Burt Lancaster Movies

Shirley Jones and Burt Lancaster both won Oscars for 1960's Elmer Gantry.

Shirley Jones and Burt Lancaster both won Oscars for 1960’s Elmer Gantry.

Want to know the best Burt Lancaster movies?  How about the worst Burt Lancaster movies?  Curious about Burt Lancaster’s box office grosses or which Burt Lancaster movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Burt Lancaster 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.

Burt Lancaster (1913-1994)  was an American film actor noted for his athletic physique, blue eyes, and distinctive smile.  During his long career he was nominated for four Best Actor Oscars®. He won the Oscar® for his performance in 1960’s Elmer Gantry.  He was also nominated for five Best Actor Golden Globes®.  AFI (American Film Institute) listed Lancaster on their Top 50 Screen Legends list.  He was ranked as the 19th greatest actor.

His IMDb page shows 66 acting credits from 1946-1991. This page will rank 67 Burt Lancaster movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television appearances, cameos and his straight to DVD movies were not included in the rankings.

Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in 1957's Sweet Smell of Success

Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in 1957’s Sweet Smell of Success

Burt Lancaster 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 Burt Lancaster movies by co-stars of his movies
  • Sort Burt Lancaster movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Burt Lancaster movies by yearly box office rank
  • Sort Burt Lancaster movies by how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or highis should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each Burt Lancaster movie received.
  • Sort Burt Lancaster 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 buttons to make this a very interactive table…for example you want to just see the Kirk Douglas/Lancaster movies….just type in Kirk in the search box and the 5 movies will pop right up.
RankMovie (Year)UMR CO-Star LinksAdjusted BO Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
From Here to Eternity (1953)Montgomery Clift & Frank Sinatra$519.402nd of 195381.50%13 / 0884.55
Elmer Gantry (1960)Shirley Jones & Jean Simmons$161.4013th of 196087.00%05 / 0382.59
The Rose Tattoo (1955)Anna Magnani & Costumes by Edith Head$194.5016th of 195575.50%08 / 0372.88
Airport (1970)Dean Martin & Helen Hayes$571.201st of 197071.00%10 / 0171.85
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)Spencer Tracy & Marlene Dietrich$128.6011th of 196186.00%11 / 0268.43
Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957)Kirk Douglas & Dennis Hooper$202.1012th of 195777.00%02 / 0067.99
The Killers (1946)Ava Gardner$162.7051st of 194687.00%04 / 0067.71
The Professionals (1966)Lee Marvin & Robert Ryan$168.6030th of 196683.00%03 / 0066.96
Vera Cruz (1954)Gary Cooper & Charles Bronson$239.1015th of 195475.50%00 / 0066.48
Separate Tables (1958)David Niven & Rita Hayworth$124.4025th of 195980.00%07 / 0263.76
Field of Dreams (1989)Kevin Costner$136.8019th of 198982.00%03 / 0063.19
Desert Fury (1947)Lizabeth Scott & Mary Astor$184.7037th of 194773.00%00 / 0062.94
Sorry Wrong Number (1948)Barbara Stanwyck & Ed Begley$158.1025th of 194880.50%01 / 0062.75
Apache (1954)Charles Bronson & Jean Peters$183.3023rd of 195469.50%00 / 0061.07
Trapeze (1956)Gina Lollobrigida & Tony Curtis$318.303rd of 195663.50%00 / 0060.84
Brute Force (1947)Hume Cronyn & Charles Bickford$135.5063rd of 194784.00%00 / 0060.48
Come Back Little Sheba (1952)Shirley Booth$149.0014th of 195372.50%03 / 0159.59
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)Thelma Ritter & Telly Savalas$85.1027th of 196280.00%04 / 0058.14
The Flame and the Arrow (1950)Virginia Mayo & Robert Douglas$137.3012th of 195074.00%02 / 0056.86
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)Tony Curtis & Susan Harrison$96.8039th of 195789.00%00 / 0056.83
Seven Days in May (1964)Kirk Douglas & Fredric March$91.6019th of 196486.50%02 / 0055.66
