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 actual domestic box office grosses (in millions)
  • Sort Shirley Temple movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • 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.
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksActual Box Office (Millions)Adjusted B.O. Domestic (mil)Critic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Since You Went Away (1944)Claudette Colbert & Lionel Barrymore$15.89$418.5073.50%09 / 0171.99
Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, The (1947)Cary Grant & Myrna Loy$14.86$338.7073.00%01 / 0166.31
Bright Eyes (1934)James Dunn & Jane Darwell$5.84$214.0075.00%00 / 0066.25
Fort Apache (1948)John Wayne & Henry Fonda$8.33$175.5081.00%00 / 0065.27
I'll Being Seeing You (1944)Ginger Rogers & Joseph Cotten$9.68$254.9071.50%00 / 0064.60
Little Miss Broadway (1938)Jimmy Durante & George Murphy$7.00$218.6069.00%00 / 0063.43
Wee Willie Winkie (1937)Victor McLaglen & C. Aubrey Smith$5.62$182.2071.00%01 / 0062.01
Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949)Clifton Webb & Tom Drake$10.28$201.5065.50%00 / 0061.78
Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)Alice Faye & Jack Haley$4.85$163.5074.50%00 / 0060.36
Little Princess, The (1939)Richard Greene & Cesar Romero$4.80$144.5080.50%00 / 0060.24
Captain January (1936)Guy Kibbee & Slim Summerville$4.33$146.1076.00%00 / 0058.37
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)Randolph Scott & Jack Haley$5.00$156.1071.00%00 / 0057.57
Heidi (1937)Jean Hersholt & Arthur Treacher$4.00$129.7078.00%00 / 0056.76
Littlest Rebel, The (1935)Jack Holt & Bill Robinson$3.71$130.5076.50%00 / 0056.19
Little Colonel, The (1935)Lionel Barrymore & Hattie McDaniel$3.43$120.4075.50%00 / 0054.14
Now and Forever (1934)Gary Cooper & Carole Lombard$3.57$130.9070.00%00 / 0053.19
Stowaway (1936)Robert Young & Alice Faye$3.50$118.0070.50%00 / 0051.43
Curly Top (1935)John Boles & Jane Darwell$3.14$110.4071.50%00 / 0050.71
Just Around the Corner (1938)Joan Davis & Bill Robinson$4.00$124.9066.50%00 / 0050.62
Little Miss Marker (1934)Adolphe Menjou & Charles Bickford$2.71$99.5072.00%00 / 0049.26
Dimples (1936)Frank Morgan & Robert Kent$3.33$112.4067.50%00 / 0049.14
Susannah of the Mounties (1939)Randolph Scott & Margaret Lockwood$3.20$96.3068.00%00 / 0046.89
Baby Takes a Bow (1934)James Dunn & Claire Trevor$2.47$90.6069.00%00 / 0046.47
Kiss and Tell (1945)Jerome Courtland & Walter Abel$3.89$96.4066.00%00 / 0045.96
Our Little Girl (1935)Joel McCrea & Rosemary Ames$2.84$99.9061.00%00 / 0044.15
Now I'll Tell (1934)Spencer Tracy & Alice Faye$1.79$65.6064.50%00 / 0040.49
Blue Bird, The (1940)Spring Byington & Nigel Bruce$1.36$40.9069.50%02 / 0039.80
Stand Up and Cheer! (1934)Warner Baxter & James Dunn$2.04$74.9057.50%00 / 0038.63
Young People (1940)Jack Oakie & Charlotte Greenwood$1.24$37.4066.00%00 / 0036.82
Kathleen (1941)Herbert Marshall & Laraine Day$1.66$50.0061.00%00 / 0036.42
That Hagen Girl (1947)Ronald Reagan & Rory Calhoun$2.03$46.2062.00%00 / 0036.30
Adventure in Baltimore (1949)Robert Young & John Agar$2.43$47.7061.50%00 / 0036.29
Story of Seabiscuit, The (1949)Barry Fitzgerald & Lon McCallister$2.29$44.9060.50%00 / 0035.40
Kiss for Corliss, A (1949)David Niven & Tom Tully$1.67$32.7064.00%00 / 0035.15
Change of Heart (1934)Ginger Rogers & Janet Gaynor$2.09$76.7046.50%00 / 0033.75
Miss Annie Rooney (1942)Guy Kibbee & William Gargan$1.14$33.2058.50%00 / 0032.64
Honeymoon (1947)Franchot Tone & Guy Madison$2.88$65.5039.50%00 / 0028.71

