Jack Lemmon Movies

Jack Lemmon in 1955's classic movie...Mister Roberts

Jack Lemmon in 1955’s classic movie…Mister Roberts

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

John Uhler “Jack” Lemmon III (February 8, 1925 – June 27, 2001) was a two Academy Award® winning actor. Lemmon’s film debut was a uncredited bit part in the 1949 film The Lady Takes a Sailor but he was not noticed until his official debut in 1954’s It Should Happen To You.

Over the next 45 years, Lemmon would appear in numerous classic movies. Movies like Mister Roberts, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Day of Wine and Roses, The Great Race and The China Syndrome. Jack Lemmon received 8 Oscar® nominations for acting in his career.

He won twice, once as Best Supporting Actor in 1955’s Mister Roberts and once as Best Actor for 1973’s Save The Tiger. Lemmon also received an incredible 16 Golden Globe® nominations for his movie roles. So basically for every three movies Lemmon made, he would receive one nomination…..not a bad ratio.

His IMDb page shows 96 acting credits from 1949-2000. This page will rank 53 Jack Lemmon movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos and bit parts were not included in the rankings.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon 1959's Some Like It Hot.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon 1959’s Some Like It Hot.

Jack Lemmon 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 Jack Lemmon movies by co-stars of his movies
  • Sort Jack Lemmon movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Jack Lemmon movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort Jack Lemmon 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 Jack Lemmon movie received.
  • Sort Jack Lemmon 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.
  • *** = Jack Lemmon received an Oscar® nomination for the movie
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted B.O. Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Apartment, The (1960) ***Shirley MacLaine & Fred MacMurray$232.106th of 196087.50%10 / 0588.62
Some Like It Hot (1959) ***Tony Curtis & Marilyn Monroe$326.303rd of 195991.67%06 / 0185.33
Mister Roberts (1955) ***Henry Fonda & James Cagney$393.702nd of 195588.00%03 / 0183.91
Odd Couple, The (1968)Walter Matthau & John Fiedler$286.505th of 196885.00%02 / 0073.62
Irma La Douce (1963)Shirley MacLaine & James Caan$247.005th of 196379.00%03 / 0171.80
China Syndrome, The (1979) ***Jane Fonda & Michael Douglas$173.7012th of 197977.50%04 / 0071.31
Days of Wine and Roses (1962) ***Lee Remick$137.8017th of 196287.00%05 / 0171.22
Great Race, The (1965)Tony Curts & Natalie Wood$254.606th of 196574.00%05 / 0170.25
JFK (1991)Kevin Costner & Tommy Lee Jones$141.0017th of 199182.00%08 / 0267.68
Missing (1982) ***Sissy Spacek$40.1056th of 198287.00%04 / 0157.94
Grumpy Old Men (1993)Walter Matthau & Ann-Margret$142.9015th of 199368.00%00 / 0054.11
Save the Tiger (1973) ***Jack Gilford$33.9059th of 197380.00%03 / 0154.02
Under The Yum Yum Tree (1963)Carol Lynley & Dean Jones$138.6019th of 196361.00%00 / 0052.02
Good Neighbor Sam (1964)Edward G. Robinson$126.8021st of 196467.00%00 / 0051.14
Front Page, The (1974)Walter Matthau & Susan Sarandon$107.4026th of 197569.00%00 / 0050.95
How To Murder Your Wife (1965)Terry-Thomas$125.1011th of 196566.00%00 / 0050.41
Out-of-Towners, The (1970)Sandy Dennis$119.2013th of 197062.00%00 / 0048.87
Bell Book and Candle (1958)James Stewart & Kim Novak$99.4035th of 195968.00%02 / 0048.79
It Should Happen To You (1954)Judy Holliday & Directed by George Cukor$73.3096th of 195478.00%01 / 0048.42
Fortune Cookie, The (1966)Walter Matthau & Directed by Billy Wilder$32.2079th of 196685.00%04 / 0147.14
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)Al Pacino & Ed Harris$21.8094th of 199288.50%00 / 0044.99
Wackiest Ship In The Army, The (1960)Ricky Nelson$125.7025th of 196154.00%00 / 0044.86
Notorious Landlady, The (1962)Fred Astaire$84.3033rd of 196266.50%00 / 0044.33
April Fools, The (1969)Catherine Deneuve$84.8019th of 196965.50%00 / 0043.92
Airport '77 (1977)James Stewart & Olivia de Havilland$154.1017th of 197742.00%00 / 0043.63
My Sister Eileen (1955)Janet Leigh$83.4069th of 195565.00%00 / 0043.48
Phfft (1954)Judy Holliday$81.2080th of 195464.00%00 / 0042.67
Kotch (1971) Director OnlyWalter Matthau$55.7029th of 197167.50%04 / 0042.57
Short Cuts (1993)Robert Downey Jr. & Julianne Mooe$12.40134th of 199385.50%01 / 0042.46
Operation Mad Ball (1957)Mickey Rooney & Ernie Kovacs$79.6050th of 195764.00%00 / 0042.42
Hamlet (1996)Robin Williams & Charlton Heston$9.00165th of 199683.50%04 / 0042.24
Three For The Show (1955)Betty Grable$57.9097th of 195568.00%00 / 0040.93
Grumpier Old Men (1995)Walter Matthau & Sophia Loren$138.6022nd of 199541.00%00 / 0040.31
Avanti (1973)Juliet Mills$21.6082nd of 197377.00%00 / 0039.54
Tribute (1980) ***Robby Benson$29.2065th of 198063.00%01 / 0039.04
It Happened To Jane (1959)Doris Day$68.2053rd of `95960.00%00 / 0038.77
Cowboy (1958)Glenn Ford$50.0053rd of 195860.00%01 / 0036.35
Dad (1989)Ted Danson & Ethan Hawke$46.9048th of 198958.00%01 / 0036.18
You Can't Run Away From It (1956)June Allyson$65.7072nd of 195654.00%00 / 0035.56
Prisoner of Second Avenue, The (1975)Anne Bancroft$29.9044th of 197564.00%00 / 0034.71
Buddy Buddy (1981)Walter Matthau & Directed by Billy Wilder$22.0075th of 198163.00%00 / 0033.02
My Fellow Americans (1996)James Garner & Dan Aykroyd$42.6073rd of 199656.00%00 / 0032.92
Mass Appeal (1984)Charles Durning$4.90141st of 198466.00%00 / 0031.78
Fire Down Below (1957)Robert Mitchum & Rita Hayworth$88.2047th of 195738.00%00 / 0031.53
War Between Men And Women (1972)Barbara Harris & Jason Robards$60.1031st of 197247.00%00 / 0031.41
Out to Sea (1997)Walter Matthau$53.3073rd of 199746.00%00 / 0029.88
Alex & Gypsy (1976)James Woods$13.2094th of 197656.00%00 / 0028.37
That's Life (1986)Julie Andrews$9.30118th of 198653.00%01 / 0028.00
Macaroni (1985)Marcello Mastroianni$2.10152nd of 198557.00%00 / 0027.12
Grass Harp, The (1996)Walter Matthau & Sissy Spacek$1.10225th of 199657.00%00 / 0026.96
Luv (1967)Peter Falk$16.0088th of 196752.00%00 / 0026.92
Odd Couple II, The (1998)Walter Matthau$34.0088th of 199842.00%00 / 0025.01
Getting Away with Murder (1996)Dan Aykroyd$0.40256th of 199622.00%00 / 0010.40

