It has been more than three decades since he passed on but the accomplishments of the English-born American actor hasn’t been dimmed in any way. This is hardly a surprise considering the fact that he started exploring the industry when he was only a six-year-old lad. As the story goes, Cary fell in love with the craft at that age and joined a theater group called The Penders. Performing with the Penders deepened his passion for acting and there was no stopping him thereafter. Cary toured the US as a teenager and decided to settle in New York City; he would later move to Hollywood where he intensified the pursuit of his career. The English man quickly popularized his name, appearing in scores of films, stage productions, and even spreading his wings to the radio. There are many Cary Grant movies that are worth watching but these are the ones we believe everyone should see.
Must-Watch Cary Grant Movies
For his efforts, Cary Grant received numerous awards. Even though people aren’t happy with the fact that he didn’t get to win Oscar, he received an honorary Academy Awards in 1970. A decade earlier (in 1960), he got a star on the Walk of Fame. There are other prestigious recognitions that came Grant’s way but that’s a story for another day, let’s cut to the chase.
10. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
This marked the beginning of the actor’s collaboration with the seasoned director Howard Hawks, and he stars alongside Katherine Hepburn. Cary Grant portrays a paleontologist who is about to complete a reconstructed dinosaur skeleton that would be the pinnacle of his career when he meets the gorgeous Hepburn, a socialite who makes his world start spinning. He goes from a brilliant scientist to a man struggling to regain his balance in a world that no longer seems out of his control. Bringing Up Baby is a cinematic rollercoaster and Grant can’t seem to get enough of the fiasco.
9. ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939)
Years after this film was released, it has been certified a classic and deservedly so. The plot unravels at a landing strip in a country in South America and follows a group of pilots who have been tasked with delivering mail across the imposing mountains through hell or high water. It’s a beautifully scripted movie elevated further by the sheer strength of human determination displayed by the characters including Grant and the remarkable ways that they maintain their professional candor despite the tough situations they often find themselves in. As far as Cary Grant movies go, this one is an absolute must-see.
8. PENNY SERENADE (1941)
Cary Grant received a nomination for the Academy Award under the Best Actor category for his role as Roger Adams, a philandering bachelor who finally settled down with the love of his life, Julie (Irene Dunne). Their plans of starting a family are soon disrupted when Julie suffers a miscarriage and is rendered unable to have children. They end up adopting a sweet little girl, but not before life throws all kinds of obstacles at them that threatens to tear their family apart. It’s a wonderfully emotional movie about love, loss, family, and hope.
7. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)
There are three things that are constant in life, death, taxes, and Grant being a comedic genius. Seriously, there are very few actors that can match him when his hilarious, sharp talking side comes out to play. Grant reconnects with Katherine Hepburn once again, and they are joined by other iconic performers like James Stewart and John Howard in this delightful story about a woman who has to choose between three men. One is her alcoholic and controlling ex-husband, the other is an inquisitive reporter, and the third is her rich fiance. The dialogue between the characters is fresh, full of bites, easy flowing, and the jokes won’t stop pouring out.
6. I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949)
Once again, Grant marks magic with the director Howard Hawks. He plays a Frenchman named Henri Rochard who falls for an American driver and decides he would do anything to get to spend the rest of his life with her even if it means pretending he is a woman just so he can get a visa to go to America and marry her. Most of the movie takes place in postwar Germany and it is one of the finest comedies to come out of this era. It depicts just how far people are willing to go in order to protect and preserve the love in their lives.
5. NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART (1944)
In this movie, Cary Grant plays an irresponsible and shifty young man named Ernie who dreams of a better life he doesn’t want to work for. His mother’s failing health leaves him to take care of her and her business. He soon finds himself embroiled in some shady business dealings, which when coupled with his romantic dalliance with a gangster’s wife, brings a whole lot of trouble his way. There are several memorable scenes you will find yourself thinking about long after the movie is over. Grant’s performance here earned him a nomination for Oscars and it was surely not by chance. If anything, people are still mad he didn’t bag the accolade.
4. TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)
Grant features in yet another Hitchcock movie, appearing alongside Grace Kelly, who plays a wealthy woman that suspects her jewels have been stolen by a notorious burglar (Grant). Along the line, the two end up falling for each other, but there’s a secret that threatens to force them apart. The film goes heavy on the suspense and features some really scenic shots of the French Riviera. There are several memorable scenes you will find yourself thinking about long after the movie is over.
3. CHARADE (1963)
Set in the dreamy city of Paris, Grant plays an agent who is hired to protect Audrey Hepburn’s character from a group of dangerous men who want to get their hands on her dead husband’s fortune and will go to any length to do so. This movie is beyond perfect. It has breathtaking views of Paris, suspense, murder, two impossibly gorgeous actors, a guy with a hook hand, a spine-tingling musical score from Henry Mancini. What more could you possibly want? This movie will take you to many places at once.
2. AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)
This is probably one of the most popular Cary Grant movies there is. It tells the story of two lovers played by Grant and Deborah Kerr who kindle an affair while onboard a boat and make a pact to reunite at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day if they still want to be together. Of course, this doesn’t go according to plan. Grant delivers one of the finest performances of his career. He is witty, suave, charming, dreamy, and devilish all at the same time. You can see why nearly every woman fantasized about falling in love with him, making the actor a certified sex symbol in his era.
1. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
It would not be remiss to say that Grant was at his best when he was working with Alfred Hitchcock. They both made some of the greatest movies of their careers together. North by Northwest tells the story of Roger Thornhill, played by Grant, in a case of mistaken identity and his suspense-filled romance with Eve Kendall played by Eve Marie Saint. The movie is romantic, full of Hitchcock’s trademark innuendos, and too scandalous to be seen by children. Everything really comes together: the romance, murder, betrayal, humor all serve to elevate this magnificent picture that truly shows the breadth of Cary Grant’s exceptional acting talent.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)
It’s almost as if Cary Grant was put on this earth to play smoking hot ex-husbands. This time around, he is a handsome reporter who used to be married to Rosalind Russell’s character, who is also a brilliant reporter. However, she is considering hanging up her boots so she can marry an insurance agent and build a life with him, and Grant makes it his business to ensure that no such thing happens. He tries to lure her back into their exciting line of work and also get her to marry him again. The film has a witty, fast-paced dialogue that you are bound to love. There is also a moment when a fourth-wall break occurs as Grant comments that Rosalind’s fiance resembles an actor in the movies – Ralph Bellamy.
Alfred Hitchcock set the standard for suspenseful thrillers with his many directorial efforts, but few were perfectly and tastefully done like Notorious. In this political drama, Grant stars alongside Ingrid Bergman as two people who must find a way to infiltrate the Nazi Party in South America so they can stop their evil plans before they become a reality. The movie is high on melodrama and mystery which helps to boost an already fantastic plot. This is one of the reasons it is one of Cary Grant’s best movies.