Bette Davis Movies

Bette Davis was voted as the 2nd greatest actress of all time according to the American Film Institute.

Bette Davis was voted as the 2nd greatest actress of all time according to the American Film Institute.

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

Bette Davis (1908-1989), a two time Oscar® winning actress. She was voted as the second greatest actress of all-time according to the American Film Institute. Her movie career started in 1931 and ended only months before her death in 1989. According to IMDB, she had 122 television and movie credits over her career.

The American Film Institute lists the Top 25 Actors and Top 25 Actresses of all-time that appeared in a movie before 1950. My new movie page goal is to write a page on all 50 of the performers. So far I have done 17 of the 25 actors, but only 11 of the 25 actresses. So this Bette Davis page will be the 11th actress that I have written about on that list.

Her IMDb page shows 123 acting credits from 1931-1989. This page ranks 79 Bette Davis movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos, some early 1930 Davis movies and movies that were not released in North American theaters were not included in the rankings.

Hattie McDaniel and Bette Davis in 1941's The Great Lie

Hattie McDaniel and Bette Davis in 1941’s The Great Lie

79 Bette Davis 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 Bette Davis movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Bette Davis movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Bette Davis movies by adjusted worldwide box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions) *** if domestic and worldwide box office are the same…then worldwide is unknown
  • Sort Bette Davis 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 Bette Davis movie received.
  • Sort Bette Davis 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.
  • *** = Bette Davis Oscar® Nominated Performance
  • Use the search and sort buttons to make this page very interactive….for example type Bogart in the search box and all 6 Bogart/Davis movies will pop up or type in *** in the search box and all of Davis Oscar® nominated performances will pop up.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted B.O. Domestic (mils.)Adjusted B.O. WorldWide (mils.)Critic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
All About Eve (1950) ***George Sanders & Marilyn Monroe$155.60$220.6092.67%14 / 0684.80
Jezebel (1938) ***Henry Fonda & Donald Crisp$133.10$182.1084.50%05 / 0276.54
Now, Voyager (1942) ***Claude Rains & Paul Henreid$176.90$346.9084.50%03 / 0174.93
Little Foxes, The (1941) ***Teresa Wright & Directed by William Wyler$131.70$214.7086.50%09 / 0073.67
Dark Victory (1939) ***Humphrey Bogart$140.30$205.3080.00%03 / 0069.55
Mr. Skeffington (1944) ***Claude Rains$208.70$324.7066.50%02 / 0067.56
Letter, The (1940) ***Directed by William Wyler$104.10$166.1084.00%07 / 0067.42
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) ***Joan Crawford$115.20$166.2084.50%05 / 0165.92
Stolen Life, A (1946)Glenn Ford$209.70$311.7072.00%01 / 0065.24
Old Acquaintance (1943)Miriam Hopkins$183.00$293.0075.50%00 / 0063.84
Watch on the Rhine (1943)Paul Lukas$172.50$271.5069.00%04 / 0163.62
Old Maid, The (1939)Miriam Hopkins$172.50$242.5076.50%00 / 0062.70
All This, and Heaven Too (1940)Barbara O'Neil$126.10$212.1078.50%03 / 0060.64
Man Who Came To Dinner, The (1942)Monty Woolley$138.40$213.4078.00%00 / 0058.11
Corn Is Green, The (1945)John Dall & Joan Lorring$151.70$250.7070.50%02 / 0057.45
In This Our Life (1942)Olivia de Havilland & Directed by John Huston$137.10$232.1072.50%00 / 0055.32
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)Olivia de Havilland & Agnes Moorehead$96.10$96.1080.00%07 / 0055.30
Deception (1946)Claude Rains & Paul Henreid$138.80$211.8069.00%00 / 0053.94
Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The (1939)Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland$115.00$194.0071.00%05 / 0053.19
Bride Came C.O.D., The (1941)James Cagney$141.40$207.4066.50%00 / 0053.18
Great Lie, The (1941)Mary Astor$117.60$194.6069.00%01 / 0151.66