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Jack Lemmon Table

  1. Eighteen Jack Lemmon movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 33.96% of his movies listed.  Mister Roberts (1955) was his biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Jack Lemmon movie grosses $92.05 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  37 Jack Lemmon movies are rated as good movies…or 69.81% of his movies.  Some Like It Hot (1959) is his highest rated movie while Getting Away with Murder (1996) was his lowest rated movie.
  4. Twenty-one Jack Lemmon movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 39.62% of his movies.
  5. Ten Jack Lemmon movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 18.86% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  34 Jack Lemmon movies scored higher that average….or 64.15% of his movies.  The Apartment (1959) got the the highest UMR Score while Getting Away With Murder (1996) got the lowest UMR Score.
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in 1993's Grumpy Old Men

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in 1993’s Grumpy Old Men

Possibly Interesting Facts About Jack Lemmon.

1. Jack Lemmon was born in an elevator.

2. His father was the president of a doughnut company.

2. Jack Lemmon graduated from Harvard University in 1947.

3. Lemmon taught himself to play the piano. He appears in numerous movies playing the piano.

4. Lemmon appeared in 7 movies directed by Billy Wilder. From 1959’s Some Like It Hot to 1991’s Buddy Buddy.

5. Lemmon made 12 movies with Walter Matthau. From 1965’s The Fortune Cookie to 1998’s The Odd Couple II. To see all 12 movies….just type in Walter in the search box…and they will all pop up.

6. Other roles Lemmon turned down over the years: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? , All That Jazz, Never So Few, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Hustler.

7. Lemmon was married twice. His son Chris Lemmon, was his first child by his first wife, actress Cynthia Stone. His second wife was the actress Felicia Farr, with whom he had a daughter, Courtney and a step daughter Denise.

8. Lemmon directed one film in his lifetime…1971’s Kotch. Kotch starred his friend Walter Matthau, and earned Matthau an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor.

