Claudette Colbert Movies

Claudette played Cleopatra almost 30 years before Elizabeth Taylor did.

Claudette played Cleopatra almost 30 years before Elizabeth Taylor did.

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

Claudette Colbert (1903-1996) was a French-born American actress, who the American Film Institute ranked as one of the Top 50 Screen Legends of all time.  Colbert is ranked as the 12th best actress, right behind #11 Barbara Stanwyck and right before #13 Grace Kelly.  One of our goals is to do a movie page on all 50 Screen Legends.  After completing this page we have now written movie pages on 47 (or 94%) of those performers……leaving only 2 actresses and 1 actor that still need movie pages.

Her IMDb page shows 81 acting credits from 1927-1987. This page will rank 48 Claudette Colbert movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.  Many of her silent movies, her shorts and some “talkies between 1929 and 1933 were not included in the tables.  The reason?  Lack of finding box office grosses.  Striking out on all 4 of her 1933 movies was extremely disappointing.

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in 1934's It Happened One Night

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in 1934’s It Happened One Night

Claudette Colbert 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 Claudette Colbert movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Claudette Colbert movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort Claudette Colbert movies by yearly domestic box office rank or trivia
  • Sort Claudette Colbert 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 Oscar® wins each Claudette Colbert movie received.
  • Sort Claudette Colbert movies by Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score.  UMR 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 table very interactive.  For example…if you type in “Fred MacMurray” in the search box….the 7 MacMurrray/Colbert movies will pop right up.
  • Blue Link in Co-Star column will take you to that star’s UMR movie page
Rank Movie (Year)Co-StarAdjusted Box Office - Domestic (Millions)Yearly Box Office Rank or TriviaCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
It Happened One Night (1934)Clark Gable$190.70Best Picture Oscar Winner91.0%05 / 0592.33
Since You Went Away (1944)Shirley Temple$335.504th of 194473.5%09 / 0176.49
Cleopatra (1934)Directed by Cecil B. DeMille$202.00Budget: $842,90872.0%05 / 0170.44
So Proudly We Hail (1943)Paulette Goddard$240.9012th of 194379.0%04 / 0069.73
Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)Orson Welles$208.3030th of 194677.5%00 / 0067.42
Boom Town (1940)Clark Gable & Spencer Tracy$394.503rd of 194075.5%02 / 0067.28
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)Henry Fonda$264.906th of 193974.5%02 / 0066.82
The Egg and I (1947)Fred MacMurray$338.708th of 194774.0%01 / 0066.18
Without Reservations (1946)John Wayne$179.0043rd of 194670.3%00 / 0060.80
The Sign of the Cross (1932)Cecil B. DeMille$299.90Budget: $694,06462.0%01 / 0060.54
The Palm Beach Story (1942)Joel McCrea$141.2049th of 194282.0%00 / 0060.43
Imitation of Life (1934)Warren William$108.608th of 193482.0%03 / 0059.57
The Secret Heart (1946)Walter Pidgeon$168.7034th of 194764.0%00 / 0056.23
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)Maurice Chevalier$115.8010th of 193178.5%01 / 0055.24
Tovarich (1937)Charles Boyer$131.50$108.70 million in worldwide box office69.5%00 / 0053.04
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)Gary Cooper$174.8015th of 193853.0%00 / 0052.00
Parrish (1961)Karl Malden$136.7019th of 196165.5%00 / 0051.97
Under Two Flags (1936)Ronald Colman$134.90Budget: $1,500,00064.0%00 / 0050.99
Midnight (1939)Don Ameche$68.0048th of 193986.0%00 / 0050.96
Arise My Love (1940)Ray Milland$103.20Her favorite of all her movies68.0%04 / 0150.16
