Top 10 Humphrey Bogart Movies
Hollywood icon Humphrey Bogart is an actor who has risen past being a great entertainer and has become a certified cultural icon. Even those who have never seen one of his movies recognize the soulful eyes, trademark fedora and effortlessly cool demeanor. The argument could be made that Bogart has starred in more truly great cinematic classics than any other actor in American cinema. His ability to play everyman type characters with a certain magnetism has made him one of the most beloved actors to ever hit the silver screen. In honor of this cinematic legend here our the Top 10 Humphrey Bogart movies.
1. Casablanca: If you were surprised to see this one on the list, you should really reassess your knowledge of the pop culture. One of the most beloved pictures of all time, Casablanca is often miscast as a romantic film. Bogart went down in film history playing Rick, the aloof night club owner who has made peace with living his life on his own terms while ignoring the fact that the Second World War is raging beyond the city of Casablanca. Rick’s life is turned on its head when the only woman he ever loved, Ilsa waltzes into his bar accompanied by her husband Victor Laszlo who is a key figure in the resistance against the Nazis. No matter how much Rick tries to shut out the rest of the world, it all comes crashing down on his little bar as the Nazis also come into Casablanca looking to keep Lazslo from leaving town and spreading his influence. Like many of Bogart’s best characters, Rick is a world-weary everyman caught between forces much bigger than he is. In this picture he plays a man who must decide the fate of the world in a sense; does he help the Nazis keep Victor Laszlo from his mission or does he help the famed freedom fighter escape even if it mean he takes Ilsa with him?
2. The Maltese Falcon: The film that took Bogart from being typecast as a gangster and made him into a leading man. In first movie to fall into the genre of film noir, Sam Spade is a world weary PI who finds himself in way over his head. When his partner is murdered he begins the hunt for the killer otherwise it will be bad for business. But what begins as a simple case completely changes as Spade finds himself caught up in a chase for a fabled treasure, the Maltese Falcon. A powerful crime boss, a scheming thief, and a femme fatale all have their aims on obtaining this prize with Spade caught in the middle. Now the PI has to survive using nothing but his wits and gumption to help him out. The Maltese Falcon is the perfect example of the character Bogart played so well as an anti-hero with an undeniable streak of coolness in every scene.
3. Key Largo: Directed by frequent Bogart collaborator the legendary John Huston Key Largo this was another film featuring Bogie and the true love of his life Lauren Bacall. Looking to connect with the family of an old army buddy, Bogart’s character Frank McCloud ends up in a hotel in the Florida Keys as a hurricane is coming in. But the hurricane is not the only disaster, as the most of the few remaining guests in the hotel are working for the notorious gangster Johnny Rocco perfectly played by famed cinematic baddie Edward G. Robinson. Frank and the family are taken hostage and as the storm gets worse the tension grows among the characters. Easily one of the best flicks in the filmography of Huston and Bogart, Key Largo‘s reputation as a classic is well deserved.
4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Because who does not enjoy saying “Badges?…We don’t need no stinking badges!” this line has become one of the most oft quoted in movie history, even by those who have never seen this classic flick. Adapted by John Huston from a novel by B. Traven this was the first American movie filmed in a foreign nation. During the turmoil of Mexican Revolution, a group of Americans venture to the Sierra Madre mountain range in search of lost gold. Naturally this leads to betrayal and suspicions, Bogart’s character Dobbs, grows particularly paranoid of his compatriots and has no problem utilizing violence to get what he feels is his.
5. The African Queen: Many feel this picture showed Humphrey Bogart’s true range as he does not play a grizzled PI or world-weary antihero but rather, he portrays a boorish adventurer in his boat the African Queen. Sharing the screen with him in this classic is fellow Hollywood icon Katharine Hepburn who plays a missionary who is his opposite in every way. He is hired to transport Hepburn on his steamer ship as the First World War breaks out and an infamous German gunboats is patrolling the waters. Using intellect and ingenuity the couple is able to evade the Germans while growing closer in the process. The African Queen is one of the most beloved pictures in American cinema and is yet another one of Bogie’s film chosen to be preserved by the Library of Congress.
6. In a Lonely Place: One of the hallmarks of film noir is the razor sharp dialogue and this movie has some of the best.Produced by the star himself, this film allowed Bogart to play a screenwriter, an occupation he held a deep respect for. His protagonist, with the ridiculously cool name of Dixon Steele, is a down on his luck screenwriter who finds himself framed for murder. He attempts to clear his name with his girlfriend Laurel by his side. But as she gets closer to him and learns more of Steele’s secrets the more she grows suspicious of the writer and wonders if he truly is a murderer.
7. The Petrified Forrest: Much like Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney, Bogart began his legendary career performing in the myriad of early gangster flick produced by Warner Brothers. In the Petrified Forest, he and the legendary Bette Davis star in a picture which is often credited for paving the way for the film noir genre. In an Arizona diner a collection of burnt out and jaded people are taken hostage by notorious gangster Duke Mantee. Bogart’s Mantee only wants to hideout there until his girlfriend can rendezvous with him for their escape to Mexico, but he has no problem using violence to keep his control on the situation. At this stage of his career, Bogart had yet to hit it big and is playing a supporting role, yet he proves more than capable of holding his own with stars like Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. And his character of Duke Mantee is fondly remembered alongside Cody Jarrett and Little Caesar as one of the great villains of the classic gangster era.
8. The Caine Mutiny: Based on the Pulitzer winning book by the same name, Bogart portrays, Captain Queeg, a strict Naval officer on the mine sweeping ship the Caine. As their mission continues on his men become more on edge as his paranoia grows. Eventually a mutiny is staged, but the men behind it must answer for their actions. Everything seemingly rests on the testimony of a single ensign terrified of what will happen.
9. Sabrina: Another film where Humphrey Bogart plays a romantic lead and proves he was just as good at that as he was playing steely-eyed badasses. Sharing the screen with fellow acting legends Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. Hepburn plays, Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of a wealthy Larrabee family’s chauffeur. After spending time in Paris she returns home with a make-over and a more worldly sense of style. This of course gets the attention of her old crush David Larrabee the carefree playboy brother who gallivants around as his brother Linus, played by Bogart, runs the family company. The closer Sabrina gets to David the more she realizes that Linus is the one she really has feelings for. Despite burying himself in work Linus knows deep down he has feelings for her as well.
10. High Sierra: Another of Bogart’s films which bridged the gap between the gangster film and the film noir. As a master criminal recently released from prison Bogie finds his services requested by a California crime boss. A team is assembled for the job but they lack any form of cohesion. When things go downhill Roy and his new flame find themselves hunted down by an intense police manhunt.