Jean Harlow Movies

AFI ranks Jean Harlow as the 22nd greatest screen actress

AFI ranks Jean Harlow as the 22nd greatest screen actress

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

Jean Harlow (1911-1937) was an American actress.  On American Film Institute’s Top 50 Screen Legends list, Jean Harlow is ranked as the 22nd best actress, right behind #21 Sophia Loren and right before #23 Carole Lombard.  Tragically she died at the age of 26 (as her career was at its peak) due to a kidney illness.  This may have been due to the fact that she suffered from scarlet fever at the age 15 in 1926.

Her IMDb page shows 43 acting credits from 1928-1937. This page will rank 22 Jean Harlow movies from Best to Worst in seven different sortable columns of information.  Uncredited roles, bit parts and short were not included in the rankings.

William Powell, Harlow, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracer in 1936's Libeled Lady

William Powell, Harlow, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracer in 1936’s Libeled Lady

Jean Harlow Movies Can Be Ranked 7 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Jean Harlow movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Jean Harlow movies by actual domestic box office grosses
  • Sort Jean Harlow movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort Jean Harlow movies by adjusted worldwide box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
  • Sort Jean Harlow 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 Jean Harlow movie received.
  • Sort Jean Harlow 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 “Clark Gable” in the search box….the 6 Harlow/Gable movies will pop right up.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdjusted B.O. Domestic (mil)Adjusted B.O. Worldwide (mil)Critic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Libeled Lady (1936)Spencer Tracy & Myrna Loy$180.00$306.0078.50%01 / 0068.19
Saratoga (1937)Clark Gable$315.40$421.4078.00%00 / 0067.66
Hell's Angels (1930)Directed by Howard Hughes$376.10$518.1073.00%01 / 0065.71
Dinner at Eight (1933)Lionel Barrymore & Marie Dressler$146.40$225.4080.00%00 / 0060.29
China Seas (1935)Clark Gable$171.60$287.6070.00%00 / 0059.50
Wife vs Secretary (1936)Clark Gable & James Stewart$151.70$232.7070.50%00 / 0056.65
Public Enemy, The (1931)James Cagney$100.20$111.2083.00%01 / 0054.94
Red Dust (1932)Clark Gable$85.50$133.5088.33%00 / 0054.77
Suzy (1936)Cary Grant$158.80$187.2059.50%01 / 0052.97
Platinum Blonde (1931)Directed by Frank Capra$118.80$118.9073.50%00 / 0052.95
Personal Property (1937)Robert Taylor$140.80$223.8063.50%00 / 0051.66
Hold Your Man (1933)Clark Gable$68.50$112.5074.00%00 / 0045.40
Bombshell (1933)Frank Morgan$55.60$75.6076.50%00 / 0044.58
Girl From Missouri, The (1934)Lionel Barrymore$71.40$105.4067.50%00 / 0042.79
Secret Six, The (1931)Clark Gable & Wallace Beery$84.10$118.1062.00%00 / 0042.18
Red-Headed Woman (1932)Lewis Stone$44.70$66.7071.50%00 / 0040.53
Reckless (1935)William Powell$85.00$135.0056.00%00 / 0039.50
Beast of the City, The (1932)Walter Huston$44.70$61.6069.00%00 / 0039.36
Iron Man (1931)Lew Ayres$49.30$48.9065.00%00 / 0038.19
Riffraff (1936)Spencer Tracy$80.60$454.6051.00%00 / 0036.46
Goldie (1931)Spencer Tracy$45.70$45.5060.00%00 / 0035.28
Three Wise Girls (1932)Mae Clarke$31.20$31.2062.00%00 / 0033.98

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Jean Harlow Table

  1. Ten Jean Harlow movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 45.44% of her movies listed. Hell’s Angels (1930) was her biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Jean Harlow movie grosses $118.50 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  19 of Jean Harlow’s movies are rated as good movies…or 86.36% of her movies.  The Public Enemy (1931) was her highest rated movie while Riffraff (1936) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Four Jean Harlow movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 18.18% of her movies.
  5. Zero Jean Harlow movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 0.00% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  16 Jean Harlow movies scored higher that average….or 72.72% of her movies.  Libeled Lady (1936) got the the highest UMR Movie Score while Three Wise Girls (1932) got the lowest UMR Movie Score.
Clark Gable and Jean Harlow starred in 6 movies together

Clark Gable and Jean Harlow starred in 6 movies together

Possibly Interesting Facts About Jean Harlow

1. Harlean Harlow Carpenter was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1911.

2. Jean Harlow’s road to stardom Cliff Notes style….She moved to Hollywood in 1923 with her mother.  By the late 1920s she had appeared in numerous uncredited parts and a Laurel and Hardy short.  Howard Hughes cast her in 1930’s Hell’s Angels.  The success of Hell’s Angels got her noticed for the first time.  She spent the rest of the 1930s appearing in 3 movies a year until her death in 1937.