The Crimson Pirate (1952)Nick Cravat & Christopher Lee$106.4029th of 195281.00%00 / 0054.56
Atlantic City (1981)Susan Sarandon$38.6055th of 197980.50%05 / 0053.82
The Train (1964)Paul Scofield & Jeanne Moreau$94.8019th of 196581.00%01 / 0053.16
Run Silent Run Deep (1958)Clark Gable & Jack Warden$100.4036th of 195879.00%00 / 0052.69
Criss Cross (1949)Dan Duryea & Yvonne De Carlo$79.00101st of 194982.50%00 / 0051.02
Rope of Sand (1949)Claude Rains & Paul Henreid$122.5033rd of 194964.50%00 / 0049.31
The Rainmaker (1956)Katharine Hepburn & Lloyd Bridges$92.0046th of 195767.00%02 / 0048.42
His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)Joan Rice & André Morell$130.9044th of 195459.50%00 / 0048.25
The Leopard (1963)Alain Delon & Claudia Cardinale$43.4057th of 196387.00%01 / 0048.02
The Unforgiven (1960)Audrey Hepburn & Directed by John Huston$108.2021st of 196063.00%00 / 0046.38
Kiss The Blood Off My Hands (1948)Joan Fontaine & Robert Newton$88.7084th of 194869.00%00 / 0046.18
All My Sons (1948)Edward G. Robinson & Mady Christians$61.00119th of 194878.00%00 / 0046.12
The Kentuckian (1955)Walter Matthau & Directed by Burt Lancaster$120.4039th of 195554.50%00 / 0044.28
Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)Richard Widmark$46.0052nd of 197778.00%00 / 0043.79
I Walk Alone (1948)Kirk Douglas & Lizabeth Scott$116.5060th of 194852.00%00 / 0042.50
Ten Tall Men (1951)Gilbert Roland & Jody Lawrance$86.7056th of 195161.00%00 / 0042.11
A Child Is Waiting (1963)Judy Garland & Gena Rowlands$24.4093rd of 196381.50%00 / 0042.08
Local Hero (1983)Peter Riegert & Directed by Bill Forsyth$15.8092nd of 198384.00%00 / 0041.93
The Scalphunters (1968)Telly Savalas & Shelley Winters$51.5043rd of 196871.50%00 / 0041.58
The Swimmer (1968)Janice Rule & Kim Hunter$11.90139th of 196883.00%00 / 0040.85
Jim Thorpe--All American (1951)Charles Bickford & Phyllis Thaxter$74.7076th of 195162.00%00 / 0040.72
Mister 880 (1950)Dorothy McGuire & Edmund Gwenn$85.3056th of 195057.50%01 / 0040.64
Ultzan's Raid (1972)Bruce Davison & Richard Jaeckel$9.80144th of 197278.50%00 / 0038.41
Devil's Disciple (1959)Kirk Douglas & Laurence Olivier$54.2049th of 195960.50%00 / 0036.84
The Young Savages (1961)Telly Savalas & Shelley Winters$57.0053rd of 196159.50%00 / 0036.79
Lawman (1971)Robert Duvall & Robert Ryan$41.8045th of 197164.33%00 / 0036.72
Conversation Piece (1974)Helmut Berger & Silvana Mangano$7.00163rd of 197475.00%00 / 0036.33
Tough Guys (1986)Kirk Douglas & Eli Wallach$48.8043rd of 198660.50%00 / 0036.00
Valdez is Coming (1971)Susan Clark & Hector Elizondo$46.4039th of 197160.00%00 / 0035.39
South Sea Woman (1953)Virginia Mayo $68.9059th of 195350.50%00 / 0034.42
Hallelujah Trail (1965)Lee Remick & Jim Hutton$26.8074th of 196563.50%00 / 0033.99
Buffalo Bill and The Indians (1976)Paul Newman$15.4094th of 197667.00%00 / 0033.88
Vengenance Valley (1951)Robert Walker & John Ireland$86.7057th of 195137.50%00 / 0031.06
The Midnight Man (1974)Susan Clark & Directed by Burt Lancaster$8.30151st of 197463.00%00 / 0030.90
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)Michael York & Nigel Davenport$40.9038th of 197752.00%00 / 0030.78
1900 (1976)Robert DeNiro & Donald Sutherland$13.20117th of 197760.00%00 / 0030.25
Scorpio (1973)Alain Delone & Paul Scofield$20.2084th of 197357.00%00 / 0029.92
Zulu Dawn (1979)Peter O''''Toole$7.9098th of 197960.50%00 / 0029.66
Rocket Gibraltar (1988)Suzy Amis & Patricia Clarkson$0.40225th of 198862.00%00 / 0029.20
Castle Keep (1969)Peter Falk & Scott Wilson$30.5059th of 196952.00%00 / 0029.17
The Cassandra Crossing (1976)Sophia Loren & Martin Sheen$50.2065th of 197745.50%00 / 0029.16
Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981)Scott Glenn & Diane Lane$1.60106th of 198161.50%00 / 0029.15
Go Tell The Spartans (1978)Craig Wasson & Marc Singer$4.40143rd of 197860.00%00 / 0028.88
The Gypsy Moths (1969)Deborah Kerr & Gene Hackman$9.30160th of 196955.00%00 / 0027.29
The Osterman Weekend (1983)Rutger Hauer & Directed by Sam Peckinpah$17.4085th of 198350.50%00 / 0026.44
Executive Action (1973)Robert Ryan & Will Geer$10.30131st of 197452.50%00 / 0026.27

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Burt Lancaster Table

  1. Twenty-five Burt Lancaster movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 37.31% of his movies listed. Airport (1970) was his biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Burt Lancaster movie grossed $100.00 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  53 Burt Lancaster movies are rated as good movies…or 79.10% of his movies.  Sweet Smell of Success (1957) is his highest rated movie while Vengenance Valley (1951) is his lowest rated movie.
  4. Twenty Burt Lancaster movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 29.85% of his movies.
  5. Seven Burt Lancaster movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 10.44% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 39.86.  43 Burt Lancaster movies scored higher that average….or 64.17% of his movies.  From Here to Eternity (1953) got the the highest UMR Score while Executive Action (1973) got the lowest UMR Score.
Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in one of the most famous movie kisses of all time...in 1953's From Here To Eternity

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in one of the most famous movie kisses of all time…in 1953’s From Here To Eternity

Possibly Interesting Facts About Burt Lancaster

1. Burt Lancaster was born Burton Stephen Lancaster in Manhatten, New York City.

2. Burt Lancaster starred with Kirk Douglas seven movies…. Victory at Entebbe (1976), Tough Guys (1986), Seven Days in May (1964), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and The Devil’s Disciple (1959).  Victory at Entebbe (tv movie) and The List of Adrian Messenger (cameo role) did not make our rankings.

3. Burt Lancaster was married three times.  He had 5 children (3 daughters and two sons).  One of his sons, Bill Lancaster, wrote the screenplay for 1976’s The Bad News Bears. It was based on his experience of being coached by his father.  The coach played by Walter Matthau was based on Burt, who was known for his grumpiness.

4. Burt Lancaster’s production company, Hecht Hill Lancaster, produced 1955’s Marty…..which won the Oscar® for Best Picture.

5. Burt Lancaster directed two movies in his career….The Kentuckian and The Midnight Man.

6. The first film Burt Lancaster directed is also the first film Walter Matthau ever appeared in….1955’s The Kentuckian

7. Burt Lancaster appeared nude in 1968’s The Swimmer.

8. For another very interesting tribute to Burt Lancaster check out this page by Lary Wallace….. Burt Lancaster.

9. Roles Burt Lancaster turned down, auditioned for or was seriously considered for:  Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston role), Old Gringo (Gregory Peck role), Patton (George C. Scott role), The Poseidon Adventure (Gene Hackman role) and Under Capricorn (Joseph Cotten role) and The Wild Bunch (William Holden role).

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

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108 thoughts on “Burt Lancaster Movies

  1. I agree with Bob that this site is quite unique in the comprehensiveness, consistency and relative accuracy of box office information. Years ago, I had also relied on a top 20 annual Variety list, which while useful, was misleading not only because of the time period it used to tally up box office rentals, but the numbers appeared sometimes contradicted by later information by Variety itself. As someone interested in the careers of classic movie stars, I find it very useful to understand the relationship between the evolution of their careers and how their films were received at the time they were released. I’m hoping that little by little Cogerson will expand the annual lists and that the annual rankings are correspondingly adjusted 🙂 –

    1. 1 PHIL SIMMONS is right in that factors like box office grosses are a good indicator of the development of a star’s career in the Classic Era as they reflect how well films and performances were received by audiences at the time of a film’s release and can show things like how bankable stars were in their heyday and when the same stars careers started to decline. In that respect I find this site a better guide than the long-established Quigley polls which all but ignored box office giants like Lancaster and Peck.

      2 Another general guide in the matter can of course often be a performer’s billing which is why that subject whilst often dismissed by Philistines as irrelevant is of such interest to me, and it is one of the reasons that I am so attracted to Steve Lensman’s posters apart from the fine artwork displayed there.

      3 For example in Duel in the Sun (1946) Jennifer Jones was billed before Gregory Peck but after that movie Peck became a bigger star and when The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit came around in 1956 Greg was billed before Jennifer. In the first two films they made together in 1951 and 1957 Monty Clift was billed over Liz Taylor but then Maggie the Cat made Liz a superstar and in the 1959 Suddenly Last Summer SHE was billed before Monty. In the first 48 Hours flick Nick Nolte was billed before Eddie Murphy but that order was reversed in the second one as Eddie had become the more bankable performer. ***

      4 A word of caution though to anyone relying on billing as a signpost to the career progress of movie stars and it is that whilst this site’s co-star links column is usually highly accurate and informative it does in effect at times take the liberty of retrospectively changing billing in favour of its own idols. However I have always thought that the main albeit unintentional culprit in such sleights of hand is John who innocently informed the Work Horse that local theatres were at liberty to determine the order of billing on their own marquees so that WH was probably encouraged to conclude “If they can do that so can I.”

