Bette Davis is a big name in the acting industry, with more than 90 films under her name. While these movies were famous in their own right, Davis’ acting skills played a significant part in them. The Queen of Mean had ten Oscar nominations in the Best Actress category. The two Oscar-winning films Jezebel and Dangerous are testaments to her exceptional skills as a lead actress.
It gets challenging to pick out the ten best Bette Davis movies from such a vast number. The actress has a pretty fascinating list of acting accomplishments that ideally serve people of all ages. Whether you are Davis’ die-hard fan or looking for a wild-eyed chiller, these ten Bette Davis best movies will leave you yearning for more.
1. All About Eve
This comedy-drama by Joseph Mankiewicz was a banger for its age. The crackling black trope of the has-been present in it made it unique and better than other productions. The movie is an adaptation of The Wisdom Of Eve. Mary Orr wrote the short story. The author based it on the real-life events of a Viennese actor. As the film was an adaptation, it followed in its footsteps and retained the same essence.
2. The Star
Davis’ has-been role in The Star is one of the least remembered performances. While the actress didn’t get much fame from the movie, it did win her an Oscar nomination. The film revolves around a washed-up actress, Maggie Elliot, who is struggling to get any work. After facing the awful reality of getting a civilian job, her life finally takes a turn when she is offered a movie about an ex-film star.
Dangerous is a romantic drama about the love story of an out-of-work actress and an architect. Davis played the central role of Joyce in the movie and perfectly portrayed her obsessive and emotional personality. The fact that she won one of her Best Actress Oscars for this role is a testament to Davis’ superior acting skills.
4. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Davis played another Miss Havisham-style role in this movie. The movie is a follow-up to What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Davis was seen as Miss Charlotte, haunted by her lover’s murder 30 years ago. The local authorities didn’t let Charlotte live in peace. They tried to destroy her house to make way for the new highway – however – Miriam and Charlotte took legal action and fought the authorities with the power of the law.
5. The Little Foxes
This William Hyler movie is based on Lillian Hellmann’s play. Just like Dangerous, Davis played the role of a Southern belle, Regina Giddens. She is a married woman who is jealous of her brothers due to their extreme wealth. She negotiates with her brother for a bigger share of her father’s fortune, destroying her relationship with her weary spouse.
6. The Letter
The Letter is an adaptation by Somerset Maugham in which Davis gives an incredibly adult and commanding performance. Davis plays the role of Leslie Crosbie, who kills a man at the film’s start and later claims he was trying to rape her. However, an anonymous letter says something else. Now Leslie tries to maintain her claim of defense and get her hands on the latter at the same time.
7. Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager is an excellent melodrama adapted from Olive Higgins Prouty’s best seller. Davis is seen as the repressed, sinister Charlotte. The movie’s considerable detail is her transformation into a beautiful young woman after falling in love with Jerry Durance. Thanks to Bette Davis’s exceptional performance, the film is considered the most technically accomplished production of all time.
Jezebel is another greatly acclaimed Bette Davis movie that helped her win one of her Oscars. Due to her perfect portrayal of a Southern belle, Graham Greene named her “phosphorescent beauty.” The actress plays the role of Julie, who is engaged to a banker. Later in the movie, Julie’s fiance marries someone else, which fills her heart with vengefulness and tragedy.
9. Dark Victory
Davis’s portrayal of Judith Traherne in The Dark Victory landed her another Oscar nomination. Judith Traherne is a reckless socialite who loves to party. After seeing a specialist, she was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. Judith is shattered after hearing this unfortunate news. Soon, Dr. Steele falls in love with Judith and marries her out of sympathy and romantic gallantry.
10. Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage is a movie adapted from W. Somerset Maugham. The unsympathetic and darker role of the actress in the movie made her a star. Bette Davis played the role of a blowsy blonde actress by putting on a sharp London accent. The movie takes a turn when a medical student with a potential future gets obsessed with this actress, which nearly destroys his life.