Best Montgomery Clift Movies

Montgomery Clift movies are so fun and engaging to watch for a variety of reasons. The charm, the charisma, the skill, and the overall talent of Clift make a regular movie into an absolutely great one. Clift was a star who left the world too soon — but his movies remain as some of the best ever made. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best Montgomery Clift movies.

This list is a wonderful place to start if you’re looking to get into more Clift movies. These also happen to be some of the best movies ever made!

The Top 10 Best Montgomery Clift Movies, Ranked

10. The Misfits (1961)

  • Genre: Western / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter
  • Directed by: John Huston

The Misfits is one of the best Montgomery Clift movies, but it is also a film that will, unfortunately, forever be associated with tragedy. Clark Gable died soon after completing this film, while Marilyn Monroe died a year after the film’s release, in 1962. Montgomery Clift, also going through a difficult time while filming, would go on to die in 1966 at the age of 45.

With all of this said, The Misfits is a wonderful film — and many believe it to be one of the best movies to come out of the 1960s. This western drama follows a divorcee (Monroe) becoming friends with a cowboy-turned-gambler (Gable) and an ex-rodeo rider (Clift), then working with them when they decide to capture wild horses.

Related — The Top 10 Best Marilyn Monroe Movies of All Time + The Top 10 Best Clark Gable Movies of All Time

9. The Search (1948)

  • Genre: War / Drama
  • Starring: Montgomery Clift, Ivan Jandl, Aline MacMahon, Wendell Corey
  • Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

The Search is a phenomenal, heartbreaking film that takes place in the aftermath of World War II. An American soldier (Clift) decides to help a young boy (Jandl) who survived a concentration camp. The child is searching for his mother, who he hopes is still alive, in the ruins of post-WWII Europe.

The Search is definitely one of the best Montgomery Clift movies of all time. It’s heartbreaking, riveting, and a must-watch — especially to see how great Clift was towards the beginning of his career.

8. I Confess (1953)

  • Genre: Thriller / Crime / Drama
  • Starring: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne
  • Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

While maybe not the best Alfred Hitchcock movie ever made, I Confess is still a riveting thriller that should definitely get more attention than it does. Clift is, as always, amazing here. It’s a shame he didn’t do more thrillers like this!

I Confess follows a priest (Clift) who is accused of murdering a person in his parish. He didn’t murder the person, but he does know who did, as the person confessed to him. Will the priest end up going to prison because of his refusal to go against his belief in the sanctity of the confessional?

7. Wild River (1960)

  • Genre: History / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick
  • Directed by: Elia Kazan

Montgomery Clift teamed up with Elia Kazan (who also excellently directed Marlon Brando and James Dean, two similar stars to Clift) in Wild River. This romantic drama follows a government employee (Clift) who arrives in a small Tennessee town to prepare the residents for the construction of a new dam. However, many in the town, especially the town’s matriarch, disapprove of the building of this dam. While the employee attempts to sway their minds, he ends up falling for the matriarch’s granddaughter!

6. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

  • Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Drama
  • Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift
  • Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Suddenly, Last Summer is an AMAZING film. Any time you have Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift together, you know you’re going to have one riveting film. Add Katharine Hepburn into the mix, and you have a classic. As a result, Suddenly, Last Summer is one of the best Montgomery Clift movies ever made.

This tragic, incredibly interesting, movie follows a young woman (Taylor) who is committed after witnessing the murder of her cousin while on vacation in Europe. The woman’s aunt (Hepburn) wants to have her lobotomized to keep her from talking about what really happened on that trip… but the doctor (Clift) in charge of the lobotomy has a few questions of his own.

Related — Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift Movie Collaborations, Ranked

5. From Here to Eternity (1953)


  • Genre: War / Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra
  • Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

From Here to Eternity is perhaps one of the best movies about war ever made. It’s also one of the best Montgomery Clift movies. This epic follows soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the days preceding the Pearl Harbor bombing, and the United States’ entry into WWII, as they fight for their honor and their love.

4. A Place In the Sun (1951)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters
  • Directed by: George Stevens

Ah, A Place In the Sun. What is there to say about this stunning movie, other than the fact that it is amazing? Both Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor (and let’s not forget Shelley Winters!) are at their best here!

A Place In the Sun follows a young man (Clift) who works his way up in business, finding love along the way. While he first falls in love with a fellow coworker (Winters), he tosses her to the side when a beautiful socialite (Taylor) falls for him. Things become incredibly complicated when his ex tells him she’s pregnant. This is a film you definitely don’t want to miss!

Related — The Most Popular Elizabeth Taylor Movies

3. Red River (1948)

  • Genre: Western / Drama
  • Starring: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan
  • Directed by: Howard Hawks and Arthur Rosson

Red River is a phenomenal western — and one of the best Montgomery Clift and John Wayne movies ever made. This very dramatic western follows a Texas rancher (Wayne) who begins to butt heads with his adopted son (Clift) as they are on a cattle drive from Texas to Missouri.

Just as with the other films on this list — especially the top four movies here — you don’t want to miss out on Red River. Plus, this film is also a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #709)!

2. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

  • Genre: War / Drama
  • Starring: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland
  • Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Deciding between the last two movies on this list was hard. The only reason we put Judgment at Nuremberg at spot #2 was because, while Clift has a pivotal (and utterly heartbreaking) role here, he isn’t a lead role. This movie is absolutely amazing and one of the best movies ever made — but we felt we should put a “Montgomery Clift” movie in the #1 spot, simply as this list is dedicated to just that.

This movie is absolutely phenomenal, but I don’t know if we have to tell you that. You have to watch it if you’ve never seen it before, as Clift and everybody involved give such pivotal, glorious performances.

Judgment at Nuremberg follows an American judge (Tracy) who presides over the trial of Nazi war criminals, hearing testimonies from many. Clift plays a young soldier who was sterilized in a Nazi concentration camp, and is now mentally unstable. He is, no doubt about it, at his absolute best — and his most heartbreaking — in this role.

Related — The Top 10 Best Marlene Dietrich Movies of All Time

1. The Heiress (1949)

  • Genre: Romance / Drama
  • Starring: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Miriam Hopkins
  • Directed by: William Wyler

The best Montgomery Clift movie, in our view, is The Heiress. The only reason this movie beat out #2 is because Clift has a much larger role here, though acting performance-wise, Judgment at Nuremberg wins out. However, The Heiress is still (to many people, including us) one of the absolute best movies ever made.

The Heiress follows an heiress (de Havilland) who falls in love with a poorer man (Clift), a man her father says is just using her for her money. When her father threatens to disinherit her as a result, their love is truly tested, once and for all. The Heiress is also a part of the Criterion Collection (spine #974)!

What’s Your Favorite Montgomery Clift Movie?

Now that we’ve ranked our top 10 best Montgomery Clift movies, we want to hear from you. What are your top 10 Clift movies? Any films of his that you feel should’ve been included, but weren’t? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions — hit the comments below!

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