Laurence Olivier: Often hailed as the greatest British actor of all time.

by alexanderdavies-99382 | created - 11 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

The name of Olivier defines the very essence of acting. No one before or since, has been associated with the English stage on the same level. After a few unsuccessful films in Hollywood during the early 1930s, Laurence Olivier made the vital career move of training to become a classical actor. As they say, the rest is history.

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1. Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated | 154 min | Drama

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie, Esmond Knight

Votes: 14,379

2. The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)

PG | 115 min | Comedy, Romance

An American showgirl becomes entangled in political intrigue when the Prince Regent of a foreign country attempts to seduce her.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier, Richard Wattis, David Horne

Votes: 7,138

3. The Entertainer (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

Archie Rice (Sir Laurence Olivier), an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Brenda de Banzie, Roger Livesey, Joan Plowright

Votes: 2,782

Successfully evolving with the times.

4. Henry V (1944)

Not Rated | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 5,435

5. Sleuth (1972)

PG | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller

A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Alec Cawthorne, John Matthews

Votes: 42,974

6. Marathon Man (1976)

R | 125 min | Crime, Thriller

64 Metascore

A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane

Votes: 54,791 | Gross: $21.71M

7. Dracula (1979)

R | 109 min | Horror, Romance

67 Metascore

In 1913, the charming, seductive and sinister vampire Count Dracula travels to England in search of an immortal bride.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan

Votes: 8,613 | Gross: $20.16M

8. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

86 Metascore

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 114,908 | Gross: $4.36M

9. 49th Parallel (1941)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Thriller, War

A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral U.S.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, Anton Walbrook

Votes: 5,456

10. Clouds Over Europe (1939)

Approved | 82 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

A quirky British Secret Service Agent named Major Hammond tries to discover who is using a secret weapon to steal experimental planes.

Directors: Tim Whelan, Arthur B. Woods | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Valerie Hobson, George Curzon

Votes: 694

11. That Hamilton Woman (1941)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama, History, Romance

The story of courtesan and dance-hall girl Emma Hamilton, including her relationships with Sir William Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Nelson and her rise and fall, set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Director: Alexander Korda | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Alan Mowbray, Sara Allgood

Votes: 3,764

12. The Boys from Brazil (1978)

R | 125 min | Drama, Thriller

40 Metascore

A Nazi hunter in Paraguay discovers a sinister and bizarre plot to rekindle the Third Reich.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, James Mason, Lilli Palmer

Votes: 24,282 | Gross: $19.00M

13. The Jazz Singer (1980)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Music, Romance

37 Metascore

The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a popular singer.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Sidney J. Furie | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Neil Diamond, Lucie Arnaz, Catlin Adams

Votes: 3,645 | Gross: $27.12M

14. Wild Geese II (1985)

R | 125 min | Adventure, Thriller, Action

A group of mercenaries is hired to spring Rudolf Hess from Spandau Prison in Berlin.

Director: Peter R. Hunt | Stars: Scott Glenn, Barbara Carrera, Edward Fox, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 1,100

15. Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 7,025

16. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance

A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveller the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy (Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Sir Laurence Olivier).

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson

Votes: 15,429 | Gross: $0.08M

17. 21 Days Together (1940)

Approved | 72 min | Drama

After Larry Darrent accidentally kills his lover's blackmailing husband, someone else is arrested for the crime. Larry and Wanda have just three weeks together before the trial and if the ... See full summary »

Director: Basil Dean | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Leslie Banks, Laurence Olivier, Francis L. Sullivan

Votes: 823

18. The Divorce of Lady X (1938)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Divorce lawyer Everard Logan thinks the woman who spent the night in his hotel room is the erring wife of his new client.

Director: Tim Whelan | Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, Binnie Barnes, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 1,143

19. David Copperfield (1970 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 120 min | Drama

The legendary novel by Charles Dickens comes to life in this colorful interpretation directed by Delbert Mann.

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Cyril Cusack, Edith Evans, Pamela Franklin

Votes: 456

20. The Betsy (1978)

R | 125 min | Drama

The aging, retired founder of an auto giant comes out of retirement to try to develop a safe, fuel-efficient car.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Katharine Ross, Tommy Lee Jones

Votes: 1,338 | Gross: $17.69M

21. Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

GP | 183 min | Biography, Drama, History

Tsar Nicholas II, the inept last monarch of Russia, insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Roderic Noble, Ania Marson

Votes: 4,133

22. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens

Votes: 19,740 | Gross: $4.36M

23. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 48,957 | Gross: $50.80M

24. Othello (1965)

Unrated | 165 min | Drama

General Othello's marriage is destroyed when vengeful Ensign Iago convinces him that his new wife has been unfaithful.

Director: Stuart Burge | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang, Anthony Nicholls

Votes: 1,287

25. The Merchant of Venice (1973 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama

Antonio's (Anthony Nicholls') friend Bassanio (Jeremy Brett) is in love and needs money to go courting. Using Antonio as his collateral, he borrows money from Shylock (Sir Laurence Olivier)... See full summary »

Director: John Sichel | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Jeremy Brett, Michael Jayston

Votes: 211

26. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1976 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama

The story of conflicts, power plays and secrets in a wealthy Mississippi family.