I Met Him In Paris (1937)Melvyn Douglas & Robert Young$130.0043rd of 193762.0%00 / 0049.29
Practically Yours (1944)Fred MacMurray$123.805th of 7 Claudette/Fred MacMurray movies63.5%00 / 0049.03
Family Honeymoon (1948)Fred MacMurray$122.0034th of 194963.0%00 / 0048.52
Remember The Day (1941)John Payne$106.80Directed by Henry King68.0%00 / 0048.51
Three Came Home (1950)Patric Knowles$95.3050th of 195071.0%00 / 0048.14
The Gilded Lily (1935)Ray Milland & Fred MacMurray$92.301st of 7 Colbert/MacMurray movies71.5%00 / 0047.91
It's A Wonderful World (1939)James Stewart$65.0090th of 193975.3%00 / 0045.48
The Bride Comes Home (1935)Fred MacMurray & Robert Young$97.802nd of 7 Fred/Claudette movies64.0%00 / 0045.24
No Time For Love (1943)Fred MacMurray$80.304th of 7 Claudette/Fred movies65.5%00 / 0043.23
She Married Her Boss (1935)Melvyn Douglas$82.40Loaned to Columbia61.5%00 / 0041.67
The Big Pond (1930)Maurice Chevalier$99.30Chevalier got Oscar nom for role55.0%01 / 0041.64
Bride For Sale (1949)Robert Young$76.8066th of 194963.0%00 / 0041.51
Sleep My Love (1948)Robert Cummings & Don Ameche$50.90Directed by Douglas Sirk71.0%00 / 0041.26
Skylark (1941)Ray Milland$50.90Movie earned Best Sound Oscar67.0%01 / 0039.78
Zaza (1938)Herbert Marshall & Bert Lahr$54.90One of director George Cukor's few flops64.0%00 / 0038.59
Private Worlds (1935)Charles Boyer & Joel McCrea$53.40$63.20 million in worldwide box office49.5%00 / 0037.54
The Secret Fury (1950)Robert Ryan$42.70$50.60 million in worldwide box office65.5%00 / 0037.40
Let's Make It Legal (1951)Marilyn Monroe$60.20103rd of 195159.5%00 / 0037.29
Thunder on the Hill (1951)Ann Blyth$34.80Directed by Douglas Sirk67.5%00 / 0037.11
Guest Wife (1945)Don Ameche$68.80Also known as What Every Woman Wants54.0%01 / 0036.44
Maid of Salem (1937)Fred MacMurray$94.00Lost a ton of money46.5%00 / 0036.43
His Woman (1931)Gary Cooper$52.901st of 2 Cooper/Colbert movies58.0%00 / 0035.46
Four Frightened People (1933)Directed by Cecil B. DeMille$51.80$509,600 Budget56.5%00 / 0034.59
For The Love of Mike (1927)Directed by Frank Capra$29.60Capra & Colbert did not get along during filming60.0%00 / 0032.79
Daughters of Destiny (1954)Michel Piccoli$4.20Limited release in USA57.5%00 / 0027.67
Outpost in Malaya (1952)Jack Hawkins$5.30Also known as The Planter's Wife50.0%00 / 0024.32
Texas Lady (1955)Barry Sullivan$17.40Her 1st & last western role42.0%00 / 0022.44
Royal Affairs in Versailies (1954)Orson Welles$6.60Limited release in North America40.0%00 / 0019.82

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Claudette Colbert Table

  1. Twenty-three Claudette Colbert movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 47.91% of her movies listed. Boom Town (1940) was her biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Claudette Colbert movie grosses $119.94 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  36 of Claudette Colbert’s movies are rated as good movies…or 75.00% of her movies.  It Happened One Night (1934) was her highest rated movie while Royal Affairs in Versailies (1954) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Fourteen Claudette Colbert movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 29.16% of her movies.
  5. Four Claudette Colbert movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 8.33% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  33 Claudette Colbert movies scored higher that average….or 68.75% of her movies. It Happened One Night (1934) got the the highest UMR Movie Score while Royal Affairs in Versailies (1954) got the lowest UMR Movie Score.
Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert in 1947's The Egg and I

Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert in 1947’s The Egg and I

Possibly Interesting Facts About Claudette Colbert

1. Claudette Colbert was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France.  Colbert was her maternal grandmother’s maiden name.

