The Top 40 Films of Burt Lancaster.

by John Jacoby | created - 09 Aug 2011 | updated - 24 Jan 2015 | Public

Handsome, athletic, confident, and wildly talented, Burt Lancaster acted in some of the finest films and created many indelible characters over his 45 year film career. Lancaster transitioned from leading man to mature character actor, to senior roles flawlessly and always with excellence and style. Here are 40 of his very best films.

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1. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Romance, War

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed

Votes: 37,062 | Gross: $30.50M

2. Atlantic City (1980)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli

Votes: 12,440

3. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Not Rated | 186 min | Drama, War

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
60 Metascore

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 52,666

4. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Film-Noir

8.2
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100 Metascore

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner

Votes: 22,449

5. The Train (1964)

Not Rated | 133 min | Thriller, War

7.9
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In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Suzanne Flon

Votes: 11,490 | Gross: $7.41M

6. Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

Not Rated | 147 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.8
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A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand

Votes: 13,515

7. Elmer Gantry (1960)

Approved | 146 min | Drama

7.9
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A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director: Richard Brooks | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger

Votes: 8,731 | Gross: $11.34M

8. The Swimmer (1968)

Approved | 95 min | Drama

7.7
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A man spends a summer day swimming as many pools as he can all over a quiet suburban town.

Directors: Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule, Tony Bickley

Votes: 7,211

9. Airport (1970)

G | 137 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
42 Metascore

A bomber on board an airplane, an airport almost closed by snow, and various personal problems of the people involved.

Directors: George Seaton, Henry Hathaway | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Jean Seberg

Votes: 14,643 | Gross: $100.49M

10. The Professionals (1966)

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Western

7.4
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An arrogant Texas millionaire hires four adventurers to rescue his kidnapped wife from a notorious Mexican bandit.

Director: Richard Brooks | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode

Votes: 11,209 | Gross: $19.54M

11. The Killers (1946)

Not Rated | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

7.8
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Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker

Votes: 15,649

12. Local Hero (1983)

PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.

Director: Bill Forsyth | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson

Votes: 17,469 | Gross: $5.90M

13. The Rose Tattoo (1955)

Unrated | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Mann | Stars: Anna Magnani, Burt Lancaster, Marisa Pavan, Ben Cooper

Votes: 2,907

14. Seven Days in May (1964)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

7.9
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United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner

Votes: 10,477

15. Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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An emotionally remote recovering alcoholic and his dowdy, unambitious wife face a personal crisis when they take in an attractive lodger.

Director: Daniel Mann | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore, Richard Jaeckel

Votes: 3,751

16. The Rainmaker (1956)

Approved | 121 min | Romance, Western

7.0
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During the Depression, a con-man promises rain to a desperate drought-ridden Kansas town and marriage to a local desperate spinster.

Director: Joseph Anthony | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn, Wendell Corey, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 2,983

17. Valdez Is Coming (1971)

PG-13 | 90 min | Western

6.9
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A Mexican-American sheriff must resort to violence against a powerful rancher in order to get just compensation for the pregnant Indian widow of a wrongly killed black man.

Director: Edwin Sherin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Frank Silvera, Jon Cypher

Votes: 2,706

18. Tough Guys (1986)

PG | 104 min | Comedy

6.2
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Two elderly gangsters are released from prison only to find they have trouble fitting in as old men who still take no guff from anyone.

Director: Jeff Kanew | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charles Durning, Alexis Smith

Votes: 5,689 | Gross: $21.46M

19. The Leopard (1963)

PG | 186 min | Drama, History

8.1
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100 Metascore

The Prince of Salina, a noble aristocrat of impeccable integrity, tries to preserve his family and class amid the tumultuous social upheavals of 1860's Sicily.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa

Votes: 18,468

20. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Not Rated | 122 min | Biography, Drama, Western

7.2
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Lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday form an unlikely alliance which culminates in their participation in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet

Votes: 11,482 | Gross: $11.75M

21. Run Silent Run Deep (1958)

Approved | 93 min | War, Action, Drama

7.4
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A U.S. sub commander, obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Brad Dexter

Votes: 8,650

22. The Unforgiven (1960)

Approved | 125 min | Drama, Romance, Western

6.7
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The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiowa tribe.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy, John Saxon

Votes: 6,000

23. Rocket Gibraltar (1988)

PG | 99 min | Drama

6.6
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An old patriarch unites for his birthday all members of his family. But the group of people is full of personal and social problems.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Suzy Amis, Patricia Clarkson, Frances Conroy

Votes: 1,618 | Gross: $0.19M

24. Field of Dreams (1989)

PG | 107 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

7.5
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57 Metascore

An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson | Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan

Votes: 93,953 | Gross: $64.43M

25. Trapeze (1956)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, Romance

6.9
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A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida, Katy Jurado

Votes: 3,517

26. The Devil's Disciple (1959)

Approved | 83 min | Comedy, History, Romance

7.3
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The black sheep of a family and the local minister discover their true vocations during the Revolutionary War.

Directors: Guy Hamilton, Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Janette Scott

Votes: 1,707

27. All My Sons (1948)

Approved | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir

7.4
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During WW2, industrialist Joe Keller commits a crime and frames his business partner Herbert Deever but years later his sin comes back to haunt him when Joe's son plans to marry Deever's daughter.

Director: Irving Reis | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Burt Lancaster, Mady Christians, Louisa Horton

Votes: 1,300

28. Brute Force (1947)

Not Rated | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

7.7
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At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo

Votes: 7,256

29. Ulzana's Raid (1972)

R | 103 min | Adventure, Western

7.1
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After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Jorge Luke, Richard Jaeckel

Votes: 4,209

30. Lawman (1971)

R | 99 min | Western

7.0
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A lawman from Bannock arrives in Sabbath to arrest all the cattlemen whose wild celebration the year before resulted in the accidental death of an old man.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb, Robert Duvall

Votes: 3,211

31. Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951)

Approved | 107 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

6.9
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The triumph and tragedy of Native American Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter

Votes: 1,559

32. Apache (1954)

Not Rated | 91 min | Western

6.4
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Refusing to let himself be re-settled on a Florida reservation, Massai, an Apache warrior, escapes his captors and returns to his homeland to become a peaceful farmer.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters, John McIntire, Charles Bronson

Votes: 3,204 | Gross: $6.00M

33. The Young Savages (1961)

Not Rated | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

6.9
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A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews, Vivian Nathan

Votes: 1,659

34. The Gypsy Moths (1969)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance

6.4
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Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman, Scott Wilson

Votes: 1,438

35. Executive Action (1973)

PG | 91 min | Crime, Drama, History

6.7
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Rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, greedy capitalists, and free-lance assassins plot and carry out the JFK assassination in this speculative agitprop.

Director: David Miller | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer, Gilbert Green

Votes: 1,955

36. The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Not Rated | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy

7.3
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During the 1700s, pirate Captain Vallo seizes a British warship and gets involved in various money-making schemes involving Caribbean rebels led by El Libre, British envoy Baron Jose Gruda and a beautiful courtesan named Consuelo.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Torin Thatcher

Votes: 4,867

37. Mister 880 (1950)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

7.1
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Gentle romantic comedy about a Secret Service Agent trying to catch a cold case counterfeiter and a United Nations translator.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Edmund Gwenn, Dorothy McGuire, Millard Mitchell

Votes: 978

38. Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)

R | 146 min | Drama, Thriller

6.8
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A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell, escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana and threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the President reveals details of ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Roscoe Lee Browne, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 2,304

39. The Cassandra Crossing (1976)

R | 129 min | Drama, Thriller

6.4
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Passengers on a European train have been exposed to a deadly disease. Nobody will let them off the train. So what happens next?

Director: George P. Cosmatos | Stars: Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson

Votes: 6,008

40. Criss Cross (1949)

Not Rated | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

7.6
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An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally

Votes: 5,732