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Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worst

14.5k votes 2.2k voters 97.7k views85 items

List RulesVote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

The best James Stewart movies of all time prove that he was one of the top actors of his generation. Active from the 1930s up to the ‘90s, Stewart has appeared in plenty of blockbusters and critically-acclaimed movies, earning awards and accolades along the way. His highest grossing movies have been well-received at the box office as well, as he was voted as one of the most popular stars for a number of years.

Born in 1908, James Stewart was the oldest of three children. While he wanted to attend the United States Naval Academy, his father was able to persuade him into enrolling in Princeton University. At Princeton, he became attracted to drama and eventually joined a troupe.

During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and went on to serve in the Army Air Force. While he did not see combat for several years—much to his chagrin—he eventually had the opportunity to lead air combat missions over Europe. After the war, he returned to acting and became a leading man. Some of his best work, such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Vertigo, were from this period.

So what are the best James Stewart movies of all time? Is it Rear Window or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? See what fans have ranked as their favorite James Stewart movies below. Movie trailers have been included below if you want a preview of the film. If you think the best James Stewart 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 James Stewart movies should be as comprehensive as possible. 

James Stewart worked with many famous directors, including big names like Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford. Is Stewart your favorite person to watch on the big screen? If so, you might also want to vote on our best Gregory Peck and Henry Fonda films lists too.


  • 1

    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed
    It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and...  more

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  • 2

    Rear Window

    Grace Kelly, James Stewart
    Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written...  more

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    #32 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#18 of 157 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

  • 3

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    James Stewart, Claude Rains
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring James...  more

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    #4 of 340 The Best Political Films Ever Made#156 of 425 The Best Feel-Good Movies

  • 4


    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more

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  • 5


    James Stewart, Fess Parker
    Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster,...  more

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    #86 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#235 of 1,139 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • 6

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    John Wayne, James Stewart
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford...  more

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    #28 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#46 of 99 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

  • 7


    James Stewart, Katharine Ross
    Shenandoah is a 1965 American film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett,...  more

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    #8 of 28 Civil War Movies List#190 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes

  • 8

    Anatomy of a Murder

    James Stewart, George C. Scott
    This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and...  more

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    #64 of 91 The Best Movies That Are Super Long#197 of 306 The Best Ensemble Movies

  • 9

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant
    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,...  more

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    #321 of 781 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#29 of 43 30+ Very Preppy Movies with the Preppiest Characters

  • 10

    Winchester '73

    James Stewart, Rock Hudson
    Winchester '73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James...  more

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    #9 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s#22 of 66 The Best Rock Hudson Movies

  • 11

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    James Stewart, Doris Day
    The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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    #24 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies#63 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

  • 12

    The Shop Around the Corner

    James Stewart, Frank Morgan
    The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by...  more
  • 13

    The Flight of the Phoenix

    James Stewart, Richard Attenborough
    The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and...  more

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    #917 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#6 of 24 The Best Action & Adventure Movies Set in the Desert

  • 14

    The Glenn Miller Story

    James Stewart, Louis Armstrong
    The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film about the eponymous American band-leader,...  more

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    #861 of 1,184 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#56 of 195 The Best Movies About Music

  • 15


    James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock
    Rope is a 1948 American psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the...  more

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  • 16

    You Can't Take It With You

    James Stewart, Jean Arthur
    You Can't Take It With You is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and...  more

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  • 17

    The Spirit of St. Louis

    James Stewart, Murray Hamilton
    The Spirit of St. Louis is a 1957 biographical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring...  more
  • 18

    Broken Arrow

    James Stewart, Debra Paget
    Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves...  more

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    #139 of 400 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#65 of 111 The Best Native American Movies

  • 19

    Call Northside 777

    James Stewart, Thelma Ritter
    Call Northside 777 is a 1948 documentary-style film noir directed by Henry Hathaway. It is...  more
  • 20

    Bell, Book and Candle

    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Bell, Book and Candle is a 1958 American romantic comedy Technicolor film directed by Richard...  more
  • 21

    After the Thin Man

    James Stewart, Myrna Loy
    After the Thin Man is a 1936 American film, starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James...  more
  • 22

    The Cheyenne Social Club

    James Stewart, Henry Fonda
    The Cheyenne Social Club is a 1970 Western comedy, written by James Lee Barrett, directed and...  more

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    #107 of 175 The Best Comedy Movies Of The 1970s#25 of 51 The Best Movies About Wyoming

  • 23

    The Shopworn Angel

    James Stewart, Gary Cooper
    The Shopworn Angel is a 1938 American drama film directed by H. C. Potter and starring James...  more
  • 24

    Dear Brigitte

    Brigitte Bardot, James Stewart
    Dear Brigitte is a 1965 American DeLuxe Color family-comedy in CinemaScope starring James...  more
  • 25

    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

    James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara
    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Henry Koster and...  more