Katharine Hepburn Movies

Katharine Hepburn in 1981's On Golden Pond

Katharine Hepburn in 1981’s On Golden Pond

Want to know the best Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) movies?  How about the worst Katharine Hepburn movies?  Curious about Ingrid Bergman’s box office grosses or which Katharine Hepburn movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Katharine Hepburn 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.

Katharine Hepburn’s movie career was one heck of a roller coaster ride. The ride started on a high note with an Oscar® win for 1933’s Morning Glory and a blockbuster hit in 1934’s Little Women. She was unable to maintain her early success. The rest of the 1930s did not go very well for her. Hepburn made eleven more movies in the 1930s, and with a couple of exceptions(Alice Adams & Stage Door), they were all box office bombs. After being labeled “box office poison” at the end of the 1930s, she returned to the stage.

The return to the stage was in a play called The Philadelphia Story.  Her portrayal of spoiled socialite Tracy Lord received rave reviews. In 1940 Hepburn returned to Hollywood to make the film version of The Philadelphia Story. The film was one of the biggest hits of the year and earned Hepburn her third Oscar® nomination. After that success she appeared for the first time with Spencer Tracy in 1942’s Woman of the Year. Tracy and Hepburn would make nine films together over the next twenty-five years and become one the greatest screen couples ever. Their final appearance together would be 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, which was a blockbuster hit and earned Hepburn her 2nd Oscar® win. The following year she appeared in The Lion in Winter. She amazingly won her 3rd Oscar® win for Best Actress. Following her back to back Oscar® wins, Hepburn’s movie career took another downward spiral.

For the next twenty-five years, she would appear in only eight more movies. Most of those movies died at the box office, but she had one more major role left in her. In 1981 she appeared in On Golden Pond opposite Henry Fonda. On Golden Pond was her second biggest box office hit and earned her a record fourth Academy Award® for Best Actress. Her last role was in 1994’s Love Affair. Katharine Hepburn passed away June 29th 2003 at the age of 96.

Her IMDb page shows 52 acting credits from 1932-1994. This page will rank 43 Katharine Hepburn movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos and movies not released in North American theaters were not included in the rankings.

Katharine Hepburn in 1968's The Lion In Winter

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Katharine Hepburn 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 Katharine Hepburn movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by actual domestic box office grosses
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost.
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn 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 Katharine Hepburn movie received.
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn 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.
  • *** = Katharine Hepburn Oscar® nominated performance
  • Use the sort and search button to make this a very interactive page.  For example type in Spencer Tracy in the search box to see all of Tracy/Hepburn performances….or type Cary Grant in the search box to bring up all of the Grant/Hepburn movies….or type in….I think you get the idea.
 Movie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksActual Box Office (Millions)Adjusted Domestic Box Office (Millions)Critic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
The Lion in Winter (1968)Peter O'Toole & Anthony Hopkins$28.59$184.0088.0%07 / 0386.73
On Golden Pond (1981)Henry Fonda & Jane Fonda$119.29$361.7079.5%10 / 0386.41
The Philadelphia Story (1940)James Stewart & Cary Grant$7.14$215.1091.0%06 / 0286.37
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)Spencer Tracy & Sidney Poitier$56.75$395.4071.0%10 / 0281.20
The African Queen (1951)Humphrey Bogart$11.80$198.9087.0%04 / 0178.42
Little Women (1933)Directed by George Cukor$6.57$240.9082.5%03 / 0174.58
Suddenly Last Summer (1959)Elizabeth Taylor & Montgomery Clift$18.21$255.9072.5%03 / 0072.02
Stage Door (1937)Ginger Rogers$5.00$162.1087.7%04 / 0070.93
Woman of the Year (1942)Spencer Tracy$5.53$160.7081.5%02 / 0170.61
Adam's Rib (1949)Spencer Tracy$8.25$161.8087.0%01 / 0066.37
State of the Union (1948)Spencer Tracy$9.21$194.1075.5%00 / 0065.57
Without Love (1945)Spencer Tracy$7.51$186.1069.5%00 / 0061.51
Keeper of the Flame (1942)Spencer Tracy$6.26$181.9068.5%00 / 0060.39
The Sea of Grass (1947)Spencer Tracy$8.51$194.0064.5%00 / 0060.39
Song of Love (1947)Paul Henreid$8.38$190.9062.5%00 / 0058.97
Undercurrent (1946)Robert Mitchum$7.64$184.1063.5%00 / 0058.38
Summertime (1955)Directed by David Lean$5.71$92.6082.3%02 / 0058.35
Bringing Up Baby (1938)Cary Grant$3.24$101.3088.7%00 / 0057.37
Holiday (1938)Cary Grant$3.10$96.7089.0%01 / 0057.22
Alice Adams (1935)Fred MacMurray$1.64$57.6081.5%02 / 0057.03
Morning Glory (1933)Douglas Fairbanks Jr.$2.19$80.2070.5%01 / 0156.57
Dragon Seed (1944)Aline MacHahon & Lionel Barrymore$9.78$257.7052.5%02 / 0056.47
Pat and Mike (1952)Spencer Tracy$5.83$89.4080.0%01 / 0053.11
The Rainmaker (1956)Burt Lancaster$6.00$92.0067.0%02 / 0052.92
Desk Set (1957)Spencer Tracy$4.86$73.1084.3%00 / 0050.97
Long Day's Journey into Night (1962)Jason Robards$2.17$24.4085.0%01 / 0049.88
Mary of Scotland (1936)Fredric March & Directed by John Ford$2.64$88.9059.5%00 / 0041.74
Sylvia Scarlett (1935)Cary Grant$0.92$32.2068.3%00 / 0037.11
Rooster Cogburn (1975)John Wayne$24.31$100.0045.3%00 / 0036.81
Quality Street (1937)Franchot Tone$0.91$29.6064.5%01 / 0035.31
A Delicate Balance (1973)Paul Scofield$1.76$8.4071.0%00 / 0034.67
The Iron Petticoat (1957)Bob Hope$3.71$55.9053.5%00 / 0033.80
Christopher Strong (1933)Colin Clive$0.77$28.2058.0%00 / 0031.63
A Woman Rebels (1936)Herbert Marshall$0.77$26.0058.5%00 / 0031.52
A Bill of Divorcement (1932)John Barrymore$1.09$41.9052.0%00 / 0030.93
The Trojan Women (1971)Vanessa Redgrave$2.88$14.7059.5%00 / 0030.24
Break of Hearts (1935)Charles Boyer$0.65$22.8054.5%00 / 0029.15
The Little Minister (1934)Alan Hale$1.83$67.1038.5%00 / 0028.50
Love Affair (1994)Warren Beatty$18.27$37.8043.0%00 / 0026.07
Spitfire (1934)Robert Young$0.47$17.3047.5%00 / 0025.00
Olly Olly Oxen Free (1978)Kevin McKenzie$1.10$4.0050.0%00 / 0024.12
Grace Quigley (1985)Nick Nolte$2.42$5.7041.5%00 / 0020.38
The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)Danny Kaye$1.87$11.1039.5%00 / 0020.28