      ***The change in status was also reflected in pay checks. For the 1982 48 Hrs Eddie received just $450,000 dollars while Nick received $1 million but for Another 48 Hours in 1990 Eddie received $7 million whilst Nick also had a big pay hike but only to the tune of $3 million.

      1. POSTSCRIPT TO MY IMMEDIATELY PREVIOUS POST

        Regarding my concluding paragraph marked *** about the salaries of Nolte/Murphy I can only hop[e that nobody is going to open up a debate with me that earnings like billing are unimportant when determining one star’s status in relation to others.

          1. Hey Bob, Bruce,
            Thanks for the feedback and info. On billing order, an interesting anecdote you probably know is that Steve McQueen was apparently obsessed with catching up with Paul Newman. After the success of The Getaway and Papillon,McQueen’s name appeared first in the Towering Inferno, but Newman’s name was beside his and just a little bit higher, so McQueen was happy and I guess Newman was not unhappy! I don’t recall seeing credits like that in another film. However, even billing order can sometimes be misleading. Richard Widmark was billed 4th in Broken Lance, behind lesser stars Robert Wagner and Jean Peters, supposedly because the studio wanted to punish him for something (can’t remember what). And does any-one know why Charleton Heston was billed behind Carroll Baker in The Big Country, shortly after making The Ten Commandments?? Baker had made something of a splash in Baby Doll, her only starring role up to that time, but surely Heston was more popular. I have read that Heston was eager to work with William Wyler, so maybe that had something to do with it.

          2. Hey Phil….Bob is our resident expert on billing…..I am sure he got a kick out of your comment talking about Newman and McQueen. As Newman…used to say….”hell….the fire was the real star of the Towering Inferno. 🙂

      2. Hey Bob.
        1. Billing is hugely important….my take is if they are listed above the title….they are stars of that movie…while…I think….you only give credit to the first star listed…..to me…a movie like Passengers is both a Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence movie…pretty sure Lawrence is billed first….but to me it is just as much a Pratt movie that it is a Lawrence movie. I of course could have mentioned all the Loy movies that she was top billed in…but you quickly dismiss….lol.
        2. Steve’s videos give a great sample of so many posters…that I see why you enjoy them so much.
        3. Good examples of how a star’s power can change the billings.
        4. Our co-star link column…was eventually added so we could have more incoming links….which is something Google links…so somebody that has an UMR page will get listed before somebody that maybe has a bigger role in the movie but does not have an UMR page. Plus the program WoC built….they links automatically happen….I only have to do co-star links on the ones without a UMR person….and then I generally go to IMDb….look at the first 3 names they show….and pick the one I think is more famous…for example…Lansbury over Lamaar.
        5. Good example of Murphy’s rise….but looking at both of their increases…I think about what Kevin Pollack said about sequels….”There is no money like sequel money”.
        Good feedback.

        1. 1 Some interesting points Bruce but you are mistaken in saying that I give credit to only the first billed star as I give credit in my database to every star billed above the title and/or whose name is is in the same-size lettering as any or other stars in the movie. However obviously someone like Maureen O’Hara for example would not have made the same box office contribution as the Duke to all those films they made together whereas in most of the Elvis films there was nobody but the King who had box office clout.

          2 I agree though that it is would be difficult without going into some convoluted, boring points system to apportion the gross of a film among those firmly listed as its stars and that where one draws the line in giving credit for a movie’s earnings is a highly subjective decision. However for me the entire exercise would become meaningless if I gave ANY credit to for example Virginia Mayo for Up in Arms’ huge gross when she was in an 82nd cast-listed walk-on part in a movie where most likely audiences would not even have been aware of her presence especially as there was no mention of her on the posters .

          3 In her films Myrna Loy was clearly not in the kind of situation that I have just described but she was near it in some of them and I think I previously produced stats that demonstrated that Loy had (a) been top- billed in just about one sixth of her movies, far less than any other supposed major star of her time (b) relied very heavily on leading men such as Powell and Gable helping her carry a movie.

        2. PHIL
          1 Thanks for the additional chat. The compromise billing in Towering Inferno that you mention was spotted by WH as being used for Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter in Always.

          2 I agree with you that there are anomalies but my perception is 99% of the time billing represents status and where the billing seems to have departed from your perception of the proper pecking order you need to look closely at the circumstances. For example before Ten Commandments Heston was largely in B or at least low prestige movies [with exception of the ensemble Greatest Show on Earth] and he was always billed second when there was an established co star with him Fred MacMurray/Charlton Heston in Far Horizons, Jennifer Jones/Charlton Heston in Ruby Gentry, Jane Wyman/Charlton Heston in Lucy Gallant, Susan Hayward/Charlton Heston in The President’s Lady, Eleanor Parker/Charlton Heston in The Naked Jungle. Big Country [1958] was hot on the heels of 10 Commandments [1956] which started to put Heston in the Big League but possibly when contracts for Big Country were drawn up Heston’s new status had not fully consolidated itself as the 10 Commandments had many stars and indeed it may have taken Ben Hur to achieve consolidation because before that movie he signed for second billing again to Cooper in The Wreck of the Mary Dear but after Ben Hur Charlton was never again billed second in a full-length role until his heyday ended.