9. Lemmon passed away about one year after Matthua passed away. His gravestone simply reads “JACK LEMMON in”

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

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. 

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72 thoughts on “Jack Lemmon Movies

  1. STEVE:1 Although Jack is today recognized as one of the last great stars to debut in the Classic Era of the cinema I will admit to underestimating him when he first came upon the scene. I realized that he could be very funny but when I watched him in what in my view were nonsense films like Phffft with Judy Holliday I would never have credited him with having the range to play great dramatic roles like those in Days of Wine and Roses and Glengarry Glen Ross.

    2 We are again treated to a glut of great POSTERS*** in your video– The Notorious Landlady, Save the Tiger, Irma La Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Days of Wine and Roses, The Apartment and especially (1) a very original one for Cowboy (2) the foreign language one for The Great Race. The latter was my favorite Lemmon comedy whilst strangely I never liked Some Like it Hot which “everybody else” [to paraphrase Hirschhorn] seemed to love. Superb STILLS and all in color too from Odd Couple, The Chine Syndrome and Mr Woberts as Cagney [in the ensemble in the still] seemed to pronounce it. You and Joel’s disciple agree on 3 of Jack’s Top 5.

    3 Although they made just two movies together Jack and Shirley MacLaine, like Rock and Doris, will always be associated with each other in the minds of audiences who are still around since their heyday. And of course the prolific collaboration of Lemmon/Matthau is now engraved in cinematic history. Anyway a 95.5% excellent profile of Jack and welcomed by me as HE praised Mr. Mumbles as the greatest actor who ever lived though in my opinion Jack himself was in contention for that accolade and Britain’s leading film critic of the 50s Margaret Hinxman shared that view.

    ***You would have been in your element had you been with me this morning at a Belfast museum as it had a movies room with great nostalgic wall to wall posters stretching back through the decades to the silent days

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the review, rating, comment, info, trivia, comparison, anecdote, appraisal, assessment and observation, much appreciated.

      Glad you liked the pictorial aspects of the presentation.

      Wall to wall movie posters at a museum, nice. Any guards there? Could you rip one off the wall when no one’s looking? Any John Wayne posters? Fritz Lang’s Metropolis?

      Some Like it Hot is one of my all time favorite comedies and I wrote about the making of the film at hubpages a few years ago. You are in good company, Bruce doesn’t like the film either, and I think Flora avoids it too. I watch it every Xmas.

      7 Jack Lemmon movies scored 10 out of 10 from my sources. And 4 scored 9. Whoa!

      When I was putting this together I was amazed to see that Lemmon received an award nomination (Oscar, Globe or BAFTA) on 15 of the 31 titles! That’s pretty impressive. I wonder how many other actors can beat that? Davis? Crawford? Mumbles? Loy? Elvis? Dwayne Johnson? Jason Stath[thats enough Steve!]

      1. HI STEVE

        1 There was a poster for almost every major star who existed though if Myrna had one in the collection I didn’t notice it.

        2 Actually I was given the opportunity to “show off”. There were partially superimposed photos of DeNiro, Pacino and Brando on a Godfather poster and of course all 3 were never in the one Godfather movie. Beside that poster was a large one of Elvis in King Creole and I told the museum attendant that there was a coincidental link associated with those two posters being placed side by side in that Elvis got the King Creole role after Mr Mumbles turned it down. The attendant was probably thinking “Who is this know-all? -some descendent of that fellow Hirschhorn” ADDITIONAL TRIVIA Sammy Davis Jr visited Elvis on the set of King Creole.

        3 Glad The Work Horse and Flora agree with me about Some Like it Hot.

        1. Hi Bob, funny you should mention King Creole (one of the king’s best movies), I was looking at the poster here earlier. Hopefully it’ll make the top 30 of my next video. Which gives you a bit of a clue who my next subject is.

          1. Hey Steve….so I am guessing Walter will be following his buddy Jack at Top Ten Charts…good pick.

      1. Thanks for linking my video Bruce, it is appreciated.

        We have similar chart positions, nothing weird on either side.

        Okay I admit I did squeeze Airport 77 in there at 31, when no one was looking. 🙂

        1. STEVE
          :
          My own view is that you are playing mind games with us and have squeezed in to Jack’s video Airport 77 so that it would remind us all that Chuck was in AP 1975. You cunning devil !!

          1. Great video and posters for a great actor. I like the quote at the start on drama and comedy. Hard to think of another star who could do both comedy and drama so well. My favourite Jack Lemmon films are The Apartment, Days of Wine and Roses, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple and Glenngarry Glenn Ross…and maybe Some Like it Hot – really liked it when I first saw it, but it got less hot for me with age. Comedy can be like that, especially when they’re imitated so often. Irma la Douce seemed particularly dated when I saw it a few years ago.

