Charlton Heston Movies

Of all the Charlton Heston movies none made more at the box office than 1956's The Ten Commandments

Of all the Charlton Heston movies none made more at the box office than 1956’s The Ten Commandments

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

Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008) is known for his heroic roles in films such as 1961’s El Cid, 1956’s The Ten Commandments, 1968’s Planet of the Apes and 1959’s Ben-Hur, for which he won the Oscar® for Best Actor. At one point, Heston had starred in three of the top eight movies of all-time. Those movies were Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur and The Greatest Show on Earth. Heston remained a leading man from 1950 until the early 1980s. After that he started appearing in supporting roles in such movies as True Lies, Any Given Sunday and Tombstone.

His IMDb page shows 131 acting credits from 1941-2010. This page will rank 61 Charlton Heston movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos and movies that were not released in theaters were not included in the rankings.

Charlton Heston in 1959's Ben-Hur

Charlton Heston in 1959’s Ben-Hur

Charlton Heston 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 Charlton Heston movies by his co-stars
  • Sort Charlton Heston movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort Charlton Heston movies by yearly box office rank
  • Sort Charlton Heston movies 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 Charlton Heston movie received.
  • Sort Charlton Heston 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.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted B.O. Domestic (mils.)Box Office Rank By YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Ben-Hur (1959)Stephen Boyd$842.401st of 196088.7%12 / 1193.42
The Ten Commandments (1956)Yul Brynner & Vincent Price$1122.601st of 195785.0%07 / 0177.85
Planet of the Apes (1968)Roddy McDowall$275.806th of 196884.5%02 / 0071.51
El Cid (1961)Sophia Loren$345.003rd of 196282.0%03 / 0071.36
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)James Stewart$513.801st of 195264.0%05 / 0269.28
The Big Country (1958)Gregory Peck & Directed by William Wyler$149.5011th of 195889.0%02 / 0166.40
True Lies (1994)Arnold Schwarzenegger$302.203rd of 199471.0%01 / 0064.77
The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Diamonds (1973)Oliver Reed$165.0015th of 197478.0%00 / 0062.86
Midway (1976)Henry Fonda & Robert Mitchum$259.206th of 197660.5%00 / 0059.44
Tombstone (1993)Kurt Russell$115.1021st of 199381.0%00 / 0055.66
Earthquake (1974)Ava Gardner$368.002nd of 197445.5%04 / 0155.20
The Naked Jungle (1954)Eleanor Parker$120.4047th of 195475.5%00 / 0054.14
The Four Muskateers: Milady's Revenge (1974)Michael York$119.7024th of 197574.0%01 / 0053.73
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)Rex Harrison$89.3022nd in 196679.5%05 / 0053.20
55 Days At Peking (1963)David Niven & Ava Gardner$140.0020th of 196362.5%02 / 0051.88
Airport 1975 (1974)Karen Black$315.905th of 197443.0%00 / 0051.21
The Buccaneer (1958)Yul Brynner & Directed by Anthony Quinn$128.5021st of 195965.5%01 / 0051.10
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)Claude Rains & Sidney Poitier$155.5011th of 196550.0%05 / 0049.60
Any Given Sunday (1999)Al Pacino & Dennis Quaid$125.8028th of 199957.5%00 / 0046.89
Cats & Dogs (2001)Alec Baldwin$139.3024th of 200153.0%00 / 0046.81
Touch of Evil (1958)Orson Welles & Marlene Dietrich$31.4085th of 195889.0%00 / 0046.70
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)Roddy McDowall$141.7012th of 197050.5%00 / 0045.70
Diamond Head (1962)Music by John Williams$144.5021st of 196249.5%00 / 0045.66
The Private War of Major Benson (1955)Julie Adams$97.3055th of 195563.0%01 / 0045.09
The President's Lady (1953)Susan Hayward$57.5090th of 195374.0%02 / 0044.49