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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35 thoughts on “Shirley Temple Movies

  1. STEVE
    1 I never became too acquainted with the Shirley Temple childhood era movies as when I started watching films in the early 1950s her heyday was well past and her movies were seldom given reruns over here with the exception of those that she made as a young woman such as the Duke’s 1948 Fort Apache and Clifton Webb’s 1949 Mr Belvedere Goes to College. Nevertheless as a movie buff I have a keen historical interest in her career and therefore welcomed your video just as I did Bruce’s statistical page.

    2 My unfamiliarity with the true ‘Shirley Temple’ films meant that most of your posters from the films of her top-star days held for me an even greater freshness than usual and I admired in particular those from Susannah of the Mounties, Bright Eyes, Wee Willie Winkie and Curly Top. Also pleasing were the beautiful stills of Shirley with the great stars of her times – Randy Scott, Cooper and Grant. Of special interest to me was the one from I presume Fort Apache of Shirley with then hubby John Agar. I liked Agar who supported the Duke in several prestige movies and then made a series of B movies such as Tarantula and the western Star in the Dust.**
    **John went on making films until 2005 but in the last 15 years of his career most of them went to video. The last cinematic release that I actually saw him in was the 1990 Fear starring The Brat Pack’s Ally Sheedy and in which Agar had the small role of a serial killer.

    3 You and El Commandant agree on just 2 of Shirley’s Top 5 and on this occasion I prefer his choices as 4 of his main 5 are true ‘Shirley Temple’ films whereas your Top 3 are her later films in which she had just supporting roles. Nevertheless from what I have said above you will appreciate that your video had a higher than usual novelty value for me so 9.5/10 is well merited in my opinion.

    1. Hey Bob….yep you are right…..we (me and Steve) only agree on 2 of the Top 5….but glad you see it my way….lol. My Temple page has been a huge winner for me….as it has become a Top 20 page at Shirley Temple, Drew Barrymore and my Black Hawk Down pages have been very popular…..heck Drew is quickly tracking down Bruce for a better position in my Top 10. Good comments on Temple and Steve’s video….all are greatly appreciated.

    2. “on the good ship… lollipop…” Oh sorry got carried away singing and forgot where I was…… thanks again Bob, appreciate the review, rating and comment.

      I wasn’t familiar with the little moppets filmography but I knew Fort Apache would easily top the lot when the scores were done and counted, and even Bruce’s sources couldn’t mess that up and place a ‘Shirley Temple’ movie at the top instead. Though The Little Princess came perilously close on his critics chart… hmmm. 😉

      Yes yes it’s true I’d much rather watch Tarantula or Them! than nearly all of these movies, John Ford’s Fort Apache being the exception of course (remade decades later as Fort Apache -The Bronx. starring Paul Newman in the John Wayne role).

      1. Hey Steve…..the more I look at Temple’s teenage career the more I am impressed with it. When Hollywood was pushing her out the door…from 1944 to 1948 she appeared in 5 movies that grossed over $175 million in adjusted gross….with 4 of them topping $200 million. In Bette Davis’ and Joan Crawford’s entire careers they each had 2 $200 million hits….and yet poor little Shirley was out of movies by 1949.

        As for the difference in our rankings….mine are only numbers….I do not have that personal adjustment going on you have… is what it is….lol. I loved Newman’s sequel to Fort Apache. Saw that one in the theaters with my dad…of so many years ago.

        Good stuff my friend…:)

  2. 1 Extractions from the table above show that in Cogerson Shirley Temple stands alone in that an astonishing 22 films listed in the table were made between the ages of 6 and 11 and have a total adjusted domestic gross of $2.82 billion.