          3 The following conversation may interest you. Marilyn Monroe’s agent had to tell her who her co-star was for Let’s Make love and he approached her nervously:

          AGENT “Marilyn you remember we were discussing how in the film business you always are expected to cede top billing to someone whom the industry regards as having a higher status than your own?”

          MM”Yes I remember.”

          AGENT”Well your co-star is Gregory Peck

          MM”No problem, of course Greg warrants top billing.”

          Unfortunately that generosity didn’t last long for MM started building up her part at Greg’s expense and he walked out on the film.

          1. Hey Bob, thanks for your further thoughts on the billing issue.
            1. Agree that billing reflects status 99% of the time, though in the case of the Big Country, I suspect there may have been other reasons to explain Heston’s billing. You make some good points. Granted Heston was not quite a top star until Ben-Hur, but I think he was still a successful star, even before Ten Commandments, especially compared to young Carroll Baker who had starred in only one film. Baby Doll did create some controversy and I’m sure Baker go some publicity out of that, but as far as I know it was not a box office success (Cogerson may help here). It was even banned because of its sexual theme. Also, as Baby Doll was released after Ten Commandments, your theory about contracts for Big Country being made before Ten Commandments doesn’t seem to gel. However, a few anomalies do not invalidate the general rule.
            2. Interesting anecdote about Let’s Make Love, though sometimes I prefer to be ignorant of the egos and vanities of stars I admire for their work 🙂 I understand that for Roman Holiday, Peck was quite gracious in leaving the limelight to then relatively unknown Audrey Hepburn. That’s the Gregory Peck I like to remember! And I’m sure Yves Montand appreciated taking his place besides Marilyn in Let’s Make Love…even if he was 2nd billed!

          2. HI PHIL/BRUCE

            1 Sadly the only one of the Big Country principals still alive who might be able to shed some light on the billing issue is Carroll and after so long she may not remember the true situation especially as she may not have had much say in the matter in the infancy of her career when her nickname for obvious reason was Baby Doll Baker. She retired from acting in 2003. Anyway I am pleased that you agree with me about the 99% and The Work Horse will be pleased that agreement has been reached so quickly as John and I debated the matter over months and I think that I got him to just the 5% agreement level and that reluctantly !

            2 Regarding the commercial success of Baby Doll as you say Work Horse may shed some definitive enlightenment but in the meantime according to both Wikipedia and Elia Kazan the film performed respectably at the box office but did not make a profit because of cost considerations. Wiki quotes a domestic rental figure of $2.3 million and Bruce should at least be able to give us an adjusted gross based on that rental if he has no other rental figure in his own data base. Baby Doll was apparently released in the States around Christmas 1956 –

            so over to you WH !

          3. Bob

            I don’t if the story is true, but I have read that the other stars, Peck, Simmons, and Baker, were contracted for the top three billing spots before Wyler talked Heston into coming on board, so the only option was Heston being billed fourth. Wyler was grateful Heston took the role and later repaid him with Ben-Hur. Heston was willing in order to work with Wyler.
            On billing, an amusing story I have read is that Burt Lancaster was contracted in Lawman for only three artists being billed above the title on the posters (I think the number was three, but am not certain it was four, but the gist of the story is the same). The poster was “Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Lee J. Cobb in Michael Winner’s Lawman.” Lancaster’s agent complained to Winner. Winner phoned Lancaster and told him there really were only three artists billed above the title–the three actors. Winner himself was a hack. Lancaster laughed and said okay.
            Another tidbit on billing I just recently saw was a photo of the Orpheum Theatre in New York during the 1932 run of The Lost Squadron. The stars billed on the Marquee was Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, and Erich von Stroheim. What about Richard Dix? Well his name was in huge letters above the marquee alongside and the same size as the Orpheum sign.. Wow. Talk about top of the line billing.

          4. Hey Bob, Phil and John. Great conversation on Heston and the Big Country. Fun to read and learn from the masters. 🙂

    2. Hey Phil
      1. Thanks for the kind words.
      2. The good news is WoC is about to be done with her Masters degree (6 weeks and counting)…and her goal is to get this website “dynamic”….that should help clean up our “continuity issues” as well as making it easier to change stats when a better source is fine….plus it will take our pages from about 550 to over 30,000 as each movie will have it’s own “page”….that should be a number Google will really like
      3. The Variety lists were and are “flawed”…but kudos to them for being the only ones trying to get that information out there. Their “golden circles” lists are the ones I like to reference the most…but for many of these classic movies…they did not reach the 4 million in rental mark….so using the yearly one is the only way to go.
      4. An example of how they get it wrong (and I realize that I am in a glass house throwing rocks) is the Cary Grant movie The Pride and Passion…in January 8th 1958 they said it was the 7th biggest hit of the year…with $5.50 million in rentals…..then three years later it was not on the “golden circle” list…eventually it made it on their all-time rental champs by decade with $3.50 in rentals. That list came out in 1992. So if you were not close attention…people that saw the 1958 Variety would think it was a Top 10 movie…when it actually was not even in the Top 20 in 1957.
      5. We plan on releasing more yearly reviews in the future…..probably going to be doing the entire 1940s in the upcoming weeks.
      Glad you are finding these web pages interesting.

      1. Hey Cogerson,Thanks, had not see this reply before. Not sure who WoC is (wife?), but good luck with completing the Masters and with the goals of making the site more dynamic, adding more yearly reviews etc…:)

        1. Hey Phil….yep WoC is Wife of Cogerson…that is the name she likes to use….her license plate even says that…lol.

      2. HO JOHN/PHIL

        1 Thanks to John for the information about Chuck’s Big Country billing which makes sense
        and is broadly in line with the kind of situation that both Phil and I envisaged though imn different ways. Good stories about Lancaster and Dix. Winner in his book said that the only actor he ever addressed as Sir on the set was Mr Mumbles in The Nightcomers.

        2 Funny enough I was thinking of you the other night when I watched a rerun of a Morecambe and Wise TV comedy show. I’m not sure if many Americans have ever heard of them but Steve certainly could have as they had two top TV comedy shows over here that spanned the years 1968 – 1983. One of their set pieces was to invite top celebrities onto the shows and have them pretend to act in a play that they had produced. In the episode that I have just seen actor Peter Cushing [Dracula/Star Wars] was the guest and the sketch that they did with him was to keep listing the lines he was to speak in the supposed play whilst he kept interrupting ans saying “Yes but what about my fee? What billing am I to have?”

        1. So we’re on British TV comedy now? All this fuss about billing seems indeed a bit absurd. I have not heard of the TV show Bob mentions, but I’m just glad that with the additional help of John, the mystery of Heston’s billing in the Big Country appears to be solved. So Heston came in late into the project, and since he wanted to work with Wyler, and taking into account that Baker’s Baby Doll actually did respectably at the box office after all (according to Bob), and since Wyler offered Heston the role of Ben-Hur,..it all makes sense now! And since Lancaster had turned down Ben-Hur, this brings us back to Cogerson’s Lancaster page which started this chat. There’s a strange logical closure to it all 🙂

  2. HI BRUCE:

    I am going to do a Dan special within the context of our last few exchanges. You may recall there was discussion a short time ago on this site about thought association and how one thing a person experienced could help him/her pinpoint the time and place of another thing. Well you have been in Dublin US. I went to Dublin Ireland on my honeymoon, it was then and there in 1972 that I first saw The Godfather and that is one of the movies we have been discussing that also starred Robert Duvall on whom you have just done a new-look update. Some philosopher once said that virtually everything is joined up in some way. Guess Dan is proving him right.

    1. Hey Bob….glad my recent trip to Dublin, Virginia has connected to your fond memories of your honeymoon in Dublin, Ireland. Which in turn gets you to The Godfather….which then doubles back to UMR.com…when you realize the highest rated movie in our database is….The Godfather. So I agree with Dan…”virtually everything is joined up in some way”.

  3. Hey Cogerson, scrolling down the Burt Lancaster movie page is like scrolling down a list of cinema classics.I note that according to your critics/audience average ratings, 20 of his films received a rating of 80% or more. I have not checked out all the actors and actresses on this site, but based on what I saw so far, that’s a rarely equaled feat (James Stewart just surpassed it)! In my view, Lancaster was the greatest star Hollywood produced during its classic era (and maybe ever, though comparisons with modern stars is difficult), when one considers together the number of critically acclaimed and diverse films, distinguished performances, box office success, his amazing physical prowess and outstanding dramatic acting abilities (who else combined both to such an extent?). He may not have had a role quite as famous as Kirk Douglas’ Spartacus, Brando’s Streetcar Named Desire or Heston’s Ben-Hur (though he would have had he accepted that role), but he made it up by having many great roles. I think his greatest were in The Killers, From Here to Eternity, Sweet Smell of Success, Elmer Gantry, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Leopard and Atlantic City. Much more could be said, but I’ll limit myself to a few comments on this page.
    1. I think that the critics/audience ratings on the page are generally accurate in that they usually reflect many other sources I have consulted. However, I find that Come Back Little Sheba, The Devil’s Disciple, Go Tell the Spartans, and especially 1900, are somewhat under-rated here. 1900 is often considered a classic, albeit more in Europe than North America. Lancaster has a relatively small role in the film but gives a notable performance.
    2. It’s interesting to see that Sweet Smell of Success pulled in almost $100 million in adjusted gross. Many sources emphasize how it failed at the box office and I read that Lancaster himself was disappointed with its performance. Of course, coming at the heels of Lancaster’s box office smashes like the Rose Tattoo, Trapeze and Gunfight at OK Corral, its’ success may have seemed lackluster at the time, but in comparison to most other films, it did well. This shows how even biographers and other experts repeat what they hear about box office results without really looking up the facts (and why this site is important).
    3. It would be interesting to know the box office success of The Leopard at the global level, since it was supposed to have been quite successful outside of the US. It was restored, re-dubbed (apparently the original dubbing was poor) and re-released in the US in 1983 and received belated critical acclaim at that time, though the re-release probably did not have much impact at the box office. Apparently, director Visconti did not really want Lancaster for the role but was convinced after he saw him in Judgment at Nuremberg, and grew to respect him through the filming of the Leopard. Indeed, Lancaster’s performance in Nuremberg is not often highlighted but I find it quite powerful and memorable! As for the Leopard, it’s one of the best performances of all times.