3. Even though Jean Harlow’s career was brief….she still managed to co-star with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  She made 6 movies with Clark Gable, 3 movies with Spencer Tracy, 1 movie with Cary Grant and 1 movie with James Stewart.

4. Jean Harlow’s nicknames were “Baby”, “The Blonde Bombshell” and “The Platinum Blonde”.

5. According to the American Film Institute, Jean Harlow is the 22nd greatest female star of all-time.

6. Jean Harlow was married three times in her life but did not have any children.

7. Jean Harlow was the idol of Marilyn Monroe.  Both Harlow and Monroe co-starred in their last films with Clark Gable, Harlow in 1937’s Saratoga and Monroe in 1961’s The Misfits.

8. Jean Harlow used to put ice on her nipples right before shooting a scene in order to appear sexier.

9. Jean Harlow turned down the lead female roles in 1933’s Freaks and 1932’s King Kong.

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

Jean Harlow and Cary Grant in 1936's Suzy

Jean Harlow and Cary Grant in 1936’s Suzy

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

12. Claudette Colbert
17. Lillian Gish
19. Rita Hayworth
20. Lauren Bacall
23. Carole Lombard
24. Mary Pickford
25. Ava Gardner
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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24 thoughts on “Jean Harlow Movies

  1. 1 As Bruce mentions above Harlow made 6 movies with Gable and I read that she was ill on and off during their final one Saratoga and in fact she had just finished a photo shoot with the King about a minute before the ultimate collapse that led to her death. Jean was billed above Clark in films 1 and 3 and he got top billing in the other 4 and I was wondering if we could get a debate going about how that varying pecking order unfolded! Whether or not it is sentimental hyperbole some historians claim that Harlow was on the verge of becoming Hollywood’s biggest star when she died. If that was so it would have been interesting to see how the balance of power between her and Clark would have panned out in the future. However by all accounts they got on very well together and I doubt if there would have been Crawford-type tensions

    VIDEO COMMENTS (1) a blonde ‘sizzler’ like Harlow was bound to provide you with excellent scope for a fine photo play and I was not disappointed in that respect. The two provocative black and white solo stills of Jean showed that she didn’t need an elaborate wardrobe to showcase her talents! I also enjoyed the 2 stills of her and Gable as well as the ones with Bill Powell and Cagney (2) there are many super posters but for me the pick was those for Red Headed Woman, Riffraff and Personal Property (3) You and Bruce are agreed on 4 of the Top 5 but I was interested in comparing your respective ratings for the 6 Gable/Harlow films as it was seldom that Clark had a leading lady who was his equal in terms of fame [Joan being another notable exception of course] and your average score was 6.9 and Bruce’s was 73.8 for critic/audience. The biggest gap between you was for Saratoga which Bruce had at No 5 with 78% and you had way down at No 14 with 6.4. (4) given that Jean died well before the normal time it was ironic that Iron Man with Lew Ayres was your opening entry as that film was remade in 1952 with Jeff Chandler in the Ayres role and Evelyn Keyes in Jean’s part and Jeff too died very prematurely (5) overall an excellent profile of Jean’s short career-9.4

    3 By the way I agree with your comments on the Debbie page today about the era of the Broadway musical in Hollywood film. Please have a good remaining New Year’s Day. Meanwhile I’m off to Hanoi to look in on Jane.

    1. Thanks Bob, appreciate the comment, review, rating, observation, trivia and comparison. Saratoga’s highest score was from Rotten Tomatoes the rest wavered around the 6 mark.

      Looking at Bruce’s chart Saratoga was Harlow’s 2nd biggest hit domestic and her biggest with Gable. Hell’s Angels grossed an impressive $518m worldwide adjusted.

      The Iron Man was of course successfully remade again in 2008, starring Robert Downey Jr in the Jeff Chandler role.

      Talking of Hanoi Jane, I once posted a picture of her in my forum and one of our older American members threw a fit and demanded that I remove it. He really hated her. I refused.

      1. From what I have read though pop Henry would have backed your Member as I gather that Hank was embarrassed by the whole business of Jane’s Hanoi adventure. I can’t think how he explained it to his pals Jimmy Stewart and the Duke as a lot of those actor guys took their politics even more seriously than the actual politicians. I read that the almost pathological hatred that Tracy and Cagney had for Mr Mumbles was political and cultural and not professional, “Whatya rebelling against?” “Whataya got?” didn’t exactly fit in with their view of how a Hollywood role model should behave on screen or off.

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