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The Best Kirk Douglas Movies 

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Updated February 9, 2020 8.1k votes 1.4k voters 89.3k views 78 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.

Kirk Douglas is no stranger to working with popular directors, including Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma and Billy Wilder. Movie fans who love Kirk Douglas have also been known to enjoy films starring Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper.

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1
Spartacus is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis

Released: 1960

Directed by: Stanley 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 ...more

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2
Paths of Glory is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

Released: 1957

Directed by: Stanley 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 ...more

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#48 of 378 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #224 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #39 of 313 The Best Political Films Ever Made

3
The Vikings is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1958

Directed by: Richard 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, ...more
4
Gunfight at the O.K. Cor... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Burt Lancaster

Released: 1957

Directed by: John 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 ...more

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#53 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #14 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s #7 of 78 The Best Burt Lancaster Movies

5
20,000 Leagues Under the... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas

Released: 1954

Directed by: Richard 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 ...more

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#167 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #73 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novelslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Lonely Are the Brave is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau

Released: 1962

Directed by: David 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 ...more

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#190 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #40 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #268 of 530 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

7
Lust for Life is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marion Ross

Released: 1956

Directed by: Vincente 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
8
Detective Story is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, Lee Grant

Released: 1951

Directed by: William 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
In Harm's Way is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda

Released: 1965

Directed by: Otto 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 ...more

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#151 of 378 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #24 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #64 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

10
The Bad and the Beautifu... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon

Released: 1952

Directed by: Vincente 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, ...more

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11
The War Wagon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Sean Connery, John Wayne, Donald Sutherland

Released: 1967

Directed by: Burt 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 ...more

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#73 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #25 of 47 The Greatest Western Movies of the 1960s #70 of 185 The Best Heist Movies

12
Seven Days in May is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster

Released: 1964

Directed by: John 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.

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13
The Final Countdown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross

Released: 1980

Directed by: Don 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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#133 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #119 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made #306 of 526 The Best Fantasy Movies

14
The Man from Snowy River... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson, Gus Mercurio

Released: 1982

Directed by: George 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 ...more

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#76 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #387 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #311 of 317 The Best Movies for Kids

15
Last Train from Gun Hill... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones

Released: 1959

Directed by: John 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

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#117 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #17 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s #48 of 58 The Best '90s Western Movies

16
Young Man with a Horn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day

Released: 1950

Directed by: Michael 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, ...more
17
A Letter to Three Wives ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Thelma Ritter

Released: 1949

Directed by: Joseph 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. ...more
18
Champion is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Ruth Roman

Released: 1949

Directed by: Mark 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 ...more
19
Tough Guys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Kiedis, Burt Lancaster

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jeff Kanew

Tough Guys is a 1986 action comedy film starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Eli Wallach, Charles Durning, Dana Carvey and Darlanne Fluegel. It was directed by Jeff Kanew. This was the first ...more

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20
Ace in the Hole is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Iron Eyes Cody

Released: 1951

Directed by: Billy 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 ...more
21
The List of Adrian Messe... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum

Released: 1963

Directed by: John 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
22
The Villain is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ann-Margret, Kirk Douglas

Released: 1979

Directed by: Hal Needham

The Villain is a 1979 American film. A parody blend of western films and Warner Bros.' Wile E. Coyote cartoon situations, it was directed by Hal Needham and starred Kirk Douglas, Arnold ...more
23
Out of the Past is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Jack Aylward added Kirk Douglas

Released: 1947

Directed by: Jacques 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
Ulysses is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano

Released: 1954

Directed by: Mario Camerini, Mario Bava

Ulysses is a 1954 fantasy-adventure film based on Homer's epic poem Odyssey. The movie was made by director Mario Camerini, who co-wrote the screenplay with writer Franco Brusati. The original ...more
25
The Glass Menagerie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Kirk Douglas Movies
Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman, Arthur Kennedy

Released: 1950

Directed by: Irving 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 ...more