Barbara Stanwyck Movies

Barbara Stanwyck is ranked as the 11th Greatest Actress on AFI's Top 50 Stars list

Barbara Stanwyck is ranked as the 11th Greatest Actress on AFI’s Top 50 Stars list

Want to know the best Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) movies?  How about the worst Barbara Stanwyck movies?  Curious about Barbara Stanwyck box office grosses or which Barbara Stanwyck movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Barbara Stanwyck 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.

Ok before we get started on this Barbara Stanwyck movie page let’s get some behind the scenes information out of the way. This page comes from the suggestion from Alecia Murphy .  Also, I consider myself to be a huge movie buff, but looking at Barbara Stanwyck’s movie list, I realize I have only seen two of her movies. So how can I write a movie page that ranks all of her movies from best to worst? Other than the fact that I have watched many episodes of The Big Valley…..the answer is with Ultimate Movie Rankings Score. Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score looks at the box office success, the critical response from critics and audiences and award recognition. UMR Score then takes all the information and through a mathematical equation gives each movie a score……100 would be a perfect score.

After a successful stage career, Barbara Stanwyck moved to Hollywood in 1928. She proved herself to be versatile enough to appear in all genres of the movies. She was equally at home in dramas like 1937’s Stella Dallas and 1941’s Ball of Fire as well as comedies like 1940’s Remember the Night and 1941’s The Lady Eve. She also excelled in playing femme fatales in movies like 1944’s Double Indemnity and 1946’s The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers. Yet another genre she specialized in was  westerns, as she appeared in many westerns though out her career.

Her peak years were between 1937 and 1949. The 1950s saw her constantly working but the quality of the movies started to diminish. One of her last starring roles was opposite Ronald Reagan in 1954’s The Cattle Queen of Montana. Cattle Queen is the movie that made Reagan think about other career options…that turned out well for him. As the 1960s came into play Stanwyck stopped making movies and concentrated her career on television projects. She starred in The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1961-62), The Big Valley (1965-1969), and The Colbys (1985-86). In her later years, Stanwyck did lots of work for charity. She passed away January 20, 1990.

Her IMDb page shows 107 acting credits from 1927-1986. This page will rank 79 Barbara Stanwyck movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos, some hard to find information on movies and movies not released in North American theaters were not included in the rankings.

Barbara Stanwyck in 1948's Sorry Wrong Number

Barbara Stanwyck in 1948’s Sorry Wrong Number

Barbara Stanwyck 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 Barbara Stanwyck movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Barbara Stanwyck movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Barbara Stanwyck movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort Barbara Stanwyck 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 how many Oscar® wins each Barbara Stanwyck movie received.
  • Sort Barbara Stanwyck 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 sort and search button to make this a very interactive page.  For example type in Henry Fonda in the search box to see all of the Fonda/Stanwyck movies….or type Clark Gable in the search box to bring up all of the Gable/Stanwyck movies….or type in….I think you get the idea.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Barbara StanwyckTable

  1. Twenty-seven Barbara Stanwyck movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 34.17% of her movies listed. California (1946) was her biggest box office hit….I excluded Hollywood Canteen from this question.
  2. An average Barbara Stanwyck movie grosses $87.10 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using’s 60% fresh meter.  50 of Barbara Stanwyck’s movies are rated as good movies…or 63.29% of her movies.  Double Indemnity (1944) was her highest rated movie while The Bride Walks Out (1936) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Fifteen Barbara Stanwyck movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 18.98% of her movies.
  5. One Barbara Stanwyck movie (1953’s Titanic) won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 1.26% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  46 Barbara Stanwyck movies scored higher than that average….or 58.22% of her movies.  Double Indemnity (1944) got the the highest UMR Score while The Maverick Queen (1956) got the lowest UMR Score.
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in 1944's Double Indemnity

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in 1944’s Double Indemnity

Possibly Interesting Facts About Barbara Stanwyck

1. Barbara Stanwyck’s birth name was Ruby Catherine Stevens. She became an orphan at the age of four when her mother passed away and her father went looking for work in Central America and was never heard from again.

2. So how did Ruby Catherine Stevens become Barbara Stanwyck? In 1926 she was appearing in a play called The Noose. After the success of the The Noose she decided to change her name. Her character’s first name in the play was Barbara while another one of the actresses in the play had a last name of Stanwyck. So she put the two names together and created Barbara Stanwyck.

