Top of the World: 15 Burt Lancaster Films


Today marks the Burt Lancaster’s birthday! You may know it or not, but he has always been one of my very favourite actors since in discovered him in The Unforgiven (John Huston, 1960). The one we also call “Mr. Muscles & Teeth” or “Big Teeth” if you are my mother starred in some movies that marked cinema’s history and always delivered top-notch performances. In order to honour him on this very special day, I thought it would be fun to do a top list presenting my 15 most favourite films of his.

Before we continue…

I insist you respect my choices. This is a list of MY own favourite Lancaster’s films. I’m not claiming that these ones are the best, but only the ones I personally like the most. It’s not objective at all. It’s very subjective.

Also, if a movie is not on the list, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. I have seen a total of 22 of his films. So, obviously, some won’t be on the list (not to mention the ones I haven’t seen yet).

Notice: If you should fail to respect this simple request, your comment will be deleted.

Of course, you are invited to share your personal favourites in the comments section!


So, that’s enough blabla! Here we go!

15. Vera Cruz (Robert Aldrich, 1954)

I think I mostly like this film due to its cast. I mean, Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper in the same film, what a dream!


14. Trapeze (Carol Reed, 1956)

I remember my grandfather talking to me about this film. It was the second film to reunite Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis (well, don’t you remember, Tony was playing an extra in Criss Cross. Haha!). Pretty enjoyable, but not a masterpiece like Sweet Smell of Success either!


13. The Unforgiven (John Huston, 1960)

I discovered Burt with this film!


12. A Child Is Waiting (John Cassavetes, 1963)


11. Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964)

 I’m normally not too much into political films but I had to include it on the list as it’s unique in its own way and has an impressive modern touch.


10. Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (Norman Foster, 1948)


9. Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick)

” Match me, Sidney!” (Couldn’t resist). Brilliant film, but Burt sort of scares me in it!


8. The Rainmaker (Joseph Anthony, 1956)

This is one of Burt’s most underrated films. I personally love it and his performance in it is one of my most favourites. That monologue at the beginning totally captivates me! When Earl Holliman sent me these autographed pictures, he wrote that this was indeed the favourite film he made (his performance in it was brilliant as well) and that he loved working with Burt and Kate. 🙂


7. Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks, 1960)

Not a film everyone “gets”, but I personally love it. Burt won a well-deserved Oscar for his performance!


6. Airport (George Seaton, 1970)

Is it a guilty pleasure? It’s not a bad movie, of course.  It’s pretty good in fact, but disaster movies always seem to be a synonym of “guilty pleasure”! Anyway, I know many will have a different opinion on that.


5. Separate Table (Delbert Mann, 1958)

That cast! Oh, my! I didn’t like the film so much the first time I saw it but loved it the second time. I’m weird like that.


4. Come Back Little Sheba (Daniel Mann, 1952)

Some say that Burt was miscast for the part as he was too young. Maybe but personally, I’ve never really mind it. Love the film itself anyway!


3. Birdman of Alcatraz (John Frankenheimer, 1962)

Such a special film!

2. Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947)

Hard to believe this was only Burt’s second film! Always enjoy watching my Criterion DVD. 😉




















  1. From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953)!

I know, this might not be a surprising choice, but I that film absolutely conquered me!


I haven’t include it in my list but I have to say, Burt is SO sexy in The Crimson Pirate! ❤



Well, that’s it! Hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be curious to know which ones are your favourites!

Happy heavenly birthday Burt! 🙂


18 thoughts on “Top of the World: 15 Burt Lancaster Films

  1. I didn’t realize it was Burt Lancaster’s birthday! This is definitely a great list to celebrate it 🙂 I haven’t been a fan of his for very long so I’ve only seen a couple of these, that excites me though because it means I have so much to look forward to! There really isn’t any other actor quite like him. Of the ones I’ve seen, my favorite is also From Here to Eternity. His chemistry with Deborah Kerr is just amazing and I love how much sensitivity he brings to his character who could otherwise just be this harsh military man.

    The film not listed here that I would recommend, if you happen not to have seen it, is Run Silent, Run Deep. It’s a WWII submarine film with Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable–such an unexpected pairing but they actually work super well together! Normally I’m not big on war films but this one really captivated me because of how good these two were in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun list to read! I see I have much watching to do because I love Burt Lancaster but haven’t seen several of these. They’re going on my to-watch list! My favorites would include The Professionals, The Train, The Hallelujah Trail, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Tough Guys, Field of Dreams, and Seven Days in May. Happy birthday to Burt Lancaster!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. During my trip to Hawaii few months ago, I made one of my mission was to find the beach where he had that iconic kiss with Deborah Kerr and I found it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Insist we respect your choices or be deleted? What are the criteria that determine disrespect? I have no problem with subjective lists. But if you haven’t seen The Swimmer, I highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great list Virginie. Glad you included “ trapeze” as it was an overlooked film. Also agree with “ cone back Little Sheba”. He was underrated in that film. You might want to catch “ jim Thorpe . All American “. Looking forward to more blogs from you.

    Liked by 1 person

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