Greta Garbo Movies

Greta Garbo is ranked as the 5th greatest screen legend actress of all-time according to the American Film Institute.

Greta Garbo is ranked as the 5th greatest screen legend actress of all-time according to the American Film Institute.

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

Recently I decided to do a movie page on each person on the Top 50 Screen Legends of All-Time according to the American Film Institute. So I have now reached the 5th greatest actress of all-time Greta Garbo. I think I am a pretty knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of movies, but I must admit that I really did not know very much about Greta Garbo (1905-1990) when I started writing this hub.  Prior to writing this movie page I had seen one of her movies, Grand Hotel, and had really only heard of 3 or 4 of her movies.

After appearing in a few Swedish films, Greta Garbo received a contract from MGM and moved to the United States in 1925. Over the next 15 years, Garbo would appear in 24 movies and become one of the most famous people in the world. After appearing in 1941’s Two-Faced Woman she stopped making movies, moved to New York City and pretty much stopped appearing in public….she passed away in 1990.

Her IMDb page shows 32 acting credits from 1920-1941. This page will rank 24 Greta Garbo movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Her eight movies made in Sweden are not included in the rankings…not because I do not like Swedish films….but because the movies never got released in North America.

Greta Garbo in 1931's Mata Hari

Greta Garbo in 1931’s Mata Hari

Greta Garbo 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 Greta Garbo movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Greta Garbo movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Greta Garbo movies by adjusted worldwide box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Greta Garbo 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 Greta Garbo movie received.
  • Sort Greta Garbo 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.
  • * = If Worldwide box office gross are the same as domestic box office then worldwide numbers are unknown

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Greta Garbo Table

  1. Six Greta Garbo movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 25.00% of her movies listed. Anna Christie (1930) was her biggest domestic box office hit.
  2. An average Greta Garbo movie grosses $84.40 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  24 of Greta Garbo’s movies are rated as good movies…or 100.00% of her movies.  Ninotchka (1939) is her highest rated movie while Two-Faced Woman (1941) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Six Greta Garbo movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 25.00% of her movies.
  5. One Greta Garbo movie won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 4.16% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  19 Greta Garbo movies scored higher that average….or 79.16% of her movies.  Ninotchka (1939) got the the highest UMR Score while Torrent (1928) got the lowest UMR Score.
Greta Garbo and frequent co-star Melvyn Douglas in 1939's Ninotchka

Greta Garbo and frequent co-star Melvyn Douglas in 1939’s Ninotchka

Possibly Interesting Facts About Greta Garbo

1. Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Stockholm, Sweden. She went from a department store model to appearing in Swedish movies to signing a contract with MGM by the time she was 20. On her arrival in the United States the general consensus was MGM had made a mistake because she was “not extraordinary and could be safely disregarded”.

2. Greta Garbo’s big break occured when Monta Bell(a director) stumbled across her screen test that was accidently included in a reel of torrential rain storms that he was watching for research in his upcoming movie. Bell saw Garbo and immediately put her in his movie…1926’s Torrent.

3 Greta Garbo could not speak any English when she first arrived, that was not a problem as all of her first films were silent films. In 1930 she appeared in her first “talkie”, Anna Christie, ….the publicity for the movie was the famous line….”Garbo talks”….as the public loved her heavy Swedish voice as well as her looks.

4. Greta Garbo was nominated 4 times for a Best Actress Oscar® ….those movies were 1930’s Anna Christie, 1931’s Romance, 1936’s Camille and 1939’s Ninotchka. Garbo actually made Anna Christie twice….once in English and the other time in German….the German versus did not make the page.

5. Greta Garbo never married, never had children and lived alone. Her last years of her life were spent in absolute seclusion. She almost did marry actor and co-star John Gilbert in 1927 but left him at the alter when she got cold feet.

6. Greta Garbo was Adolph Hitler’s favorite actress. When she learned that Hitler had watched 1936’s Camille 7 times and wanted to meet her….Garbo actually considered meeting with Hitler…the catch? she wanted to bring a knife and end his life.

7. Greta Garbo wanted to keep working after 1941’s Two-Faced Women….but all the projects she was interested in making all fell apart due to financial reasons. By 1949 she had given up the thought of returning to the big screen.

8. Greta Garbo turned down these roles over the years: I Remember Mama, Airport 1975, Out of Africa, The Paradine Case, Red Dust, Sunset Boulevard, and My Cousin Rachel.

9. Greta Garbo’s nicknames were The Face, Garbo and The Swedish Sphinx. She was also very famous for being very frugal. When she passed away she left her niece over 32 million dollars.

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

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33 thoughts on “Greta Garbo Movies

  1. This was interesting. I saw where she turned down Sunset Boulevard. I wish she been in it. I can’t stand Gloria Swanson. As it is I only have it for Buster Keaton’s appearance.

    1. Hey Cathy….I think she would have been awesome as Norma Desmond. Buster’s appearance is small…but memorable. Glad you liked this look at Garbo’s career. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. HELLO STEVE – Garbo’s turn today !

    1 She was long retired when I started watching movies and hers were not the kind that were repeated at kids matinees so that I was not familiar with too many of her movies until Cogerson materialised and illustrated that among the accredited Great Stars of the Classic Era her domestic grosses were not the most impressive.

    2 Diligent research by Bruce has given us 20 of her Worldwide grosses as well and they amount to around $3.72 billion which is not vertiginous when one considers that even the Top 20 adjusted domestic grosses of many other stars exceed that figure, with for example the Top 20 earning films of Golden Holden amounting to an adjusted total domestic gross of $4.6 billion.

    3 I am regretfully unable to comment on your individual ratings because of my unfamiliarity with Garbo’s films but your Top 10 entries are with one exception those that I have always heard critics praise, so congratulations though some critics consider Camille or Queen Christina to have been per best performance if not her top film.

    4 I LOVED your accompanying Strauss music which I thought was very appropriate to Garbo and her films and indeed generally in my opinion your music selections add to the impact of your iconic poster reproductions. So very enjoyable Garbo video despite my own lack of knowledge.

    Best wishes BOB

    1. Hi Bob, thank you for commenting on my video, appreciate the kind words. I wish I had more control over the music on these videos but I’m limited to youtubes library of copyright-free tunes. I wish they’d clear the rights to more classical music.

      Ninotchka tops Bruce’s charts too, he has Camille at no.5 and Queen Christina at no.2 on the critics chart. I have Grand Hotel at no.2, it was a Best Picture winner in 1932.

      I’m not very familiar with Garbo’s films either, Ninotchka is probably my favorite, though I prefer the musical remake – Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse as Ninotchka.

      Cheers, Steve.

      1. Hey Steve….so you have a Greta Garbo video out there…I will check it out when I get back…and all the other videos you have done during the last week.

  3. Not sure how I got here but this website is pretty amazing. Love the classics and there stars. Lots to read here.

  4. Hey, Bruce.

    I read an article in the LA times thanks to a man on TCM website about Gregory Peck’s 100th birthday and it turns out that Greta Garbo was his favourite actress

    1. Hey Flora…That is an interesting piece of information. Too bad he missed out on working with her….and by only 4 or 5 years. Garbo and Peck in a movie together would have been very interesting. Thanks for sharing that information.

  5. The only comment I have is, all her male co-stars have to be considered the luckiest men that ever lived. Just being able to hold her, kiss her would have been enough payday for me. She was beauty personified.

    1. Hey Leonard. I can see why all of her co-stars felt that way. Kissing and holding her would have been a great paycheck indeed! Thanks for checking out my Garbo page.

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