2. Claudette Colbert’s It Happened One Night (1934) won five major Academy Awards®: Best Picture, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Riskin). Only two other movies have accomplished this Oscar® sweep….those two movies are 1975’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and 1991’s Silence of the Lambs.

3. Claudette Colbert and Frank Capra.  Colbert’s 1st ever movie was 1927’s For The Love Of Mike. During the filming Colbert and Capra did not get along at all.  After the completion of filming, Colbert told one and all, “I shall never make another film”. When Paramount loaned her out to film Capra’s It Happened One Night…she was not happy at all.  The other star,Clark Gable, was not happy either (he had his own reasons). Then Gable and Colbert did not get along during filming.  Well…..somehow all of that unhappiness resulted in the 166th best film of all-time (according to IMDb.com).

4. Claudette Colbert was married two times.  Her first marriage was to actor, Norman Foster, from 1928 to 1935.  Her second marriage was to Dr. Joel Pressman from 1935 until his death in 1968.  She did not have any children.

5.  Most shots of Claudette Colbert in her films were of her left profile. She considered her left side to be her best and only rarely allowed full face or right profile shots; an injury to her nose had created a bump on the right. Once an entire set had to be rebuilt so she would not have to show her right side, resulting in some cameramen calling the right side of her face “the dark side of the moon”.

6. Claudette Colbert was nominated for 3 Best Actress Oscars®.  She won for 1934’s  It Happened One Night.  Her other nominations were for 1935’s Private Worlds and 1944’s Since You Went Away.

7. Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray appeared in seven movies together:  The Gilded Lily (1935), The Bride Comes Home (1935), Maid of Salem (1937), No Time for Love (1943), Practically Yours (1944), The Egg and I (1947) and Family Honeymoon (1948).

8.  Claudette Colbert was voted a Top 10 Box Office Star 3 times:  She was 6th in 1935, 8th in 1936 and 9th in 1947.

9.  Claudette Colbert had 14 movies that crossed the $100 million adjusted domestic box office mark.  That ties her for 8th place when looking at all of the actresses that are in our database.  Her movies grossed over $4.21 billion in adjusted domestic box office.

10. Check out Claudette Colbert’s movie career compared to current and classic stars on our Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time page.

Claudette Colbert in 1942's The Palm Beach Story

Claudette Colbert in 1942’s The Palm Beach Story

America Film Institutes’ Top 25 Screen Legend Actress and UMR’s Links That Rank All Of Their Movies.

Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.  Golden Globes® are the registered trademark and service mark of the Hollywood Foreign Press.

The drivel part: Astute readers (looking at Dan and Lyle) might noticed that different movies have different box office totals on different pages on this website.  There are two reasons for that:  First we just updated the average movie ticket price in our database.  The average cost of a movie ticket in 2015 was $8.43.  Secondly we just discovered some awesome data that looks at box office rentals versus box office grosses on a yearly basis from 1918 to 1980.  So we have tweaked our formula to re-calculate the adjusted box office totals.  So far we have only used the new equations on one page (this one)…now we start the fun process of updating all 300 plus pages on the website.  It might take awhile before all the numbers match again.  And finally this page is also a request from Chris.
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41 thoughts on “Claudette Colbert Movies

  1. 1 Like Joan Crawford after Claudette became a star she was denied top billing only a handful of times and again like Crawford was able to carry many stand-alone movies. She was therefore in my opinion one of those stars who richly deserved her AFI listing, though the extent of her success always puzzled me as I never found her especially physically attractive except when she was very young but considered her rather as matronly in a profession that liked to promote women perceived as sexy. Perhaps BRUCE could help us out in analysing her stardom.

