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Every James Stewart Movie, Ranked Best to Worst

13.3k votes 2.3k voters 97.9k 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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  • 1
    716
    98

    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed
    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

  • 2
    545
    87

    Rear Window

    Grace Kelly, James Stewart
    Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written...  more

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    #32 of 231 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#213 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • 3
    451
    93

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    James Stewart, Claude Rains
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring James...  more
  • 4
    417
    90

    Vertigo

    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more

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    #42 of 376 The Best Movies Based On Books#45 of 135 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

  • 5
    394
    84

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    John Wayne, James Stewart
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford...  more

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    #46 of 99 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time#26 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s

  • 6
    395
    85

    Harvey

    James Stewart, Fess Parker
    Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster,...  more

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    #86 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#234 of 1,139 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • 7
    276
    56

    Shenandoah

    James Stewart, Katharine Ross
    Shenandoah is a 1965 American film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett,...  more

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    #8 of 28 Civil War Movies List#191 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes

  • 8
    272
    52

    Anatomy of a Murder

    James Stewart, George C. Scott
    This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and...  more

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    #200 of 306 The Best Ensemble Movies#73 of 90 The Best Movies That Are Super Long

  • 9
    303
    72

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant
    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,...  more

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    #306 of 782 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#29 of 43 30+ Very Preppy Movies with the Preppiest Characters

  • 10
    276
    57

    Winchester '73

    James Stewart, Rock Hudson
    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#22 of 66 The Best Rock Hudson Movies

  • 11
    237
    54

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    James Stewart, Doris Day
    The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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    #25 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies#63 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

  • 12
    270
    57

    The Shop Around the Corner

    James Stewart, Frank Morgan
    The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by...  more
  • 13
    208
    42

    The Flight of the Phoenix

    James Stewart, Richard Attenborough
    The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and...  more

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    #900 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#17 of 24 The Best Action & Adventure Movies Set in the Desert

  • 14
    225
    58

    The Glenn Miller Story

    James Stewart, Louis Armstrong
    The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film about the eponymous American band-leader,...  more

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    #862 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#55 of 195 The Best Movies About Music

  • 15
    214
    53

    Rope

    James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock
    Rope is a 1948 American psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the...  more

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    #7 of 32 The Best Movies That Take Place in Real Time#10 of 13 13 Movies That Launched Their Own Genre

  • 16
    179
    41

    The Spirit of St. Louis

    James Stewart, Murray Hamilton
    The Spirit of St. Louis is a 1957 biographical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring...  more
  • 17
    164
    41

    You Can't Take It With You

    James Stewart, Jean Arthur
    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 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture#127 of 225 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

  • 18
    161
    36

    Broken Arrow

    James Stewart, Debra Paget
    Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves...  more

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    #139 of 400 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#68 of 111 The Best Native American Movies

  • 19
    134
    46

    Bell, Book and Candle

    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Bell, Book and Candle is a 1958 American romantic comedy Technicolor film directed by Richard...  more
  • 20
    136
    30

    Call Northside 777

    James Stewart, Thelma Ritter
    Call Northside 777 is a 1948 documentary-style film noir directed by Henry Hathaway. It is...  more
  • 21
    133
    47

    The Cheyenne Social Club

    James Stewart, Henry Fonda
    The Cheyenne Social Club is a 1970 Western comedy, written by James Lee Barrett, directed and...  more

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    #106 of 175 The Best Comedy Movies Of The 1970s#25 of 51 The Best Movies About Wyoming

  • 22
    229
    29

    After the Thin Man

    James Stewart, Myrna Loy
    After the Thin Man is a 1936 American film, starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James...  more
  • 23
    128
    46

    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

    James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara
    Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Henry Koster and...  more
  • 24
    194
    43

    How the West Was Won

    John Wayne, James Stewart
    How the West Was Won is a 1962 western film written by James R. Webb and John Gay and directed...  more

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    #301 of 557 The Best Film Scores Of All Time#25 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1960s

  • 25
    87
    30

    Cheyenne Autumn

    James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson
    Cheyenne Autumn is a 1964 Western movie starring Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, James...  more