3. Barbara Stanwyck received 4 Oscar® nominations for Best Actress. Those four movies were…1937’s Stella Dallas, 1941’s Ball of Fire, 1944’s Double Indemnity and 1948’s Sorry Wrong Number. She never won an Oscar® but she received an Honorary Oscar® Award in 1982: “For superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.”

4. Speaking of Oscar® talk….here is a crazy piece of trivia. Barbara Stanwyck’s 82 movies received 28 Oscar® nominations in various categories over the years.  The only Stanwyck movie to win an Oscar®?…..1953’s Titanic.

5. With earnings of $400,000 in 1944, Stanwyck earned the title of highest paid woman in the United States.

6. Barbara Stanwyck was married twice in her life. Her first marriage was to Frank Fay from 1928-1935. During their marriage they adopted Dion Anthony as their son. Her second marriage was to fellow actor Robert Taylor. They were married 1939 to 1950. Another relationship of note was between Stanwyck and Robert Wagner. They started their relationship when he was 22 and she was 45….it lasted 4 years.

7. The American Film Institute ranks Barbara Stanwyck as the 11th greatest actress of all-time. While Entertainment Weekly ranks her as the 40th Greatest Movie Star of All-Time.

8. Barbara Stanwyck’s nicknames on the set were Missy or The Queen.

9. Barbara Stanwyck is the Godmother of Tori Spelling.

10. Check out Barbara Stanwyck‘s career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

Barbara Stanwyck appeared in 82 movies from 1929-1964. Of those movies, I was unable to find all the information needed to calculate Movie Scores for 3 of her movies. Those movies were 1927’s Dance Magic 1929’s The Locked Door and 1929’s Mexicali Rose

Not enough stats for you?  Well here are Adjusted Worldwide Grosses On 30 Barbara Stanwyck Movies (in millions)

  • Annie Oakley (1935)  $62.70 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Baby Face (1933) $47.30 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Ball of Fire (1941) $256.30 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • BF’s Daughter (1948) $105.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Blowing Wild (1953) $143.10 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Bride Walks Out, The (1936) $75.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Christmas in Connecticut (1945) $284.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Cry Wolf (1947) $165.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • East Side, West Side (1949) $138.70 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Ever in My Heart (1933) $50.60 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Executive Suite (1954) $187.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Gambling Lady (1934) $68.80 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Gay Sisters, The (1942) $214.50 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • His Brother’s Wife (1936) $186.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Illicit (1931) $65.30 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Jeopardy (1953) $69.30 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Ladies They Talk About (1933) $38.90 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Lost Lady, A (1934) $39.50 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Man With The Cloak, The (1951) $36.20 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Meet John Doe (1941) $232.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Moonlighter, The (1953) $40.50 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • My Reputation (1946) $260.60 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Night Nurse (1931) $81.80 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Purchase Price, The (1932) $37.70 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • So Big! (1932) $51.10 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • These Wilder Years (1956) $38.00 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • This Is My Affair (1937) $171.70 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • To Please A Lady (1950) $146.40 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Two Mrs. Carrolls, The (1947) $219.10 million adjusted worldwide box office
  • Woman in Red, The (1935) $43.40 million adjusted worldwide box office

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38 thoughts on “Barbara Stanwyck Movies

  1. 1 When I was growing up in the 1950s we boys were not too interested in female stars as we were heavily into action movies especially westerns with the likes of Laddie, Widmark, Stewart and Tweedie being our idols. However Barbara was one actress that I did watch probably because she had been married to Robert Taylor who was also one of our favourite heroes.

    2 COMMENTS ON VIDEO (1) you know Steve until I read your opening quote it never occurred to me how piercing Stanwyck’s eyes were (2) I was pleased that your selection included 10 of her 1950s movies.(3) again you and Bruce are agreed on only 3 of the Top 5 (4) your No 5 The Bitter Tea of General Yen is so atmospheric it should be historically preserved (5)
    best posters – 2 Mrs Carrolls, Violent Men and Golden Boy the latter being a raunchy one that I would not normally associate with the usually circumspect Golden Holden (6) ironically I recall that on 20 Oct 1990 I had just finished watching Union Pacific starring Babs and Joel McCrea when I turned over to the to find out that Joel’s death was being announced. .