    2 VIDEO COMMENTS (1) Fine posters of Cleopatra, Sign of the Cross, The Gilded Lily and No Time for Love co-starring Fred Mac Murray who is in a couple of entries in the video. Indeed Bruce’s co-stars link column lists an amazing 7 pairings of Claudette/Fred (2) the usual good array of black and white stills with maybe one of the best being that from Cleo and definitely for me THE best her and the King from Boom Town (3) Brue and you have the same Top 4 in identical order but you are far apart on Cleopatra which is your No 5 and for critic/audience his No 13 (4) I was disappointed that you didn’t include my own favourite Colbert movie, Sleep My Love [not to be confused with Colbert’s Arise my Love] but Sleep my Love does respectably well with Bruce who ranked it 16 (71%) for critic/audience in his chart. So for once the good guys are on my side! Have a good weekend BOB

    PS You may wish to check out your Colbert video as I tried to watch it a second time but it kept allowing me to start the viewing at just No 4 in your Top 5 – ie I was unable to see any of the 21 lower entries a second time.

    1. 1 Previous post was as well meant especially for YOUR conisderation

      2 I forgot to say that the posters [ and still] from It Happened One Night were corkers as well.
      After this movie Colbert was denied top billing only twice in her career – to Colman in the 1936 Under Two Flags and to Gable and Tracy in Boom Town. No way she was getting billed beffore those two – only Crawford could manage that !

      3. In comment 3 in the previous post I’ve shortened Bruce to “Brue” – apologies.

    2. Hi Bob, thanks for the video analysis, always appreciated. I’ve checked the video and it’s working fine, sometimes youtube remembers the last position you were on the video and starts it from there. You can always drag the playback slider back to the start of the video by positioning the mouse pointer over the slider, holding the left button on the mouse and pulling back.

      “Sleep My Love” would have been in 25th position with a 6.2 rating, for some reason I didn’t include it. Maybe I wanted to include that still from Four Frightened People right at the start of the video and decided to give your favorite the boot. The Radio times critic gave it 4 out of 10 which dropped it down a bit. At least it wasn’t Maltin’s fault this time. I should have made it a top 30, why was I so stingy with Colbert?

      I’m telling you Frank MacMurray is everywhere, 7 films with Coldbert? I’m flabbergasted. Until recently I only knew him from Disney film The Nutty Minded Professor and that William Wilder film, forgot the title, was it Double Jeopardy? Oh and of course The Michael Caine Mutiny, starring Michael Caine and Charles Laughton.

      1. STEVE

        1 Thanks for the feedback. I now look forward to the 2nd Colbert viewing because it was a fine presentation [9/10] and anyway she did as I’ve said make so many stand-alone movies that she deserves a 2nd viewing.

        2 Th coward of The Caine Mutiny was certainly a light-hearted ‘cheeky chappie’ back in the 30s and 40s even sporting a moustache in one movie though I suppose that with Gable’s success everybody was eventually looking the excuse to wear one. .

        1. Hey Bob and Steve
          Good conversation between the two of you. The video worked fine for me…..so I wonder what was happening to cause those issues. I agree Fred MacMurray had a wonderful long movie career before Disney came and erased all of those movies…lol. As for Colbert’s success….I think many people thought she was the bees knees….her casting as Cleopatra was well received. I think that matronly look was happening after about 20 years of movies….and for the ones that grew up with her did not notice it. Thanks for the comments and the visits.

          1. 1 Thanks for the feedback which was actually very astute as I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head because I recall a psychologist writing that people of a similar age group or closer age groups don’t see each other the way younger people see them.

            2 Also I recall a conversation in 1956 when it was announced that Marlene Dietrich then about 55 was to play Ty Power’s wife in Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and another young fellow at my workplace said that rather than be given the role of the screen wife of a still popular matinee idol Marlene should be playing grandmother roles. However a long-time film buff who like Power was in his very early forties retorted “Hey, I still wouldn’t mind dating Granny Dietrich” [or words to that effect !] !

            2 Although she did well with that movie Marlene was undeniably long past her heyday in it but you can tell W o C that there are some things that even the”curse of 39″ can’t completely change !

          2. Hey Bob….glad you like my educated guess on Colbert. When I watch Witness For The Prosecution I never think Dietrich is too old for Power….actually Power looks too old for her. Speaking of Curse of 39….I recently did a graph on Nicole Kidman…and she seems like another victim of the curse.

