Best Fredric March Movies

Fredric March was one of cinema’s greatest stars during the iconic Golden Age of Hollywood. Renowned for his excellent performances in some of the most beloved films of all time, it’s no wonder that narrowing down a list of the top 10 Fredric March movies is an arduous task. Spanning decades of cinematic brilliance, these 11 examples represent the best of this renowned actor’s impressive repertoire and are essential viewing for any fan of great films.

From early 1930s classics like The Royal Family to later successes such as The Best Man, there is something here for everyone. Each movie offers its own unique take on the charming yet powerful screen presence of Fredric March, allowing audiences worldwide to appreciate his singular talent. So why not grab yourself a bowl of popcorn and settle in for an evening of entertainment with these must-see gems from Hollywood’s most acclaimed star?

The Top 10 Best Fredric March Movies, Ranked

Honorable Mention: Death of a Salesman (1951)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Fredric March, Mildred Dunnock, Kevin McCarthy, Cameron Mitchell
  • Directed by: Laslo Benedek

While 1951’s Death of a Salesman didn’t crack our Top 10, we felt that we needed to at least give this film an Honorable Mention, as March’s performance is so good. March gained his last Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his work in this film, though he did lose out on the award to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.

One of the most popular American plays ever, this film adaption of Death of a Salesman is quite good (though others may prefer later adaptions). The film follows an aging salesman (March) who deals with his failure to become successful, the disappointment of the American Dream, and the things he will do to try to help his family in his death.

10. Les Misérables (1935)

  • Genre: History / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Rochelle Hudson
  • Directed by: Richard Boleslawski

While the musical adaption of Les Miserables is probably best known today, there is something (much) to be said about the 1935 adaption of Victor Hugo’s novel. This movie is absolutely amazing and definitely one of the best Fredric March movies of all time. How could it not be?

While the movie does differ from Hugo’s novel in various areas, it’s still a great film. The historical drama follows a former convict (March) as he tries to adjust to life as a free man while an obsessed policeman (Laughton) chases him down.

9. Executive Suite (1954)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson, Fredric March
  • Directed by: Robert Wise

Executive Suite often feels like an underrated Classic Hollywood movie, which is ridiculous because it’s truly one of the best movies to come out of the 1950s. This drama begins with the death of a business magnate, and the bulk of the film follows the company’s board of directors who struggle to choose who to take over the business. March is absolutely riveting here — which is no surprise, really.

8. A Star Is Born (1937)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou, May Robson
  • Directed by: William A. Wellman

Much has been said about all the different adaptions of A Star Is Born. Regardless of which adaption is your own personal favorite, the 1937 film is amazing. It’s definitely one of the best Fredric March movies of all time. His phenomenal performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, though he lost to Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous this year.

A Star Is Born tells the story of a young hopeful (Gaynor) who arrives in Hollywood to be a star, only to quickly be taken in by a fading star (March). As her star rises, his falls — and he turns to alcohol. A riveting, terrific movie.

7. Design for Living (1933)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy
  • Starring: Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, Edward Everett Horton
  • Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

Ah, Design for Living. There’s not another movie like it, is there? There are many reasons why this movie is one of the best Fredric March movies ever made. It’s very interesting to watch, and the story is gold. However, we believe the reason this movie is so good is because of the chemistry between Fredric March, Gary Cooper, and Miriam Hopkins. Amazing, really.

Design for Living follows two great friends (Cooper and March) who both end up falling in love with the same woman (Hopkins), a woman they end up living with. While they both at different points try to just stay platonic with her, it’s only so long before they reveal their passions.

We could talk for hours about how great Design for Living is. It’s a perfect pre-code romance! It’s also a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #592)!

6. The Desperate Hours (1955)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Crime / Drama
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott
  • Directed by: William Wyler

The Desperate Hours is a tense film noir with a stunning cast. Bogart plays an escaped convict who, along with other escapees, holes up in a suburban home and holds the family as hostages. March plays the father of the family who complies with the criminals while also secretly trying to find a way to save his family. Truly a marvelous, very tense, film!

Related — Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Movie Collaborations, Ranked

5. Hombre (1967)

  • Genre: Western
  • Starring: Paul Newman, Fredric March, Richard Boone
  • Directed by: Martin Ritt

Hombre came towards the end of Fredric March’s film career (his last feature film would be in 1973). The movies March made in the 1960s are incredibly interesting (and many of them are marvelous). Hombre, a Western, paired him with Paul Newman, which is a delight.

This western follows a white man (Newman) raised by Native Americans who face prejudices and racism from many. However, when a bandit attack occurs on stagecoach passengers, he is their only hope.

As far as we’re aware (let us know in the comments if we’re wrong!), we believe this is the only Western March ever starred in throughout his very long film career. He wasn’t known to star in these types of action films, so it’s more than a little interesting to finally see him take on this type of role later on in his career.

4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

  • Genre: Horror / Sci-Fi
  • Starring: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert
  • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

We’re getting to the best of the best Fredric March movies, now. There have been many Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movies. We believe this 1931 version starring March to be the best. The film tells the classic story of the doctor who tests his theory that every man has a good and bad side — only to accidentally make half of himself a monster in the process.

March’s excellent performance in this pre-code horror earned him his first Oscar win for Best Actor — an award he shared with Wallace Beery (The Champ) this year.

3. Seven Days in May (1964)

  • Genre: Thriller / Drama
  • Starring: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner
  • Directed by: John Frankenheimer

Seven Days in May is an excellent political thriller with a stunning cast. In another film completed later in March’s career, he stars in a supporting (yet vitally important) role here. In this film, he plays the president of the United States who learns that one of his generals is looking to overthrow him and is planning a coup!

Related —  The Top 10 Best Ava Gardner Movies of All Time

2. Inherit the Wind (1960)

  • Genre: History / Drama
  • Starring: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York
  • Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Inherit the Wind is, without a doubt, one of the absolute best Fredric March movies of all time. It’s absolutely stunning. March, Tracy, and Kelly are at their best here and the movie remains a must-watch for anyone interested in watching the greatest movies ever made.

Set in the 1920s in Tennessee, this drama follows a schoolteacher (York) who breaks the law when he decides to teach evolution, rather than creationism. This leads to a huge public debate and court trial which pits two lawyers (Tracy and March) against each other on opposite sides of the debate.

Related — Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Movie Collaborations, Ranked

1. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

  • Genre: War / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright
  • Directed by: William Wyler

The Best Years of Our Lives is the best Fredric March movie of all time. This film is also probably the movie he’s best known for today, simply because it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. March earned his second and last Oscar win for Best Actor for his wonderful performance here.

The Best Years of Our Lives follows WWII soldiers who return home changed. March plays one of these soldiers heartbreakingly and beautifully. If you’re going to watch any film on this list, it really should be this one. You won’t regret it!

Related — The Top 10 Best Myrna Loy Movies of All Time

What’s Your Favorite Fredric March Movie?

Now that we’ve discussed our own personal favorite March movies, we want to hear from you! Do you agree with this list? Do you feel there were films that should’ve been included? It was hard to narrow this list down to 10! Hit the comments below with all your own thoughts and opinions — we’d love to hear them!

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