The 10 Best Marilyn Monroe Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best

Although Andrew Dominick’s salacious biopic Blond slated to hit Netflix until December 2022, the Ana de Armas movie is already making headlines. Adapted from a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the film promises to dive deep into the legend of Marilyn Monroe and offer a new look at the tortured ingenue.

Since her brief appearance as a rising actress in All about Eve until her tragic death in 1962, Marilyn Monroe became one of the most indelible movie icons of all time. But even as a screen icon, Monroe remains frustratingly underrated as an actress and comic book star.


ten The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

This Billy Wilder comedy is best known for Monroe standing above a subway grate as an unfortunate gust of wind creates one of the most suggestive images in Hollywood history. Unfortunately, things don’t get much better from there.

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Centered on a mild-mannered worker who suddenly falls for the bright blonde staying in the upstairs apartment, The Seven Year Itch does little more than ogle Monroe’s curves and revel in her playful naivety. Although she succeeds in her mission, the film itself is more artifact than entertainment.

9 Niagara (1953)

Marilyn Monroe in Niagara

Although still under contract as a stock player (leading her to be significantly underpaid throughout her career), Monroe was soon given the spotlight in several films throughout 1953. In this somewhat forgotten domestic thriller, ranked among the best Monroe films by IMDb, she stars as an evil femme fatale married to everyone, Joseph Cotton.

Although he is largely remembered for his comedic roles (including Men prefer blondes and how to marry a millionaire, both also released in 1953) Monroe proves to be surprisingly capable of threat and manipulation, leading to several seductive moments for the young starlet.

8 Don’t Bother Knocking (1952)

Marilyn Monroe in a bedroom in Don't Bother to Knock

A year before becoming a femme fatale in her own right niagara, Monroe starred as a lovesick babysitter in this fun little thriller from director Roy Ward Baker. Having already starred in a dozen movies, this was Monroe’s first opportunity as a headliner and it didn’t disappoint.

The film also includes worthy performances from Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft (in her film debut), but Monroe’s livewire performance is by far the most interesting element of the film. Her mania is truly gripping, but she manages to lend sad depth to the bizarre role she’s been given.

seven River of No Return (1954)

Few remember Monroe’s trip to the Old West, but she unsurprisingly stars against a rugged Robert Mitchum in Otto Preminger’s romantic adventure loosely modeled on that of Vittorio de Sica. Bike thieves. As a sultry saloon singer turned frontier farmer during the 19th century gold rush, Monroe was a vision in both her glittery suits and rough work clothes.

The production was plagued with difficulties, including dangerous stunts and a conflict between Preminger and Monroe when the actress tried to modify her soft voice. Preminger would end up leaving the film in the middle of filming, leaving Monroe as a favorite and How to marry a millionaire director Jean Negulesco to finish the job.

6 How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Monroe is the standout player alongside fellow stars Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable in this charming romantic comedy about three fashionable Manhattan models in search of wealthy husbands. The three actresses, all at different phases of their illustrious careers, play each other beautifully, but Monroe still manages to steal every scene she finds herself in with perfect delivery and poise.

How to marry a millionaire was one of Monroe’s many collaborations with costume designer William Travilla, who crafted nearly all of her most famous outfits and earned an Oscar nomination for her work in this film, including the eye-catching red swimsuit of Monroe.

5 Monkey Business (1952)

Monroe excelled as a supporting bombshell, lead director Howard Hawks cast her in his next film Men prefer blondes. Playing a naturally young secretary for the artificially young scientist played by Cary Grant, Monroe manages to be undeniably charming.

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Its innocent pacing fits perfectly into the unique musicality of Hawks’ approach to dialogue, especially when playing against Grant’s frenetic energy. Although she may not have been the star of the show, Monroe proved to be more than just eye candy and audiences were eager to see more.

4 The Misfits (1961)

In Marilyn Monroe’s controversial latest film, she dug deeper than she’s ever done before. Written for the screen by her then-husband Arthur Miller, the film was meant to be a “valentine” for the starlet as she hoped to show new sides of her acting skills.

Working diligently with her longtime trainer Lee Strasburg and acting alongside screen legends Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable (who also died shortly after the film’s release), Monroe showed a vulnerability that she didn’t hadn’t expressed on screen yet. Her sensitive divorcee looking for any kind of kindness and security she can find, served as a sad coda to the actress’ brief and successful career.

3 The Prince and the Dancer (1957)

Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Dancer

While not remembered as well as some of Monroe’s other films, this light-hearted culture clash comedy is a wonderful showcase for Monroe’s comedic talents. Playing against stage and screen legend Laurence Olivier, Monroe stars as an American showgirl in London who nearly destabilizes a nation by catching the attention of a visiting regent.

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It was Monroe herself who led the creation of this film, first acquiring the rights to the London hit play by Terence Rattigan, The Sleeping Prince. She then attracted Olivier, and although there was tension on set, Olivier would later state that “no one had such a look of unconscious wisdom”.

2 Some Like It Hot (1959)

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot

Monroe personally fought for the role of Sugar in Billy Wilder’s saucy comedy and her successful lobbying led to the most famous role of her career. it doesn’t hurt either Some like it hotstarring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, became one of the most heralded comedies in Hollywood history.

While some elements of this classic comedy have aged badly, and Monroe herself is largely seen as a romantic object, preventing her from being her best, the film is an undeniable tour de force for Wilder, who was already responsible for some of Hollywood’s early films. the biggest hits.

1 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

This Howard Hawks musical is the perfect showcase of everything that made Marilyn Monroe a movie star. Set largely on a luxurious ocean liner to Paris, Marilyn plays money-conscious showgirl Lorelei Lee, traveling with her best friend and glam partner Dorothy (played by a dryly funny Jane Russell).

Arguably the most famous sequence in the film is Monroe’s legendary performance “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”, a sequence that has become emblematic of Monroe’s allure. But her performance is stellar on every level, cementing her not only as the era’s greatest beauty, but also as one of its greatest comedians.

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