Best Rita Hayworth Movies

Narrowing down the top 10 best Rita Hayworth movies was difficult, mainly because Miss Hayworth has so many wonderful films. One of the most memorable Old Hollywood actresses — thanks to her iconic role in Gilda — Hayworth, unfortunately, doesn’t have too many films that are still considered popular today. She has a lot of underrated gems. But here, we’ve put aside popularity and instead focused on the best performances she’s ever given on film, however big or small.

Keep reading to learn about the top 10 best Rita Hayworth movies! As a note, we’ve only included her roles in feature films. Enjoy!

The Top 10 Best Rita Hayworth Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best

10. Pal Joey (1957)

  • Genre: Musical / Drama / Romance
  • Starring: Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak
  • Directed by: George Sidney

One of Hayworth’s best musicals, Pal Joey begins our list of her best movies at #10. Pal Joey tells the story of an opportunistic singer (Frank Sinatra) who woos a wealthy widow (Hayworth) to boost his career, even if he really loves another singer (Kim Novak), per TCM’s brief synopsis. With Hayworth, Sinatra, and Novak in one movie, you just know it’s a good one. Hayworth is really great here, which isn’t a surprise.

The film was a huge hit when it was released in 1957, and it even gathered quite favorable reviews from critics! Pal Joey was nominated for four Academy Awards, though it didn’t end up winning any Oscars. It was also nominated for two Golden Globes: it won one, Frank Sinatra for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.

9. Blood and Sand (1941)

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth
  • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

Blood and Sand tells the story of a married matador’s (Tyrone Power) rise to stardom, which is complicated by an affair with a beautiful aristocrat. Hayworth is truly stunning here. However, the film itself isn’t as good as her other movies, even if her performance is riveting. But that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best Rita Hayworth movies. It is!

When the movie was first released, it received many positive reviews from critics, though there were a few big notably negative ones. However, these negative reviews didn’t stop the film from being a hit at the box office! And now, the movie has definitely grown in love for film watchers. Blood and Sand was nominated for two Academy Awards. It ended up winning one Oscar: Best Color Cinematography. It was also nominated as the Best Feature Film for the International Critics Awards at the Venice Film Festival in 1946.

8. Cover Girl (1944)

  • Genre: Comedy / Musical / Romance
  • Starring: Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Eve Arden
  • Directed by: Charles Vidor

A wonderful musical where Hayworth really does radiate talent and beauty, Cover Girl follows a nightclub dancer who makes it big in modeling, leaving her dancer boyfriend behind. While this movie may have fallen in popularity over the decades, anyone who wants to see the best Rita Hayworth performances should watch it. It’s an enjoyable musical, a lovely old color film, and definitely a must-watch for any Hayworth fan.

Cover Girl was nominated for five Academy Awards. It ended up winning only one Oscar: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.

7. Tales of Manhattan (1942)

  • Genre: Drama / Comedy / Romance
  • Starring: Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Robeson, Ethel Waters, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson
  • Directed by: Julien Duvivier

Tales of Manhattan follows New Yorkers from all walks of life who come into contact with a supposedly cursed tailcoat. There’s a lot of wonderful stars in this movie, and the many different storylines make it quite an interesting film. You can bet Hayworth manages to do wonderfully in her role. While not the greatest film she’s ever made, Tales of the Manhattan is still one of the best Rita Hayworth movies ever made!

The film got relatively good reviews from critics when it was released. It’s continued to be admired by film watchers in the decades since.

6. The Strawberry Blonde (1941)

  • Genre: Comedy / Romance / Music
  • Starring: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, Jack Carson
  • Directed by: Raoul Walsh

The Strawberry Blonde tells the story of a man’s infatuation with a gold-digging beauty, which continues even after his marriage. Hayworth is third billed in this film, but that doesn’t mean she’s not amazing! Cagney is great in everything he’s in, as well as Olivia de Havilland, so it’s great to see Hayworth with them in this picture.

Back in 1941, this movie was a hit with critics, as it received mainly positive reviews. The Strawberry Blonde was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Scoring of a Musical Picture), though it didn’t end up winning any Oscars.

5. You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

  • Genre: Musical / Comedy / Romance
  • Starring: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
  • Directed by: William A. Seiter

Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth collaborated on two films together, though You Were Never Lovelier is by far the best one. Hayworth is wonderful in musicals, and this happens to be one of her best ones. The movie tells the story of an Argentine heiress (Hayworth) who thinks a penniless American dancer (Astaire) is her secret admirer. It’s great fun, as most Fred Astaire movies are. But he’s great with Hayworth, and they have natural chemistry towards each other, which helps make this movie one of the best Rita Hayworth movies.

You Were Never Lovelier was nominated for three Academy Awards, though it didn’t end up winning any Oscars.

4. Separate Tables (1958)

  • Genre: Drama / Romance
  • Starring: Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Burt Lancaster, Wendy Hiller, Gladys Cooper
  • Directed by: Delbert Mann

A wonderful film with an all-star cast, Separate Tables is DEFINITELY one of the best Rita Hayworth movies of all time. The film follows the boarders at an English resort who struggle with their own emotional problems. Hayworth is with some real heavy hitters here, but she doesn’t disappoint. She shows that she’s not just a pretty face — she’s a true actor, too. And for that, this movie will forever be one of her best.

Separate Tables was nominated for seven Academy Awards; it ended up winning two Oscars. It was also nominated for five Golden Globes (it only won one).

3. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

  • Genre: Adventure / Drama / Romance
  • Starring: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess
  • Directed by: Howard Hawks

One of Hayworth’s first movies where she has an actual role, Only Angels Have Wings is an excellent movie. While it’s a Cary Grant and Jean Arthur showcase, don’t sleep on Hayworth’s performance. However small, it’s still great. Only Angels Have Wings follows a team of flyers who risk their lives to deliver the mail in a South American country. Hayworth plays an old flame of Cary Grant’s.

The movie got relatively good reviews when it was released in 1939. Only Angels Have Wings was nominated for one Academy Award: Best Special Effects.

The film was also added to the Criterion Collection at spine #806!

Related: Cary Grant: Top 10 Movies From the 1930s

2. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Crime / Drama
  • Starring: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles
  • Directed by: Orson Welles

By far one of the best Rita Hayworth movies ever made, The Lady from Shanghai is still amazing to this day. The film tells the story of a romantic drifter who gets caught between a corrupt tycoon and his wife. Hayworth and Orson Welles were married when they made the film, though their marriage would eventually end the year this movie came out. However, their collaboration here is so wonderful, so amazing, that at least we have this movie that came out of their romance.

When The Lady From Shanghai first came out in 1947, it got mixed reviews from critics, and many didn’t like the way the movie progressed narratively. However, the movie has grown in admiration quite a bit since then, though. Now, it’s a beloved movie for Hayworth fans, or for just regular old movie watchers.

1. Gilda (1946)

  • Genre: Film Noir / Drama / Romance
  • Starring: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford
  • Directed by: Charles Vidor

Gilda is definitely the best Rita Hayworth movie of all time. It’s the movie that made her iconic. It’s one of the best movies ever. I mean, it’s a classic Old Hollywood film that so many recognize just by seeing the image of Hayworth in that iconic gown. But more than that, Hayworth really does outperform all her other roles here. She’s just something else in Gilda, and while she’s been great in other movies, it wouldn’t be fair to not include this as her #1.

The film follows a gambler who discovers that his old flame in South America, but she now happens to be married to his new boss. The movie has continued to grow in popularity when it was released, though it was quite adored back in 1946. Now, it’s even a part of the Criterion Collection at spine #795!

Gilda wasn’t nominated for any Academy Awards. However, it was nominated as a Feature Film for the Grand Prize of the Festival at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946!

The Best Rita Hayworth Movies + More Nostalgic News

Comment below what you think about this list of the best Rita Hayworth movies. Is your favorite Hayworth movie here? Or do you prefer another, possibly more underrated film of hers? Hit the comments below with your thoughts!

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