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The Best Kirk Douglas Movies

Updated September 9, 2020 8.0k votes 1.5k voters 90.5k views78 items

Here is a list of the best Kirk Douglas movies, ranked best to worst. It's hard to say which of his films are the greatest, but Kirk Douglas's performance in Spartacus certainly ranks amongst his best. Kirk Douglas's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top Kirk Douglas movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated Kirk Douglas movies will be at the top of the list. Kirk Douglas has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest Kirk Douglas movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining Kirk Douglas films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best Kirk Douglas role isn't at the top, then vote it up so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest Kirk Douglas performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand. He was born in Beverly Hills, CA, and died at the age of 103 after acting in films for over five decades.

The list you're viewing has a variety of films, like Paths of Glory and The Vikings, in it.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best Kirk Douglas movies?" and "What are the greatest Kirk Douglas roles of all time?" If you are a fan of Douglas' classic films, you might also enjoy our list of best Burt Lancaster movies and best Michael Douglas movies.

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    Spartacus

    Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier

    Released1960

    Released1960

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Spartacus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on the novel Spartacus by Howard Fast. It was inspired by the life story...  more

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    #92 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#45 of 376 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 2
    225
    59

    Paths of Glory

    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou

    Released1957

    Released1957

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Paths of Glory is a 1957 American film by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb. Set during WWI, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the commanding officer of...  more

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    #230 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#34 of 335 The Best Political Films Ever Made

  • 3
    147
    40

    Lust for Life

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn

    Released1956

    Released1956

    Directed byVincente Minnelli, George Cukor

    Directed byVincente Minnelli, George Cukor

    Lust for Life is a MGM biographical film about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, based on the 1934 novel by Irving Stone and adapted by Norman Corwin. It was directed by Vincente...  more

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    #14 of 96 Great Period Movies Set in the 19th Century#8 of 100 The Best Movies About Art & Artists

  • 4
    166
    55

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre

    Released1954

    Released1954

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. It was the first CinemaScope science fiction film and was...  more

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    #89 of 98 The Best Film Adaptations Of Young Adult Novels#56 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • 5
    178
    69

    Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

    Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper

    Released1957

    Released1957

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a 1957 American film starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, based on a real event which took place on October 26, 1881. The picture was...  more

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    #53 of 401 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#17 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s

  • 6
    120
    31

    Seven Days in May

    Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner

    Released1964

    Released1964

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

    Seven Days in May is a 1964 drama-romance film written by Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey II and Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer....  more

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    #1246 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#20 of 100 The Best Cold War Movies

  • 7
    170
    60

    Lonely Are the Brave

    Kirk Douglas, George Kennedy

    Released1962

    Released1962

    Directed byDavid Miller

    Directed byDavid Miller

    Lonely Are the Brave is a 1962 film adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy. The film was directed by David Miller from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboy...  more
  • 8
    132
    40

    Detective Story

    Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker

    Released1951

    Released1951

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Detective Story is a 1951 film noir which tells the story of one day in the lives of the various people who populate a police detective squad. It features Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William...  more
  • 9
    139
    46

    The Bad and the Beautiful

    Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner

    Released1952

    Released1952

    Directed byVincente Minnelli

    Directed byVincente Minnelli

    The Bad and the Beautiful is a 1952 MGM melodramatic film that tells the story of a film producer who alienates all around him. It stars Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry...  more
  • 10
    100
    37

    The Man from Snowy River

    Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson

    Released1982

    Released1982

    Directed byGeorge T. Miller

    Directed byGeorge T. Miller

    The Man from Snowy River is a 1982 Australian drama film based on the Banjo Paterson poem The Man from Snowy River. The film had a cast including Kirk Douglas in a dual role as the brothers Harrison...  more

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    #380 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#339 of 557 The Best Film Scores Of All Time

  • 11
    100
    29

    A Letter to Three Wives

    Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain

    Released1949

    Released1949

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    A Letter to Three Wives is a 1949 American romantic drama film which tells the story of a woman who mails a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with the husband of one of them. It...  more
  • 12
    129
    52

