Best Lauren Bacall Movies

When tasked with selecting the greatest movies featuring the incomparable Lauren Bacall, I was overwhelmed by the sheer array of options. After all, Bacall had an illustrious acting career that spanned decades, from her first leading role in 1944’s To Have and Have Not, to her late-career appearances in films such as How to Marry a Millionaire and Bloodline. While some of the finest work of her career was done during the 1940s, later decades also showcased her talent to great effect.

To help make sense of Bacall’s incredible body of work, we’ve put together a list of her ten best movies – those with either prominent lead or supporting roles for the actress. We’ve done our utmost to stay away from smaller supporting roles, in order to focus on the gems of her filmography. So, if you’re looking for an introduction to Bacall’s incomparable legacy, these are the picks for you!

The Top 10 Best Lauren Bacall Movies, Ranked

Honorable Mention: The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy / Drama
  • Starring: Barbra Streisand, Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall, George Segal
  • Directed by: Barbra Streisand

The Mirror Has Two Faces is an excellent movie — even though it didn’t break into our top ten list. However, it does deserve at least an honorable mention, as Bacall earned her first (and only) Oscar nomination for her wonderful performance here!

Bacall lost out on the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, though, as Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) took home the honor!

The Mirror Has Two Faces follows two professors (Streisand and Bridges) who start up a friendship that eventually becomes romantic — against their will. Bacall plays Streisand’s overbearing mother!

10. How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

  • Genre: Romance / Comedy / Drama
  • Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, David Wayne
  • Directed by: Jean Negulesco

How to Marry a Millionaire is definitely one of the best Lauren Bacall movies of all time. It’s also one of her most popular films remembered today, likely because the trio of Bacall, Monroe, and Grable is just too perfect!

How to Marry a Millionaire follows three friends (Bacall, Monroe, and Grable) who all want to marry a millionaire. So, they pool together their resources and rent out a posh penthouse in the hopes that they’ll stumble upon a rich man to wed.

However, as their journey leads them to rich man after rich man, they begin to question whether marrying for wealth is really all it’s cracked up to be! A great 50s comedy, folks!

Related — Marilyn Monroe: Essential Movies

9. Young Man with a Horn (1950)

  • Genre: Biography / Music / Drama
  • Starring: Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Hoagy Carmichael
  • Directed by: Michael Curtiz

In Young Man with a Horn, Douglas plays a young man who has a passion for jazz and playing the trumpet. However, as his love of music overtakes him, he finds himself making a few enemies — and falling for two different ladies. Bacall plays a socialite that he romances… but will he end up with her?

Related — The Top 10 Best Doris Day Movies of All Time

8. Written on the Wind (1956)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone
  • Directed by: Douglas Sirk

Written on the Wind isn’t just one of the best Lauren Bacall movies. It’s also often touted as one of the best movies of all time — or at least one of the greatest melodramas! In fact, it’s even a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #96)!

Written on the Wind follows a young woman (Bacall) who falls in love with the heir (Stack) of an oil family. However, things quickly become rather dramatic after she marries into the family — as they’re all more than a little problematic and lost. To make things even more complicated, she ends up falling in love with her husband’s best friend (Hudson).

7. Dark Passage (1947)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Thriller
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead
  • Directed by: Delmer Daves

Of course, no list of the best Lauren Bacall movies would be complete without mentioning her excellent collaborations with her real-life husband Humphrey Bogart.

In Dark Passage, Bogart plays an escaped criminal who flees prison after being wrongly convicted of killing his own wife. He wants to find the real killer. But after escaping, to steer clear of capture, he gets plastic surgery to change his face. Bacall plays a young woman who helps him and tries to learn more about his mysterious story!

Related — Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Movie Collaborations, Ranked

6. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

  • Genre: Crime / Mystery / Drama
  • Starring: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery
  • Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Murder on the Orient Express is SUCH a good film — and possibly the best film adaptation of this classic Christie crime story. The film follows detective Hercule Poirot (Finney) as he boards the Orient Express to go home after solving a case. However, he finds himself thrust into another case when a man is murdered! Bacall plays one of the many suspects!

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

5. The Shootist (1976)

  • Genre: Western / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart
  • Directed by: Don Siegel

The Shootist is one of the best films Bacall made later on in her career. Plus, it’s a western, a genre that Bacall didn’t necessarily star too much in — or, at least, the westerns she DID star in weren’t anywhere near as great as this film is.

The Shootist follows an aging gunfighter (Wayne) who has cancer and will soon die. When he arrives in Nevada, he rents a room from a widow (Bacall) and begins to try to set his affairs in order before he dies.

Related — The Top 10 Best James Stewart Movies of All Time

4. To Have and Have Not (1944)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Adventure / Comedy
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran
  • Directed by: Howard Hawks

To Have and Have Not is definitely one of the best Lauren Bacall movies! In this amazing film noir, Bogart plays a fishing boat captain who at first wants nothing to do with the war and the French resistance. However, after meeting an interesting and mysterious American (Bacall), as well as finding himself in other situations, he becomes increasingly more involved in the war!

Related — The Top 10 Best Humphrey Bogart Movies of All Time

3. Key Largo (1948)

  • Genre: Crime / Action / Drama
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore
  • Directed by: John Huston

We’ve got another great Bacall-Bogart film! Key Largo follows a veteran (Bogart) who heads down to Florida to pay his respects to his fallen friend’s widow (Bacall) and father (Barrymore). However, while there, he finds himself thrust into a fight with a gangster (Robinson) during a hurricane!

Related — The Top 10 Best Edward G. Robinson Movies of All Time

2. Dogville (2003)

  • Genre: Crime / Drama
  • Starring: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Harriet Andersson
  • Directed by: Lars von Trier

Dogville is one of the best Lauren Bacall movies of all time — and THE best Bacall performance in her later years. Dogville follows a woman (Kidman) on the run from criminals who find safe haven in a small town. However, they make her work for their protection. Bacall plays Ma Ginger, one of the townspeople, in this film!

1. The Big Sleep (1946)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Mystery / Crime
  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers
  • Directed by: Howard Hawks

The Big Sleep is the best Lauren Bacall movie, without a doubt. Bacall and Bogart’s chemistry here is electric. The movie itself is just SO good it’s hard to put any other Bacall film in this #1 spot.

The Big Sleep follows private eye Philip Marlowe (Bogart) as he’s hired to deal with the gambling debts of a general’s daughter (Vickers). The man’s eldest daughter (Bacall) helps Marlowe out… but when people close to the family start dying, everything becomes chaotic. And it’s thrilling to watch!

What’s Your Favorite Lauren Bacall Movie?

Now, let’s hear from you! What’s your favorite Bacall film? Do you agree with this list? Or would you change things up a bit? Hit the comments below with all your thoughts and opinions! We’d love to hear what you think!

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