Best Lucille Ball Movies

Lucille Ball’s comedic mastery is best illustrated in her iconic role as Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, although she had far more accolades to her name before and after this timeless sitcom. Here, we present the definitive list of Lucille Ball’s greatest movie roles. We have included our personal highlights and honorable mentions of some of her noteworthy supporting parts.

As she was a master of physical comedy, it was no surprise that some of Lucille Ball’s best work came in slapstick comedies, such as Follow the Fleet and The Fuller Brush Girl. These two pictures demonstrate her gift for perfectly capturing every nuance of a gag and making it infectious for audiences at home.

Yet despite a gift for pratfalls and stumbles, Ball also proved remarkably adept at delivering lacerating one-liners, as seen in It’s a Wonderful Life and Yours, Mine and Ours. In both movies, she displays a brilliant wit that leaves the audience in stitches.

Overall, Lucille Ball’s movie portfolio stands as an illustration of her versatility and artistry. Whether crafting hilariously situational gags or trading verbal barbs with her costars, she continually commanded attention and respect from filmgoers year after year. Thankfully, this lengthy list serves as a testament to her gift and genius.

The Top 10 Best Lucille Ball Movies of All Time

Honorable Mention: Follow the Fleet (1936)

  • Genre: Comedy / Romance / Musical
  • Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball
  • Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Our first honorable mention goes to Follow the Fleet, a fun Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that also stars Lucille Ball in a smaller role. Follow the Fleet follows two sailors on leave who attempt to romance two sisters, even though their own troubles threaten to ruin their romances. Lucille Ball has a small supporting role, but we had to include this movie on this list because it’s still a great role. Watching Ball shine decades before I Love Lucy aired is always fun — and we get to see this in Follow the Fleet! While not the best Lucille Ball ever made, it’s still a fun movie that every Ball fan should watch.

Honorable Mention: Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

  • Genre: Comedy / Musical
  • Starring: William Powell, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Fanny Brice, Lucille Bremer, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton, Cyd Charisse
  • Directed by: Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth, Robert Lewis, Vincente Minnelli, George Sidney

Ziegfeld Follies is great fun, and Lucille Ball is gorgeous and enchanting in her number. However, we felt it was best included as an honorable mention, rather than as a film on this Top 10 list, mainly because Ball doesn’t appear throughout the film. The movie is compiled of sketches and numbers, and Ball stars in one. The premise of Ziegfeld Follies follows Flo Ziegfeld (Powell) who imagines the type of show he could put on with MGM’s cast. It’s fun!

RELATED: The Top 10 Best William Powell Movies of All Time

10. Fancy Pants (1950)

  • Genre: Comedy / Western / Musical
  • Starring: Bob Hope, Lucille Ball
  • Directed by: George Marshall

Bob Hope and Lucille Ball starred in four films together. While these movies aren’t the absolute best movies ever made, they are still fun to watch, especially for those who enjoy Ball films. Fancy Pants is one of these films. The movie tells the story of a Wild West family who win a British valet in a poker game and attempt to pass him off as a British nobleman when they return home to New Mexico. Things become very chaotic, as the British valet (Hope) isn’t really a British valet, and everyone believes the man is the fiance to the daughter of the family (Ball).

9. Without Love (1945)

  • Genre: Comedy / Romance
  • Starring: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball
  • Directed by: Harold S. Bucquet

While Without Love is a Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn movie, Lucille Ball is a supporting player and is wonderful in the film. The movie follows a widow (Hepburn) who proposes a marriage of convenience to a scientist (Tracy) during a housing shortage during World War II. It’s a fun little romantic comedy. While not the best Lucille Ball movie (or even the best of the Tracy and Hepburn pairings), it’s still an enjoyable watch!

8. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

  • Genre: Drama / Comedy / Music
  • Starring: Maureen O’Hara, Louis Hayward, Lucille Ball, Ralph Bellamy, Katharine Alexander
  • Directed by: Dorothy Arzner

You should know Dance, Girl, Dance for many reasons. For one, it’s one of the best Lucille Ball movies ever made. It also was directed by Dorothy Arzner, one of the only female Old Hollywood directors ever, and she brought a lot of interesting and wonderful additions to this film that would’ve been left out if anyone else had directed it. Dance, Girl, Dance is a wonderful movie — and Ball definitely steals the show. She’s memorable as a gold-digging chorus girl opposite Maureen O’Hara’s ballerina, which is great fun! The film is also a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #1028)!