    3 Overall another wonderful trip down Memory Lane for me so I am again obliged to you Steve. Best wishes BOB

    1. Thanks Bob, glad you’re enjoying these videos. Have to confess that once I’ve finished them I rarely give them another look, unless I’ve completely forgotten about them. I know how actors feel when they say they never watch their movies. 😉

      Your comments do tempt me to give them a peek though, I appreciate that. For me the poster artwork comes first and the ratings come second, I mean it’s all opinion isn’t it? Many of my favorite films aren’t highly rated, even Ben-Hur with all it’s Oscars isn’t as highly rated as Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity or Carol Reed’s The Third Man.

      Looking at my files I’ve so far ranked and rated just over 3100 films, most of them pre-1980, The Godfather sits comfortably at the top with a rating of 9.6. Wow! There are still 4000 films on my list waiting to be scored.

      1. Hey Steve….we do have the same overall top movie….The Godfather…..seems we normally have the same top movie. My main sources for classic movies are IMDb (which I consider the audience voice) Rotten Tomatoes (try to use the critic section….but for some of the really old ones…there are not enough critic reviews) Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Review books, Roger Ebert (for movies from the late 1960s to his passing), Joel Hirschhorn’s Rating The Movie Stars book (I recommend you buying that one….it has all the performances ranked that can be viewed in one quick look), and VideoHound… some emergency sources if I strike out with these normally reliable sources.

        Actually you can buy the Ratings The Movie Star Book…for .54 cents.

        My overall Top 10
        #1 The Godfather, #2 Schlinder’s List #3 Casablanca #4 Godfather Part 2 #5 Rear Window #6 Tokyo Story #7 Good,Bad & Ugly #8 12 Angry Men #9 North by Northwest #10 Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back

        1. Hi Bruce, I haven’t rated Schindler’s List yet, but Casablanca is currently 2nd after The Godfather, I’ve seen all your top 10 apart from Tokyo Story. The big one missing from there is Citizen Kane, I dread to think where on your chart it’s placed. Don’t tell me it’s below The Light at the Edge of the World? [cue gasps, a high-pitched scream and a fainting] 😉

          Sorry couldn’t resist. Happy to see Good the Bad and the Ugly rated so highly, one of my top favorites, right up there with the Light at the[STOP IT STEVE!]

          Thanks for the ratings sources tips, the late Roger Ebert was good, I enjoyed reading his reviews even if he was sometimes tempted to give away a few spoilers. I use three of the sources you use (and we still don’t mesh!)

          Bob, I can’t imagine any film topping The Godfather’s 9.6 score, Schindler’s List? meh, Shawshank Redemption? thppt, the prequel to The Light at the Edge of the World, starring Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson [that’s enough Steve!) 🙂

          1. Hey Steve…Citizen Kane is ranked 51st on my Top 100 Best Reviewed movies….it is in 66th place at IMDb….so I have it ranked higher than them. I think The Light At The Edge of the World…had a hard time cracking the Top 12,000 in my database.

            Those are my sources….but they have a weighted percentage….as much as I love Ebert and Maltin….their combined influence on my rating is only 10%. Shawshanks tops the Godfather at IMDb….but that is the only place that happens.

            As always…thanks for the visit, the comment and the feedback. It is always good to read.

      2. STEVE

        1 9.6 out of 10 is as good as it gets. I remember once having a paper marked 9 out of 10 and the examiner wrote that I had lost a mark because of an error that he pointed out. He was wrong and when I demonstrated that to him he withdrew the comment but would not change his marking. “I never give anyone 10/10” he explained

        2 Can’t help feeling though that in the archives there is a Tweedie movie somewhere that’ hasn’t been released and is just waiting for an outing and a 10/10.

        1. Hey Bob….the highest score in my database is just short of 95%….the way my calculation works…there will never be a 10….it is statistically impossible. Comment 2…..I hope you are right….but as time passes that becomes less and less of a possibility. Thanks for the feedback.

    2. Hey Bob….yes….Steve once again…got his Top 5 all messed up again…lol……though we do agree on the top one. I would have guessed Robert Taylor would be one of your favorites…westerns….the 1950s…..count little Bobby in! I have heard the marriage of Taylor and Stanwyck might have been a “beard” for her….not that it matters….just interesting if that was the case. It is amazing how you remember when you heard about someone’s passing. I don’t remember McCrea’s passing….but I remember Cary Grant’s passing……heck they reported he got sick and was headed to the hospital…..and then they were reporting he passed….which is why I do not go to hospitals…lol.

      1. 1 Watching Union Pacific and then hearing the news connected the two up or obviously I wouldn’t have remember at all when I heard about Joel though to pinpoint the exact I had to look up Joel’s obituary.t

        2 I remember seeing a TV movie called The Night Elvis Died about a DJ who was a Presley fanatic and played nothing but Elvis songs on the air. When he heard of the King’s death it was in the wee small hours of the morning and he ran around waking up all his friends to cry on their shoulder and he couldn’t understand how they were still asleep ! “Nobody should be asleep tonight!” he strictured. I take it you didn’t wake up half the neighbourhood when Cary died?

        1. Hey Bob….interesting memory about McCrea and Union Pacific. Elvis’ passing affected lots of people…my best friend’s mom was very very upset. Nope I grieved by myself when Grant died….but I did keep lots of articles that came out after he passed….including a People magazine with him on the cover, many different newspapers that covered his passing. Hard to believe that was 30 years ago.

          1. 1 I read that when Valentino died some women committed suicide but I never heard of that happening because of Elvis’ death though I gather that it nearly happened with one of your female readers when Gregory Peck passed away !

            2 The old silent Greats such as Rudolph, Fairbanks Sr, Pickford etc are almost the forgotten era of Hollywood. I know you’ve given a few of them pages but generally it’s as if none of them ever existed Charlie apart.

            3 That friend of mine who claimed that Duke would hide if the bad guys came looking for him was a complete cynic and he detested movie stars and I remember
            we were sitting in a hotel drinking once and he told me that if a lot of the Greats had been staying at that hotel he wouldn’t gave been curious enough to even go into another room to see any of them with the exception of Brando and Cary Grant. There’s always been a great hullabaloo about Bud but it’s seldom remarked about the effect Cary had on all types of people. Another pal of mine who is not an idolater and who also has little interest in movie stars nevertheless confided me once that he liked Grant. Anyway thanks for your own Grant revelations.


          2. Hey Bob.
            1. I did not hear that about Elvis’ fans either……a star’s passing hits me different ways….if I feel connected to them….I feel a UMR page helps me deal with the death….but I do not do that unless I am connected. Gene Wilder….yes….and he got a page. Alan Rickman……not really…so he did not get a page….which of course had Cogerson Daughter #1 wanting to know where his page was.
            2. I have pages on Pickford, Gish and DeMille…..but those are one of the few silent stars to get that treatment.
            3. The power of Cary Grant…..he connected with so many different people. Thanks for sharing those movie thoughts….even if you put Marion in a bad light….lol.

          3. 1 The guy whose interest in movie stars is virtually confined to Cary Grant is actually called Barry and we movie buffs therefore nicknamed him Barry Grant which got me wondering whether Bruce was actually a nickname that they’ve given you over there.

            2 It’s true that most of us have our fixations and I can remember an occasion when several of my shipyard mates got into a fierce debate about who was the Greatest Movie Star ever and one guy kept insisting that “Big Wayne’s the daddy of them all.” I though him rather self-opinionated but he was twice my size so I’m sure you’ll appreciate I had to offer him some support.


          4. Hey Bob….I agree we all have our favorites….thanks for sharing the stories of Barry Grant and Mr. Wayne….they are greatly appreciated.

  2. My comment is that it is a surprise to me that she did somewhat better than Bette Davis at the box office. She did better in the early thirties, and through most of the fifties. Davis’ edge seems to be entirely due to her huge number of AA nominations and two wins, but I wonder how much of that is due to the block voting of WB and her position as their only female prestige star for several years.
    Stanwyck was the more versatile, I think, and might actually have done better in her later years, but on TV with The Big Valley and The Thorn Birds.

    *my own take is that Stanwyck was the better actress.

    1. Hey John….Stanwyck has the box office stats…..but Davis has all of the Oscar hardware….which when people look back into history that always gives Davis the age…though in fairness to Stanwyck she did finish in 11th place on the AFI list….so her peers thought she was one of the best….too bad she is almost forgotten by non-classic movie fans. Not sure the block voting was much more different than today when Meryl Streep pretty much gets nominated every single year….even if her performances are ok at best…..Streep like Davis benefit from the image of being a great actress.

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