Charles Laughton is the acting equal of Olivier, Gielgud and Richardson combined.

by alexanderdavies-99382 | created - 20 Feb 2019 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

People tend to refer to acting giants like Olivier and Gielgud. However, the name of Charles Laughton deserves to be included. He was an actor of much versatility and usually returned to the theatre, even after achieving success in films. On the one occasion Charles Laughton directed a film, he received critical acclaim for his efforts. Perhaps he should have pursued that vocation further?

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1. The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)

Not Rated | 97 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

Director: Alexander Korda | Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall, Miles Mander

Votes: 3,442

Laughton is Henry VIII personified.

2. Rembrandt (1936)

Not Rated | 85 min | Biography, Drama

This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he ... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Korda | Stars: Charles Laughton, Gertrude Lawrence, Elsa Lanchester, Edward Chapman

Votes: 1,469

3. Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

An English valet brought to the American west assimilates into the American way of life.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charles Ruggles, Zasu Pitts

Votes: 3,490

4. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams

Votes: 7,684

A controversial but good film, Laughton relishing his role!

5. This Land Is Mine (1943)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, War

A mild-mannered school-teacher in a Nazi-occupied town during W.W.II finds himself being torn between collaboration and resistance.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders, Walter Slezak

Votes: 2,660

6. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | 117 min | Drama, Romance

In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 9,797 | Gross: $3.27M

To this day after 30 years when I saw this film, there's something remotely haunting in Laughton's performance.

7. Hobson's Choice (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda de Banzie, Daphne Anderson

Votes: 6,111

8. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 117,761 | Gross: $30.00M

9. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 98,470 | Gross: $8.18M

Steals the film almost effortlessly.

10. The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

Votes: 8,377 | Gross: $0.03M

11. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Not Rated | 132 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director: Frank Lloyd | Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Herbert Mundin

Votes: 19,631

Laughton takes the acting honours once again. His unyielding sadism as Captain Bligh is quite disturbing.

12. The Canterville Ghost (1944)

Passed | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy

The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.

Directors: Jules Dassin, Norman Z. McLeod | Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Young, Margaret O'Brien, William Gargan

Votes: 2,329

13. The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

Passed | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Elizabeth Barrett's tyrannical father has forbidden any of his family to marry. Nevertheless, Elizabeth falls in love with the poet Robert Browning.

Director: Sidney Franklin | Stars: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan

Votes: 1,497

14. Les Misérables (1935)

Approved | 108 min | Drama, History, Romance

In early 19th Century France an ex-convict who failed to report to parole is relentlessly pursued over a 20 year period by an obsessive policeman.

Director: Richard Boleslawski | Stars: Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Rochelle Hudson

Votes: 3,176

15. Advise & Consent (1962)

Not Rated | 139 min | Drama, Thriller

Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon

Votes: 6,121

16. The Strange Door (1951)

Approved | 81 min | Film-Noir, Horror, Thriller

Noble-born cad Denis (Stapley) has been tricked into a forced stay at the eerie manor of the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), an evil madman who can't get over the death of his beloved, twenty... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Sally Forrest, Richard Wyler

Votes: 766

17. Jamaica Inn (1939)

Not Rated | 98 min | Adventure, Crime

In Cornwall, 1819, a young woman discovers she's living near a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecks for profit.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Robert Newton, Charles Laughton, Horace Hodges

Votes: 8,392

18. The Suspect (1944)

Passed | 85 min | Drama, Thriller

An unhappily married man begins a flirtation with a younger woman. When his wife threatens to ruin her, he decides to take action.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Charles Laughton, Ella Raines, Dean Harens, Stanley Ridges

Votes: 1,594

19. O. Henry's Full House (1952)

Approved | 117 min | Drama

John Steinbeck introduces a quintet of five of O. Henry's most celebrated stories from his New York Period (1902-1910) in this anthology film.

Directors: Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco | Stars: Fred Allen, Anne Baxter, Jeanne Crain, Farley Granger

Votes: 2,078

20. The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, History

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Elissa Landi, Charles Laughton

Votes: 1,859

21. The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949)

Unrated | 97 min | Mystery, Thriller

French police inspector Maigret investigates the murder of a rich Paris widow and ends up chasing the killer up the Eiffel Tower's girders.

Directors: Burgess Meredith, Irving Allen, Charles Laughton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Robert Hutton

Votes: 716

22. The Big Clock (1948)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man for the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

Director: John Farrow | Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton, George Macready

Votes: 7,340

23. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1959 TV Movie)

90 min | Drama

Mistaken identity, unrequited love, and the supernatural are combined in Shakespeare's classic set in the woods of Greece on a moonlit night.

Director: Peter Hall | Stars: Georgine Anderson, Stephanie Bidmead, Michael Blakemore, David Buck

Votes: 39

24. The Bribe (1949)

Approved | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Federal agent Rigby, in Central America to trace stolen plane engines, falls for the gorgeous wife of the chief suspect.

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price

Votes: 1,475

Total rubbish from beginning to end.

25. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 77,507 | Gross: $0.65M

A natural film director is in evidence.

26. Payment Deferred (1932)

Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama

A man poisons his nephew out of desperation for money.