    2 Of her 20 movies overall that crashed the Cogerson $100 million barrier 15 were made between 6 and 11 years of age and she can be said to be the only performer in AFI,s screen legends list to be included largely for her work as a child artist; and Bruce has explained above how she virtually owned Quigley for a period at times reducing even the King to ‘second billing’.

    3 Accordingly she truly is as the introduction to this page proclaims her “easily the most popular and famous child star of all time.” I have waited for and now welcome this comprehensive update as Shirley’s career has always interested me because of her unique position in movie history.

    1. Hey Bob.
      1. Her totals as a child actress were awesome…and will probably never be matched.
      2. Yep…Temple can’t the King from the Top Spot…when it comes to the Quigley polls.
      3. Glad you liked this updated page.
      I think the thing that amazes me about her career….is her 1940s movies are almost considered a joke. But if you look at her movies during that decade….there are many highlights there….Since You Went Away was her biggest hit and 5 of her Top 10 hits were made in the 1940s when she was considered washed up. Granted they were supporting roles…but those 5 1940s movies grossed $1.38 BILLION for an average of $277 million per movie….pretty impressive for a washed up star. Seems she could have continued the acting into the 1950s….maybe as she got older she would have gotten some of those Doris Day movies…because the girl could carry a tune.

        1 Actually like Frasier Crane I am traditionally”not a morning person” but these days I often wake up to some intriguing point that you have made overnight which immediately gets my mind racing, and you’ve done it again with your comments about Shirley’s 1940s career!

        2 Whilst legal definitions of a child can vary between countries the BIOLOGICAL cut off point from childhood is made for a female when she reaches 10 or 11 and as the work that you have done clearly illustrates Shirley met that criterion in all the years that she was a very top star.

        3 Liz Taylor and Judy are often referred to as child stars but Liz was under 12 in just two of her films and whilst Judy made 4 shorts with her sisters when she was 8 her feature film career did not begin until she was 14 so that for the most part in the early days the public identified with these two ladies as young girls/young women and they were therefore more easily able to make a seamless transition to adult roles.

        4 On the other hand some historians have reckoned that it might have been too big a leap for audiences to accept someone long regarded as a precocious child in grown roles and certainly not as the ‘sex temptress l’ that Liz ultimately became for example as Maggie the Cat and in Butterfield 8

        5 It is also worth remembering that Shirley mightn’t ultimately have wanted a prolonged film career as like Reagan she became very interested in Republican politics and whilst a failure in her bid to enter Congers she had success in ambassador.roles under Nixon and Gerald Ford.

        6 Conversely some cynics have opined that had Ronnie had the same movie impact as say a Bud, a Bogie or a Duke the White House would never have seen him ! However in both the cases of Ronnie and Shirley we will as the saying goes probably never know.

        7 Anyway great though having the opportunity to bound off you these kind of thoughts.

        Best wishes BOB

        1. Hey Bob.
          1. Yep….I think my schedule when WoC makes me go to work (lol)….means when you sleeping I am responding to the comments….so like the tooth fairy my comments are under your pillow….waiting for your discovery.
          2. Good point…Shirley was probably the only real child actress….she was only a baby when she got discovered….a not much more than a toddler when she was a star.
          3. The W.C. Fields baby…Baby LeRoy was already a has been by 3….as he debuted in 1933…and made no movies after 1935…so the fact that Shirley was still making hit movies a decade after stardom shows just how awesome her career was.
          4. I think you are correct…Judy seemed more like a teen star…versus child star.
          5. I think Liz was a child star then a teen star and then an adult star….not sure anybody else can make that claim. By the time Liz was making Butterfield 8…she was a decade removed from her teen movies…and almost 20 years since hitting the big time.
          6. I always thought Shirley’s turn to politics was well after her movie career was finished.
          Thanks for the comments on Shirley Temple….this page was originally written for UMR…and has been pretty popular….ranking 20th of almost 5,000 page getting things we have written.

          1. Thanks Bruce – you’v filled in some of the blanks in my own mind as none of Judy, Liz and Shirley had the traditional Hollywood careers.


