James Mason Movies

James Mason in 1954's A Star Is Born

James Mason in 1954’s A Star Is Born

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

James Mason (1909-1984) was an English actor who appeared in movies for over 50 years. His first appearance was in 1935’s Late Extra and his last appearance was 1985’s The Assisi Underground. James Mason appeared in many British quota quickie movies from 1935 to 1948. After appearing in over 25 of these low budget films, Mason started getting noticed for the movies The Wicked Lady, Odd Man Out and The Seventh Veil.The success of those movies got the attention of Hollywood.

In 1949 James Mason appeared in his first American film, Caught. Once his Hollywood career got started, he appeared in many classic movies like 1953’s Julius Caesar, 1954’s A Star Is Born, 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and 1959’s North by Northwest. For a great movie page on James Mason’s North by Northwest check out this page from film historian, Steve Lensman… North by Northwest Illustrated Reference.

Highlights for Mason in the 1960s were 1962’s Lolita and 1966’s Georgy Girl. As he neared the end of his career he scored two more major hits in 1978’s Heaven Can Wait and 1982’s The Verdict. James Mason and his very distinguished voice earned 3 Oscar® nominations for acting over his career

His IMDb page shows 154 acting credits from 1935-1985. This page will rank 74 James Mason movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos and movies that were not released in North American theaters were not included in the rankings.

James Mason and Paul Newman in 1982's The Verdict.

James Mason and Paul Newman in 1982’s The Verdict.

James Mason 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 James Mason movies by co-stars of his movies.
  • Sort James Mason movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort James Mason movies by domestic yearly box office rank
  • Sort James Mason 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 James Mason movie received.
  • Sort James Mason 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 search and sort buttons to make this a very interactive page.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above James Mason Table

  1. Sixteen James Mason movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 21.92% of his movies listed. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) is his biggest box office ht when looking at adjusted domestic box office gross.
  2. An average James Mason movie grosses $68.30 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  51 of James Mason’s movies are rated as good movies…or 69.86% of his movies. North by Northwest (1959) is his highest rated movie while Bloodline (1979) was his lowest rated movie.
  4. Nineteen James Mason movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 26.02% of his movies.
  5. Four James Mason movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 5.47% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 40.00.  32 James Mason movies scored higher than that average….or 22.97% of his movies.  The Verdict (1982) got the the highest UMR Score while Yellowbeard (1983) got the lowest UMR Score.
Cary Grant and James Mason in 1959's North by Northwest

Cary Grant and James Mason in 1959’s North by Northwest

Possibly Interesting Facts About James Mason

1. James Mason had no formal acting training. He can thank the quota quickie era for getting his start in movies. This is the 3rd or 4th time I have mentioned the quota quickie era. So what is the quota quickie era?

2. The quota quickie era was a ten year Act in England that required English theaters to show a percentage of movies made in England. This need to have English made films helped create many English production companies that could generate many movies in a very short time on a low budget.

3. James Mason was nominated for 3 acting Oscars®. His three nominations were for 1954’s A Star Is Born, 1966’s Georgy Girl, and 1982’s The Verdict. James Mason also was nominated for 3 Golden Globes®. He won one Golden Globe® for A Star Is Born.

4. Here is one for you Flora….James Mason was a huge cat lover all of his life. In 1949 James Mason and his wife Pamela wrote the book, The Cats in Our Lives. His first cat’s name was Top Boy.

5. James Mason was married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Pamela Ostrer, from 1941 to 1964. They had two children, a son named Morgan and a daughter named Portland. His second marriage was to Clarissa Kaye from 1971 to his death in 1984.

6. James Mason was the father-in-law to Belinda Carlisle who is lead singer in the rock group The Go-Gos.

7. Roles James Mason either turned down or was seriously considered for:….The African Queen, Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, The Paper Chase, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Doctor Zhivago.

