Want to know the best Walter Matthau movies? How about the worst Walter Matthau movies? Curious about Walter Matthau box office grosses or which Walter Matthau movie picked up the most Oscar nominations? Need to know which Walter Matthau 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.
Over 4 years ago we published a Jack Lemmon movie page. At that time we got numerous requests to do a Walter Matthau (1920-2000) movie page. Not sure why it took so long for us to get around to this page…but we finally have a Matthau page. Joel Hirschhorn’s Rating The Movie Stars book best describes Matthau. “Matthau looks less-like a box-office star than any other actor in movies, but people identified with Matthau; they like him. This he’s-one-of-us charm, plus his enormous talent for comedy and drama, have contributed to his huge success.”
His IMDb page shows 104 acting credits from 1950-2000. This page will rank 58 Walter Matthau movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television appearances and movies not released in North America were not included in the rankings.
Walter Matthau 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 Walter Matthau movies by co-stars of his movies.
- Sort Walter Matthau movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost
- Sort Walter Matthau movies by yearly domestic box office rank
- Sort Walter Matthau 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 many Oscar® wins each Walter Matthau movie received and
- Sort Walter Matthau 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.
- *** = Oscar® nominated role
- Use the search and sort button to make this page very interactive. For example type “Lemmon” in the search box and up pop the 11 movies that Jack Lemmon and Matthau made together.
|Rank||Movie (Title)||UMR Co-Star Links||Adjusted B.O. Domestic (mil)||Box Office Rank by Year||Oscar Nom / Win||Critic Audience Rating||UMR Score|
|Odd Couple, The (1968)||Jack Lemmon & John Fiedler||$286.50||5th of 1968||02 / 00||85.00%||73.62|
|Cactus Flower (1969)||Ingrid Bergman & Goldie Hawn||$201.00||7th of 1970||01 / 01||78.00%||69.28|
|Charade (1963)||Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn||$183.80||4th of 1964||01 / 00||83.50%||68.13|
|JFK (1991)||Kevin Costner & Jack Lemmon||$141.00||17th of 1991||08 / 02||82.00%||67.68|
|Hello, Dolly! (1969)||Barbra Streisand & Directed by Gene Kelly||$257.80||6th of 1970||07 / 03||61.00%||67.15|
|Sunshine Boys, The (1975)||George Burns & Richard Benjamin||$89.70||24th of 1976||04 / 01||76.50%||59.68|
|Bad News Bears, The (1976)||Jackie Earle Haley & Tatum O''''Neal||$127.50||4th of 1976||00 / 00||83.50%||59.00|
|Fortune Cookie, The (1966)||Jack Lemmon & Directed by Billy Wilder||$32.20||79th of 1966||04 / 01||85.00%||55.89|
|Grumpy Old Men (1993)||Jack Lemmon & Kevin Pollack||$142.90||15th of 1993||00 / 00||68.00%||54.11|
|Pete 'n' Tillie (1972)||Carol Burnett & Geraldine Page||$121.70||15th of 1973||02 / 00||67.00%||53.02|
|California Suite (1978)||Michael Caine & Maggie Smith||$154.60||9th of 1979||03 / 01||55.67%||51.92|
|Front Page, The (1974)||Jack Lemmon & Susan Sarandon||$107.40||26th of 1975||00 / 00||69.00%||50.95|
|New Leaf, A (1971)||Elaine May & Jack Weston||$77.40||18th of 1971||00 / 00||81.50%||50.92|
|Candy (1968)||Marlon Brando & John Huston||$135.50||12th of 1969||00 / 00||59.67%||49.04|
|Kotch (1971)||Directed by Jack Lemmon||$55.70||29th of 1971||04 / 00||67.50%||48.32|
|Fail-Safe (1964)||Henry Fonda & Dan O''''Herlihy||$46.10||71st of 1964||00 / 00||86.00%||47.57|
|Face in the Crowd, A (1957)||Andy Griffith & Patricia Neal||$43.00||121st of 1957||00 / 00||86.00%||47.08|
|Goodbye Charlie (1964)||Tony Curtis & Debbie Reynolds||$91.00||20th of 1965||00 / 00||70.00%||47.00|
|Guide for the Married Man, A (1967)||Directed by Gene Kelly||$95.80||19th of 1967||00 / 00||67.00%||46.34|
|Bigger Than Life (1956)||James Mason||$41.60||107th of 1956||00 / 00||83.50%||45.69|
|House Calls (1978)||Glenda Jackson & Art Carney||$114.30||18th of 1978||00 / 00||58.00%||44.98|