  3. Shirley Temple has 20 films that 100 million on your list. She has never made the Oracle of Bacon’s top 1000 Center of the Hollywood Universe list. I think she hadn’t made a movie since 1949. This is the only person on the current list who worked with her

    Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) – 966 Kathleen Freeman

    These are the people on the 2000 list who have since fallen off who had appeared in a film with her.
    A Kiss for Corliss (1949) – 102 David Niven
    Adventure in Baltimore – 740 George Chandler
    Baby Take a Bow (1934) – 783 James Flavin
    Captain January (1936) – 982 Billy Benedict
    Change of Heart (1934) – 222 Bess Flowers
    Curly Top (1935) – 222 Bess Flowers
    Dimples (1936) – 14 John Carradine, 506 Douglas Fowley
    Fort Apache (1948) – 56 Henry Fonda, 179 John Wayne, 256 Hank Worden, 963 Frank Ferguson
    I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) – 158 Joseph Cotten
    Kathleen (1941) – 783 James Flavin
    Kiss and Tell (1945) – 707 Darren McGaven
    Little Miss Marker (1934) – 832 Don Brodie
    Miss Annie Rooney (1942) – 969 Byron Foulger
    Now and Forever (1934) – Akim Tamiroff
    Now I’ll Tell (1934) – 783 James Flavin, 959 Leon Ames
    Out All Night (1933) – 280 Billy Barty
    Since You Went Away (1944) – 43 Keenan Wynn, 158 Joseph Cotten, 740 George Chandler, 969 Byron Foulger
    Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) – 222 Bess Flowers
    Stowaway (1936) – 745 Philip Ahn
    That Hagen Girl (1947) – 573 Lois Maxwell, 867 Rory Calhoun
    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) – 222 Bess Flowers, 994 Ellen Corby
    The Little Princess (1939) – 151 Cesar Romero
    The Littlest Rebel (1935) – 783 James Flavin
    To the Last Man (1933) – 14 John Carradine
    Wee Willie Winkle (1937) – 151 Cesar Romero
    Young People (1940) – 982 Billy Benedict

    The following is a list of Oscar winners she appeared with;

    A Kiss for Corliss (1949) – David Niven
    Baby Take a Bow (1934) – James Dunn, Claire Trevor
    Bright Eyes (1934) – Jane Darwell
    Captain January (1936) – Jane Darwell (#2)
    Carolina (1934) – Janet Gaynor, Lionel Barrymore
    Change of Heart (1934) – Ginger Rogers, Jane Darwell (#3), Janet Gaynor (#2)
    Curly Top (1935) – Jane Darwell (#4)
    Fort Apache (1948) – Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Victor McLaglen
    I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) – Ginger Rogers (#2)
    Little Miss Broadway (1938) – Jane Darwell (#5)
    Now and Forever (1934) – Gary Cooper
    Now I’ll Tell (1934) – Spencer Tracy
    Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) – Jane Darwell (#6)
    Since You Went Away (1944) – Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Lionel Barrymore (#2)
    Stand up and Cheer! (1934) – James Dunn (# 2), Warner Baxter
    The Little Colonel (1935) – Lionel Barrymore (# 3)
    The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) – Barry Fitzgerald
    Wee Willie Winkle (1937) – Victor McLaglen (# 2)
    16 Oscar winners

    Trivia question. There was a book in the late 70’s called the Fifty Worst Films of All Time by Michael Medwin. Which Shirley Temple film made their book?

    1. Hey Dan…..good old Kathleen Freeman….I like that you have added in the Oscar winners too. Very informative. I am actually surprised that Temple had so many on the 2000 list…..especially with her last movie being 51 years before the 2000 list. Sorry your Temple comment caused so much stress…but is alive and well now. As for your trivia question…I used to own all of the Medved brothers books. I am guessing the movie they listed was The Blue Bird……but that is a guess. So after a quick check on my movie book shelves…I see the correct answer was That Hagen Girl….once again people taking a shot at the teenage Temple. When doing a statistical look at her career…..her 1940s movies were actually pretty impressive….yet the way history talks about her….every single of her later movies were huge bombs. As always…thanks for the comment and the information.

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