performances was in Mayerling. She played the Empress Elizabeth to Franz Joseph of Austria. It was a supporting role but she was fantastic in it. Unfortunately the movie didn’t do great box office. I think she was like a lot of the great glamour queens, she was never taken seriously as an actress. And yet when given a chance she rose to the occasion. Films like On the Beach and Night of the Iguana, proved that she was more than just a pretty face.
    In a way her private life got in the way of her actual film career. Marriages to Mickey Rooney, Arty Shaw and Frank Sinatra kept her in the front pages. But it did little for her actual acting career. It’s a shame she didn’t have one outstanding role like say Rita Hayworth in Gilda or Lana Turner in Postman Always Rings Twice. I always liked her in Showboat, but her voice was dubbed and some of the producers wanted to use Lena Horne, who probably would have been better in the role. Nevertheless Ava looked lovely in the part.

    1. Hey Chris. Hmmmm….I had never even heard of Mayerling before I started doing these pages….I will have to add that one to the list of movies to watch. I do not think Ava even took her self serious as an actress. I agree with you about Night of the Iguana….I did not like that movie at all but she was really good in that one. Earthquake might be her most famous role but even in that one….you have to wonder why Heston picked her versus his young mistress at the end of the movie. You would think that with the success of The Killers…which used her voice for the singling part…..they would have let her sing in the musicals she appeared in after The Killers. As always thanks for talking movies.

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