Juarez (1939)John Garfield$140.80$196.8061.00%02 / 0051.29
Kid Galahad (1937)Humphrey Bogart & Edward G. Robinson$134.50$196.5064.00%00 / 0050.93
Of Human Bondage (1934) *** Write-in nominationLeslie Howard$56.50$70.5075.00%01 / 0050.41
Dangerous (1935) ***Franchot Tone$46.80$72.8068.00%01 / 0150.21
Petrified Forest, The (1936)Humphrey Bogart & Leslie Howard$65.50$93.5082.00%00 / 0048.69
Marked Woman (1937)Humphrey Bogart$100.40$149.4070.00%00 / 0048.46
It's Love I'm After (1937)Olivia de Havilland$75.00$123.0076.00%00 / 0047.34
Pocketful of Miracles (1961)Glenn Ford & Directed by Frank Capra$79.70$79.7067.50%03 / 0047.14
Dead Ringer (1964)Karl Malden & Directed by Paul Henreid$51.20$74.2079.50%00 / 0045.30
Sisters, The (1938)Errol Flynn$115.00$168.0058.00%00 / 0045.08
Beyond the Forest (1949)Joseph Cotten$72.50$94.5068.50%01 / 0043.84
June Bride (1948)Robert Montgomery$104.40$134.4058.50%00 / 0043.67
Death on the Nile (1978)Peter Ustinov & Mia Farrow$52.50$52.5072.00%01 / 0142.98
Phone Call From a Stranger (1952)Shelley Winters$57.50$57.5069.00%00 / 0041.34
Nanny, The (1965)Wendy Craig$29.00$29.0077.50%00 / 0040.92
Fashions of 1934 (1934)William Powell$59.70$100.7067.00%00 / 0040.74
Front Page Girl (1935)George Brent$36.00$51.0073.50%00 / 0040.12
Jimmy The Gent (1934)James Cagney$34.80$48.8072.50%00 / 0039.46
Three on a Match (1932)Humphrey Bogart$37.00$49.0071.50%00 / 0039.34
That Certain Woman (1937)Henry Fonda$97.10$129.1049.50%00 / 0038.31
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)Spencer Tracy$55.20$102.2063.00%00 / 0038.17
Rich Are Always With Us, The (1932)George Brent$42.90$42.9066.50%00 / 0037.91
Another Man's Poison (1951)Gary Merrill$40.70$40.7067.00%00 / 0037.80
Special Agent (1935)George Brent$49.20$49.2063.50%00 / 0037.47
Winter Meeting (1948)Janis Paige$48.80$59.8063.00%00 / 0037.17
Virgin Queen, The (1955)Richard Todd & Joan Collins$44.00$44.0063.00%01 / 0036.83
Anniversary, The (1968)Sheila Hancock$24.90$24.9070.00%00 / 0036.76
Man Who Played God, The (1932)George Arliss$58.70$149.7058.00%00 / 0036.36
Star, The (1952) ***Sterling Hayden$42.60$42.6052.50%01 / 0036.17
Bad Sister (1931)Humphrey Bogart$33.60$33.6065.50%00 / 0035.99
Payment on Demand (1951)Barry Sullivan$73.50$112.5052.00%00 / 0035.83
Golden Arrow (1936)George Brent$43.90$62.9060.00%00 / 0035.00
Parachute Jumper (1933)Douglas Fairbanks Jr.$24.90$40.9065.00%00 / 0034.41
Border Town (1935)Paul Muni$89.40$124.4043.50%00 / 0034.30
Dark Horse (1932)Warren William$33.10$40.1061.50%00 / 0034.03
Connecting Rooms (1970)Michael Redgrave$13.20$13.2067.50%00 / 0033.77
Cabin in the Cotton, The (1932)Richard Barthelmess$47.00$47.0056.00%00 / 0033.60
Housewife (1934)George Brent$26.60$34.6062.50%00 / 0033.50
Where Love Has Gone (1964)Susan Hayward$74.30$74.3045.50%01 / 0033.30
Working Man (1933)George Arliss$42.00$128.0056.50%00 / 0033.07
So Big! (1932)Barbara Stanwyck$43.10$51.1056.00%00 / 0033.00
Whales of August, The (1987)Lillian Gish & Vincent Price$2.90$2.9068.00%01 / 0032.81
Return from Witch Mountain (1978)Christopher Lee$59.10$59.1050.00%00 / 0032.66
Empty Canvas, The (1963)Horst Buchholz$14.00$14.0063.00%00 / 0031.78
Girl From 10th Avenue, The (1935)Ian Hunter$32.30$43.3056.00%00 / 0031.33
Ex Lady (1933)Gene Raymond$23.90$29.9058.50%00 / 0031.19
Fog Over Frisco (1934)Margaret Lindsay$27.20$40.2055.00%00 / 0030.07
John Paul Jones (1959)Robert Stack$34.00$72.0052.00%00 / 0029.71
Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)Lewis Stone$35.40$35.4050.50%00 / 0029.23
Bunny O' Hare (1971)Ernest Borgnine$13.00$13.0057.00%00 / 0028.81
Watcher in the Woods, The (1981)Lynn-Holly Johnson$15.20$15.2053.50%00 / 0027.50
Catered Affair, The (1956)Ernest Borgnine & Debbie Reynolds$41.50$64.5044.50%00 / 0027.35
Scapegoat, The (1959)Alec Guinness$22.90$47.9050.50%00 / 0027.29
Big Shakedown (1934)Charles Farrell$20.30$20.3050.00%00 / 0026.65
Burnt Offerings (1976)Karen Black & Oliver Reed$18.70$18.7049.00%00 / 0025.93
Satan Met A Lady (1936)Warren William$29.90$34.9045.00%00 / 0025.78
Storm Center (1956)Brian Keith$22.60$22.6044.50%00 / 0024.42
Wicked Stepmother (1989)Barbara Carrera$0.10$0.2027.50%00 / 0012.94