  2. Claudette Colbert appeared in four color movies. Her first color movie was Drums Along the Mohawk in 1939. She appeared in two movies in the mid-fifties, and Parrish in 1961.

    She also appeared the MfTV The Two Mrs. Grenvilles in 1987, winning a Golden Globe.
    Like many classic actresses, she didn’t seem to like color.

    1. Hey John….not surprised that Colbert’s color movies were so few. I have seen one of those 4 color movies…Drums Along The Mohawk….which was a massive hit….maybe the fact that it was in color explains how that movie made so much money back then.

      Thanks again for sharing all of this information….I think there is enough interesting stuff in your comments to make a page that only looks at these totals and stats. It makes my brain start thinking….which is dangerous…lol. Thanks again….it was greatly appreciated.

  3. she was beautiful no came across the screen so warm and down to earth she stayed a star her whole life a real lady those high apple cheeks those big dark eyes and that mega watt smile she kept herself in good shape when she got older she looked fantastic and what a beautiful voice she had a great work ethic and she was known for her being one of the best dressed Hollywood stars she will be missed the world was a better place when she was in it I loved her since I was 12yrs old I am 79 now and still love her

    1. Hey Charles….very glad you found my Claudette Colbert page….especially since you have been a fan of hers for 67 years. Thanks for sharing all of these great things about her. She deserves to be considered one of the greatest actresses of all-time. Thanks for the visit and the comment. I really enjoyed reading it.

    1. Your tally counts get better each week. I watched my 80th Michael Caine on Wednesday….my greatest tally for a single performer. Hope you enjoy The Smiling Lieutenant….one of Colbert’s first big hits.

  4. Hi

    When I was a teenager, one of my favourite movies was Drums Along the Mohawk. With the young Henry Fonda, a brilliant supporting cast and of course, Claudette Colbert as his pioneering wife. In luscious colour, she looked incredible. I didn’t realise of course that this same Miss Colbert was more at home in screwball comedies. The Palm Beach Story, Midnight and of course It Happened One Night. Screwball comedy was a real art and only a few actresses could really master it.
    Lombard, Hepburn, Dunne, Loy and Colbert were the top of their game. She was also excellent in drama like Since You Went Away. I always found it interesting that when Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote All About Eve, he had Colbert for the role of Margo. But due to a skiing accident she had to drop out, leaving it to Davis and giving her the greatest role of her career.
    In the 50’s when her movie career was starting to decline, she did live T.V. In Lauren Becall;s book, she retells the story of working with Colbert in a Noel Coward production. During the final dress rehearsals she kept forgetting her lines. Coward was of course getting very irritated. Colbert said, ‘I don’t understand, last night I knew my lines backwards’ which Noel courtly replied, ‘My dear, knowing them frontwards would be suffice.’
    At the AFI dinner for Frank Capra in 1981, she paid tribute to him. She looked incredible, you can see it on Youtube. Later in the 80’s, she appeared in a television film called The Two Mrs Carol’s. She was well into her 80’s and she still looked great.
    Her career is less celebrated than say Davis or Hepburn, but at her peak, she was a massive star and left an indelible mark on Hollywood’s Golden Years.

    1. Hey Chris….glad you found your requested “Claudette Colbert” page. That is interesting that of all the great 1939 movies….that Drums Along The Mohawk was your favorite. Her screwball comedies are amongst the best of all-time. Her missing All About Eve was good news for Bette Davis when Colbert had to pull out. Makes you wonder where Colbert’s career would have gone if she had made All About Eve. Funny story about Coward and Colbert….I imagine live tv had to be a challenge especially for someone who started out in silent movies. Good to know that Capra and Colbert got over their differences at the end of their lives. It amazes me that they created such a fun light movie with all the stress that was going on behind the cameras. 12th place is pretty place on the AFI legends list…she is right there with all the screen legends. Thanks for stopping and thanks for the Colbert request.

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