          2. Thanks Phil, happy you liked the video.

            While I don’t normally like watching men dressing up in women’s clothing I had to make an exception for Some Like it Hot. It’s been a favorite since I was a toddler, okay that may have been a slight exaggeration. A script filled with sexual innuendo which somehow slipped past the censor and Monroe was sensational, easily her best film IMO. The Roman Catholic Legion of Decency gave the movie a ‘B’ rating – Morally Objectional. 🙂

  2. I have just been updating my Jack Lemmon section of my database and notice that entry 22 in the table above is called The Wackiest Ship in the Navy. Strange as it may seem the actual title is The Wackiest Ship in the ARMY

    1. Hey Bob….thanks for the catch….I have fixed my error on the above table and in my database….that error has been sitting out there for a very long time…since the summer of 2011. Once again…thanks for the headsup. 🙂

  3. 1 I never read who Jack’s FAVOURITE actor was but he claimed that when Marlon Brando was on song no other actor could touch him. However Margaret Hinxman. who was Britain’s top film critic in the 1950s and who also admired Brando claimed that Lemmon was actually better than Marlon.

    2 Certainly whilst a preference for any of the Great actors comes down to personal taste Jack was very successful in both the dramatic AND comic genres whereas Marlon’ experience with the latter wasn’t always a happy one as A Countess from Hong Kong illustrates. Indeed like Kelsey Grammer in Frasier Jack was often able to blend both genres seamlessly as we have seen in the likes of the Apartment and the TV movie Tuesdays with Morrie A must for any self respecting movie buff is of course Mr Roberts which teamed Jack with Cagney, Fonda and Bill Powell. It’s difficult to think of any ensemble in today’s cinema that would that would be as high-powered as that one in its day. Jack is currently listed 13th in IMDB 100 Greatest Actors of All Time

    3 Bruce’s diligence in constantly reviewing his box office figures and practices combined with his willingness to say mea culpa and change direction has certainly paid dividends for Jack giving him on update a total gross of almost $5 billion which in my opinion is excellent when one considers that often Jack’s successes were in roles some of which not many other actors of Jack’s time would have tackled and/or which were in modest films like Glengarry Glen Ross Missing and Save the Tiger that were so thoughtful that they were never going to be box office blockbusters. Good on you Bruce.

    1. Hey Bob
      1. Thanks for the thoughts on Mr. Lemmon.
      2. I think I read that he thought Brando was the most overrated actor ever…..lol. I am of course joking….as I assume Lemmon like almost everybody else admited Mr. Brando.
      3. I agree Lemmon was good in all genres…..though I do not think he made many action movies….though I guess you can give him credit for Cowboy.
      4. 13th seems to be a good number…..he did not qualify for the AFI list…..but he did make our UMR 1950-2010 list.
      5. Yep Jack got close to 5 billion with this update……which puts him in a decent though not great spot would looking at everybody’s career stats.
      Thanks for the comment and the visit.

          1. 1 He forged two great partnerships – a prolonged one with Walter and a brief but never to be forgotten two-picture one with Shirley. Gable managed three – two extensive ones with Crawford and Loy and a 3 picture one with Old Cantankerous cut short by the billing issue.

            2 I can’t recall you ever doing a specific survey of the great partnerships of the classic era and if you haven’t it’s something you might put on the back burner for when you’re looking for something fresh to cover. Screen pairings are a subject that I think would maybe interest a lot of readers. Fred MacMurray is another artist who would be fertile ground for you in that respect.

          2. Hey Bob. I agree he and MacLaine made two great movies. As for your suggestion ….I have a page on the top duo box office stars….I think I listed all the screen teams with one billion in adjusted gross made the page…. but it is due for an update.

  4. Jack Lemmon was a very talented actor. He is my favorite of all actors. He had a great personality as well. I’m just finding out about all his other movies. Looks like I’ll have to make a lot of popcorn.

    1. Hey Sandy…I agree with your comment 100%…..he was very talented. I am glad my page will help you discover more of his movies. You will have to make lots of popcorn.

  5. He was one of my favorites! I love him and Walter M. together. Some Like It Hot was a wonderful movie; just the kind I enjoy.

    You do such a good job on these Hubs; they must take you forever to research!

    I voted this one UP, shared. Pinned and Tweeted

    1. Hey Mary….Lemmon and Matthau made a great screen team….that makes me think I should do a movie page on Walter Matthau in the near future. Some Like It Hot is a classic that gets better every year. I appreciate the comment, the votes, the share, the pin and the tweet…..you are awesome.

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