Important Movies In Elizabeth Taylor's Career
This page is dedicated to the BEST ELIZABETH TAYLOR MOVIES. It includes some movies that are important for different reasons like There's One Born Every Minute in which Taylor made her acting debut. You will find the Liz Taylor movies that you have heard of like National Velvet, Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. You will also find a few films that are important but perhaps less well known unless, of course, you are an avid fan of 'Liz. Those films include movies like Reflections in a Golden Eye, Beau Brummell and Suddenly Last Summer.
From a collection of what is said to be more than 50 movies, it is hard to pick a single best Elizabeth Taylor movie because best means different things to different people so on this page you will find 18 of the films considered to be key in Liz Taylor's career. I am truly amazed and impressed by the body of work that she left behind. I think you will be, too.
Click here to see Amazon's collection of Elizabeth Taylor movies.
Elizabeth Taylor At The Movies
Here is an interesting and well-done video, a nine minute introduction to Elizabeth Taylor's movies.
There's One Born Every Minute (1942)
In the 1942 production, There's One Born Every Minute, Elizabeth Taylor made her screen debut. She was just ten years old when she appeared in this comedy as the spoiled rotten daughter of a man who manufactures pudding, who enters into the mayoral race and who makes a promise that he cannot keep. Unfortunately, it appears that you cannot BUY There's One Born Every Minute in any format. Not one of Taylor's best movies but definitely noteworthy since it was the first.
Lassie, Come Home (1943)
This is a classic movie featuring a couple of faces you might recognize including Roddy McDowall and Elizabeth Taylor, the latter who was already considered a beauty at the age of ten when she appeared in Lassie Come Home. Roddy and Elizabeth help Lassie escape an unkind master. This film is great for many reasons including the fact that we see a young Elizabeth Taylor in it but one must not forget Lassie was a great actor, too. This movie delivers a romantic score, a return to simpler times and a strong message about loyalty.
Order Lassie Come Home from Amazon.
National Velvet (1944)
National Velvet is considered Elizabeth Taylor's break through role. She was just 12 years old when she established herself in the heart of her fans and there she would stay for the rest of her life. This classic film also features Mickey Rooney, Anne Revere (who won an Oscar as the mother), Donald Crisp and Angela Lansbury.
National Velvet tells the story of a young girl who enters her horse in the Grand National Steeplechase. It was considered by many one of the nicest movies of its time and one of Elizabeth Taylor's best movies.
Order National Velvet from Amazon.
Father of the Bride (1950)
Father of the Bride is a 1950 Vincente Minnelli movie, which stars Spencer Tracy as the father who is trapped in the details of his daughter's wedding and Elizabeth Taylor as the beautiful bride. Tracy was extremely well played and won an Academy Award nomination for his "magnificent, gruffly warm and funny" portrayal of the father and Taylor's beauty as a bride was presented in all of its glory.
Father of the Bride also earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and for Screenplay. The story went on to have almost as many versions as Eliazbeth Taylor did weddings...but that's another story.
Order Father of the Bride from Amazon.
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A Place in the Sun is the 1951 movie that Kenneth Turan, movie critic for the L.A. Times discusses in the video shown above as THE Elizabeth Taylor role he would recommend, if he had to chose just one. He highly praises Taylor's performance in this movie saying that she had a "young honesty and captivating naturalness." He said that this movie featured an extraordinary, standout performance by Taylor and that she was able to handle some extremely close up shots that many actresses would not have been able to handle -- from a beauty and a talent perspective.
The Amazon reviewer says that, "Taylor makes a strong impression, but Winters is awfully good in the less-glamorous role. The tone of the film is oppressive -- the film doesn't exactly breathe with possibility -- but there are lots of good reasons to give this movie a visit." If you decide this is the film to see based on Kenneth Turan's recommendation, be aware that it is not an upbeat movie.
Order A Place in the Sun from Amazon.
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
1954 was definitely the busiest year of Elizabeth Taylor's movie career as she appeared in four movies. Some of these are also amongst her hard-to-find movies with one never released on DVD and one that has been discontinued on DVD. Read more...
Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson, The Last Time I Saw Paris is F. Scott Fitzgerald's love story which tells of a G.I. who wants to be a writer who falls in love with alcohol when his book is not well received. Elizabeth tries to protect him from his desire to self-destruct by showering him with love.
Read more: The Last Time I Saw Paris movie review or order your copy from Amazon.
Beau Brummell (1954)
Beau Brummell has not been released on DVD (in North American format) and is therefore only available on a somewhat rare VHS videotape or by rental through Amazon by clicking here.
Elephant Walk (1954)
In Elephant Walk Elizabeth Taylor plays a newlywed who goes to a tea plantation and falls in love with someone else. Love does not turn out to be the big problem. Instead, it is the cholera epidemic, drought and thirst driven elephants that cause the big issues. Elephant Walk is now available on DVD or as a video rental from Amazon.
