John Sturges Movies

John Sturges directing Yul Brynner in 1960’s The Magnificent Seven

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

John Sturges (1910-1992) was an American Oscar®-nominated director and producer. Primarily known for his action movies he directed movies from in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. His IMDb page shows 44 directing credits from 1946 to 1978. This page will rank 42 John Sturges movies.  Movies will be ranked from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. His one documentary and his one uncredited credits were not included in the page.

Drivel part of the page:  The other day I re-watched John Sturges’ Joe Kidd.  After a promising start, the movie really went off the rails in the final 1/3 of the movie.  I actually think the final 30 minutes might be the worst Clint Eastwood finale ever.  So with a John Sturges movie rattling around in my head… I decided to honor Hot Ham’s request and do a John Sturges UMR page.

John Sturges (standing), Steve McQueen (driving), James Garner & James Coburn (sidecar) on the set of 1963’s The Great Escape

John Sturges 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 John Sturges movies by co-stars of his movies
  • Sort John Sturges movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort John Sturges movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort John Sturges 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 John Sturges movie received.
  • Sort John Sturges 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.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above John Sturges Table

  1. Five John Sturges movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 11.90% of his movies listed. Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) was his biggest box office hit.
  2. An average John Sturges movie grosses $55.90 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  15 of John Sturges movies are rated as good movies…or 35.71% of his movies.  The Great Escape (1963) was his highest rated movie while Right Cross (1950) was his lowest rated movie.
  4. Ten John Sturges movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 23.80% of his movies.
  5. Two John Sturges movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 4.76% of his movies.
  6. An good Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  12 John Sturges movie scored higher that average….or 28.57% of his movies. Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) got the the highest UMR Score while Chino (1973) got the lowest UMR Score.

John Sturges directing Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan in 1955’s Bad Day At Black Rock

Possibly Interesting Facts About John Sturges

  1. John Elliott Sturges was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1910.

2. John Sturges started his career in Hollywood as an editor in 1932. During World War II, he directed documentaries and training films for the United States Army Air Forces.

3. After World War II, John Sturges signed a movie contract with Columbia Pictures….where he directed “B” movies.  After his Columbia contract ended he signed with MGM…where he directed “bigger budgeted B movies”.

4. John Sturges once met Akira Kurosawa, who told him that he loved The Magnificent Seven (which was a remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai). Sturges considered this the proudest moment of his professional career.

5. John Sturges was nominated for one Oscar®.  He received a Best Director Oscar® nomination for 1955’s Bad Day At Black Rock.

6. John Sturges directed Steve McQueen 3 times.  It would have been four….but Sturges left the production of 1971’s Le Mans because McQueen was too hands on all aspects of the movie making process.

7. John Sturges is the last director to direct Clint Eastwood in a western.  The movie was 1972’s Joe Kidd.  Eastwood and Sturges did not get alond during filming.

8.  John Sturges was married two times. He had two children.

9. John Sturges directed two actors to Oscar® nominations: Louis Calhern for Best Actor in 1950’s The Magnificent Yankee and Spencer Tracy for Best Actor in 1955’s Bad Day at Black Rock and 1958’s The Old Man and the Sea.

10.  Check out John Sturgescareer compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

For comparion check out Steve Lensman’s John Sturges You Tube video.

Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences. 

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20 thoughts on “John Sturges Movies

  1. Hi Cogerson, thanks for this page! For me (and I think many others), John Sturges has earned an immortal place in the history of the cinema with The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, two landmark adventure films that have influenced so many others, and persist in their popularity through the years and throughout the world. It’s worth noting that the box office success of these films rather underestimates not only their exceptional long-term popularity but also their international box office success (I read somewhere that while The Magnificent Seven earned $2.25 million in box office rentals in the US upon its initial release, it raised in the order of $10 million internationally). Of course, Bad Day at Black Rock is another of Sturges’ classics, and I also liked The Old Man and the Sea (probably his best non-action film), Last Train from Gun Hill, and his two very different Wyatt Earp films, Gunfight at OK Corral and The Hour of the Gun.

    ps. If Garner’s plane had made it passed the Swiss border, I think McQueen would have insisted that his motorcycle jumped over the second set of barbed wires, which would have ruined the cooler king ending…so it probably turned out for the best….still, maybe next time McDonald will say ‘thank you’ in French when he is wished ‘good luck’!

    1. Hey Phil. Glad you liked our Sturges page. The Magnificent Seven was not a smash hit…pretty much like Shawshank Redemption…a movie that quickly gained a following and only gets better with age. Having just seen Hour of the Gun…I have not seen Last Train From Gun Hill of your favorite Sturges movies.