|King Creole (1958)||Elvis Presley||$48.20||99th of 1958||00 / 00||79.50%||44.83|
|Hopscotch (1980)||Glenda Jackson & Sam Waterston||$56.60||43rd of 1980||00 / 00||73.50%||44.56|
|Kentuckian, The (1955)||Burt Lancaster & Diana Lynn||$120.40||39th of 1955||00 / 00||54.50%||44.28|
|Lonely Are The Brave (1962)||Kirk Douglas||$31.80||87th of 1962||00 / 00||83.50%||44.17|
|Strangers When We Meet (1960)||Kirk Douglas & Kim Novak||$101.20||18th of 1960||00 / 00||60.50%||44.13|
|Indian Fighter, The (1955)||Kirk Douglas & Lon Chaney Jr.||$113.50||33rd of 1956||00 / 00||55.50%||43.67|
|Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)||Robert Shaw & Martin Balsam||$15.00||92nd of 1974||00 / 00||85.00%||42.28|
|Onionhead (1958)||Andy Griffith & Felicia Farr||$80.30||44th of 1958||00 / 00||61.50%||41.35|
|Grumpier Old Men (1995)||Jack Lemmon & Sophia Loren||$138.60||22nd of 1995||00 / 00||41.00%||40.31|
|Mirage (1965)||Gregory Peck & Diane Baker||$33.50||57th of 1965||00 / 00||74.67%||40.28|
|Plaza Suite (1971)||Barbara Harris & Lee Grant||$61.90||27th of 1971||00 / 00||62.50%||39.59|
|Charley Varrick (1973)||Joe Don Baker & Norman Fell||$14.40||114th of 1973||00 / 00||78.00%||38.89|
|Casey's Shadow (1978)||Robert Webber & Alexis Smith||$34.40||57th of 1978||00 / 00||66.50%||36.59|
|Who's Got The Action (1962)||Dean Martin & Lana Turner||$48.20||62nd of 1963||00 / 00||61.50%||36.37|
|Ride A Crooked Trail (1958)||Audie Murphy & Henry Silva||$32.10||123rd of 1958||00 / 00||66.00%||36.00|
|First Monday in October (1981)||Jill Clayburgh & Barnard Hughes||$37.80||60th of 1981||00 / 00||60.00%||35.31|
|Secret Life of an American Wife, The (1968)||Anne Jackson & Patrick O''''Neal||$55.20||39th of 1968||00 / 00||56.50%||35.12|
|Voice in the Mirror (1958)||Richard Egan & Julie London||$17.10||113th of 1958||00 / 00||67.00%||34.14|
|Dennis the Menace (1993)||Christopher Lloyd & Joan Plowright||$104.40||25th of 1993||00 / 00||38.50%||34.09|
|Laughing Policeman, The (1973)||Bruce Dern & Louis Gossett Jr.||$25.30||69th of 1974||00 / 00||64.00%||34.00|
|I.Q. (1994)||Meg Ryan & Tim Robbins||$54.50||53rd of 1994||00 / 00||54.00%||33.83|
|Buddy Buddy (1981)||Jack Lemmon||$22.00||75th of 1981||00 / 00||63.00%||33.02|
|Slaugher on Tenth Avenue (1957)||Richard Egan & Dan Duryea||$15.10||156th of 1957||00 / 00||65.00%||32.89|
|Little Miss Marker (1980)||Julie Andrews & Tony Curtis||$20.50||79th of 1980||00 / 00||61.50%||32.08|
|I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)||Ann-Margret & Dinah Manoff||$20.00||75th of 1982||00 / 00||61.00%||31.77|
|Ensign Pulver (1964)||Jack Nicholson & Robert Walker||$34.80||54th of 1964||00 / 00||52.50%||30.06|
|Out to Sea (1997)||Jack Lemmon & Dyan Cannon||$53.30||73rd of 1997||00 / 00||46.00%||29.88|
|Grass Harp, The (1996)||Jack Lemmon & Sissy Spacek||$1.10||225th of 1996||00 / 00||57.00%||26.96|
|Couch Trip, The (1988)||Dan Aykroyd & Charles Grodin||$22.60||87th of 1988||00 / 00||49.50%||26.76|
|Gangster Story (1959)||Directed by Walter Matthau||$15.90||134th of 1959||00 / 00||50.50%||26.20|
|Odd Couple II, The (1998)||Jack Lemmon||$34.00||88th of 1998||00 / 00||42.00%||25.01|
|I'm Not Rappaport (1996)||Ossie Davis||$0.01||288th of 1996||00 / 00||49.50%||23.26|
|Survivors, The (1983)||Robin Williams & Jerry Reed||$37.50||51st of 1983||00 / 00||37.00%||23.13|
|Pirates (1986)||Directed by Roman Polanski||$3.70||153rd of 1986||01 / 00||47.00%||23.06|
|Hanging Up (2000)||Meg Ryan & Diane Keaton||$56.40||66th of 2000||00 / 00||29.50%||22.60|
|Island of Love (1963)||Tony Randall & Robert Preston||$14.70||145th of 1963||00 / 00||41.00%||21.55|
|Movers and Shakers (1985)||Charles Grodin||$0.90||165th of 1985||00 / 00||35.50%||16.84|
Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Walter Matthau Table
- Eighteen Walter Matthau movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark. That is a percentage of 31.03% of his movies listed. The Odd Couple (1968) was his biggest box office ht when looking at adjusted domestic box office gross.
