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.

  • Blue Movie Title is a link that will take to that movie’s trailer
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. A “good movie” Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 60.  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.

Steve Lensman’s Bette Davis You Tube Video

For comments….all you need is a name and a comment….please ignore the rest.

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172 thoughts on “Bette Davis Movies

  1. 1 HI STEVE Finally got your feedback – thanks. I can’t recall commenting before on a Davis video from you but Bruce gets to update his pages every now and again so there is no reason for your not attempting to improve even good past videos and I was glad of the opportunity to “review” your Davis expansion.

    2 Rather ironic Davis defending Joan against charges of abusing the Crawford daughter because I understand that Bette’s daughter considered her mother such a bad example that she wouldn’t let Bette see the grandchildren unsupervised.

    3 I noticed your earlier comments to WH about Franchot Tone and my gorgeous Joan [nice little rhyme!]. Tone seemed to be regularly involved in controversy regarding the Hollywood beauties of his day. For example he got into a fist fight with Tom Neal over blonde bombshell Barbra Payton in her front yard and the fracas ended up in the courts. I think Tone came off the worst in the fisticuffs as Neal had been a champion boxer at university.

    4 Neal was a B list actor who appeared for example as Bruce Gentry Daredevil of the Skies in a 1949 15 episode serial of that name. Payton had just a 6 year acting career as a starlet and died tragically at the age of 39. She was probably best known in her day for the rather suggestively titled Bride of the Gorilla [into which her screen husband Lon Chaney Jr changed] but I knew her from just 2 movies Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye co-starring the “Dirty Rat” and as my Greg’s leading lady in Only the Valiant released in 1951 which was probably round about the time of the Tone/Neal quarrels.

    5 It should be said in fairness that Gary Cooper greatly admired Franchot as an actor and in an interview after the pair starred in the 1935 Lives of a Bengal Lancer Coop said that the film would not have been a success without Tone’s invaluable contribution. Joan apparently arranged for the scattering of Tone’s ashes after his death in 1968 so obviously Franchot made a lasting impression on his women. Crawford claims to have had her first love affair when she was 12 with one of her mother’s husbands! Anyway more about my Joan from me tomorrow.

  2. 1 HI STEVE.On his Davis v Crawford page Bruce and I recently exchanged posts about the current 8 episode TV mini-series which deals with the bitter feud between those two ladies. In conducting her end of the quarrels Bette had the support of her great friend Olivia De Havilland, whom she affectionately called “Livy” and the latter at the behest of Davis and director Robert Aldrich [The Dirty Dozen 1967]took over from Crawford as Bette’s co-star when Joan was sacked from the production of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte in 1964. It would seem that whilst Bette could be “bitchy” to those with whom she did not get along she could conversely be a very good friend to the ones that she liked.

    2 For example she saved from police prosecution gay actor Victor Buono whose work she admired when he co-starred with her and Crawford in Baby Jane and who became a close friend of Davis.

    NB: In Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Bette got first billing but in Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte Joan had secured top billing over Bette and had shot a number of scenes before her dismissal. However Bette was compensated for taking 2nd billing by being made a producer of Charlotte which enraged Crawford and led to the tantrums responsible for her sacking.

    3 Frankly you have so much good material packed into this video that I made no attempt to draw up a definitive list of my fave posters but instead selected at random 12 of those among the best but I could have equally gone for a different dozen than Madame Sin, Pocketful of Miracles [showcasing my Glenn] Watcher in the Woods, Beyond the Forest, Bette and Flynn in The Sisters, The Nanny, The Virgin Queen, Dangerous, Mr Skeffington, The Petrified Forest, Jezebel, and both ones for The Little Foxes. Say that’s 13!

    4 Some of your stills invoked considerable nostalgia for me. I thought that the best were the opening and closing ones of the Young Bette before her features began to prematurely harden, vampy Davis with Muni in Bordertown, with Cagney, with “Livy” from In This our Life, the Baby Jane one of course and with Flynn In Liz and Essex. Your poster for the latter gives Bette top billing and that is ironic because in The Sisters the year before Davis had to battle with Warners to secure even equal billing with Errol.