    In Harm's Way

    John Wayne, Kirk Douglas

    Released1965

    Released1965

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    In Harm's Way is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by Otto Preminger and starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Stanley Holloway, Burgess Meredith,...  more

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    #151 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#18 of 223 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

  • 13
    133
    66

    The War Wagon

    Sean Connery, John Wayne

    Released1967

    Released1967

    Directed byBurt Kennedy

    Directed byBurt Kennedy

    This film is a 1967 Western film starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, released by Universal Pictures, directed by Burt Kennedy, produced by Marvin Schwartz and adapted by Clair Huffaker from his own...  more

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    #21 of 46 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s#43 of 73 The Very Best Sean Connery Movies

  • 14
    73
    22

    Young Man with a Horn

    Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall

    Released1950

    Released1950

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Young Man with a Horn is a 1950 musical drama film based on a novel of the same name by Dorothy Baker inspired by the life of Bix Beiderbecke, the jazz cornetist. The movie stars Kirk Douglas, Lauren...  more
  • 15
    88
    34

    Champion

    Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy

    Released1949

    Released1949

    Directed byMark Robson

    Directed byMark Robson

    Champion is a 1949 American film noir drama based on a short story by Ring Lardner. Filmed in black-and-white, it recounts the struggles of boxer "Midge" Kelly fighting his own demons while working...  more
  • 16
    112
    58

    The Final Countdown

    Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen

    Released1980

    Released1980

    Directed byDon Taylor

    Directed byDon Taylor

    The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate history science fiction film about a modern ship that travels through time to a day before the 1941. Produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and directed by Don...  more

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    #275 of 442 The Best Fantasy Movies#7 of 57 The Best Sci-Fi Movies on Amazon Prime

  • 17
    224
    174

    The Vikings

    Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh

    Released1958

    Released1958

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    The Vikings is a 1958 adventure film directed by Richard Fleischer and filmed in Technicolor. It was produced by and stars Kirk Douglas. It is based on the novel The Viking by Edison Marshall, which...  more
  • 18
    144
    32

    There Was a Crooked Man...

    Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda

    Released1970

    Released1970

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    This film is a 1970 western starring Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It was written by David Newman and Robert Benton, their first script to be produced after...  more
  • 19
    95
    50

    Last Train from Gun Hill

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn

    Released1959

    Released1959

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Last Train from Gun Hill is a 1959 Western by action director John Sturges. It stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones and Earl Holliman. Douglas and Holliman had previously appeared...  more
  • 20
    137
    34

    Ace in the Hole

    Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling

    Released1951

    Released1951

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Ace in the Hole is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper. It marked a series of firsts for...  more
  • 21
    110
    28

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

    Kirk Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck

    Released1946

    Released1946

    Directed byLewis Milestone

    Directed byLewis Milestone

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is a black-and-white film noir released in the United States in 1946, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and featuring Kirk Douglas in his film...  more
  • 22
    73
    43

    Greedy

    Kirsten Dunst, Michael J. Fox

    Released1994

    Released1994

    Directed byJonathan Lynn

    Directed byJonathan Lynn

    Greedy is a 1994 comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn and written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. The film starred Michael J. Fox, Kirk Douglas, and Nancy Travis, with Phil Hartman, Ed Begley,...  more
  • 23
    98
    37

    Released1947

    Released1947

    Directed byJacques Tourneur

    Directed byJacques Tourneur

    Out of the Past is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. The film was adapted by Daniel Mainwaring, with uncredited revisions by...  more
  • 24
    55
    35

    The Glass Menagerie

    Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman

    Released1950

    Released1950

    Directed byIrving Rapper

    Directed byIrving Rapper

    The Glass Menagerie is a 1950 American drama film directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Tennessee Williams and Peter Berneis is based on the 1944 Williams play of the same title. It was the...  more
  • 25
    88
    34

    The Big Sky

    Kirk Douglas, Jim Davis

    Released1952

    Released1952

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    The Big Sky is a 1952 American Western film directed by Howard Hawks, based on the novel of the same name. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dewey Martin and Elizabeth Threatt. Though...  more