Entertainment

Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worst 

Reference
Originally by
15.1k votes 2.1k voters 94.6k views 85 items

List Rules Vote 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.

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

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Released: 1946

Directed by: Frank Capra

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren ...more

More It's a Wonderful Life 

#91 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #21 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade It's A Wonderful Life Is Not The Heartwarming Movie You Remember

2
Ranker Video
Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1954

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story. Originally released by Paramount ...more

More Rear Window 

#279 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #367 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

3
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

Released: 1939

Directed by: Frank Capra

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, about one man's effect on American politics. It was directed by Frank Capra ...more

More Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 

#640 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #13 of 80 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worst
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1958

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more

More Vertigo 

#14 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #46 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books

5
Ranker Video
John Wayne, James Stewart, Lee Marvin

Released: 1962

Directed by: John Ford

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford starring James Stewart and John Wayne. The black-and-white film was released by Paramount Pictures. The ...more

More The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 

#7 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #65 of 80 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

6
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Fess Parker, Cecil Kellaway

Released: 1950

Directed by: Henry Koster

Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster, and starring James Stewart and Josephine Hull. The story is about a man whose best friend is a pooka ...more

More Harvey 

#583 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #295 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Ranker Video
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

Released: 1940

Directed by: George Cukor

The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart and featuring Ruth Hussey. Based on the ...more

More The Philadelphia Story 

#588 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #167 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Margaret Sullavan

Released: 1940

Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, and Frank Morgan. The screenplay was ...more

More The Shop Around the Corner 

#71 of 109 The Best Christmas Movies of All Time #16 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way #56 of 105 The Best Valentine's Day Movies

9
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis

Released: 1950

Directed by: Anthony Mann

Winchester '73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, and Stephen McNally. Written by Borden Chase and Robert L. ...more
10
Ranker Video
James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick

Released: 1959

Directed by: Otto Preminger

This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court ...more
11
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Katharine Ross, George Kennedy

Released: 1965

Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen

Shenandoah is a 1965 American film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, and, in her film debut, Katharine Ross. The picture was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. The ...more

More Shenandoah 

#51 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #19 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #264 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

12
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Doris Day, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1956

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a somewhat altered remake in widescreen VistaVision and ...more

More The Man Who Knew Too Much 

#83 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel #14 of 33 The Scariest Alfred Hitchcock Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Louis Armstrong, Marion Ross

Released: 1953

Directed by: Anthony Mann

The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film about the eponymous American band-leader, directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart in their first non-western collaboration. ...more

More The Glenn Miller Story 

#30 of 52 The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians #34 of 79 The Best Movies About Bandslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, and based on the 1964 novel The Flight of the Phoenix by Elleston Trevor. ...more

More The Flight of the Phoenix 

#106 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #54 of 194 The Best Movies of the '60s #6 of 23 The Best Action & Adventure Movies Set in the Desert

15
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Cedric Hardwicke

Released: 1948

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Rope is a 1948 American psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1929 play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton and adapted by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents. The ...more

More Rope 

#182 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #16 of 25 The 25 Best Movies That Take Place in One Day

16
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Marc Connelly

Released: 1957

Directed by: Billy Wilder

The Spirit of St. Louis is a 1957 biographical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring James Stewart as Charles Lindbergh. The screenplay was adapted by Charles Lederer, Wendell Mayes, and ...more
17
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Ann Miller

Released: 1938

Directed by: Frank Capra

You Can't Take It With You is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, and Edward Arnold. Adapted from the Pulitzer ...more

More You Can't Take It With You 

#82 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture #152 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made #24 of 75 The Greatest Classic Romance Movies

18
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Thelma Ritter, Lee J. Cobb

Released: 1948

Directed by: Henry Hathaway

Call Northside 777 is a 1948 documentary-style film noir directed by Henry Hathaway. It is based on the true story of a Chicago reporter who proved that a man in prison for murder was wrongly ...more
19
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Debra Paget, Will Geer

Released: 1950

Directed by: Delmer Daves

Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves and starred James Stewart as Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler as Cochise. The film is based on these ...more
20
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan

Released: 1953

Directed by: Anthony Mann

The Naked Spur is a 1953 Technicolor American western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and Robert Ryan. Written by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom, the film ...more

More The Naked Spur 

#106 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #33 of 47 The Best '50s Thriller Movies

21
Ranker Video
John Wayne, James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds

Released: 1962

Directed by: Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, John Ford, Richard Thorpe

How the West Was Won is a 1962 western film written by James R. Webb and John Gay and directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall and Richard Thorpe.

More How the West Was Won 

#25 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,268 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Jack Elam, Arthur Kennedy

Released: 1955

Directed by: Anthony Mann

The Man from Laramie is a 1955 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, and Cathy O'Donnell. Written by Philip Yordan and Frank ...more
23
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Billy Gilbert

Released: 1939

Directed by: George Marshall

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, ...more
24
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Rock Hudson, Harry Morgan

Released: 1952

Directed by: Anthony Mann

Bend of the River is a 1952 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, and Rock Hudson. Based on the 1952 novel Bend of the Snake by ...more

More Bend of the River 

#105 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #23 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s

25
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart

Released: 1976

Directed by: Don Siegel

The Shootist is a 1976 Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring John Wayne in his final film role, about a gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to stop with the least ...more

More The Shootist 

#23 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #112 of 125 Movies That Should Never Be Remade