Best Greta Garbo Movies

Narrowing down the top 10 best Greta Garbo movies has been no small task. After all, Garbo is often considered one of the best film actresses of all time. Though she only starred in 28 films (she retired in the early 1940s when she was only 35), she left behind a slew of phenomenal films and marvelous performances.

Below, I’ve attempted to rank the top 10 best Greta Garbo movies of all time. This is all my opinion!

The Top 10 Best Greta Garbo Movies, Ranked

10. The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924)

Genre: Romance / Drama

Starring: Lars Hanson, Sven Scholander, Ellen Hartman-Cederström, Mona Mårtenson, Greta Garbo

Directed by: Mauritz Stiller

The Saga of Gösta Berling stars Garbo in her breakout role in a Swedish film. In this romantic drama, a defrocked priest (Hanson) takes a job as a tutor to a countess’s daughter. Garbo plays a young woman who falls in love with him. Based on the classic Swedish novel, this silent film is marvelous and definitely one of the best Greta Garbo movies of all time!

9. The Joyless Street (1925)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Asta Nielsen, Greta Garbo, Ágnes Eszterházy, Werner Krauss
  • Directed by: Georg Wilhelm Pabst

The Joyless Street stars Garbo in her second feature film role — and once again, she’s marvelous. This silent drama follows inhabitants of a street in Vienna who struggle to survive social unrest and economic conditions in the aftermath of World War I. It’s a riveting movie that should not be ignored.

8. A Woman of Affairs (1928)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Lewis Stone, Johnny Mack Brown
  • Directed by: Clarence Brown

A Woman of Affairs is one of the very best Greta Garbo movies of all time. Any time Garbo is onscreen alongside John Gilbert, you know it’s going to be a good one. In this silent film, Garbo, Gilbert, and Johnny Mack Brown are in a love triangle. Garbo plays a free spirit who is kept from the one man she really loves (Gilbert) — and then tragedy strikes. Will they find their way back to each other?

7. Anna Karenina (1935)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew, Maureen O’Sullivan, Basil Rathbone
  • Directed by: Clarence Brown

Anna Karenina is also often considered one of the best Greta Garbo movies of all time — and we can’t help but agree! Garbo plays Anna Karenina, the classic Tolstoy character, in this romantic drama. When she meets a handsome military officer (March), she is torn on whether to follow her heart or stay married to her husband (Rathbone).

6. The Mysterious Lady (1928)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Albert Pollet
  • Directed by: Fred Niblo

Garbo plays a Russian spy that does her job very well in The Mysterious Lady… until she meets her latest target (Nagel) and ends up falling for him. Will she follow her heart? Or continue to do her job? The Mysterious Lady is SUCH a good silent film and is definitely one of the best Greta Garbo movies of all time!

5. Flesh and the Devil (1926)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson, Barbara Kent
  • Directed by: Clarence Brown

We’ve got another Garbo and Gilbert silent film! In this romantic drama, Garbo plays a femme fatale who comes between two childhood friends (Gilbert and Hanson). Will the two men be able to patch their friendship back together — or will the woman they love end up tearing their friendship apart?

4. Queen Christina (1933)

  • Genre: Biography / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith, Lewis Stone
  • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

Queen Christina united Garbo and Gilbert together for the last time — and the two are once again marvelous to watch in this sound film. Garbo plays Queen Christina, a queen who has ruled Sweden since she was six. When she disguises herself as a boy and escapes, she ends up falling in love with a Spanish envoy (Gilbert). But will their romance last, as she is supposed to make a politically savvy marriage union with another? Queen Christina is definitely one of the best Greta Garbo movies of all time!

3. Grand Hotel (1932)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery
  • Directed by: Edmund Goulding

Grand Hotel is an amazing film. A pre-code movie with an absolutely STACKED cast, this romantic drama never gets old. The film follows the interpersonal relations of guests at a hotel, including all the scandal and heartache they face. And goodness is the whole thing riveting to watch.

2. Camille (1936)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan
  • Directed by: George Cukor

Camille is definitely one of the best Greta Garbo movies of all time. How could it not be? In Camille, Garbo plays a courtesan to a wealthy and influential Baron and has worked hard to rise above her poor beginnings. However, when she meets a young man (Taylor) who falls for her, she questions risking it all for him.

Garbo was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her wonderful performance in Camille. However, she lost the win to Luise Rainer (The Good Earth).

1. Ninotchka (1939)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy
  • Starring: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi
  • Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

Ninotchka is the best Greta Garbo movie of all time. Garbo is absolutely marvelous in this romantic comedy. The film simply never gets old and will always be a classic — and will always be one of the best movies ever made!

Ninotchka is a notable film for many reasons, not just including Garbo’s great performance. For one, this is the first full comedy Garbo ever starred in. It’s also her penultimate film, as she would go on to retire in the early 1940s.

In Ninotchka, Garbo plays a no-nonsense Soviet Union diplomat who arrives in Paris to see the sale of jewels that were taken during the Russian Revolution. When she meets a carefree bachelor (Douglas), she begins to warm up to him — and to Paris. And it is very fun to watch!

Garbo’s great performance earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, her final nomination. She lost to Vivien Leigh (Gone with the Wind).

What’s Your Favorite Greta Garbo Movie?

Comment below your own personal favorite Greta Garbo movie! Do you agree with this list? Feel we’ve left a few good ones out? Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts and opinions on this extraordinary actress. We’d love to know your thoughts!

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