This has been a feature idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, and the only constant with it has been the subject for the first one.
Audrey Hepburn had a film career that spanned five decades and consisted of 27 films.
She was not only extremely talented and beautifully, but far more importantly she was a humble and dignified class act who was able to bow out of the limelight to be a family lady and humanitarian.
Her movies remain timeless, and many rank amongst the best from the “Golden Age of Hollywood.”
For the sake of this opinion piece, I must state however that I have not seen every Audrey Hepburn film. Still, I’ve seen a good many, and these are the ones I find to be her best.
You are of course encouraged to sound off in the comments with your own rankings. I look forward to seeing what we agree and disagree on.
Without further ado, let’s kick off the countdown with the fifth best Audrey Hepburn movie.
The Nun’s Story
After leaving a wealthy Belgian family to become a nun, Sister Luke struggles with her devotion to her vows during crisis, disappointment, and World War II.
For whatever reason, “The Nun’s Story” seems to be one of the more underrated Hepburn movies for a lot of people today despite the fact that it was quite successful during its release.
Perhaps because it’s a drama and her more popular films were always romantic comedies (and a couple of musicals too). It may be a tad too long as well at almost two and a half hours.
Still, I think Audrey’s performance as Sister Luke is one of her best.
It’s a powerful movie, and one that certainly isn’t as “fun” as the next few on the list.
If you haven’t seen this film, based on a novel of the same name which in turn is based on a true story, then you should do so.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building.
“Breakfast At Tiffany’s” is Audrey’s most iconic film. It’s the classic where she was THE star. And make no mistake about it, it IS a superb and timeless classic.
This is a bit of weird one for me, because despite her charm being on full display throughout, Audrey’s character is kinda unlikable (to me) for decent chunks of the movie.
It’s not even her smoking and drinking (which aren’t things I’m fond of), but rather her obsession with wanting/thinking she has to marry for money.
It’s an issue with her craziness right up to the very end when she finally sees what is right in front of her (after finally being, and rightfully so, scolded by the man who loves her).
All things considered, this was a very strong performance from Audrey (and of course George Peppard as well).
Romance and suspense in Paris, as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Who can she trust?
Audrey Hepburn. Cary Grant. What more needs to be said?
Anytime you can get a movie with this level of talent in it, at least during that era in Hollywood, you know it’s going to be good.
Both Grant and Hepburn were on top of their game in this thriller, and the twists throughout were excellently done.
Audrey was great in the “who can I trust?” role, while Grant delivered a performance (and of course had the material to work with) that allowed the viewer to continuously wonder whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.
A true masterpiece from start to finish.
A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.
This was the first Audrey Hepburn movie I ever watched, and I dare say it is impossible to watch this and not fall in love with Audrey.
This was her first starring role, and the film that really introduced her to American audiences. She gave such a wonderfully fun performance as Princess Anne that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress (somehow her only one).
Audrey oozed charm and class in this romantic comedy co-starring Gregory Peck (undoubtedly a future subject for the Top 5 Countdown).
A film like this wouldn’t work today. Who could pull off such a role with the dignity and beauty of Hepburn? Beyond that, if this were made today, the two main characters would get a steamy (but PG-13) sex scene their first night together and it’d have the fairy tale ending.
Luckily this movie was made in the 1950’s, and was able to have class and a not traditionally defined “happy ending” (which is to say it doesn’t have the fairy tale ending).
This is an absolute favorite of mine, and if you have never seen an Audrey Hepburn movie, this is the one you should start with.
Wait Until Dark
A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.
For me, this is hands down Audrey’s best performance in a feature film.
She excelled in romantic comedies, like the aforementioned “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday,” in part because she was naturally charming.
She was not, however, blind, and yet if you didn’t know any better then you could easily assume she was actually blind in this film. That takes acting talent, and she delivered in spades.
Audrey is put through the ringer in this film, and many folks consider it one of the scariest films ever made. Her performance was so on point that her transition from seemingly naive and trusting blind woman to smart, fearless and powerful survivor was believable.
Audrey received a nomination for Best Actress for this performance, and with all due respect to the other Hepburn (Katherine, who won for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”), should have won.
That’s my take on the top five Audrey Hepburn movies. Now I want your take.
Sound off in the comments below and let me know where you’d rank these or one you think should be on the list somewhere.