7. Room Service (1938)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Starring: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Lucille Ball
  • Directed by: William A. Seiter

Another early Lucille Ball movie, Room Service is a Marx Brothers movie, but Ball has a great supporting part! The film follows three Broadway producers who attempt to avoid paying their bills and try to get their hotel credit extended, all in their quest to get their new play backed by an investor. Ball portrays Christine, an actress who is helping the producers out. It’s great fun — and always a delight to see the Marx brothers with Lucille Ball!

6. Five Came Back (1939)

  • Genre: Drama / Adventure / Thriller
  • Starring: Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie, John Carradine
  • Directed by: John Farrow

Five Came Back is definitely one of the best Lucille Ball movies of all time! It’s a wonderful 1930s thriller that follows a group of plane crash survivors as they struggle to find a way back home. However, upon their quest, they realize only five people can come back (hence, the title). Ball portrays Peggy in this film, a woman with a shady past. If you’ve only ever seen Ball in I Love Lucy, this is a great movie to watch and realize she can do mysterious drama just as well as comedy!

5. Lured (1947)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Crime / Mystery
  • Starring: George Sanders, Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff
  • Directed by: Douglas Sirk

Lured is a wonderful 1940s film — and one of the best Lucille Ball movies of all time. Again, if you’ve only ever seen Ball ion comedies, you HAVE to watch this one! Lured follows a dancer (Ball) who is devasted to find that her best friend has been murdered. However, things change when a detective (Coburn) asks her for help in his quest to find the killer of her friend, who he believes is a serial killer. The dancer becomes bait to lure the killer out!

4. The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

  • Genre: Comedy / Romance
  • Starring: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz
  • Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Real-life married couple Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball had amazing chemistry together onscreen — which is what made I Love Lucy so fun, other than the stellar comedy. Arnaz and Ball brought their chemistry to The Long, Long Trailer, an enjoyable comedy that still is fun to watch today. The film follows a recently married couple who decide to buy a trailer and see the country on their honeymoon… only tensions rise over their trip from funny circumstances. It’s a great little romantic comedy from the 50s — and also one of the best Lucille Ball movies!

3. The Dark Corner (1946)

  • Genre: Crime / Film Noir / Drama
  • Starring: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb
  • Directed by: Henry Hathaway

Now, we’re getting to the really good films. Coming in at #3, we have The Dark Corner. An interesting mystery, this film follows a secretary (Ball) who helps her boss when he’s framed for murder and finds himself involved in a lot of shady circumstances. The movie also stars Clifton Webb (which is always a plus) as an art collector!

2. Stage Door (1937)

    • Genre: Comedy / Drama
    • Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Lucille Ball, Jack Carson, Eve Arden
  • Directed by: Gregory La Cava

Stage Door is a marvelous movie. The only reason it’s sitting at #2 and not the #1 spot is because Lucille Ball does not have a lead or large supporting role in the movie. To put it at #1, therefore, would not seem fair. But to put it later on this list or elsewhere also wouldn’t work. Thus, it stands at #2. Stage Door follows women at a female theater boardinghouse who are all waiting for their big break. Hepburn stars as the new arrival that nobody likes at first, Rogers as her roommate, and Ball as another aspiring actress living at the boardinghouse. It’s an excellent movie that any Ball fan or Old Hollywood fan should really watch.

1. Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Starring: Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson
  • Directed by: Melville Shavelson

The best Lucille Ball movie of all time? Yours, Mine and Ours. Ball and Henry Fonda are so wonderful here together. It’s hard watching this movie and not falling in love with it immediately. The movie has been done again, but this classic one remains the best. The movie follows a widow with 10 children and a widow with 8 children meeting, falling in love, and then struggling to gain control of their very large household full of children. It’s so fun, and it never truly gets old! It’s just such a lovely film about a big, modern, unconventional family!

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *