The Incomparable Bette Davis

by tseybert | created - 02 Aug 2015 | updated - 9 hours ago | Public

Boy, do I love Bette Davis! I've seen Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? a bunch of times over the years, and there's quite a few of her movies that I've seen three to five times, like Jezebel, All About Eve and Petrified Forest. And then there's the 1930s newspaper thriller Front-Page Woman! Nobody seems to know about it, but I love it and I've seen it a bunch of times after I taped it off cable back in the 1990s!

I find her filmography to be very reliable. I always feel pretty confident when I see something listed on TCM and it has her name in the cast. They aren't all great classics, of course, and sometimes she doesn't have a very big part. But all but a handful of her movies are entertaining and worth watching, and it's amazing how many of them are classics of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

I decided to make a list of all the Bette Davis movies I've ever seen.

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1. The Bad Sister (1931)

Passed | 68 min | Drama

Marianne falls in love with a con artist who has a hidden agenda.

Director: Hobart Henley | Stars: Conrad Nagel, Sidney Fox, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart

Votes: 832

Bette's first movie. It's a fun little romp if you like early 1930s movies. Bette is not the bad sister. She's the good sister. And she's adorable. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, ZaSu Pitts and Bert Roach.

2. Waterloo Bridge (1931)

81 min | Drama, Romance

A prostitute's self-loathing makes her reluctant to marry an idealistic soldier during World War One.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, Frederick Kerr

Votes: 2,259

3. Three on a Match (1932)

Passed | 63 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak, Bette Davis

Votes: 2,915

4. The Dark Horse (1932)

Passed | 75 min | Comedy

Jailbird is hired to lead a dimwitted candidate's campaign for governor.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Warren William, Bette Davis, Guy Kibbee, Vivienne Osborne

Votes: 893

5. So Big! (1932)

Unrated | 81 min | Drama, Romance

Following the death of Selena's father, she's offered a job as a teacher in a small town and a new chapter of her life begins.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Dickie Moore, Bette Davis

Votes: 1,230

6. 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Passed | 78 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Arthur Byron, Lyle Talbot

Votes: 2,170

7. The Cabin in the Cotton (1932)

TV-G | 78 min | Drama

A tenant farmer's son is caught in the middle of owner-tenant disputes when he falls for the plantation owner's seductive daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Bette Davis, Dorothy Jordan, Hardie Albright

Votes: 1,318

8. The Rich Are Always with Us (1932)

TV-G | 71 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A socialite gets a divorce but can't keep out of her ex-husband's life.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Bette Davis, John Miljan

Votes: 761

Bette Davis makes the most of her small part in this comedy of ill manners.

9. Hell's House (1932)

Approved | 72 min | Drama

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

Director: Howard Higgin | Stars: Bette Davis, Pat O'Brien, Junior Durkin, Frank Coghlan Jr.

Votes: 897

10. The Man Who Played God (1932)

TV-G | 80 min | Drama, Romance

After losing his hearing, a musician uses lip-reading to help others.

Director: John G. Adolfi | Stars: George Arliss, Bette Davis, Violet Heming, André Luguet

Votes: 828

11. Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)

Passed | 73 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: Bette Davis, Lewis Stone, Pat O'Brien, Glenda Farrell

Votes: 941

12. Ex-Lady (1933)

Unrated | 67 min | Comedy, Drama

Although free spirit Helen Bauer does not believe in marriage, she consents to marry Don, but his infidelities cause her to also take on a lover.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Bette Davis, Gene Raymond, Frank McHugh, Monroe Owsley

Votes: 1,016

13. Fog Over Frisco (1934)

Approved | 68 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

The lifestyles of Arlene and Valkyr Bradford, half-sisters from a respected San Francisco family, diverge markedly as Arlene takes up with criminals.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Bette Davis, Donald Woods, Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot

Votes: 1,250

14. Housewife (1934)

Passed | 69 min | Drama

Nan Reynolds encourages her copywriter husband Bill to open his own agency. Nearly out of business, he finally gets a client. Former girlfriend Patricia Berkeley writes a very successful ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: George Brent, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak, John Halliday

Votes: 772

15. Jimmy the Gent (1934)

Passed | 67 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins, Alan Dinehart

Votes: 1,434

16. Fashions of 1934 (1934)

78 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. ... See full summary »

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: William Powell, Bette Davis, Frank McHugh, Hugh Herbert

Votes: 1,165

17. Of Human Bondage (1934)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Romance

A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Frances Dee, Kay Johnson

Votes: 5,544

Bette Davis's Cockney accent is supposedly so bad that it makes many people hate this movie. I didn't even notice it. Maybe it's not authentic (it sounds fine to me) but she is simultaneously great and awful in this movie. And Frances Dee is adorable.

18. Front Page Woman (1935)

Passed | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

A woman reporter tries to prove she's just as good as any man, but runs into trouble along the way.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Roscoe Karns, Wini Shaw

Votes: 1,093

This is so great! My third favorite Bette Davis movie after Whatever Happened to Baby Jane! and Jezebel. (All About Eve is pretty good too.)

19. Dangerous (1935)

Approved | 79 min | Drama

An alcoholic actress who is considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated, but she then shows that she's as dangerous as ever.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Bette Davis, Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay, Alison Skipworth

Votes: 2,546

I can see why she won the Oscar for Best Actress! And you get to see Bette Davis recite "Romeo and Juliet" before collapsing in a dive bar.

20. Special Agent (1935)

Approved | 76 min | Crime, Drama

Newspaperman Bill Bradford becomes a special agent for the tax service trying to end the career of racketeer Alexander Carston. Julie Gardner is Carston's bookkeeper. Bradford enters ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Ricardo Cortez, Jack La Rue

Votes: 651

Bette Davis plays a mob accountant!

21. The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935)

Approved | 69 min | Drama

When his fiancée Valentine dumps him, prominent lawyer Geoffrey Sherwood goes on a bender and winds up married to a stranger, Miriam Brady. They decide to give their marriage a chance. ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Bette Davis, Ian Hunter, Colin Clive, Alison Skipworth

Votes: 909

22. The Golden Arrow (1936)

Approved | 68 min | Comedy, Family

It's the Florida party season for heiresses, with both Oklahoma oil heiress Hortense Burke-Meyers and New York face cream heiress Daisy Appleby in the state. And where the single American ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Eugene Pallette, Dick Foran

Votes: 796

23. The Petrified Forest (1936)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Genevieve Tobin

Votes: 11,414

24. Satan Met a Lady (1936)

Approved | 74 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

In this spoof of the story The Maltese Falcon (1941) is based on, a double-crossing woman, the two-timing P.I. she hired, the corpulent "empress of crime", and a gentleman thief are all after a legendary priceless eighth-century ram's horn.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth, Arthur Treacher

Votes: 1,709

25. It's Love I'm After (1937)

Approved | 90 min | Comedy

An actor of the stage finds himself pursued by a lovestruck fan while trying to patch up a tempestuous relationship with his actress lover.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles

Votes: 1,867

26. Marked Woman (1937)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

A crusading DA persuades a clip joint "party girl" to testify against her mobster boss after her innocent sister is accidentally murdered during one of his unsavory "parties".

Directors: Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell

Votes: 2,984

27. Kid Galahad (1937)

Approved | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Fight promoter Nick Donati grooms a bellhop as a future champ, but has second thoughts when the 'kid' falls for his sister.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Wayne Morris

Votes: 2,679

28. Jezebel (1938)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay

Votes: 10,863

29. The Sisters (1938)

Approved | 99 min | Drama

Three daughters of a small town pharmacist undergo trials and tribulations in their problematic marriages between 1904 and 1908.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Anita Louise, Ian Hunter

Votes: 1,591

30. Juarez (1939)

Approved | 125 min | Biography, Drama, History

Louis Napoleon III takes advantage of the American Civil War to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power by helping Emperor Maximillian Hapsburg to add Mexico to his empire. of Mexico.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains

Votes: 1,789

31. Dark Victory (1939)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether or not she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Votes: 9,088

32. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved | 106 min | Biography, Drama, History

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp

Votes: 4,632

33. The Old Maid (1939)

Approved | 95 min | Drama

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent, Donald Crisp

Votes: 2,889

34. The Letter (1940)

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

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort

Votes: 10,510

35. All This, and Heaven Too (1940)

Approved | 141 min | Drama, Romance

A duchess' irrational behavior toward the governess of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 3,986

36. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)

Approved | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 2,733

37. The Little Foxes (1941)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, Romance

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson

Votes: 9,374

38. The Great Lie (1941)

Approved | 108 min | Drama

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor, Lucile Watson

Votes: 3,159

39. Now, Voyager (1942)

Approved | 117 min | Drama, Romance

A frumpy spinster blossoms under therapy and becomes an elegant, independent woman.

Director: Irving Rapper | Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper

Votes: 13,691

40. In This Our Life (1942)

Approved | 97 min | Drama

The day before her wedding, a pampered young woman absconds with her sister's husband; in retaliation, her sister begins seeing the woman's former fiancé.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan

Votes: 3,681

41. The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

G | 112 min | Comedy, Romance

When acerbic critic Sheridan Whiteside slips on the front steps of a provincial Ohio businessman's home and breaks his hip, he and his entourage take over the house indefinitely.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Monty Woolley, Richard Travis

Votes: 6,132

42. Watch on the Rhine (1943)

Approved | 114 min | Drama

A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Directors: Herman Shumlin, Hal Mohr | Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lucile Watson

Votes: 3,525

43. Old Acquaintance (1943)

Passed | 110 min | Drama, Romance

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young, John Loder

Votes: 2,670

44. Mr. Skeffington (1944)

Approved | 146 min | Drama, Romance

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel, George Coulouris

Votes: 4,943

45. The Corn Is Green (1945)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama

A schoolteacher becomes the mentor of a talented young miner and seeks to get him into a university.

Director: Irving Rapper | Stars: Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce, Rhys Williams

Votes: 2,208

Bette Davis opens a school in the coal mining fields of rural Wales. if you just can't get enough of movies about Wales, then this might be the film for you, especially if you get excited by the idea of John Dall conjugating Latin verbs.

46. Deception (1946)

Approved | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.

Director: Irving Rapper | Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, John Abbott

Votes: 2,701

47. A Stolen Life (1946)

Approved | 109 min | Drama

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt | Stars: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark, Walter Brennan

Votes: 2,757

48. June Bride (1948)

Approved | 96 min | Comedy

A magazine's staff, including bickering ex-lovers Linda and Carey, cover an Indiana wedding, which goes slightly wrong...

Director: Bretaigne Windust | Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery, Fay Bainter, Betty Lynn

Votes: 1,422

49. Winter Meeting (1948)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance