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The Best Charlton Heston Movies of All Time, Ranked

Updated September 21, 2019 5.8k votes 783 voters 51.6k views88 items

List RulesYour favorite Charlton Heston movies, regardless of box office or or how big his role.

The best Charlton Heston movies of all time prove that he was one of the greatest actors ever along with being one of the most well-known names. Active from 1941 to 2003, Heston appeared in over 100 of the course of his career. Many of his roles have immortalized him in cinema history. In addition, he’s probably one of the highest grossing movie actors of all time when adjusted for inflation.

Born in 1923, Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter to Lilla (née Charlton) and Russell Whitford Carter. After his parents divorced when he was 10 and his mother later remarried and took on the surname of Heston. He earned a drama scholarship to Northwestern University and went on to enlist with the Army Air Forces in 1944. Following his service, he acted in stage productions and had a number of roles on television.

His first film appearance was as the leading man in the 1950 noir film Dark City, though it was not his breakout role. That wasn’t until 1952, when he starred in The Greatest Show on Earth. From that point, he had a flurry of roles, many of which are still fondly remembered. After all, he was none other than Ben Hur and Moses. Plus, he had the unforgettable line "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

So what are the best Charlton Heston films ever? Is it Ben Hur or Planet of the Apes? See what fans have ranked as their favorite Charlton Heston movies below. Movie trailers have been included if you want a preview of the film. If you think the best Heston role isn't at the top, then vote it up. Don’t see it listed? Add it so that others may vote for it. After all, this list of the best Charlton Heston movies should be as a comprehensive as possible. 

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  • 1
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    Ben-Hur

    Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins
    Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by...  more

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    #49 of 380 The Best Movies Based On Books#107 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes

  • 2
    202
    29

    Planet of the Apes

    Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison
    Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner...  more

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    #253 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

  • 3
    219
    40

    The Ten Commandments

    Charlton Heston, Vincent Price
    The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American religious epic film produced and directed by Cecil B....  more

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    #838 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#57 of 301 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • 4
    118
    28

    Soylent Green

    Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson
    Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and...  more

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    #247 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies Of All Time#26 of 60 The Best Horror Movies About Evil Experiments

  • 5
    100
    20

    Touch of Evil

    Charlton Heston, Orson Welles
    Touch of Evil is a 1958 American thriller film, written, directed by, and co-starring Orson...  more

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    #35 of 225 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made#15 of 17 Director's Cuts That Are Better Than The Theatrical Movies

  • 6
    119
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    El Cid

    Sophia Loren, Charlton Heston
    El Cid is a 1961 historical epic film, a romanticized story of the life of the Christian...  more

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    #113 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#20 of 129 The Best Medieval Movies

  • 7
    99
    24

    The Omega Man

    Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe
    The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring...  more

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    #66 of 180 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies#23 of 107 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks

  • 8
    73
    20

    The Agony and the Ecstasy

    Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison
    The Agony and the Ecstasy is a 1965 film directed by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston as...  more
  • 9
    64
    22

    The Greatest Show on Earth

    James Stewart, Charlton Heston
    The Greatest Show on Earth is a 1952 American drama film produced and directed by Cecil B....  more

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    #2 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#87 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture

  • 10
    71
    19

    The Naked Jungle

    Charlton Heston, Eleanor Parker
    The Naked Jungle is a 1954 film directed by Byron Haskin, and starring Charlton Heston and...  more
  • 11
    64
    22

    Khartoum

    Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier
    Khartoum is a 1966 film written by Robert Ardrey and directed by Basil Dearden. It stars...  more
  • 12
    60
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    The Greatest Story Ever Told

    John Wayne, Charlton Heston
    The Greatest Story Ever Told is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by George...  more

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    #7 of 39 The Greatest Biblical Movies Ever Made#121 of 179 The Best G-Rated Family Movies

  • 13
    63
    28

    Midway

    Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston
    Midway, released in the United Kingdom as Battle of Midway and in the US on video as The...  more

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    #35 of 376 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#94 of 451 The Best Movies For Guys

  • 14
    36
    10

    The Three Musketeers

    Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee
    The Three Musketeers is a 1973 film based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It was...  more

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    #746 of 1,139 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#202 of 552 The Best '70s Movies

  • 15
    136
    21

    The Mountain Men

    Charlton Heston, Brian Keith
    The Mountain Men is a 1980 adventure/Western film starring Charlton Heston and Brian Keith....  more

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    #13 of 33 The Best Movies About Hunting#23 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies

  • 16
    50
    22

    Earthquake

    Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner
    Earthquake is a 1974 American ensemble disaster film directed and produced by Mark Robson. The...  more

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    #256 of 306 The Best Ensemble Movies#460 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • 17
    27
    9

    Treasure Island

    Christian Bale, Christopher Lee
    Treasure Island is a 1990 TV film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1883 novel...  more
  • 18
    73
    11

    Arrowhead

    Charlton Heston, Jack Palance
    Arrowhead is a 1953 western film directed by Charles Marquis Warren and starring Charlton...  more
  • 19
    82
    21

    The Big Country

    Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck
    The Big Country is a 1958 American epic Western film directed by William Wyler and starring...  more

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    #59 of 401 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#10 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s

  • 20
    82
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    Ben Hur

    William Wyler, Charlton Heston
    Ben Hur is a 2003 animated film based on the novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew...  more
  • 21
    31
    17

    The Buccaneer

    Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner
    The Buccaneer is a 1958 War film, made by Paramount Pictures like the 1938 version, starring...  more
  • 22
    67
    14

    The War Lord

    Charlton Heston, Maurice Evans
    The War Lord is a 1965 American film about Medieval warfare in 11th century Normandy, starring...  more
  • 23
    65
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    Major Dundee

    Charlton Heston, Richard Harris
    Major Dundee is a 1965 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Charlton Heston,...  more

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    #33 of 46 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s#16 of 70 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made

  • 24
    26
    11

    The Four Musketeers

    Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee
    The Four Musketeers is a 1974 Richard Lester film that is a sequel to The Three Musketeers,...  more

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    #72 of 74 The Best Action Movie Sequels#78 of 168 The Best Costume Drama Movies

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    32
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    The Call of the Wild

    Charlton Heston, Michèle Mercier
    The Call of the Wild is a 1972 family adventure film directed by Ken Annakin and starring...  more