Order Elephant Walk from Amazon.
Order Rhapsody from Amazon.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Order Suddenly, Last Summer from Amazon.
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Elizabeth Taylor won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in BUtterfield 8. It featured Taylor and Laurence Harvey and was based on a 1935 John O'Hara novel but the story is said to only slightly resemble the novel.
Amazon calls it a "big boozy melodrama, full of gorgeous clothes, catty comments and emotional showdowns." Taylor is said to do a great job of being overblown and sincere at the same time and her portrayal of the emotions of grief and anger are considered immediate and genuine.
If you are wondering about the title of BUtterfield 8, that is a capital B and a capital U and then the number 8, it apparently comes from the old telephone exchange names in the United States and Canada. Until the 1960s, telephone numbers were often referred to by a name. Wikipedia says that BUtterfield 8 "provided service to ritzy precincts of Manhattan's Upper East Side." Dialing a B and a U are equal to a 2 and an 8 and when you add the 8 already mentioned in the name, you get the number 288.
Order Butterfield 8 from Amazon.
Considered one of the most lavish films ever made, Cleopatra tells the story of the Queen of the Nile and her lovers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Richard Burton and Rex Harrison are considered to have given excellent performances but Elizabeth Taylor was definitely the star and this is one of the most glamorous roles she took on during her lengthy acting career.Cleopatra won Oscars for cinematography, sets and special effects. Amazon says, "Bolstered by a talented supporting cast and utterly stunning backdrops, here is a truly epic portrayal of the woman who conquered two of Rome's greatest soldiers, affected the course of history, and became synonymous with beguiling beauty."
Order Cleopatra from Amazon.
1965's The Sandpiper is an Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton movie which also stars Eva Marie Saint and Charles Bronson and is directed by Vincent Minnelli. It's a small town story of illicit love between a single mother and a married minister. The mother shocks a private school system and its Episcopalian priest with her bohemian ways but eventually the woman and the priest are attracted to each other.
Order The Sandpiper from Amazon.
Reflections In A Golden Eye (1967)
Reflections in a Golden Eye starred Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Brian Keith and Julie Harris. It tells the story of these and two other characters including their dark secrets, failures and obsessions. It takes place in a military camp and shares the story of Captain Weldon Penderton and his wife.
Reflections In A Golden Eye was supposed to have featured Montgomery Clift. However, he passed away before the film started and Marlon Brando eventually took the spot.
Wikipedia says that this movie was originally put out with all the scenes tinted golden and with one object colored normally. It was confusing to audiences so it was withdrawn. I think it would be interesting to see that effect today.
Order Reflections in a Golden Eye from Amazon.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
Elizabeth Taylor won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a 1966 movie adapted from a play of the same name featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis. It was extremely well received and was nominated for an Academy Award in every category possible (thirteen) and won five of them including the Academy Award for Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor (her second) and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Sandy Dennis as well as for Best Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design.
Elizabeth Taylor was brash, drunk and frustrated as the wife of a university academic. Richard Burton was the history professor who happened to be married to the college president's daughter. George Segal and Sandy Dennis played the younger couple who had no understanding of the psychological games that they were being drawn into.
Amazon Customer K. Harris calls this movie "one of film's greatest performances" and says that it is one you should not miss. She calls Elizabeth Taylor a wonder especially in this role when she is not a beauty but rather a "desperate, vicious, sexual, middle-aged hag." With Richard Burton as a hen-pecked husband, George Segal as the rival and Sandy Dennis as the naïve wife, this is a movie you should NOT miss. Harris closes by saying that this movie is also funny "a wicked, nasty, bitterly hilarious story" and that every adult who loves "awesome entertainment, great writing and magical performances" should see.
Order your copy of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf from Amazon.
Elizabeth Taylor Signature Collection
A BOXED SET CONTAINING FOUR OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S BEST MOVIES: NATIONAL VELVET, FATHER OF THE BRIDE, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF AND BUTTERFIELD 8.
If I were looking to buy a number of her BEST movies, I would consider buying this set, which covers almost thirty years of Elizabeth Taylor's career starting as it does in 1944 with National Velvet and ending in 1960 with Butterfield 8.
Order your Elizabeth Taylor Signature Collection from Amazon.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection
THIS BOXED SET INCLUDES WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF SPECIAL EDITION, THE COMEDIANS, THE SANDPIPER AND THE V.I.P.S.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were an amazing pair of British actors. Amazon calls them, "a perfect storm of talent, glamour and offscreen scandal" which describes them and their lives together on and off screen perfectly. (Taylor was married to Burton, twice.)
This four movie set features films from the 1960s, their heyday and includes Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (for which Taylor received an Academy Award), The V.I.P.s, The Sandpiper (which received an oscar for the song The Shadow of Your Smile) and The Comedians.
Order this Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection from Amazon.
What do YOU think are the BEST Elizabeth Taylor movies?
at the movies!
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Author's Note: This page first written elsewhere in 2011.