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.
- After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed ...more
- A newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbors through his window. He sees what he believes to be a murder, and decides to solve the crime himself. ...more
- When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn't as noble ...more
- Questions arise when Senator Stoddard (James Stewart) attends the funeral of a local man named Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) in a small Western town. Flashing back, we learn Doniphon saved Stoddard, then ...more
- Semi-retired Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart) takes the case of Army Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife (Lee Remick) claimed that he raped her. Over ...more
- Hitchcock's romantic story of obsession, manipulation and fear. A detective is forced to retire after his fear of heights causes the death of a fellow officer and the girl he was hired to follow. He ...more
- Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) are employees at Matuschek and Company, a general store in Budapest. Klara and Alfred are constantly at odds with each other, butting ...more
- Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is a wealthy drunk who starts having visions of a giant rabbit named Harvey. Elwood lives with his sister Veta (Josephine Hull) and her daughter (Victoria Horne), and ...more
- American Civil War film about a wealthy widower who has remained steadfast in his opposition to the war on moral grounds. However, he is forced to become involved in the conflict when his son-in-law ...more
- Lin McAdam (James Stewart) pursues notorious outlaw Henry "Dutch" Brown (Millard Mitchell) into Dodge City, Kansas. There, in an effort to flush out the criminal, McAdam enters a sharp-shooting ...more
- Tense tale about a group of men who are left stranded in the middle of the Arabian desert after a plane crash. Their only hope of survival is to rebuild the craft so that, phoenix-like, she may fly ...more
- This classic romantic comedy focuses on Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), a Philadelphia socialite who has split from her husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), due both to his drinking and to her ...more
- Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on vacation with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco when a chance encounter with a stranger sets their trip, and their lives, on a drastically different ...more
- Howard Kemp (James Stewart) has been tracking killer Ben Vandergroat (Robert Ryan) for a long time. In the Colorado Rockies, he teams up with prospector Jesse Tate (Millard Mitchell) and former Union ...more
- Destry Rides Again is a 1939 western starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, and directed by George Marshall. The supporting cast includes Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger, Brian Donlevy, Allen ...more
- Setting off on a journey to the west in the 1830s, the Prescott family run into a man named Linus (James Stewart), who helps them fight off a pack of thieves. Linus then marries daughter Eve Prescott ...more
- Will Lockhart (James Stewart) comes to the ranch town of Coronado looking for the man who is selling rifles to the Apaches, because his brother was killed with one. There he runs into Alec Waggoman ...more
- This lauded biopic follows legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh (James Stewart) as he makes his historic solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. The film details earlier events in Lindbergh's ...more
- For a decade, the white settlers and the Apaches have been engaged in a bloody war with no peaceful end in sight. When a white scout, Tom Jeffords (James Stewart), has a dangerously close but ...more
- Sweet-natured Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) falls for banker's son Tony Kirby (James Stewart). But when she invites her snooty prospective in-laws to dinner to give their blessing to the marriage, ...more
- Reformed outlaw Glyn McLyntock (James Stewart) has become a guide for farmers headed to Oregon. When he rescues thief Emerson Cole (Arthur Kennedy) from execution, Cole joins him on the journey. Once ...more
- At the height of the Yukon Gold Rush, cowboy Jeff Webster (James Stewart) and his partner, Ben Tatum (Walter Brennan), want in on the action, and decide to drive their cattle from Wyoming to Yukon. ...more
- Just before hosting a dinner party, Philip Morgan (Farley Granger) and Brandon Shaw (John Dall) strangle a mutual friend to death with a piece of rope, purely as a Nietzsche-inspired philosophical ...more
- Glenn Miller (James Stewart) is a poor trombone player with dreams of fame. Eventually, through years of hard work and determination, he is able to start his own band, and they become one of the most ...more
- J.B. Books (John Wayne, in his final film role) is an aging gunfighter diagnosed with cancer who comes to Nevada at the turn of the 20th century. Renting a room from widowed Bond Rogers (Lauren ...more