Audrey Hepburn is not only one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie stars but a fashion icon, philanthropist, and considered to be one of the most beautiful women of all time. As if that wasn't enough, she's also one of only 16 people with the ultimate Hollywood achievement – EGOT status. She's won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards for her performances across her 19-year career. Here are 27 beloved Audrey Hepburn movies to inspire your next classic movie night pick.
Dutch in Seven Lessons – 1948
Dutch in Seven Lessons was originally a documentary about the Netherlands that was later expanded to a feature film. An 18-year-old Hepburn playing a flight attendant made her professional film debut in a small role.
One Wild Oat – 1951
One Wild Oat was Audrey Hepburn's first major movie appearance. Starring Stanley Holloway and Robertson Hare, this British comedy follows a barrister attempting to intervene in his daughter’s infatuation with a womanizer. Audrey Hepburn makes her first major movie debut in a cameo as a hotel receptionist.
Young Wives’ Tale – 1951
Another British Comedy, Young Wives’ Tale, is about a shy woman who moves in with two married couples. She becomes obsessed with one of the men, and laughter ensues from there. Although not yet the star, in her third film Hepburn has upgraded to a character with an actual name. She plays Eve Lester, the lodger who moves in with the couples.
Laughter in Paradise – 1951
Another comedy, Laugher in Paradise, follows four heirs who must complete a crazy task to inherit a piece of a fortune from their practical joker relative. British humor can be hard for an international audience to understand, but this movie has great comedic moments. Hepburn was originally offered a more substantial role but was forced to turn it down due to a prior commitment to a stage play. So instead, she played a small role as a cigarette girl.
The Lavender Hill Mob – 1951
Although Hepburn once again played a minor role in The Lavender Hill Mob, this British comedy is far more renowned. Ranked the 17th greatest British film of all time, the film stars Alec Guinness (of Star Wars fame) and Stanley Holloway as they plot to smuggle gold bullion by forging the gold into the toy Eiffel Towers. While she isn’t the star, Hepburn finally breaks into a significant movie starring several big names.
Secret People – 1952
Her first foray out of comedy roles, Secret People, is a British drama that follows two sisters, a childhood sweetheart, and an assassination plot to kill a dictator that goes horribly wrong. Not only is this Hepburn’s first drama film, but it is also her first major role in a film.
Monte Carlo Baby – 1953
Monte Carlo Baby is a British/French comedy film and her first billing as the star actor. Two versions of the film were shot, one in English and one in French. Hepburn was one of the only cast members to appear in both versions due to her fluency in French.
While filming Monte Carlo Baby, she met Colette, an influential French writer. She recommended Hepburn for the stage version of her hit novel Gigi, which led to Hepburn’s big film breakthrough and ultimately her Hollywood success.
Roman Holiday – 1953
Roman Holiday introduced Hepburn to Hollywood and made her a star. Hepburn was just 24 years old when her acting career exploded in the wake of starring in Roman Holiday. In her first leading role in a Hollywood film, Audrey Hepburn plays a bored Princess on a state visit to Rome who decides to escape her tightly scheduled and controlled life to embark on her own tour. The delayed reaction of a sedative leads to her falling asleep on a park bench where she is found and presumed to be intoxicated by American reporter Joe Bradley played by legendary leading man Gregory Peck.
Joe lets her spend the night in his apartment without knowing who she is but later brokers a deal for an exclusive story with his editor once he realizes who his guest is. After spending a magical day touring Rome, the pair inevitably fall for each other and, after Princess Ann returns to resume her duties, Joe assures her that the story of their day together will not make it to the press.
Sabrina – 1954
Directed by Billy Wilder, Sabrina is an American romantic comedy/drama that also stars Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Bogart and Holden play Linus and David, the sons of the wealthy Larrabee family. David is a carefree playboy, while Linus is all business. Hepburn plays the daughter of the Larrabee family chauffeur, who has had a crush on David for years. While he has largely ignored her, he finds himself drawn to her upon her return as a sophisticated beauty from a two-year stay in France. However, just as she captures David’s attention, Sabrina finds that she’s also falling in love with Linus, and he is more than a little interested in her as well.