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Katharine HepburnTable

  1. Nineteen Katharine Hepburn movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 44.19% of her movies listed. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) was her biggest box office hit…. holding off On Golden Pond (1981)
  2. An average Katharine Hepburn movie grosses $118.20 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  28 of Katharine Hepburn’s movies are rated as good movies…or 65.11% of her movies.  The Philadelphia Story (1940) was her highest rated movie while The Little Minister (1934) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Nineteen Katharine Hepburn movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 44.18% of her movies.
  5. Eight Katharine Hepburn movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 18.60% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 39.86.  26 Katharine Hepburn movies scored higher than that average….or 60.46% of her movies.  The Lion in Winter (1968) got the the highest UMR Score while The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) got the lowest UMR Score.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in 1967's Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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

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64 thoughts on “Katharine Hepburn Movies

  1. Although I think that Katharine Hepburn is a bit overrated as an actress, I thoroughly admire her for many of her movies and her determination towards her profession. With a career spanning 6 decades, she must have done something right. I do believe that there were other actresses at least as talented as she was, actresses more subtle and restraint, but not in the least as popular as Hepburn was throughout her career. That said, there are many Hepburn performances that are stellar examples of great screen acting. I’ve seen all of her movies made between 1932 and 1959, and a lot of her later efforts- not counting her Made for TV’s, I’ve seen 35 so far. My favorite decade are the 30’s, with great movies like Little Women, Holiday, Bringing up Baby, Stage Door, Alice Adams and the strange, not really successful Sylvia Scarlett. From the 40’s, I enjoyed the critically penned Dragon Seed much more than the highly praised Philadelphia Story (though I like that one much more than it’s musical remake). Though her movies with Tracy are always entertaining, there are screen teams I find much more satisfactory (Lake and Ladd/Sullavan and Stewart/Crawford and Gable…) My fav 50’s movie is African Queen, I think her best performance and movie in more than a decade. Haven’t seen Long Days Journey or Lion in Winter, but enjoyed Guess who’s coming to Dinner- but worthy of an Academy Award??? Despite her Oscar for On Golden Pond, my favorite “late career Kate” movie is one made for TV: Love among the Ruins is one of my all time favorite movies, even if only made for the small screen. Her pairing with Olivier works just marvelously imo! And so, although still among my favorite actresses of classic Hollywood, Miss Hepburn for once takes a back seat to her less famous contemporaries like Margaret Sullavan and Sylvia Sidney.

    1. Hey Lupino…thanks for your thoughts on Katharine Hepburn….impressive that you have seen all of her movies from 1932 through 1959. So considering that you have seen so many of her movies….I respect your opinion that she was a bit overrated.

      I also like many of her movies from the 1930s….with Bringing Up Baby and Holiday being my favorites…as for The Philadelphia Story…I did not like that one the first time I watched it…but it has grown on me the last few times I have watched.

      I have not only not seen Love Among The Ruins…I have not even heard of it…I will have to see if I can track it down and watch it. I do not think you are missing much for not seeing Long Days Journey….maybe the performances are awesome…but I really did not like that movie…very long and very boring.

      Good comment….fun reading and talking about The Great Kate with you.

      1. So two of your fav Hepburn movies happen to have Cary Grant in them, what a coincidence 😉
        Long Day’s Journey, like Russell’s Mourning becomes Electra, has been patiently sitting on my DVD shelf, waiting to be FINALLY taken out for more than a dusting. After your warning, I am afraid it will have to wait even longer. But maybe I’ll give Philadelphia Story an earlier shot now, although I’ve seen it it at least 3 times already.

        1. Hey Lupino. Yep my Grant fandom makes it easy to say those Hepburn movies are good movies. As for Philadelphia Story….I think the first time I saw it, I was disappointed in the Grant role…but with repeat viewings…I actually think that would could be his best role.

          Long Day’s Journey is a three hour exercise of listening to 4 unhappy people yelling at each other…never again will I waste 3 hours doing that again. Mourning is a better movie..but not a lot of fun to watch.

          1. Hey Bruce,

            watched Mourning over the weekend…greek tragedy made in Hollywood. Talk about unhappy people, talk about dysfunctional families, talk about miscasting…Although I think the film was “watchable” it made me play the What if game constantly during the first 2 hours. What if Garbo would have been willing to play the mother? What if they’d asked Dietrich after Garbo denied? What if they trusted Darnell, who was the right age for Lavinia with the part- or Fontaine, who in ’47 looked the part much more than Russel did? As it is, both Russell and Paxinou were both way too old for their parts, Paxinou looked ok in certain scenes, but omg, did they screw up in others. She looked downright OLD in parts of the movie, who was supposed to believe the much younger Leo Genn would fall for her??? Same for Russel, at 39 she was simply too old to play 24 year old Lavinia. Acting honours went to Redgrave and Massey in my book. Back to the shelf, to be taken out for an occasional dusting for the next 20 years.

          2. Hey Lupino…congrats on watching and finishing Morning Becomes Electra. Redgrave is outstanding in the movie while I was not as impressed with Rosalind Russell in this one.

            I like your What if game…..it makes the movie better than what it actually is. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your mini-review.

  2. Katherine Hepburn appeared in 15 color movies. She appeared in 5 prior to 1960. Her first color movie was The African Queen in 1951.

    She had classics in color in The African Queen and The Lion in Winter.

    Hepburn also appeared in 7 color MfTV movies.

    1. Hey John…the great Kate…good stats on her movies. I recently watched and did not enjoy her David Lean film….Summertime…..the movie and the color looked awesome….the story dragged and dragged though. The two main movies that pop into my head when I think about Hepburn are The Philadelphia Story (black and white) and The African Queen (color). Thanks for the comment and the visit.

  3. 1 The classic era produced a string of durable unisex screen duos that the modern cinema does not appear to be able to replicate – MacDonald &Eddy, Gable &Crawford, Powell & Loy, Rooney &Garland and of course Tracy & Hepburn. Of all of those Katie Hepburn enjoyed the greatest longevity both in real life and on screen because long after the “curse of 39” had struck down her female contemporaries Hepburn continued to enjoy critical and box office success – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the age of 60, The Lion in Winter at 61, Rooster Cogburn when she was 68 and On Golden Pond when she reached 74.

    (1) Another batch of very rare posters with Lion in Winter, Woman of the Year and Summertime impressing me the most (2) what a stunning still of KH and Grant with leopard!
    (3) Tracy and Hepburn made 9 movies together and you have included 8 of them with an average score per movie of 75.6%, compared with Bruce’s average of 77.2% for the same 8
    (4) I was surprised that you and for audience/critic Bruce both had On Golden Pond as low as 17 and 15 respectively but was pleased to see Long Day’s Journey into Night included by the two of you albeit with different levels of enthusiasm -85% and No 8 Bruce/75% and No 15 you.
    (5) You and Bruce agree on 3 of the Top 5
    Great stuff overall so most appreciated.