Director: Lothar Mendes | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ray Milland, Dorothy Peterson

Votes: 498

27. Young Bess (1953)

Approved | 112 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Charles Laughton

Votes: 1,348

28. The Blue Veil (1951)

113 min | Drama

Louise Mason is a young widow who fills her empty life with the task of becoming a children's nurse. As the years pass, and the widow tries to find her own place in life, her young charges,... See full summary »

Directors: Curtis Bernhardt, Busby Berkeley | Stars: Jane Wyman, Charles Laughton, Joan Blondell, Richard Carlson

Votes: 318

29. Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952)

Approved | 70 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

Rocky and Puddin' Head are waiting tables at an inn on Tortuga when a letter given them by Lady Jane for delivery to Martingale gets switched with a treasure map. Kidd and Bonney kidnap them to Skull Island to find said treasure.

Director: Charles Lamont | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton, Hillary Brooke

Votes: 1,935

30. Sidewalks of London (1938)

Approved | 85 min | Comedy

On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles (Charles Laughton), who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Whelan | Stars: Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison, Larry Adler

Votes: 1,076

31. They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Approved | 96 min | Drama, Romance

While courting a young woman by mail, a rich farmer sends a photograph of his foreman instead of his own, which leads to complications when she accepts his marriage proposal.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, William Gargan, Harry Carey

Votes: 339

32. It Started with Eve (1941)

Passed | 90 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

In order to please his dying father, a man convinces a hat-check girl to impersonate his fiancée, but complications arise when the father's health suddenly improves.

Director: Henry Koster | Stars: Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Robert Cummings, Guy Kibbee

Votes: 1,131

33. Stand by for Action (1942)

Passed | 109 min | Action, Drama, War

During WW2, two Navy officers take command of an obsolete, World War I-vintage, destroyer that is assigned to convoy-escort duty in the Japanese-controlled waters of the South Pacific.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, Charles Laughton, Walter Brennan

Votes: 509 | Gross: $0.55M

34. Studio 57 (1954–1958)

30 min | Drama, Family

This dramatic anthology series went into open syndication when the DuMont Television Network ceased operations.

Stars: Joel Aldrich, Tim Graham, Jean Byron, Marguerite Chapman

Votes: 94

35. General Electric Theater (1953–1962)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

An American anthology series, with a new episode and different actors and actresses each week. Hosted by Ronald Reagan, the series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.

Stars: Ronald Reagan, Don Herbert, Nancy Reagan, Lee Marvin

Votes: 233

36. Captain Kidd (1945)

Passed | 90 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The unhistorical adventures of pirate Captain Kidd revolve around treasure and treachery.

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, Reginald Owen

Votes: 1,452

37. Salome (1953)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, History

After her banishment from Rome, Jewish Princess Salome returns to her Roman-ruled native land of Galilee where prophet John the Baptist preaches against Salome's parents, King Herod and Queen Herodias.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Stewart Granger, Charles Laughton, Judith Anderson

Votes: 1,409

38. Playhouse 90 (1956–1961)

90 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Of the many anthology series, this is considered the most ambitious with outstanding talent in front of the camera. Attracting top ranked directors and scripts, it was often filmed live including the entire first season.

Stars: Richard Joy, Charles Bickford, Kim Hunter, Malcolm Atterbury

Votes: 256

39. Because of Him (1946)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A young woman who wants to break into the theater schemes to become the protege of a famous Broadway star.

Director: Richard Wallace | Stars: Deanna Durbin, Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone, Helen Broderick

Votes: 247

40. The Paradine Case (1947)

Approved | 125 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn

Votes: 9,487

41. Tales of Manhattan (1942)

Unrated | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A formal tailcoat that gets passed from one owner to another affects each life in a significant way.

Director: Julien Duvivier | Stars: Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda

Votes: 1,805

42. The Beachcomber (1938)

G | 92 min | Drama

In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.

Director: Erich Pommer | Stars: Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Robert Newton, Tyrone Guthrie

Votes: 222

43. Forever and a Day (1943)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, History

During World War II, an American travels to Britain to sell an old house near London that belongs to his family. However, he meets Leslie Trimble who lives in the house and who is ... See full summary »

Directors: Edmund Goulding, Cedric Hardwicke, Frank Lloyd, Victor Saville, Robert Stevenson, Herbert Wilcox, René Clair | Stars: George Kirby, Doreen Munroe, May Beatty, Connie Leon

Votes: 522

44. The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942)

Approved | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance

After a long absense from the island, Chester Tuttle returns to Tahiti to find that little has changed. His large family, particularly his scheming Uncle Jonas, would rather dance and ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Charles Laughton, Jon Hall, Peggy Drake, Victor Francen

Votes: 319

45. Checkmate (1960–1962)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Don Corey and Jed Sills operate Checkmate, Inc., a very high priced detective agency in San Francisco. Helping them protect the lives of their clients is British criminologist (once an Oxford professor) Carl Hyatt.

Stars: Anthony George, Doug McClure, Sebastian Cabot, Ken Lynch

Votes: 224

46. Under Ten Flags (1960)

Not Rated | 92 min | Drama, War

6.6