In honor of Cary Grant‘s 109th birthday I decided to count my top ten favorite Cary Grant movies. As always I differentiate between “favorite” and “best.” These are the films I enjoy, but they might not be the most exemplary works created. As always I value others opinions. What movies should I see to re-evaluate? Either way, happy birthday Mr. Grant; you’re quite the debonair leading man.
10. The Awful Truth
I ranked this lowest simply because I haven’t seen it in a long time. I’d have probably tied it with His Girl Friday. Both are exemplary examples of screwball comedy (from what I recall), and have Grant paired up with fast-talking ladies. Both also deal with the pratfalls of marriage, without all the nasty fighting.
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne were a sweet pairing because both actors just played such nice characters. Here, Dunne returns as Grant’s first wife right after he’s married to a second (Gail Patrick). Screwball antics ensue. I know this has been remade a few times, but I think this is hilarious and boy is Randolph Scott and Cary Grant’s scenes in this awkwardly funny.
I placed this high because the films Grant did with Katharine Hepburn are classics, but I really haven’t seen this in a while (hoping to change that when TCM replays it today). Grant and Hepburn have sizzling chemistry, and Grant as a Lothario is always attractive. I don’t know many actors today who make a womanizer look so appealing the way Grant did.
7. Monkey Business
People consider this a Marilyn Monroe film, and they would be wrong since Monroe’s role is so insignificant. To me, it’s all about the humor that derives from two older people getting the chance to be young again. Grant acting like a teenager and child are hysterical, particularly when he finds some local kids to play with who want him to “do a war dance.” Grant and Ginger Rogers have natural chemistry, and this is one movie where Rogers upstages Grant a time or two.
I praised Topper heavily already in my best movies of the year, but Grant is effortless in his charm. He’s reckless, impulsive, and the most adorably dashing ghost you’ve ever seen. He does a lot with a relatively small role.
I don’t see this film ranking very high on many Cary Grant lists, but it’s one of the best in my opinion. Grant plays a writer who catches the eye of a boy-crazy high schooler (Shirley Temple) whose sister (Myrna Loy) happens to be a judge. The twist is that Loy’s character believes Temple’s character will move on…if she just gets the chance to have Grant as her boyfriend. The plot would be totally seedy now, but here it makes for a lot of humor, and as the girl who always appreciated an older man, it’s made for me.
Suspicion drops the ball towards the climax, but the ambiguity and duplicity in Grant’s acting remains unchallenged. Grant never played an out-and-out villain, so Hitchcock’s work is as close as we come. His charm ends up making him so dangerous to Fontaine, and before the climax it’s a cozy little mystery.
3. Bringing Up Baby
One of the classic screwball comedies, and with good reason. Everything about Bringing Up Baby is hilarious from the acting, to the comedy, to the story. It’s Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their best!
2. The Bishop’s Wife
A Christmas staple for me, as evidenced by my posting it the last two Christmases. An inspirational story that combines romance with the holiday spirit, and a wee bit of faith. Grant was born to play an angel!
TCM replayed this today and it never gets old. Bergman and Claude Rains are excellent, but Grant is giving a role of grit and complexity. Is he a villain, or a hero? In love with Bergman, or no? There’s so many questions raised, and countless ways to analyze the films (as evidenced by my lengthy review). It’s one of the best movies ever, and Grant’s best!
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.