War and Peace – 1956
Based on Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel, War and Peace is an epic historical drama film set during the conflict between Russia and Napoleon-led France in the early 1800s. Although not as notable as some of its epic film contemporaries, the role did garner Hepburn another Best Actress nomination and the largest six-figure paycheck of any movie actress of the time.
Love in the Afternoon – 1957
Hepburn returns to a lighter role in Love in the Afternoon, another Billy Wilder-directed comedy. Starring opposite Gary Cooper, Hepburn plays the daughter of a private detective hired to investigate a notorious playboy. While it wasn't a success at the box office, the film remains charming, and Hepburn’s performance, as always, is extraordinary.
Funny Face – 1957
Also starring Fred Astaire, Funny Face is a musical comedy featuring songs from broadway legends George and Ira Gershwin. In one of Hepburn’s more well-known films, she stars as a shy book shop assistant who inadvertently captures the attention of a fashion magazine publisher and photographer following a photoshoot in her store. She reluctantly accepts a modeling contract because it involves a trip to Paris but soon begins to enjoy her new life as a model.
Green Mansions – 1959
Green Mansions was based on a novel of the same name and featured Hepburn as a young woman living in the jungles of Venezuela. A young man fleeing a revolution ends up meeting her in the jungle, and a romance develops. This film is somewhat like Tarzan, except the roles are reversed. It was an odd role for Hepburn that diverged from all her previous ones but is unique nonetheless and showcases a widening repertoire for the actress.
The Nun’s Story – 1959
The Nun’s Story is about a young woman who leaves a wealthy Belgium family to become a nun. The story follows her devotion struggles against a backdrop of conflict in the years leading up to World War II. Another break from her normal roles, the film was a contemporary success and was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, including Hepburn for Best Actress.
The Unforgiven – 1960
The Unforgiven is a western film about racism against Native Americans, which was unusual for the period. The film centers around the Zachary family, their neighbors on the Texas frontier, and tensions with a nearby Kiowa tribe. Hepburn plays Rachel, the adopted daughter of the Zachary’s, and Burt Lancaster plays Ben, her older brother. Tensions rise when it is revealed that Rachel was taken as an infant from the Kiowa.
Although Hepburn plays an indigenous woman, which she is obviously not, the film does attempt to highlight issues of racism against Native Americans and face some of those topics head-on. This is also Audrey Hepburn’s first and only western film.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 1961
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is thought of as Hepburn’s most iconic role. She plays Holly Golightly, a New York socialite who falls for a struggling writer who moves into her building. Both have a difficult past, but Paul finds himself drawn into Holly’s superficial world, punctuated by frequent visits to the Tiffany & Co. jewelry store. The film opens with a taxi pulling up in front of Tiffany and Co., where Holly emerges carrying her breakfast in a paper bag so that she can peruse the displays.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a huge success, and the film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including another Best Actress nomination for Hepburn. It is easily Hepburn’s most recognized role, and the film has also been selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry due to its cultural, historical, or aesthetical significance.
The Children’s Hour – 1961
On the heels of Breakfast at Tiffany’s came The Children’s Hour, a completely different film. Hepburn stars opposite Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, and Fay Bainter in her final film role. The film follows two college classmates who open a private school for girls, but things take a turn for the worse after one of the girls accuses the friends of being lovers.
Hepburn demonstrates her versatility as an actress. She and MacLaine were praised for their performances, and the film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards.
Charade – 1963
The star-studded cast of Charade features Hepburn along with Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, and James Coburn. Hepburn plays a widow pursued by multiple men who believe her recently murdered husband had stolen a fortune.