      And now ….The Great Escape…..I will think about your comment the next time I watch it….and I get to the bus scene…I will hope the teacher of tricks does not fall for that trick yet again…lol. The power of that movie is that as I type this comment the movie music is rattling around in my head. 🙂

  2. 1 Sturges is of course never talked about nearly as often as the likes of Hitchcock or John Ford but nevertheless Sturges has made a group of films which surely must be endearing to virtually every movie buff – The Magnificent Seven, Bad Day at Black Rock, Gunfight at the OK Corral and The Great Escape – and indeed these films are mentioned in other posts on this site.

    2 To me the following Sturges flicks have also had a strong appeal – Escape from Fort Bravo, which heralded in the great Golden Holden era of 1953-60 as did Stalag 17 for which Bill won the Oscar Backlash and The Law and Jake Wade featuring my own all time very favourite actor Richard Widmark and Last Train from Gun Hill which I think is one of the finest westerns ever made and has power house performances from Kirk Douglas and Tony Quinn. I have actually previously written at length about it on this site The 1955 Underwater marked the height of Jane Russell’s era as a major star. She would go on for two more years and have a particularly big hit with Gable and Robert Ryan in The Tall Men and then sadly age into 2 A C Lyles career ‘graveyard’ westerns

    3 I was therefore pleased to see John’s work being recognised in this latest profile and an added bonus were the three pleasing little miniature stills which were of high quality in terms of their originality. Indeed the one of the great Spencer Tracy and veteran Robert Ryan actually being directed is in my estimation a rarity that is a collector’s as it is not often that we are allowed behind the scenes to see how the ‘magician’ performs his tricks.

    1. Hey Bob.
      1. Thanks for checking out our latest page.
      2. I work with a guy that loves me too. Needless to say we discuss movies on a regular basis. During our conversations I have found that he loves The Great Escape, The Hour of the Gun, Gunfight at the O.K. Coral and Last Train From Gun Hill. So yesterday when I saw him…I said….”You will like my latest movie page”. He replied….”Oh yeah who is that?”…I proudly said…”The director Mr. John Sturges.”…..to which he responded…..”Who is that?”. I think that sums up the legacy of Mr. Sturges….people know his movies…but have forgotten the man behind the camera.
      3. I agree many of his movies are mentioned many times on this pages…I think I bring up The Great Escape at least once a week…lol.
      4. I thought Fort Bravo was ok…..but I really enjoyed The Law and Jake Wade….Widmark really shines in that one.
      5. Somehow I have managed not to see Last Train From Gun Hill….I need to fix that problem….it has to be better the crap I watched last night….Bad Santa 2. I wonder how many times Last Train From Gun Hill and Bad Santa 2 have been in the same sentence?
      6. Yep…Jane Russell’s career took a nose dive….and her age was 39 in 1960…..so I think the curse got her. So far it looks Charlize Theron is thumbing her nose at the curse.
      7. Glad you liked the photos….I especially liked the photo on the set of The Great Escape.
      Good feedback…thank you. 🙂

      1. HI BRUCE

        1 All 3 of your behind the scenes miniatures impressed me but what struck me most about the Tracy/Ryan one was how small Tracy looked. When you see him on the screen he seems to cut a more imposing figure but I suppose that’s what stardom is all about.

        2 I think I told you before about the journalist who visited the set of The Harder They Fall and saw the shooting of a scene in which Steiger was as usual very animated and seemingly chewing up the scenery and Bogie was just sitting there as if he wasn’t part of the scene. The journalist.recorded “I thought to myself Poor Bogie he’s not going to count in a picture in which he is the star. However when I saw the actual movie some months later I couldn’t take my eyes off Bogart and Steiger seemed like just a background noise.”

        1. Hey Bob…i agree from that photo Robert Ryan looks huge compared to Tracy….yet in the scene….it is Tracy that is dominating the picture. I agree Tracy stardom at his finest. Good story on a Bogie…another legend with a great screen presence.

  3. Hey Chris….great memories on John Sturges movies. I imagine Steve McQueen was a big influence on you and all the boys in your school. My memory of the Great Escape was the record my uncle had in my grandmother’s attic. Everytime I was over there….I would dig out that record and listen to the Great Escape soundtrack.

    Bad Day At Black Rock is a classic too. Sturges helped Tracy get two Oscar nominations. As Tracy was nominated for The Old Man And The Sea. Thanks for checking out our latest page and thanks for the feedback.

  4. Nice to see a director for a change. Growing up, The Great Escape was a must see at Christmas. I think every boy at my class at school seen The Magnificent Seven when it was first shown at our cinema. But I think his best film was Bad Day at Black Rock. Surely one of Spencer Tracey’s finest performances. I didn’t realise that he also directed The Old Man at the Sea. Another great performance by Tracey.

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