Best Charles Boyer Movies

Choosing the best Charles Boyer films is a difficult undertaking, given his impressive and prolific movie career. I’ve thoughtfully considered every movie in which Boyer has appeared when compiling this list of his greatest cinematic works. If you’re unacquainted with his output, then this selection is the perfect place to begin your journey into the world of Charles Boyer. From lead roles to cameo appearances, each entry showcases why Boyer is remembered as one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading men.

The Top 10 Best Charles Boyer Movies, Ranked

Honorable Mention: Conquest (1937)

  • Genre: History / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen, Alan Marshal
  • Directed by: Clarence Brown

We’ve got a few honorable mentions to get through before we get to the top 10 best Charles Boyer movies. Though we only wanted to list 10 films here, we HAD to include a few extras. For example, Conquest had to appear on this list, as Boyer was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor thanks to his marvelous performance here!

Unfortunately, Boyer lost out to Spencer Tracy (Captains Courageous) this year. But his performance in Conquest remains a standout when looking at his entire decades-long career. If you want to watch the best Boyer performances, you don’t want to miss out on Conquest.

Plus, any movie that stars both Boyer AND Greta Garbo is sure to be a winner, isn’t it? Though both made better movies in their career, Conquest really is something special. In this historical drama, Garbo plays a Polish countess who seeks out Napoloean (Boyer) and considers accepting his amorous advances — all so she can help save Poland.

A riveting historical piece that is full of drama and romance — you know, what Boyer does best!

Related — The Top 10 Best Greta Garbo Movies of All Time

Honorable Mention: Algiers (1938)

  • Genre: Mystery / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr, Sigrid Gurie, Joseph Calleia
  • Directed by: John Cromwell

Algiers is another great Boyer film that we feel we have to mention. Boyer’s performance in this romantic drama also earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor — though he did lose out to Spencer Tracy (again!) for his role in Boys Town.

Though Algiers didn’t make our top 10 list, it’s still an EXCELLENT Boyer movie that really should not be missed. After all, this did pair Boyer with the marvelous Hedy Lamarr! A real win, in our book!

Algiers follows a notorious thief (Boyer) who evades police capture for a while while in Algeria… until he meets a woman (Lamarr) and subsequently falls in love with her, that is. Suddenly, because of his love for this one woman, he could be caught!

Honorable Mention: Fanny (1961)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer, Horst Buchholz
  • Directed by: Joshua Logan

Though Boyer’s career really took off in the 1930s and 1940s, don’t sleep on his later films. In the 1960s, when he began to take on more supporting roles, he still starred in some excellent movies. Though Fanny didn’t make the cut for the Top 10 list, it deserves an honorable mention, especially because Boyer earned his last Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his work here.

Again, Boyer lost out on actually winning the award. This year, the honor went to Maximilian Schell for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg… and we can’t really argue with that!

Fanny follows two young lovers (Caron and Buchholz) who fall in love, yet are separated. Alone and pregnant, Caron’s character marries an older man for stability — and drama ensues when the baby’s father returns to town. Boyer plays Buchholz’s father, who always helps out the young lovers when he can, even in their many predicaments.

10. How to Steal a Million (1966)

  • Genre: Crime / Romance / Comedy
  • Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith, Charles Boyer
  • Directed by: William Wyler

Now, on to our ACTUAL Top 10 list of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time! Starting off strong at #10, we’ve included one of his more popular movies, thanks to leading lady Audrey Hepburn’s modern-day appeal. Though Boyer only has a supporting role here, he’s still marvelous. And the movie is VERY fun!

How to Steal a Million follows the daughter (Hepburn) of an art forger (Griffith) who plans to steal one of her father’s reproductions from a museum before they find out that it’s a fake. To do so, she enlists the help of a cat burglar (O’Toole)!

9. Tales of Manhattan (1942)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda
  • Directed by: Julien Duvivier

Listen, old movies with big casts that are told a bit like separate short movies compiled into ONE film DO tend to fail, in our opinion. But then marvelous little movies like Tales of Manhattan come along — and it’s just riveting to watch. The entire ensemble cast here is gold, which definitely helps.

In Tales of Manhattan, viewers get to watch one black jacket move from person to person, story to story. Boyer’s story includes the tale of an actor (played by Boyer) who begins a romance with Rita Hayworth! You can’t look away!

Related — The Top 10 Best Rita Hayworth Movies of All Time

8. Barefoot in the Park (1967)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy
  • Starring: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Charles Boyer, Mildred Natwick
  • Directed by: Gene Saks

Barefoot in the Park is definitely one of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time. Again, you REALLY don’t want to sleep on his later films! In this film, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford play a newly married couple who are polar opposites. The duo struggles throughout the film, as a result.

Boyer, meanwhile, plays the neighbor to the characters who ends up being set up with Fonda’s mother!

7. Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen
  • Directed by: Mitchell Leisen

Boyer does best in great romantic dramas, in our opinion. You don’t get greater or more romantic than Hold Back the Dawn, in which Boyer is excellently paired with the amazing Olivia de Havilland.

Hold Back the Dawn follows an impressionable schoolteacher (de Havilland) who meets a charming man (Boyer) in Mexico. She doesn’t know he’s a gigolo who wants a green card to get into America. As a result, she falls in love with him. Ah, the tragedy!

Though he initially only marries this teacher to get what he wants, Boyer’s character eventually begins to fall in love with her… which only enrages his girlfriend (Goddard). Talk about the drama. Definitely one of the best Charles Boyer movies!

6. History Is Made at Night (1937)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur, Leo Carrillo, Colin Clive
  • Directed by: Frank Borzage

History Is Made at Night is one of those great 1930s films that are so underrated it’s unbelievable — and that’s including the fact that this film is now a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #1072). Regardless, this movie still feels quite underrated, even though it IS one of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time.

In History Is Made At Night, Boyer plays a French head waiter who saves a young woman (Arthur) when he overhears her estranged husband’s (Clive) plot to catch her in a compromising position — and thereby complicate their upcoming divorce.

After saving her, the duo falls in love… but her estranged husband threatens her back into marriage, and she leaves Boyer to save him. Their doomed love affair then spans different countries, as she tries to deny her love for him — but Boyer is committed to fighting for her.

If you love tragic and VERY dramatic romantic movies that just so happen to star Boyer, you’ll love History Is Made At Night! We do!

5. Cluny Brown (1946)

  • Genre: War / Romance / Comedy
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lawford, Helen Walker
  • Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

We’ve got another classic! Cluny Brown is yet another one of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time. It also happens to be a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #997)!

Boyer and Jennifer Jones are marvelous opposite each other as romantic interests in this lovely romantic comedy — a romantic comedy that happens to be director Ernst Lubitsch’s last film! Cluny Brown follows a young lady (Jones) with a knack for plumbing who is sent to be a lady’s maid in an English noble’s home by her plumber uncle. She needs to remember her place in society, he says!

While there, she causes a bit of fun chaos — and falls in love with a political refugee (Boyer) who escaped from the Nazis and is the houseguest of her new employers. And it’s SO fun to watch.

4. Love Affair (1939)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy / Drama
  • Starring: Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lee Bowman
  • Directed by: Leo McCarey

Boyer was paired opposite many amazing leading ladies throughout his decades-long career. However, it’s very possible that his BEST onscreen partner, in our opinion, was none other than Irene Dunne. The two made three films together. However, their absolute BEST collaboration is Love Affair.

In Love Affair, Boyer and Dunne play two people who meet while on board an ocean liner. Even though they have significant others, they fall in love. They agree to meet atop the Empire State Building in a few months once they are free to actually have a relationship… but tragedy strikes and may keep them from this romance they so desperately want.

Sound familiar? Love Affair is the film that the excellent An Affair to Remember is based on! This amazing 1939 romance film is beloved to this day, as it really is one of the best movies of all time, as well as one of the best Charles Boyer movies. It’s also a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #1114)!

3. All This, and Heaven Too (1940)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn, Barbara O’Neil
  • Directed by: Anatole Litvak

Any movie with Bette Davis AND Boyer is a real winner, isn’t it? All This, and Heaven Too is a delight of a romantic drama — a genre these two did EXTREMELY well throughout their careers. Thus, it should be no surprise that this film is one of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time.

All This, and Heaven Too follows a governess (Davis) who is beloved by her employer (Boyer) and his children. However, his wife (O’Neil) absolutely hates her — and this hatred leads to rather tragic circumstances that affect everybody.

Related — Bette Davis Essential Movies

2. The Earrings of Madame De… (1953)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica, Jean Debucourt
  • Directed by: Max Ophüls

The Earrings of Madame De… is absolutely one of the best Charles Boyer movies of all time. Directed by the great Max Ophüls — who we think can do no wrong when it comes to film — this romantic drama remains one of the best movies of all time, decades after it was first released. It’s even a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #445)!

The Earrings of Madame De… follows a pair of earrings as they change hands and come into association with many different people — and many different stories. The story begins with Boyer’s character, a French general, who gifts these earrings to his wife. However, she eventually sells them, and a new story begins!

The story setup is quite similar to the idea that made Tales of Manhattan, which we discussed earlier, so great. Sometimes, these types of stories don’t do too well. But Tales of Manhattan and The Earrings of Madame De… are the exceptions, clearly!

1. Gaslight (1944)

  • Genre: Mystery / Crime / Drama
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, May Whitty
  • Directed by: George Cukor

The very best Charles Boyer movie of all time is Gaslight, of course. How could it be anything else? This remarkable George Cukor film paired Boyer opposite the great Ingrid Bergman. The result is we now have one of the best psychological dramas ever made!

Gaslight follows the niece (Bergman) of a famous opera singer who was sent away after her aunt’s murder. She returns home in love and married to a very charming man (Boyer)… but upon returning to her home, her aunt’s former home, things in her marriage start to change. And her husband begins to say that she’s losing her mind… though in reality, he’s tricking her!

Bergman is wonderful here as a woman who slowly thinks she is, indeed, going crazy. But Boyer is equally as amazing as the cruel husband who acts as if he’s anything BUT sinister. Truly marvelous!

Related — The Top 10 Best Ingrid Bergman Movies of All Time

What’s Your Favorite Charles Boyer Movie?

Now, we want to hear from you. What’s your favorite Boyer movie? Do you agree with this list? Feel we’ve forgotten anything? Hit the comments below with all your thoughts and ideas! We’d love to hear what you think!

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