8. James Mason was not the first choice for 1954’s A Star Is Born, which is probably his greatest performance. Mason got the part after Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift all passed on the part.

9. James Mason was almost involved in three James Bond projects. (1 ) He was hired to play James Bond in a television version of From Russia With Love in 1958, but the it was never produced. (2) He was one of the many contenders to play Bond in Dr. No, but Sean Connery got the part. And (3) He was offered the role of Hugo Drax in 1979’s Moonraker but he turned down the part….too bad because I think he would have made a great Bond villian.

10. Check out James Mason’s career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

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53 thoughts on “James Mason Movies

  1. 1 James Mason has been in many commercially successful movies but he has never been regarded as a particularly major WORLDWIDE stand-alone box office star. However he was THE main box office attraction in BRITAIN in 1944 and 1945 and I think that he and Vincent Price possessed two of the finest speaking voices in movies, and I recall one film historian opining that Mason was technically “the greatest SCREEN actor of all time.”

    2 For me his finest roles were in The Verdict, Julius Caesar, North by Northwest and the hardly know Stranger in the House [aka Cop Out]. In the latter he played a defence lawyer and although it made little money and it has been given just 65.6 for critic/audience on this page James’ performance in the movie was very satisfying.

    3 Anyway overall I welcome this update of Mason’s stats.

    1. Hey Bob….thanks for checking out our Mason updates….this was one of the ones I was dreading doing….because…(1) so many movies (2) his was one of the missing stat pages…so I had to do a lot of the research again (3) Had to look up co-stars and box office rank on ALL of his movies….heck it took me five times as long to update this page..than it did to generate a our new Priscilla Lane page.

      Not thinking too many historians have given him that title…..the voice is in the running….but the rest is not in the “greatest discussion. As for your favorites…North by Northwest is in my Top 50 of all-time, The Verdict has the best “listening to the court case scene by an extra” ever by one Walter Bruce Willis. I thought he gave the best performance in Julius Caesar…even out playing that little known actor that played Mark Athony. As for Stranger in the House….I will have to track that one down…and see why you like it so much.

      🙂

  2. 1 At my son’s 40th birthday celebration I conveyed to him your quote from James Mason about Ladd’s excellent athletic prowess and he said to tell you he’ll give you 50/1 odds that it was not in the high jump !

    2 My son lives in Putney, London and some of your competitors were in action there as the remake of Ben Hur was showing at the local Odeon cinema. I didn’t have time to catch it but on a whim when I returned home I watched a recording of the 1959 version on my daughter’s television movies planner. In the scene where Stephen Boyd beseeches Chuck to “Look to Rome Judah!” I had to restrain myself from crying out “No! Look to England Judah.”

    3 That’s where Dan must have entered my mind and started joining up the dots because I suddenly remembered that the first time I ever visited London way back in 1962 one of the films doing the rounds was The Pidgeon that Took Rome. Have you ever seen it? I can’t remember it being in your Tweedie video Top 30 but for critic/audience on his Chuck page Bruce ranks it 25 and gives it 63.5% both of which I think were reasonable for what was after all a relatively minor movie

    1. Hi Bob, I’ve heard of Pigeon but haven’t seen it, and it wasn’t on my video. IMDB gives it a 6 so I’m guessing it would have been just outside my top 30. So I’m guessing your son isn’t impressed with Alan Ladd (and his height) and pokes fun at you for idolising him? Who does he idolise? Dustin Hofman? Al Pacino? (US variant – idolize)

      1. 1 I’ve mentioned before that when her divorce from Tom Cruise came through Nicole Kidman was asked by reporters how she felt and she answered great because “I can wear high heels again!” Ironically therefore my son’s idol IS Cruise. He claims that the distinction between Ladd and Cruise is that Alan’s whole screen persona was built round a ‘bogus’ tough guy image whereas despite the Mission Impossible franchise Cruise has a broader and more diverse screen persona with roles such as those in Jerry Maguire, Cocktail and Eyes Wide Shut.

