Elizabeth Taylor is among the most famous, talented, and glamorous screen idols in the history of cinema. As one of the last movie stars to emerge from the golden era of Hollywood filmmaking, Taylor’s career spanned six decades from 1942 to 2002. During her highly decorated career, Taylor earned two Academy Awards for Best Leading Actress, one for Butterfield 8 in 1960 and another for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966.
In addition to her personal accolades, Taylor worked with some of the most talented directors and actors during her career. For a clearer picture, here are Elizabeth Taylor’s best movies, based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
Life With Father (1947) – 92%
In Michael Curtiz’s comedy of manners Life With Father, New York financier Clarence Day (William Powell) struggles to keep his unruly family in line. With his four sons quickly coming of age and his wife running the household, Clarence becomes extremely overwhelmed.
Taylor plays Mary Skinner in the film, an attractive new girl in town who forges a romance with Clarence Jr. (Jimmy Lydon). The film scored four Oscar nominations, including one for Powell as Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Father Of The Bride (1950) – 93%
Remade with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton more than 40 years later, Taylor starred in the original Father of the Bride alongside Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett.
Directed by Vincent Minnelli, the film follows the enormous burden Stanley Banks (Tracy) feels as he prepares for the wedding of his young daughter Kay (Taylor). Told in retrospect, Stanley recounts the entire wedding process from the announcement to the struggles to fund the ceremony, and all of the unforeseen mishaps in between.
Lassie Come Home (1943) – 94%
Lassie Come Home marked the second feature film of Taylor’s career. The tear-jerking family film snatched an Oscar nod for Best Cinematography.
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox from the Eric Knight novel, the film follows the downtrodden Carraclough family, who is forced to sell their beloved border collie, Lassie. Undeterred, Lassie makes a daring escape from her new owner in Scotland and makes a dogged pilgrimage back home to Yorkshire, England to be with her true family. Taylor plays Priscilla, a young girl who feels compassion for Lassie’s situation.
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966) – 95%
Taylor expressed the full gamut of human emotion in her Oscar-winning, tour-de-force performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Adapted from the Edward Albee stage play, the film marks the directorial debut of Mike Nichols. The story concerns an old married couple (Taylor and her real-life husband Richard Burton) who drunkenly berate each other in the company of a sexy young couple (George Segal and Sandy Dennis) visiting for the night. The film won five Oscars, including Sandy Dennis’s victory for Best Supporting Actress.
Giant (1956) – 95%
While most notable for being James Dean’s final film, for which he earned a second consecutive posthumous Academy Award nomination, George Stevens won a Best Director Oscar for helming Giant.
The decade-spanning story concerns the Benedict family led by Texas farmer Jordan “Bick” Benedict (Rock Hudson). When Bick travels up north to procure a horse, he meets and eventually marries glamorous socialite Leslie (Taylor). Upon returning to Texas, the family’s life unfolds over generations as they contend with slick oilman Jet Rink (Dean).
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) – 97%
Adapted from the beloved Tennesse Williams stage play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof stars Taylor as the titular feline who uses her feminine wiles to drive her drunk boyfriend stir-crazy.
When the Pollitt family reunites at Big Momma’s (Judith Anderson) house for a farewell sendoff to their terminally ill Big Daddy (Burl Ives), the dysfunction reaches a fever-pitch. Paul Newman plays Brick, a former football star who wastes his time drinking to avoid his philandering wife Maggie (Taylor). The film scored six Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Leading Actor nominations for Taylor and Newman.
Jane Eyre (1944) – 100%
Although she was uncredited at the time of its release, Taylor plays Helen Burns in one of the earliest adaptations of the classic Charlotte Bronte novel, Jane Eyre.
From a script co-written by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), the film follows notorious orphan Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine) as she can’t help but fall in love with her dashing new employer, Mr. Rochester (Orson Welles). Just when Mr. Rochester reciprocates the feelings, he begins to court the elegant visitor Blanche Ingraham (Hilary Brooke).
That’s Entertainment (1973) – 100%
In Jack Haley Jr.’s celebratory documentary That’s Entertainment, Hollywood’s most luminous musical movie stars recount their time working for MGM during the studio’s 50-year heyday. Taylor narrates the film, which is co-hosted by such stars as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, and more.
The film combines archival footage from MGM’s plentiful vault with contemporary interviews with various actors fondly recalling their time making movies in a bygone era.
Father’s Little Dividend (1951) – 100%
In the sequel to the hit comedy Father of the Bride released the year prior, Father’s Little Dividend continues to the marital drama of the Banks family. Now that patriarch Stanely (Spencer Tracy) has come to terms with his daughter Kay’s (Taylor) marriage, he frets the prospect of becoming a grandfather.
Vincent Minnelli also returns to helm the sequel, for which he earned a Directors Guild of America (DGA) nomination for Best Directorial Achievement.
National Velvet (1944) – 100%
In the fifth feature film of her young career, the 12-year old Taylor starred as the titular Velvet Brown, a passionate little girl intent on breeding a prize-winning racehorse. The film won two Oscars, including Best Editing and Supporting Actress (Anne Revere).
The film follows Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney), a wayward vagabond whose lengthy travels through England leads him to the doorstep of the Brown family. Mi immediately befriends the Browns’ youngest daughter, Velvet, and vows to help her groom a newly obtained racehorse named Pie to national prominence.