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The Best Kirk Douglas Movies

Updated September 9, 2020 8k votes 1.5k voters 90.6k 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.


  • 1


    Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier


    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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  • 2

    Paths of Glory

    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou


    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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  • 3

    Lust for Life

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn


    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
  • 4

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre


    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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  • 5

    Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

    Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper


    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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  • 6

    Seven Days in May

    Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner


    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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  • 7

    Lonely Are the Brave

    Kirk Douglas, George Kennedy


    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

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  • 8

    Detective Story

    Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker


    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

    The Bad and the Beautiful

    Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner


    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

    In Harm's Way

    John Wayne, Kirk Douglas


    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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  • 11

    The Man from Snowy River

    Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson


    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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  • 12

    A Letter to Three Wives

    Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain


    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
  • 13

    The War Wagon

    Sean Connery, John Wayne


    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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  • 14

    Young Man with a Horn

    Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall


    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


    Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy


    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

    The Final Countdown

    Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen


    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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  • 17

    The Vikings

    Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh


    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

    There Was a Crooked Man...

    Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda


    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

    Last Train from Gun Hill

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn


    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

    Ace in the Hole

    Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling


    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


    Kirsten Dunst, Michael J. Fox


    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
  • 22

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

    Kirk Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck


    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
  • 23

    The Glass Menagerie

    Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman


    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
  • 24


    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
  • 25

    The List of Adrian Messenger

    Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas


    Directed byJohn Huston

    The List of Adrian Messenger is a 1963 black and white crime thriller about a retired British intelligence officer investigating a series of apparently unrelated deaths. It was directed by John...  more