Shirley Temple Movies

Shirley Temple is AFI's 17th Best Actress according to their Screen Legends List.

Shirley Temple is AFI’s 17th Best Actress according to their Screen Legends List.

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

Shirley Temple (1928-2014)  was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. On American Film Institute’s Top 50 Screen Legends list, Temple is ranked as the 18th best actress.  Right behind #17 Lillian Gish and right before #19 Rita Hayworth.  That is an outstanding accomplishment for somebody that never made another movie after turning 21.  In the mid 1930s she was the biggest star in Hollywood.  In the 1940s her starring roles with the exception of 1945’s Kiss and Tell all flopped.  From 1944 to 1949 as a supporting actress she appeared in some of her most successful movies of her career.  After the sequel to Kiss and Tell (1949’s A Kiss For Corliss) flopped Shirley Temple retired from making movies.  From 1950 to her death in 2014 she never appeared in another movie.

Her IMDb page shows 60 acting credits from 1932-1963. This page will rank 37 Shirley Temple movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.  Television appearances, shorts, and bit parts were not included in the rankings.

Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in one of the biggest box office hits of the 1940s...The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in one of the biggest box office hits of the 1940s…The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Shirley Temple 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 Shirley Temple movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Shirley Temple movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Shirley Temple movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort Shirley Temple 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 each Shirley Temple movie received.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® wins each Shirley Temple movie received.
  • Sort Shirley Temple 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.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Shirley Temple Table

  1. Twenty Shirley Temple movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 54.05% of her movies listed. Since You Went Away (1944) was her biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Shirley Temple movie grosses $126.70 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using’s 60% fresh meter.  33 of Shirley Temple’s movies are rated as good movies…or 89.18% of her movies.  Fort Apache (1948) was her highest rated movie while Honeymoon (1947) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Four Shirley Temple movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 10.81% of her movies.
  5. Two Shirley Temple movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 5.40% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  26 Shirley Temple movies scored higher that average….or 70.27% of her movies.  Since You Went Away (1944) got the the highest UMR Movie Score while Honeymoon (1947) got the lowest UMR Movie Score.
Shirley Temple in 1937's Heidi

Shirley Temple in 1937’s Heidi

Possibly Interesting Facts About Shirley Temple

1. Shirley Temple was born Shirley Jane Temple in Santa Monica, California.

2. Shirley Temple’s road to stardom Cliff Notes style….Temple’s mother encouraged her infant daughter’s singing, dancing, and acting talents, and in September 1931 enrolled her in Meglin’s Dance School in Los Angeles.  At Meglin’s she was discovered by casting director Charles Lamont.  She signed a movie contract with Fox Films in 1932.  1934 was Temple’s coming out party. In May she appeared in a small part in Stand Up And Cheer but her role brought Temple her first notoriety.  In May, Little Miss Marker was released to box office success.  In June she appeared opposite Spencer Tracy in Now I’ll Tell and opposite James Dunn in Baby Take A Bow.  In August, she appeared with Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard in Now and Forever. Fox quickly developed a movie for Temple….Bright Eyes opened up in December was a smash hit and Temple was officially a phenomenon at six years old!

3.  Shirley Temple was given a Juvenile Oscar® at the 1935 Oscar® ceremony.  “In grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934.”

4.  Shirley Temple was voted as the Top Box Office Star for 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938.  Three of those years Clark Gable was the number two Box Office Star.

5. Some things we found interesting about Shirley Temple and Fox Films.

  • Fox did not realize they were sitting on a gold mine…as they loaned her out to other studios many many times from 1932 to 1934.
  • It seems Fox only really noticed Temple when Paramount tried to buy her contract from Fox for $50,000 after they used her in Paramount’s Little Miss Marker.
  • The success of the Shirley Temple movies saved Fox from bankruptcy.
  • When MGM was making The Wizard of Oz they wanted to use Temple in the Dorothy role.  Fox refused to loan her out even though her popularity was diminishing.
  • When Temple’s two movies in 1940 flopped…..Fox dropped her from her contact.  A serious case of what have you done for me lately.

6. According to the American Film Institute, Shirley Temple is the 18th greatest female star of all-time.

7. Shirley Temple was married two times in her life.  She was married to actor John Agar from 1945 to 1950….they had one child.  She was married to Charles Black from 1950 until his death in 2005…they had two children.

8. Shirley Temple and her appointments.  She was a United States Delegate to the United Nations in 1969.  She was Ambassador to Ghana in 1974. She was United States Chief of Protocol in 1976 and she was appointed United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989.

9. A non-alcoholic cocktail, “The Shirley Temple”, was created in her honor. It consists of ginger ale (or 7-Up), grenadine and orange juice, topped with a maraschino cherry and a slice of lemon.

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

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
22. Jean Harlow
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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36 thoughts on “Shirley Temple Movies

  1. Very interesting article! For me, Shirley Temple is a one-of-a-kind child actress, never to be duplicated. Born in 43, I didn’t see her movies until I was quite old…..No TV in our home yet. I have watched her movies over and over and after having 5 children, I have shown the movies to them. Very few people don’t enjoy a sweet, happy-ever-after movie! I still watch the movies as I have collected them. I have also had a “movie day” every now and then and invited my children’s friends over. Thank you for this article. It reminds me to begin showing these movies to my grandchildren. They are always totally quiet and glued to the screen. Thank you, Shirley Temple for sharing your talents with the world! Sharon L.

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