Khartoum (1966)Laurence Olivier$45.1059th of 196678.5%01 / 0044.28
Ruby Gentry (1952)Jennifer Jones$74.5071st of 195268.0%00 / 0043.51
Wayne's World 2 (1993)Mike Myers & Christopher Walken$98.1029th of 199359.0%00 / 0043.44
Two-Minute Warning (1976)Beau Bridges$109.3034th of 197655.0%01 / 0043.19
Hamlet (1996)Jack Lemmon & Robin Williams$9.00165th of 199683.5%04 / 0042.24
Soylent Green (1973)Edward G. Robinson & Joseph Cotten$52.0037th of 197370.5%00 / 0041.20
Will Penny (1968)Bruce Dern & Lee Majors$33.1054th of 196876.5%00 / 0041.09
Major Dundee (1965)James Coburn & Directed by Sam Peckinpah$45.8049th of 196572.0%00 / 0040.94
The Pidgeon That Took Rome (1962)Elsa Marshall$53.0046th of 196263.5%01 / 0039.71
The Omega Man (1971)Anthony Zerbe$61.9032nd of 197162.5%00 / 0038.97
Lucy Gallant (1955)Jane Wyman$60.2093rd of 195562.0%00 / 0038.47
Julius Caesar (1950)Harold Tasker$1.50178th of 195079.5%00 / 0037.59
Secret of the Incas (1954)Robert Young$73.3093rd of 195455.5%00 / 0037.44
The Wreck of Mary Deare (1958)Gary Cooper$46.7073rd of 196063.5%00 / 0037.08
Skyjacked (1972)James Brolin$101.4015th of 197244.0%00 / 0036.40
Three Violent People (1956)Anne Baxter$52.6084th of 195756.0%00 / 0034.47
Dark City (1950)Lizabeth Scott$47.70116th of 195057.0%00 / 0034.18
The War Lord (1965)Richard Boone$21.3093rd of 196564.0%00 / 0033.38
The Savage (1952)Susan Morrow$27.70144th of 195261.0%00 / 0032.96
The Far Horizons (1955)Fred MacMurray$74.1078th of 195545.0%00 / 0032.64
Gray Lady Down (1978)David Carradine$25.0067th of 197860.0%00 / 0032.08
The Hawaiians (1970)Tina Chen$37.9046th of 197053.5%01 / 0031.41
Counterpoint (1967)Maximilian Schell$13.10114th of 196761.0%00 / 0030.70
Peer Gynt (1941)Betty Hanisee$2.40107th of 194164.5%00 / 0030.69
Number One (1969)Bruce Dern$17.0088th of 196959.0%00 / 0030.37
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)Sam Neill$17.30117th of 199558.5%00 / 0030.34
The Mountain Men (1980)Brian Keith$24.8085th of 198055.5%00 / 0029.92
Pony Express (1953)Rhonda Fleming$59.6087th of 195341.0%00 / 0028.51
Arrowhead (1953)Jack Palance$51.10110th of 195343.0%00 / 0028.13
The Last Hard Men (1976)James Coburn$9.60128th of 197656.0%00 / 0027.81
Crossed Swords (1977)Charlton Heston$27.6074th of 197850.0%00 / 0027.78
The Call of the Wild (1972)Maria Rohim$13.50151st of 197250.0%00 / 0025.59
The Awakening (1980)Susannah York$32.0070th of 198043.0%00 / 0025.17
Bad For Each Other (1953)Lizabeth Scott$46.80137th of 195338.0%00 / 0025.11
Alaska (1996)Thora Birch$22.60120th of 199636.5%00 / 0020.66
Town & Country (2001)Warren Beatty & Diane Keaton$10.00138th of 200128.5%00 / 0015.04

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Charlton Heston Table

  1. Twenty-three Charlton Heston movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 37.77% of his movies listed. The Ten Commandments (1956) was his biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Charlton Heston movie grosses $127.50 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  34 of Charlton Heston’s movies are rated as good movies…or 55.73% of his movies.  Touch of Evil (1958) is his highest rated movie while Town and Country (2001) was his lowest rated movie.
  4. Twenty Charlton Heston movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 32.78% of his movies.
  5. Five Charlton Heston’s movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 8.19% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 39.86.  33 Charlton Heston movies scored higher that average….or 54.09% of his movies.  Ben-Hur (1959) got the the highest UMR Score while Town and Country (2001) got the lowest UMR Score.
Charlton Heston in 1968's Planet of the Apes

Charlton Heston in 1968’s Planet of the Apes

Possibly Interesting Facts About Charlton Heston

1. Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter….Charlton’s name comes from his mom’s maiden name, Charlton, and his stepfather’s last name, Heston.

