10 Best Cary Grant Movies
An Old Hollywood icon born in Britain, Cary Grant is most-known for playing confident, charming, stylish leading men throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s. His look is iconic, his roles are prolific, and his filmography is one of the most impressive to come from the Golden Age of Hollywood. There’s really no one else like Grant, especially by today’s standards. Often seen acting in Alfred Hitchcock films but also just as well-known for his films with Howard Hawks, Grant got to work with many of the 20th century’s greatest talents on countless occasions. His filmography is filled with some of the most well-regarded and unimpeachable classics, and his name is practically a household one even decades after his death. He deserves every bit of recognition he’s received, and his best films prove this.
North by Northwest
One of Alfred Hitchcock’s least scary films — subbing creepy suspense for action thrills — is North by Northwest, the story of a man who gets caught up in a nationwide conspiracy that sends him on the run from coast to coast. Not only is it the best Hitchcock movie Grant took part in, but it managed to lay the groundwork for plenty of subsequent action movie franchises from James Bond to Mission: Impossible. This is Grant at the top of his game.
His Girl Friday
While he took plenty of serious roles, Grant seemed to feel right at home in romantic comedies, as well. His Girl Friday sees the actor pulling out all the stops to keep his ex-wife and fellow reporter from remarrying. Rosalind Russell acts alongside him, the two of them making for one of the best on-screen pairings of their time.
Another Hitchcock masterpiece, Notorious (sometimes stylized as Notorious!) follows Grant and Ingrid Bergman as a man and a woman who must infiltrate the Nazi Party in South America. Hitchcock is the King of Suspense, but the melodrama here is what elevates the film above many of his other works — and what makes it one of Grant’s greatest.
Only Angels Have Wings
Marked as the first significant role for actress Rita Hayworth, Only Angels Have Wings is a 1939 drama that is highly regarded for its flying sequences and its unflinching realism. Grant, along with Jean Arthur, plays a courageous pilot who must fly over the Andes Mountains in Peru. Howard Hawks and Grant collaborations are nearly as good as Hitchcock and Grant collaborations, and this movie is evidence.
The Philadelphia Story
Grant’s only other equal has to be the inimitable James Stewart — that’s why it’s so great to see the two of them sharing the screen in The Philadelphia Story. Along with Katharine Hepburn, the three play a group caught up in the complications of an impending wedding. Director George Cukor might not have gotten to do as much with Grant as Hitchcock or Hawks, but what little time he did get with the actor did not go to waste.
Bringing Up Baby
Again starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby is one of the earliest examples of animal-based screwball comedies. The two play a paleontologist and an heiress, respectively, as they are put through countless tribulations, including being tasked with taking care of a leopard. It’s a romantic comedy that reminds you of how good the genre can be.
Dubbed the best movie Alfred Hitchcock never made, Charade is very Hitchcockian without ever having any involvement from the director — including Cary Grant in the leading role. It’s a lighthearted thriller full of humor lampooning the genre the film embodies, with Audrey Hepburn and Grant turning the charm up to eleven. Strangely, the movie wasn’t copyrighted correctly and entered the public domain all the way back in 1963, the day it was released.
Not to be confused with The Holiday, Nancy Meyers’s lovely Christmas movie from 2006, Holiday again reunites Grant and Katharine Hepburn as a lowly man and a wealthy woman on the way to being married. Grant’s character, instead of joining the workforce immediately, insists on the two going on a years-long holiday instead. Needless to say, he’s met with plenty of skepticism. It’s a sweet idea and an even sweeter film.
Arsenic and Old Lace
A dark comedy from director Frank Capra, Arsenic and Old Lace is based on a play of the same name—in fact, the film was shot in 1941 but held from theaters until 1944 so that the play could run its course. Grant plays a drama critic who discovers his aunts have been killing houseguests and burying them in the yard. It’s a wild film, but Grant is always there to keep things grounded and believable.
To Catch a Thief
In the same vein as North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief is Hitchcock’s greatest caper film and the movie responsible for the framework of countless other films that followed. Grace Kelly didn’t act in many films, but To Catch a Thief happened to be one of them — she’s a much-needed addition and an enjoyable adversary to Grant’s questionable cat burglar.
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