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Bette Davis Table

  1. Twenty-five Bette Davis movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 31.64% of her movies listed. A Stolen Life (1946) was her biggest box office hit…followed closely by Mr. Skeffington (1944).
  2. An average Bette Davis movie grosses $74.40 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  53 of Bette Davis’s movies are rated as good movies…or 67.08% of her movies.  All About Eve (1950) is her highest rated movie while Wicked Stepmother (1989) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Twenty-five Bette Davis movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 31.64% of her movies.
  5. Eight Bette Davis movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 10.12% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 39.86.  38 Bette Davis movies scored higher than that average….or 48.10% of her movies.  All About Eve (1950) got the the highest UMR Score while Wicked Stepmother (1989) got the lowest UMR Score.
Bette Davis in 1938's Jezebel

Bette Davis in 1938’s Jezebel

Possibly Interesting Facts About Bette Davis

1. Bette Davis made her movie debut in 1931’s The Bad Sister. The movie also starred another newcomer, Humphrey Bogart. Davis and Bogart would appear in 6 movies together from 1931 to 1939.

2. Bette Davis was nominated 11 times for a Best Actress Oscar®. She won twice…..1935’s Dangerous and 1938’s Jezebel. Only one of her films won the Best Picture Oscar®….1950’s All About Eve.

3. Bette Davis holds the record with Greer Garson for most years in a row to receive an Oscar® nomination…..5 years in a row. Davis was nominated every year from 1938-1942. Garson did the same accomplishment 1941-1945.

4. Bette Davis was married four times in her life. Her marriages to Harmon Nelson (1932-1939) and Arthur Farnsworth (1940-till his death in 1943) produced no children. She had one daughter with her third husband William Sherry(1945-1950) and two adopted children(boy and a girl) with fourth husband Gary Merrill(1950-1960).

5. Roles Bette Davis turned down or was seriously considered for during her career: Cool Hand Luke, The African Queen, Come Back Little Sheba, 1931’s Frankenstein, Mary Poppins and Gone With The Wind. Davis really wanted the Scarlett O’Hara role but her studio would not allow her to work for another studio.

6. Bette Davis and Lucille Ball both attended the John Murray Anderson Dramatic School. Davis was the star of the school, while Ball was sent home because she was too shy to become an actress.

7. Bette Davis was one of the founders of the Hollywood Canteen in 1942. The Hollywood Canteen was a nightclub where soldiers passing through Los Angeles during World War II got to see Hollywood stars perform live on stage. Often Davis would spend all day making a movie and all night performing for soldiers at the Hollywood Canteen. She felt that the Hollywood Canteen was one of her greatest accomplishments.

8. Bette Davis once sold over two million dollars worth of war bonds for the troops during World War II in only two days.

9. In 1981 Kim Carnes released the song “Bette Davis Eyes”. The song would reach number one and earn gold and platinum record status. Bette Davis Eyes helped Davis be discovered by a new generation.

10. One of the best collection of Bette Davis fans can be found on Facebook at Bette Davis Babylon.  If you are a Bette Davis you have to join this group….it is easily the best movie group on Facebook that I have come across….and I am in many Facebook movie groups.

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

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153 thoughts on “Bette Davis Movies

  1. Wow, this surprised myself- of the above listed films, I have seen 65! plus numerous Made for TV movies. Along with Marilyn and Audrey, Miss Davis was the star that introduced me to the classics due to a string of her movies that were shown on german TV in my youth. I have seen all of her classics plus some of the more obscure precodes and late career rarities. My favorites? Her Regina Giddens in The little Foxes gives me the creeps, her Jane Hudson in Whatever happened to Baby Jane entertains me immensly even after repeated viewing, her Libby Strong in Whales of August touches me with her frail crankyness. Her larger than Life portrayals in Of Human Bondage and Mr. Skeffington leave me in awe. Other favs are The old Maid and another soaper, Now, Voyager. Of her early films apart from Bondage, I think I enjoyed her bad girl in Cabin in the Cotton the most. Needless to say, I love her Margo Channing of All about Eve, too- but then that movie has such a fantastic cast aside from Bette! Her mad scene as Carlotta in Juarez stayed in my mind, too. Of her more obscure films, I’d like to single out The Nanny and Connecting Rooms, in both she gives multilayered, touching performances.

    So, here she is, the undisputed Queen of Warner Brothers…and perhaps of the mid 30’s right into the the late 40’s.