    1. Hi Bob, I usually watch Bringing Up Baby every Xmas and late at night, always makes me laugh, yes the Great Kate is annoying in the movie but you still end up loving her.

      I recently bought The Lion in Winter on blu-ray at a west end shop, might watch it at the weekend, hopefully remastered. I have not seen On Golden Pond, just not my cup of tea. Bruce warned me that there were no car chases or explosions in it. I did see Hanoi Jane as Barbarella, several times in fact.

      Let’s have a look at Journey Into Night… Maltin gave it a good score but the Radio Times reviewer let the side down by giving it a so-so rating, still 7.6 is a pretty good score on this chart. Hepburn has 4 films past the 9 points benchmark which is pretty impressive, let me check Lord Olivier’s chart… he has 3 films above 9. Hepburn wins.

      Thanks again!


      1. 1 As said Tracy and Hepburn made 9 movies together and Tracy was first billed in all of them.

        2 As I’ve mentioned before on this site an interviewer once suggested to Tracy that he might have let Katie go first the occasional time if only to observe the gentlemanly courtesy of “ladies first” to which Tracy gruffly replied “They were movies chowderhead, not lifeboats!”

        3 I could not imagine Joan Crawford when she was a top star allowing any leading man to dominate their professional relationship so completely. Joan and Clark Gable made many movies together before Gone with the Wind (GWTW) and Joan had always been billed first.
        Even after GWTW when Gable became “The KIng” she forced a compromise with Gable whereby although he got top billing in posters she was named first on screen. After that neither would compromise so there were no more Gable/Crawford films. When Joan was in her heyday she dominated her movies as few other actresses ever have.

      2. Hey Steve…glad to see you video link…..I have been thinking of giving your videos a section on our website….as I think the two compliment nicely…..even if you constantly mess up the review rankings…lol.

        1. Thank you Bruce. Are you sure? I don’t want you messing up your fine website on account of me. Bob does a nice job reviewing my videos here. And I have the occasional friendly ‘quibble’ with John over at IMDB comments. We do compliment each other and point out the occasional discrepancy. 😉

    2. Hey Bob…funny you mentioned J. macDonald…..I was actually working her stats while on some down time at school today. I have domestic and worldwide grosses for almost her entire career.

  4. Hi

    I’ve always loved Katharine Hepburn, especially her voice. She was a real force of nature and one of the greatest screen personalities ever. So many of her films were terrific. Bringing Up Baby would be one of my all time favourite movies. In fact I thought her on screen chemistry with Cary Grant was as good as it was with Spencer Tracey.
    I recently watched The Philadelphia Story, the entire cast were just so good. (George Cukor was a terrific director, one for the future maybe)
    On Golden Pond was such a hit in the early 80s, although I think her Oscar was more for sentimental reasons.
    Another great movie is Summertime, where she plays a lonely spinster on holidays in Venice. In Suddenly Last Summer, she plays a villainess character, it’s a pity she hadn’t more of those roles because she had that air of menace.
    Another favourite would be The Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole, there she definitely deserved the Oscar.
    The thing about Hepburn, Davis, Crawford and Stanwyck is that they were such incredible personalities and it just shone through the screen. You either liked them or you didn’t but one thing was you couldn’t ignore them. While there are many talented actresses today, so many of them are forgettable.

    1. Hey Chris….thanks for checking out my latest classic actress flip….one more flip to go…Barbara Stanwyck…. and all the actresses will have been moved to the new website. Bringing Up Baby is the movie that turned me into a Cary Grant fan…but Hepburn’s performance is what makes that one a classic. The first time I watched The Philadelphia Story I was disappointed…..but now it is one of my favorites of all time. I have never seen Summertime…..I have seen and did not like Suddenly Last Summer at all….even with 3 screen legends in the movie. Everytime I watch The Lion In Winter…I love all the performances…and it is so cool seeing James Bond and Hannibal the Cannibal as young princes.

      As for her voice…without a doubt one of the most famous voices of all-time. I agree with you 100% about Kate, Joan, Bette and Barbara. I have been shocked how popular my Crawford and Davis pages have been…..but they still have a huge following. as always thanks for stopping by and talking movies….which is one of my favorite things to do.

  5. Katharine Hepburn is my all time favorite actress. I admire her so much and love all her movies. I have seen most of the ones you list and “The Philadelphia Story”, is my favorite of hers also. She is classic in “On Golden Pond.” For me, Hepburn could do no wrong. I love this series you are doing of actors.

    1. Hey suzettenaples….thanks for checking out my Katharine Hepburn hub. The Philadelphia Story is my favorite Hepburn movie as well….I originally did not like the movie…but over the years it has become one of my favorites….it is the opposite of Bringing Up Baby….a movie I loved at first but has lots some of its luster to me over the years. Glad you are enjoying my classic actors and actresses.

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