        2 Incidentally as I think you are a great Hitch fan you might like to know that my son’s favourite fictitious character is Scottie in Vertigo and also of possible interest to you is that he admires Orson Welles and that he has on his living room wall a large poster from The Third Man that even you might envy.

        1. I like Cruise in certain films like Mission Impossible but I’m not a big fan, ditto Tom Hanks.

          Favorite fictitious character eh, never really thought about that, why Scottie btw? Stewart has played nicer less obsessed characters.

          There was a guy on my forum who was crazy about The Third Man, he would quote it all the time. I used to have a huge Scarface (Al Pacino) poster on my wall in my younger days. And some Chinese Bruce Lee posters, aah memories…

      2. Hey Steve…surprised you have not watched Pidgeon….it starred Heston while he was still at his peak…..seems that would be required viewing for Heston fans.

    2. :)…….Hey Bob…..glad UMR was here for your Pidgeon That Took Rome needs….while Steve’s page left you looking for mother info…..lol.

  3. Hi Bob, thank you for the generous rating and backing me up on Julius Caesar. It’s interesting to compare our lists, there are 6 films in my top 35 that aren’t on Bruce’s top 35 critics chart. Lord Jim and The Shooting Party are not in Bruce’s top 35, the latter gets 10 out of 10 from Maltin. Caught is 11th on Bruce’s and 38th on mine. Most importantly we have the same no.1.

    I haven’t seen Odd Man Out or The Verdict. I should watch them next time they pop up on TV. I like Mason more than I like Newman.

    Mason on Alan Ladd – “Having been fascinated by the Alan Ladd phenomenon, I now had the opportunity to study it at close quarters. It turned out that he had the exquisite coordination and rhythm of an athlete, which made it a pleasure to watch him when he was being at all physical.”

    Mason on Bette Davis – “The greatest actress of all time.”

    Mason on Raquel Welch – “I have never met anyone so badly behaved.”

    1. 1 Do see The Verdict. Odd Man Out is technically very good but somewhat depressing.

      2 Timely quote about Alan Ladd ! I look forward to bringing it with me to England tomorrow and showing it to my son.

      3 Mason on Brando ” I can’t believe that he’s made such a b *** s of his career.”

      Anyway nice chit-chatting with you again.

      1. Hey Bob….I actually saw Odd Man Out a few weeks ok….as you say technically very good but way way depressing. Though I must add that the ending reminded me of the ending of Sin City……both were in black and white…..both saw the hero die……both scenes were night scenes…..this might be the only place in the world that you will see a connection of Odd Man Out and Sin City…..here to help people understand the greatness of Bruce Willis…lol. Enjoy your son’s 40th birthday.

  4. 1 In 1974 Sam Kydd a bit-part actor from here in Belfast made a TV movie of Great Expectations with James Mason, and Kydd amusingly said in a television interview that James insisted that all the lesser actors call him “Mr Mason”. However on one occasion Mason was so pleased with the day’s filming that he invited Kidd out to dinner; and after they had a few glasses of wine each Mason mellowed and said to Sam “Call me James when we’re away from the studio.” Ah the English!

    2 COMMENTS (1) In your 35 entry tribute the lowest marking is 6.5 indicating the high quality of Mason’s career (2) good to see his 1940s classics such as Man in Grey, 7th Veil and Wicked Lady included (3) Odd Man Out was set in Belfast where I live and I noticed familiar landmarks when I watched the movie recently (4) good still from Murder by Decree and sassy one from Lolita (5) there were so many great posters that I am mentioning randomly those for Fall of Roman Empire, The Shooting Party, and The Deadly Affair (6) Bruce and you agree on only 2 of your Top 5 in which you include Julius Caesar whereas he doesn’t. It was a tough call for me but I’m going to back you on this occasion – hail Stevie !! One of your best – 9.2/10

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