    1. Hey Lupino…..wow….65 is pretty impressive….had to did deep to find other tally numbers….but back in the Hub Pages days….Flora was at 19 and Steve was at 17…..my current tally is 25….not sure what it was back then….seems I have been watching more of her movies since writing the page….still…your 65 tops our combined total of 61. Kudos to you…I guess you are not having an issue finding her movies in Germany.

      Thanks for all of the mini-reviews on her movies. I have never seen Whales of August…I think I might be able to appreciate that movie more….now that I am older and wiser…lol. Mr. Skeffington is one of her best roles….I like that performance much more than her two Oscar winning ones. Never been a huge fan of Now, Voyager….it is a good movie….but not one I will be hurrying to watch again.

      She was easily the Queen of Warner Brothers….one of the greatest careers ever. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Ms. Bette Davis.

      1. It was not easy at all to find Bette Davis movies in Germany- but since the early 80’s it was quite easy for me due to videotape. Spent 6 weeks in England as part of my job training, and my kind landlady, who is well in her 80’s now, never tired of taping Bette movies and (I am sorry to admit this, but think “Guily Pleasures”) complete seasons of Falcon Crest for her once favorite lodger 🙂 When I visited the US for the first time, there was still that huge Virgin store in Manhattan…and I spent all my money there- not just on Bette, but on classic movies in general. Weeks after I returned home a friend of mine asked me how much I had spent…when I told him, he replied that I was lucky to get that amount through customs without problems. Believe me, I really felt like I had discovered a secret door to paradise entering the huge Virgin basement DVD sales, never gave customs a thought because I was so overwhelmed! About Whales of August: in fact this really is one of my all time favorites, but it is, of course, a quiet, small film, with 4 beautiful performances delivered by 4 masters of their craft at the end of their careers- and sadly lifes.

        1. Forgot the finishing touch to my story- when I returned years later to NY to celebrate my 50th. on Top of the World (read Empire State Building), illegal downloads and filesharing had already taken its toll on my former paradise…and it had turned into a huge Toys R Us! Imagine my disappointment!

          1. Hey Lupino…..what a shame that the huge Virgin store did not make it. I can imagine your disappointment……well your story has me motivated to discover my own New York treasure when I go later this year. I have been there a few times….but rarely as an adult…where I get to pick what we do…..heck I have never even seen Central Park. This is a shame…..because I am only hours (by car) away. Good stuff 🙂

        2. Hey Lupino…..great story on your Bette Davis treasure hunt. I am envious of you….because that Virgin basement sounds like a great place to visit. We are headed to next New York City ourselves in a few weeks…..your comment makes me realize that I should do some prior research and see what “huge Virgin stores” are still out there.

          Glad you were able to get through customs….and glad the “zone” issue did not get you either. One of my little “movie exercises” is to watch every major Oscar winning movie (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supp Actor & Actress and Director)….there are currently 516 movies that meet that requirement….I have seen 501 of those movies….anyway…one of the missing 15 is the Marlon Brando film Viva Zapata. I finally got my hands on a copy of the DVD…..but when I put it in……the DVD was from a “zone” that does not work in my area….so disappointing….so the search for Viva Zapata continues.

          Great story….thanks for sharing it.

          1. I envy you for your forthcoming trip to NY! Been there twice and really loved both times- although I wouldn’t wanna live there. Too many people and too much of everything for everyday life 🙂
            About “zones”: I bought a multizone DVDplayer before I left for NY, so that hasn’t been an issue. Nowadays it is much easier- download the VLC mediaplayer to your PC (free and legal), install it and then open the DVD not with your zone restricted DVDprogramm but with VLC- voila! This works for me in germany, can’t imagine why it shouldn’t work for people living in the US.
            My best friend is like you- he watches every movie that has won at least one Academy Award in one major categorie. I am different- I find something interesting in almost every classic movie, be it american, english, french or italian. Only old german movies hardly interest me, and if they do, then more for historical reasons than for their cinematic values.

          2. Hey Lupino….a multizone DVD player seems like the way to go. Sadly I let Viva Zapata loose again….so even if I had a multizone player Viva is back out in the water. On of the other ones I am missing is Olivia de Havilland’s To Each Their Own….which my mom recorded for me on VHS…..but I no longer have a VHS player. I actually have two VHS tapes I want to watch…To Each Their Own and Michael Caine’s A Shock To The System…..which I have not seen in years.

            The beauty of movies is that offers up everybody something different. I am right there with you about Old German Movies…some I have enjoyed but many others…I was glad when the movie went off. 🙂

  2. Betty Davis is the greatest screen actress of all time. There will never be another as great as she.Thus, my opinion can never change.

    1. Hey Susanna….glad a Bette Davis fan found this page….I think…though I am biased…..this is the most comprehensive statistical look at her career with many ways to rank her movies. I respect your opinion of her greatness……and many many people agree….thanks for stopping by….and double thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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