    1. Hey Phil….good comments on Mr. Lancaster. First of all….interesting about his 80% movies. I have page that looks at their 60% movies. On that list Orsob Welles had the most…62 movies but only 15 that reach 80%….James Stewart has 56 above 60% with 22 over 60%. John Wayne has 46 over 60% but only 11 over 80%. Anthony Quinn had 55 but only 10 over 80%. Henry Fonda had 53 with 15 over 80%. Bette Davis had 53 but only 9 over 80 %. So yes….you are 100% correct Lancaster is one of the few to have 20 over 60%.

      1. Hey Phil….Part 2…..interesting….1900 and Go Tell The Spartans reached the low end of a good movie (60%)….granted my reviews come from mainly North American sources….I am sure the rankings would different if the sources were from over sea reviews.

        As for Sweet Smell of Success…I always look at the yearly ranking…in this case it was the 39th biggest hit of the year…last year the 39th biggest would have been Alice Through The Looking Glass. Alice made some money …yet was a huge disappointment….I can easily see Sweet Smell of Success the same way.

        I really enjoyed your comment….seeing a comment that really breaks down the stats….makes all the work that it takes to do these paper, seem worthwhile.

        Thanks again.

        1. Hey Cogerson,
          Thanks for your replies. Just a few points:

          1. Won’t quibble too much on the ratings, though just to note that I checked some North American sources as well – Leonard Maltin (where the 4 movies get 3.5 stars/4), IMDB, All Movie Guide (critics rating). For older movies, I don’t place much importance on audience ratings from Rotten Tomatos and Fandago because there are too few ratings in most cases to be statistically significant as compared to IMDB.

          2. Yeah, I agree Sweet Smell must have been disappointing in light of Lancaster’s usual box office success during these years and the fact that it was produced by his own company. This shows that how well a movie does is often perceived in relation to its expectations. However, #39 out of several hundred releases is pretty good in my view. I think the expectations for Sweet Smell were not very realistic – apart from 2 big stars, it’s a rather uncommercial film. I doubt that it would do as well today. It has wonderful dialogue, acting and screenplay.. but it’s not for every-one.

          3. Since you mention the box office rank per year, I do find information from that column interesting, but I do treat it with some caution as I think it may come in large part from Variety? As you yourself indicated, the Variety numbers reflect the estimated box office rentals in one year, not the the total box office rentals earned. A case in point from this page is The Professionals, which is indicated to be #30 of 1966. Since The Professionals was released at the end of 1966, it also earned money in 1967. Overall, it was among the top 10 grossers of 1966, so the ranking in this case (as in a number of similar cases) is somewhat misleading. Is that right or am I missing something?

          1. Hey Phil.
            1. I agree some of the vote totals are low on some of the movies, Which is one reason I use so many different sources.
            2. Perception vs reality plays a part in how a movie is remembered at true box office.
            3. Movies like Fight Club and Shawshank Redemption are thought to be hits when in fact they were disappointments.
            4. While movies like Cleopatra, Mutiny on the Bounty (Brando version) and Waterwotld are considered bombs but in fact made a ton of money.
            5 Kong: Skull Island is dealing with that this weekend….because it cost so much… a $60 million weekend is cosidered a disappointment.
            6. As for the yearly box offficr rank….gotta admit I have been using Variety for s very long time and that does create issues like in your example of The Professionals. Lately as our database has gotten bigger I have been leaning more to my database as the source. So I have been doing a bad thing….using both sources which makes things very confusing for people really paying close attention.
            Thanks for another wonderful comment.