2. Charlton Heston turned down the role of “Police Chief Brody” in Jaws. Other movies he turned down over the years….John Wayne’s The Alamo, A Man For All Seasons, The Wild Bunch, The Omen, Deliverance and Stalag 17

3. Charlton Heston only received one Oscar® nomination in his acting career but he made it count as won the Oscar® for Ben-Hur…..luckily Burt Lancaster turned down the role.

4. Charlton Heston had two parts in The Ten Commandments……Moses and he provided the voice of God……years later he was hired by the F.B.I during the April 1993 Waco stand-off with cult leader David Koresh, to play the voice of God while communicating with him. However the plan was never used.

5. Charlton Heston played President Andrew Jackson twice in two separate unrelated films: The President’s Lady in 1953 and The Buccaneer in 1958.

6. Charlton Heston was also known for his political activism. In the 1950s and 1960s he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also president of the NRA from 1998 to 2003.

7. Charlton Heston was married to Lydia Clarke from 1944 until his death in 2008…they had two children.

8. In his 1985 autobiography “In The Arena” Charlton Heston wrote that 1972’s The Call of the Wild was easily his worst film, and hoped the public would never have to watch the film.

9. His line “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” from Planet of the Apes, is ranked by the American Film Institute as the 66th best movie quote of all-time.

10.  Two links from SteveLensman are highly recommended.  One is all about Ben-Hur and the other about all Charlton Heston movies.  Charlton Heston Movies

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125 thoughts on “Charlton Heston Movies

  1. HI STEVE Good weekend? 1 A joke doing the rounds when Greatest Story was current was that Stevens thought that Wayne was not acting intimidated enough by the mystic figure of Christ so George said “John put more awe into the scene,” and the Duke complied by uttering “Awhhh!”

    2 Beware of what James Coburn called the “Creative Bookkeeping” of Hollywood accountants designed to exaggerate costs so that those entitled to profit shares could be denied them. For example The Salkinds told Mr M that Superman 1978 had only broken even because of costs and Coppola also pleaded poverty over the earnings of Apocalypse Now so all 3 told Mr M that there were no profits for him.

    3 Now Mr M may not have been able to speak well to your ears but he could certainly count and took legal proceedings resulting according to Variety in out of court settlements in actual dollars at around 1983 value of $15 million from the Salkinds and $9 million from Francis which allowed the Great One to disappear from our screens for 10 years. Actually the Salkinds economised by shooting Superman 1/2 back-to back getting to some extent 2 for the price of one and they cut Mr M’s scenes out of Supe 2 so they didn’t have to give him any further profits

    4 I have come to the conclusion that so strange are some of the arguments on this site that certain people enjoy arguing just for the sake of it and the more bizarre their contentions the more they g** o** on them. However I will take what I can get particularly as the Work Horse has now turned into the Bing Crosby of the site and I am sure you will remember Sinatra singing to Bing in High Society “I have heard that in this Clan, You are called the forgotten man.” Lucky you too haven’t gone AWOL on us and I can still keep an interested eye on your catalogue for new entries whether they be related to big spectacles or the low costing tiny grossers that have got John so excited. What with that and billing he seems to get his k******s in a twist over the strangest things. Anyway nice to hear from both of you again.

  2. STEVE/JOHN
    Out of respect for you guys I have been doing some random facts checking and apparently to make an average A C Lyles piece of rubbish cost about $1.5 million in today’s money and the more profitable ones such as Dana Andrews’ Town Tamer earned around $10 million in worldwide rentals in 2017 dollars Chuck’s Ben Hur cost around $130 million in 2017 money and earned an inflation adjusted $720 million approx in worldwide rentals. However Town Tamer’s cost to earnings ratio was roughly 1: 6.7 whereas the Heston epic’s cost/earning ratio was around only 1: 5.5 so no doubt Lyles preferred his $10 million to Ben Hur’s $720 million. Who wouldn’t?