    5 Bruce and you agree on 4 of Bette’s Top 5, WH going for Jezebel instead of your 5th choice of Man who Came to Dinner. I back his choice but overall your presentation cannot be denied a 98% rating in my book. However I will shortly be viewing Miss Crawford and I can only hope that I find that you have served my Joan as well as you have done her great rival!

    1. Tried posting this earlier but something went wrong and the site said it had already been posted! Plus I got a message telling me to slow down even though it was the first time I’d posted it. Something gone awry. I’ll try again….

      Hi Bob, thanks for the generous rating and review on my new bigger and better Bette Davis video, appreciate the info, trivia, comment and comparison.

      Happy you liked the posters and stills.

      Can’t remember if you commented on my first Bette Davis video back in 2016, if so there must be a feeling of deja vu as we go thru this thing again. I left out a lot of movies first time out, a top 30 wasn’t enough for Bette and Joan.

      I don’t know why Jezebel isn’t scored higher from my sources.

      Four of Bette’s films scored 10 out of 10 from my sources – Watch on the Rhine, Baby Jane, Now Voyager and All About Eve.

      10 films scored a maximum of 9 out of 10, and nine scored 8 out 10.

      All About Eve tops all the sources including Bruce’s UMR and critics chart.

      She has top billing on 38 of the 50 films on my video which is pretty impressive.

      “I was not Miss Crawford’s biggest fan, but, wisecracks to the contrary, I did and still do respect her talent. What she did not deserve was that detestable book written by her daughter. I’ve forgotten her name. Horrible. I looked at that book, but I did not need to read it. I wouldn’t read trash like that, and I think it was a terrible, terrible thing for a daughter to do. An abomination! To do something like that to someone who saved you from the orphanage, foster homes, who knows what. I felt very sorry for Joan Crawford, but I knew she wouldn’t appreciate my pity, because that’s the last thing she would have wanted, anyone being sorry for her, especially me.”

      1. Hey Steve. Sorry you comment disappeared. Probably means somebody else was posting a comment at the same exact time. I have lost a few comments that way. I know it is frustrating for sure. So sorry again.

        All About Eve is an all-time classic….so I am glad we agreed on the Top Bette Davis movie. 38 out of 50 movies is pretty impressive. Good breakdown on Crawford. They will forever be connected together….which I know they would not like that….but I think it is kind of cool. Just proves that they were BOTH movie legends.

        Good stuff as always.

    2. Hey Bob….good breakdown of Steve’s updated Bette Davis video. Glad we are on the same side when it comes to Jezebel vs The Man Who Came To Dinner and would not leave. Also enjoyed the Joan and Bette trivia. Good stuff.

    1. Much appreciated Bruce, it was a big one. 50 films!

      Your chart of 79 films still dwarfs it though.

      My original Bette Davis video included 30 films which didn’t seem enough for the Queen of Hollywood, and I wasn’t happy with some of the scores. Now it’s bigger and better! 🙂

      1. Hey Steve…..it took some time to get through the video….but it was time well spent. Ah….that makes sense…I was thinking….”Does he not have a Bette Davis video already?”. She is still very popular….I will share your link on some of the many Davis Facebook pages. Those pages have made my Davis page a Top 10 page. Good stuff.

        1. Cheers. I have another Top 50 video ready to roll. I’ll upload it in a couple of days. One of Bob’s favorites.

          1. Very cool. One of Bob’s favorite….but 50 movies? Marlon out. Deanna out. Frank out? Heston..already done. So I will take Gregory Peck for the win….lol.

  3. Hi, I just watched Dark Victory – I have seen that movie quite a few times. Susan Hayward played the role later and she was good in it too. I will watch more trailers later on. It makes your site so more interesting to be able to see the trailers – GOOD MOVE. Thanks……..

    1. Hey Bern1960….glad you enjoyed Dark Victory…..I did not know Susan Hayward played that role later….good trivia to know.

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