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Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worst

14.7k votes 2.2k voters 97.5k 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.

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  • It's a Wonderful Life1
    720
    96

    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed

    Released1946

    Directed byFrank Capra

    It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and...  more
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    It's A Wonderful Life Is Not The Heartwarming Movie You Remember#22 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • Rear Window2
    555
    86

    Rear Window

    Grace Kelly, James Stewart

    Released1954

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    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#201 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington3
    461
    91

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    James Stewart, Claude Rains

    Released1939

    Directed byFrank Capra

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring James...  more
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  • Vertigo4
    424
    90

    Vertigo

    James Stewart, Kim Novak

    Released1958

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more
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    #45 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books#84 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • Harvey5
    404
    82

    Harvey

    James Stewart, Fess Parker

    Released1950

    Directed byHenry Koster

    Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster,...  more
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    #103 of 933 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#239 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance6
    395
    86

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    John Wayne, James Stewart

    Released1962

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford...  more
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    #47 of 99 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time#28 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s

  • Shenandoah7
    278
    54

    Shenandoah

    James Stewart, Katharine Ross

    Released1965

    Directed byAndrew V. McLaglen

    Shenandoah is a 1965 American film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett,...  more
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    #6 of 28 Civil War Movies List#5 of 72 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made

  • Anatomy of a Murder8
    272
    51

    Anatomy of a Murder

    James Stewart, George C. Scott

    Released1959

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and...  more
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    #152 of 261 The Best Ensemble Movies#8 of 27 Actual Lawyers Explain Which Legal Movies They Like The Best

  • The Philadelphia Story9
    309
    69

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

    Released1940

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,...  more
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    #21 of 75 The Greatest Classic Romance Movies#37 of 57 The Funniest Movies About Marriage

  • Winchester '7310
    278
    55

    Winchester '73

    James Stewart, Rock Hudson

    Released1950

    Directed byAnthony Mann

    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#23 of 66 The Best Rock Hudson Movies

  • The Man Who Knew Too Much11
    241
    51

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    James Stewart, Doris Day

    Released1956

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    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#64 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

  • The Shop Around the Corner12
    275
    53

    The Shop Around the Corner

    James Stewart, Frank Morgan

    Released1940

    Directed byErnst Lubitsch

    The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by...  more
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    #424 of 781 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#44 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way

  • The Flight of the Phoenix13
    211
    39

    The Flight of the Phoenix

    James Stewart, Richard Attenborough

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Aldrich

    The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and...  more
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    #910 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#6 of 24 The Best Action & Adventure Movies Set in the Desert

  • The Glenn Miller Story14
    229
    54

    The Glenn Miller Story

    James Stewart, Louis Armstrong

    Released1953

    Directed byAnthony Mann

    The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film about the eponymous American band-leader,...  more
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    #862 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#56 of 192 The Best Movies About Music

  • Rope15
    217
    51

    Rope

    James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1948

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Rope is a 1948 American psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the...  more
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    #10 of 13 13 Movies That Launched Their Own Genre#7 of 32 The Best Movies That Take Place in Real Time

  • You Can't Take It With You16
    169
    36

    You Can't Take It With You

    James Stewart, Jean Arthur

    Released1938

    Directed byFrank Capra

    You Can't Take It With You is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and...  more
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    #82 of 92 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture#42 of 133 The Best Movies Based on Plays

  • The Spirit of St. Louis17
    181
    39

    The Spirit of St. Louis

    James Stewart, Murray Hamilton

    Released1957

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    The Spirit of St. Louis is a 1957 biographical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring...  more
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  • Broken Arrow18
    162
    34

    Broken Arrow

    James Stewart, Debra Paget

    Released1950

    Directed byDelmer Daves

    Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves...  more
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    #140 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#65 of 111 The Best Native American Movies

  • Call Northside 77719
    141
    25

    Call Northside 777

    James Stewart, Thelma Ritter

    Released1948

    Directed byHenry Hathaway

    Call Northside 777 is a 1948 documentary-style film noir directed by Henry Hathaway. It is...  more
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  • Bell, Book and Candle20
    137
    42

    Bell, Book and Candle

    James Stewart, Kim Novak

    Released1958

    Directed byRichard Quine

    Bell, Book and Candle is a 1958 American romantic comedy Technicolor film directed by Richard...  more
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  • After the Thin Man21
    232
    23

    After the Thin Man

    James Stewart, Myrna Loy

    Released1936

    Directed byW. S. Van Dyke

    After the Thin Man is a 1936 American film, starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James...  more
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  • The Shopworn Angel22
    105
    21

    The Shopworn Angel

    James Stewart, Gary Cooper

    Released1938

    Directed byH. C. Potter

    The Shopworn Angel is a 1938 American drama film directed by H. C. Potter and starring James...  more
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  • The Cheyenne Social Club23
    131
    48

    The Cheyenne Social Club

    James Stewart, Henry Fonda

    Released1970

    Directed byGene Kelly

    The Cheyenne Social Club is a 1970 Western comedy, written by James Lee Barrett, directed and...  more
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    #100 of 175 The Best Comedy Movies Of The 1970s#25 of 51 The Best Movies About Wyoming

  • Dear Brigitte24
    111
    27

    Dear Brigitte

    Brigitte Bardot, James Stewart

    Released1965

    Directed byHenry Koster

    Dear Brigitte is a 1965 American DeLuxe Color family-comedy in CinemaScope starring James...  more
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  • Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation25
    128
    47

    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

    James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1962

    Directed byHenry Koster

    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Henry Koster and...  more
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