  3. STEVE/JOHN

    1 The great news is that Easter is just around the corner and I don’t know about you guys but to me just as Christmas means It’s a Wonderful Life the coming of Easter is always the harbinger for Chuck and Ben Hur. I see they are advertising it already on television

    2 Of course the drift of some of the recent correspondence might suggest that on the technical side of the industry the heroes of you two are not the epic makers like Wyler and DeMille but A C Lyles who generated large profit to cost ratios by making rubbish for which he by-passed the big stars of the time like Heston and stacked his films with once famous has-beens whom he could now employ for a song. However if you would prefer to watch Pow Wow at Big Bull’s Wigwam starring an over-weight Howard Keel rather than a lithe Heston in a classic like Ben Hur then best of luck to you!

    3 Chuck, now there’s the real deal in terms of stardom and for me a true star is someone who when in his/her heyday can demand the prestige parts and the best billing as Chuck was able to do post Ben Hur. In my view stars who consistently accept 2nd billing or less even in important movies have accepted that they are not among the cream .of the cream as represented by The Waynes, the Stewarts, the Crawfords, the Dunnes and the Liz Taylors and that a lower billed part in anything worthwhile is on most occasions all that those inferior stars are going to get..

    1. “All I know is that I race against Messala!”

      Bob, I usually watch Ben-Hur either at Xmas or Easter, I’ve already watched it last Xmas so it’ll have to be another Heston epic this Easter, maybe El Cid. The Greatest Story Ever Told might be apt for that time of year. “Truly this man was the son of Gaaad!” John Wayne as The Centurion.

      I thought King of Kings starring Jeffrey Hunter was more enjoyable and livelier than George Stevens slow moving but star-studded epic. Hard to believe it was the director of Gunga Din and Shane who was responsible for that, John Huston’s The Bible was even worse.

      But I’ve always had a soft spot for Khartoum (1966), even if it did invent some of the historical events shown in the film, but than again the movies have always distorted history.

      As for the debate on profit ratios, I’ll stay in neutral and say I enjoy both low budget and big budget movies equally. But from what I’ve read recently some of the expensive top grossing films of recent years did not bring much profit to the studio after everything was calculated and finalised. The studios sometimes spend over $100m on publicity alone on some of these huge movies.

      1. Steve and Bob

        “I enjoy both low budget and big budget movies”

        I agree with you. I don’t see why this must be an either/or choice as Bob seems to want to make it. Hollywood can and has done both. I would only point out that the executives who established a solid base of modestly budgeted programmers as a financial buffer remained solvent longer and so were in a position to fund their occasional let-it-all-hang-out cast of thousands all star extravaganzas more often.
        My other point is that just being big budget does not in itself guarantee quality. For every Quo Vadis or The Ten Commandments or Ben-Hur, there is also a The Prodigal, The Big Fisherman, or a The Greatest Story Ever Told. Many big budget films turn out to be long bores. In fairness, it is not the Biblical/historical epics as much as the bloated musicals of the late sixties and seventies that stand out here. Camelot was one of the few movies I have rented that I had a difficult time getting through. What about The Man of la Mancha? Or the 1972 Lost Horizon? Give me Night of the Living Dead any time.
        For all that, I love the biggies when they are done well. But where would Hollywood be without its modestly budgeted genres such as westerns, noirs, and mysteries? And I’m a serial fan! Man, talk about low budget and lower prestige.

  4. What I am curious to know is why none of the filmographies I’ve been able to find ever list him, even as uncredited, as being the voice of Satan in Nicholas Ray’s “King of Kings?” Yes, if you listen very closely to the pronunciation of some of the words in the very short Satan statements, you can discern that he definitely spoke those lines. But why he is never mentioned as having voiced those lines is very curious. I seriously doubt that many people would associate him with Satan, with as devout a Christian as he was, and with as many Biblical characters as he portrayed. I’m willing to bet that most likely it was, and continues to be, at his and his family’s behest (no pun intended). Nevertheless, he’s gone, and no one who adored him and his films would ever think the less of him were it known that he did that.

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