          2. 1 I can identify with what Phil Simmons is saying in his 3rd paragraph because for years I was under the delusion that many stars had less and/or smaller hits than they actually had as revenues split over two years or more often fell below the radar of the published Top 20 greatest hits within a calendar year based on Variety’s rentals lists. Ironically Burt Lancaster films were among the greatest sufferers that I later identified.

            2 Indeed I was bought a book in 1981 that listed all the specific rentals for the movies in the official Top 20s between 1937 and 1980 and as Marlon Brando is one of my top 10 favourite male performers it left me in a Fool’s Paradise for many years because the Variety rentals published were not inflation adjusted and in a tally of them for individual stars Marlon Brando came out in top over the 43 year period for two main reasons apart from the failure to adjust for inflation

            (1) he was lucky that most of the rentals from his large hits made the Top 20s whereas a lot of those of other big stars did not for the reasons stated in para 1 above. Ironically I later found that Burt’s films were among the greatest sufferers.

            (2) Brando’s four massive 1970s hits ALONE made an enormous $225 million in actual domestic rentals [Godfather 87 million. Superman 82 million, Apocalypse Now 38 million and Last Tango in Paris 18 million] whereas for example Clark Gable’s actual domestic rentals for the 33 films he made from 1937 until 1980 totalled just $158 million [not all of which was reflected in the Top 20s]. The $158 million includes the $74 million actual rentals that Bruce has given us on Olivia De Havilland’s page. [Naturally the entire equation changes with inflation adjustment.] Also many of the Duke’s films although big hits were not reflected in the official Top 20s

            3 However whatever impression other sources are giving in the matter the Cogerson site is NOT misleading its viewers as beside each of the rankings that it quotes for the one calendar year, the ULTIMATE OVERALL domestic gross of the film concerned is listed and Cogerson takes matters further by adjusting for inflation and providing adjusted worldwide rankings where they are available. One of the main reasons that this site greatly appeals to me is that its statistics are comprehensive and presented with admirable clarity. As I’ve indicated before it is in my opinionthe best site for demonstrating the comparative box office popularity of films and stars with one and other down though the years.

          3. Hey Bob
            1. I know exactly the pain and frustration those Variety numbers could bring….but at the time it was the only think we had.
            2. I have noticed as my database has grown….I have been starting to use my yearly rankings more than the Variety Top Grosser pages.
            3. A term Variety that they liked to use back then was “the Golden Circle”…this was when a movie reached 4 million in rentals it earned a spot on the all-time list….when a movie failed to reach the “Golden Circle” it was almost forgotten.
            4. That book from 1981 sounds like one I would have loved to have gotten my hands back then….and I can easily see you adding up all of those numbers….especially when Brando was doing so well.
            5. As always….I appreciate all your kind words towards UMR.com…..that being said….since we are always finding new information…we are always willing to chance our approach…..that is what is happening with movies and their re-releases….thinking we are going to have to do a better job on those movies. I fear that is going to be a very difficult task.
            As always…thanks for the great feedback.

          4. 1 BRUCE One of the problems with re-releases in the Classic Era is not only can information about them be patchy but historians complain that often companies didn’t even report additional revenues Yet before we were able to enjoy Sunday afternoon TV repeats of The Thin Woman small cinemas that we had on every street corner lived off re-runs of movies of earlier movies and collectively these re-runs must have added up to a healthy sum.

            2 Whilst some time ago I realised inflation adjustment transformed ***actual grosses it was not until I came upon your site that I saw how the stars were being short-changed in the stats that had been released in the past as your figures were picking up grosses not reflected in Variety’s rentals. Therefore your pages do not lazily try to fob off viewers with just “old hat” but go for the full life time gross of a movie and the entire career box office of each star

            3 ***CPI can mitigate some of the transformation as the purchasing power of the domestic rentals for the 33 Gable movies including GWTW in 2017 dollars is $1.703.39 billion [average $52 million approx] and the purchasing power of the 4 Brando 1970s movies is $1.024.60 billion [average about $256 million]. Of course the big hits of modern stars like Cruise and Hanks also benefit from the great purchasing power of releases in today’s cinema though Brando once again had a bit of luck in that the rentals from Superman and the Godfather were initially about respectively 62% and 65% of massive grosses and even the Apocalypse Now/Last Tango rentals were about 50% of big grosses
            PS When I saw you were in Dublin I initially thought you meant over here and I was about to jump on a bus and confront you face to face about all that tosh you’ve been writing about Myrna Loy

        2. Hey Bob
          1. I imagine the Dublin I am about to leave is way different than the Dublin near you.
          2. Well we do try and be as accurate as possible…luckily it seems that most re-releases were pretty weak at best….with some exceptions like King King and Gone With The Gable.
          3. Good points on Brando, GWTW and current movies and stars.
          Next stop home!

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