Director: Robert Moore | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Maureen Stapleton, Jack Hedley, Robert Wagner

Votes: 254

27. Come Back, Little Sheba (1977 TV Movie)

120 min | Drama

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

Director: Silvio Narizzano | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joanne Woodward, Carrie Fisher, Nicholas Campbell

Votes: 65

28. King Lear (1983 TV Movie)

158 min | Drama

Aging King Lear (Sir Laurence Olivier) invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott | Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 722

29. Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)

Not Rated | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

77 Metascore

A woman reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Keir Dullea, Carol Lynley, Laurence Olivier, Martita Hunt

Votes: 7,165

30. Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

G | 144 min | Comedy, Musical, War

The working-class Smiths change their initially sunny views on World War I after the three boys of the family witness the harsh reality of trench warfare.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Wendy Allnutt, Colin Farrell, Malcolm McFee, John Rae

Votes: 2,532 | Gross: $0.80M

31. Khartoum (1966)

Approved | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the Sudan, in 1884 to 1885, Egyptian forces led by British General Charles "Chinese" Gordon (Charlton Heston) defend Khartoum against an invading Muslim Army led by a religious fanatic, Mohammed Ahmed el Mahdi (Sir Laurence Olivier).

Directors: Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon | Stars: Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Richard Johnson, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 6,275 | Gross: $6.54M

32. Romeo and Juliet (1968)

PG | 138 min | Drama, Romance

When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, John McEnery, Milo O'Shea

Votes: 28,147 | Gross: $38.90M

33. Term of Trial (1962)

130 min | Drama

In Britain, a high-school girl becomes infatuated with her English teacher but, after he rejects her amorous advances, she goes to the police and accuses him of indecent assault.

Director: Peter Glenville | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Simone Signoret, Sarah Miles, Terence Stamp

Votes: 586

34. Carrie (1952)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones, Miriam Hopkins, Eddie Albert

Votes: 2,007

35. The Magic Box (1951)

Approved | 118 min | Biography, Drama

A chronicle of the life of William Friese-Greene, a British inventor and early pioneer in cinema.

Director: John Boulting | Stars: Robert Donat, Maria Schell, Renée Asherson, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 1,051

36. Saturday Sunday Monday (1978 TV Movie)

98 min | Drama

One Saturday evening, Rosa Priore (Dame Joan Plowright) is preparing a magnificent Sunday lunch for her family and their friends. By Sunday afternoon, her life and marriage are in ruins.

Director: Alan Bridges | Stars: Joan Plowright, Maggie Wells, Frank Finlay, Nicholas Clay

Votes: 34

37. Great Performances (1971– )

Music

"You Can't Take It With You" is hailed one of the greatest revivals and filmed plays for PBS television. David Woods brought stunning charm, humor, and time to this Moss Hart masterpiece. ... See full summary »

Stars: Julie Andrews, Walter Cronkite, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming

Votes: 537

38. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

TV-G | 382 min | Biography, Drama, History

Beginning before the Nativity and extending through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, this mini-series brings to life all of the sweeping drama in the life of Jesus, as told by the Gospels.

Stars: Robert Powell, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier, James Mason

Votes: 18,504

39. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)

PG | 113 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

To treat his friend's cocaine induced delusions, Watson lures Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall, Nicol Williamson

Votes: 4,011

40. Male of the Species (1969 TV Movie)

90 min | Drama

Never trust a man whoever he is. This is the bitter lesson learned by Mary MacNeil in her relationships with three different men: her father, a mendacious womanizer; a smooth-talking office... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Jarrott, Anthony Page | Stars: Paul Scofield, Michael Caine, Anna Calder-Marshall, Sean Connery

Votes: 80

41. Uncle Vanya (1963)

120 min | Drama

Retired Professor Alexander Serebryakov has returned to his estate to live with his beautiful young wife, Yelena. The estate originally belonged to his first wife, now deceased. Her mother ... See full summary »

Director: Stuart Burge | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Robert Lang, Max Adrian, Lewis Casson

Votes: 111

42. The World at War (1973–1976)

TV-PG | 52 min | Documentary, History, War

A groundbreaking 26-part documentary series narrated by the actor Laurence Olivier about the deadliest conflict in history, World War II.

Stars: Laurence Olivier, Anthony Eden, Averell Harriman, Albert Speer

Votes: 20,090

43. Richard III (1955)

Not Rated | 161 min | Biography, Drama, History

Shakespeare's powerful tale of the wicked deformed King and his conquests, both on the battlefield and in the boudoir.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 3,862

44. Wagner (1981– )

300 min | Biography, Drama, History

A huge panorama of Richard Wagner's life and work, from before the 1848 revolution, through his exile in Switzerland, his rescue by the besotted King Ludwig II of Bavaria, to the final ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave, László Gálffi, John Gielgud

Votes: 420

45. Brideshead Revisited (1981)

659 min | Drama, Romance

Two young men meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then ... See full summary »

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, Roger Milner, Phoebe Nicholls

Votes: 6,297

46. Clash of the Titans (1981)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Family

6.9