Charade is known as a film of many genres. There are aspects of romance, comedy, and suspense. The many plot twists and casting of Cary Grant led many to think Alfred Hitchcock had directed the film, and Charade has been dubbed “the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made.”
Paris When It Sizzles – 1964
Paris When It Sizzles is yet another romantic comedy. The film follows Richard Benson, a screenwriter who has been living it up in Paris instead of completing his latest project. Hepburn plays a temporary secretary Benson has hired to type the script, but instead, she helps him complete it in time for the two-day deadline.
My Fair Lady – 1964
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is an iconic musical that tells the story of Professor Henry Higgins’ attempt to transform common flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady. Sir Rex Harrison reprises his stage role at the pompous Professor Higgins, and Hepburn exudes sophistication as Eliza. Full of wonderful sets, songs, laughs, and many iconic movie lines, My Fair Lady was the most expensive film made in the U.S. at the time and took home 8 Academy Awards.
Audrey Hepburn had big shoes to fill stepping into the role of Eliza Doolittle, who Dame Julie Andrews played on stage. Despite losing out on the Academy Award (which went to Andrews for Mary Poppins), there’s no question that Audrey Hepburn is a star.
How To Steal a Million – 1966
How to Steal a Million is a riot of a heist comedy. Hepburn stars alongside Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia) and Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Hepburn plays the daughter of an art collector who forges and sells famous paintings. One night, she surprises a burglar (O’Toole) and befriends him to protect her father’s shady dealings. Unfortunately, one of her fathers’ fake pieces is displayed in a museum, and therefore subject to examination. Hepburn employs the burglar to steal the piece to avoid the museum uncovering it as a fake, which she participates in, and hilarity ensues.
How to Steal a Million is one of the funniest Audrey Hepburn films, and as always, she absolutely shines. In addition, the on-screen rapport with Peter O’Toole makes this a must-watch classic.
Two for the Road – 1967
We see a bit of a new side of Hepburn in this film. She has a different hairstyle, and her attire is more of an everyday woman than a movie star.
Wait Until Dark – 1967
In a complete break from any of her prior films, Hepburn plays a blind woman terrorized by criminals in this psychological thriller. Wait Until Dark has murder, suspense, and a doll stuffed with a fortune in drugs.
Hepburn earns yet another Academy Award nomination for her performance, and the film is notable in the thriller genre. It is ranked #55 on AFI’s top 100 thrillers, and the climax of the film is ranked 10th on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
Robin and Marian – 1976
Starring Sean Connery as Robin Hood and Hepburn as Marian, Robin and Marian is a British adventure film based on the legend of Robin Hood. However, instead of the typical story, this film is set 20 years after the events of the traditional tale, after Robin has spent years fighting in the Crusades for King Richard. This film marks Hepburn’s return to the silver screen after almost a decade's absence.
Bloodline – 1979
Yet another thriller, Hepburn plays the daughter of a murdered pharmaceutical company president in Bloodline. She inherits the fortune but soon learns that a power struggle is going on within the company and that she might be next.
They All Laughed – 1981
They All Laughed tells the story of three private detectives hired to investigate two women for infidelity. The tables turn when the detectives end up having romantic interests in the women they are supposed to be investigating.
Always – 1989
Audrey Hepburn leads a star-studded cast in her final film role, including Richard Dreyfuss, John Goodman, and Holly Hunter. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Always tells the story of a recently deceased pilot who mentors a less experienced one who is falling in love with the girlfriend he left behind.
More From Wealth of Geeks
- Audrey Hepburn: The Life Story You May Not Know
- 15 of the Most Unabashedly Romantic Movies Of All Time
- 100 Best Movies of All Time
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Tawnya is a 34-year-old Special Education teacher in the sixth year of my career. Along with her partner, Sebastian, she runs the blog Money Saved is Money Earned. Tawnya has worked extremely hard to reach my goals and remain debt-free.
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