- An average Walter Matthau movie grosses $71.10 million in adjusted box office gross.
- Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter. 37 of Walter Matthau’ movies are rated as good movies…or 93.33% of their movies. Fail-Safe (1964) is his highest rated movie while Hanging Up (2000) was his lowest rated movie.
- Eleven Walter Matthau movie received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 29.31% of his movies.
- Six Walter Matthau movie won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 10.34% of his movies.
- An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00. 31 Walter Matthau movies scored higher than that average….or 53.44% of his movies. The Odd Couple (1968) got the the highest UMR Score while Movers and Shakers (1985) got the lowest UMR Score.
Possibly Interesting Facts About Walter Matthau
1. Walter John Matthow was born in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1920.
2. During World War II, Walter Matthau served in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the Eighth Air Force in England as a B-24 Liberator radioman-gunner, in the same 453rd Bombardment Group as James Stewart.
3. Walter Matthau’s first movie role was in 1955’s The Kentuckian. The Kentuckian was the only movie Burt Lancaster ever directed. Matthau also starred in the only movie Jack Lemmon ever directed…1971’s Kotch. Matthau directed one movie too……but neither Lancaster or Lemmon appeared in 1959’s Gangster Story….that does not seem fair.
4. Walter Matthau screen-tested for the lead role in 1955’s The Seven Year Itch. After seeing his test, director Billy Wilder believed he had found his leading man. Unfortunately, executives at 20th Century Fox were unwilling to take a risk on an unknown newcomer. Ten years later Wilder would direct Matthau in his Oscar® winning role in 1966’s The Fortune Cookie. Wilder would direct Matthau two more times….1974’s The Front Page and 1981’s Buddy Buddy.
5. Walter Matthau was nominated for 3 acting Oscars®. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for 1966’s The Fortune Cookie. He was nominated for Best Actor Oscars® for 1971’s Kotch and 1975’s The Sunshine Boys.
6. Walter Matthau was nominated for 8 Golden Globes®. He won Best Actor for 1975’s The Sunshine Boys. Other nominations: The Fortune Cookie (1965), The Odd Couple (1968) , Kotch (1971), Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972), The Front Page (1974), Hopscotch (1980) and First Monday in October (1981).
7. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon acted together in 9 movies: Buddy Buddy (1981), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Front Page (1974), The Grass Harp (1995), Grumpier Old Men (1995), Grumpy Old Men (1993), The Odd Couple II (1998), The Odd Couple (1968) and Out to Sea (1997). The only movie Jack Lemmon directed was 1971’s Kotch….which starred Matthau. Lemmon and Matthau also both appeared in JFK (1991), but had no scenes together.
8. Walter Matthau was married twice; first to Grace Geraldine Johnson from 1948 to 1958..they had two children, Jenny and David. His second marriage was to Carol Marcus from 1959 until his death in 2000…they had one son, Charlie. Charlie Matthau is an actor and a director. He directed his father in The Grass Harp (1995).
9. Walter Matthau’s lasting impact on pop culture. In the Oscar® winning Pixar movie Up, Carl the main character is a combination of Spencer Tracy and Walter Matthau. Dan Castellaneta has said that his original voice for Homer Simpson was simply an impression of Matthau.
10. In the blockbuster box office hit Earthquake (1974) , Matthau did a cameo as a drunk. He used the name Walter Matuschanskayasky in the credits.
Check out Walter Matthau’s movie career compared to current and classic stars on our Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time page.
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