While Grace Kelly doesn't have a large filmography, having starred in 11 movies, she makes up for quantity with quality. Her work in these films is so impressive, and it's almost a shame that she left to be a princess. Who knows what other characters she could have brought to life? Let's take a look at her film performances.
1. Rear Window (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Rear Window is one of Hitchcock‘s best and one of three where his leading lady was Grace Kelly. She stars opposite James Stewart, another of the director's favorites. According to Stewart, she was great to work with and had an instinctive acting ability. He said she had a “complete understanding of the way motion picture acting is carried out.”
An Injured Photographer
Kelly's skills shine through her multilayered portrayal of Lisa, the girlfriend of Jeff (Stewart), an injured photographer. He passes the time recuperating by watching his neighbors in their apartments. One day, he believes that one of his neighbors murdered his wife and tries to prove it.
Soon Lisa gets in on it and goes herself to investigate. Kelly presents a character who is sassy, daring, and confident in who she is.
2. Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Flipping the situation around, Grace Kelly instead plays a woman about to be murdered in Dial M for Murder. Not only did she play a character who descends into dismay throughout the film she also contributed to the story's realism by offering insight into costume choices.
Kelly rebuffed Hitchcock's choice of a fancy robe for one of the scenes, insisting that a woman alone would answer the phone in her nightgown. She was right, and Hitchcock let her make her costume decisions afterward.
A Plan for Murder
The story revolves around a married couple, Margot (Kelly) and Tony (Ray Milland). It is revealed that Margot had an affair, so Tony comes up with a plan to murder her and inherit her money. He blackmails an old acquaintance to get him to do it, but things go wrong when Margot kills him in self-defense and the police accuse her of murdering him instead.
How the story unravels and how detailed it is makes for a great thriller.
3. High Noon (1952)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Grace Kelly stars opposite Gary Cooper in this captivating western. Somewhat ironically, there was some question about the believability of casting Cooper, who was 50, with Kelly, who was 21 and played his wife. Not to worry. Apart from being common during the era to have a significant age gap, the two of them also had an affair during filming.
A Criminal Comes for Revenge
The chemistry is evident between Will (Cooper) and his wife Amy (Kelly), who are planning to leave their small town when they learn a criminal, who Will turned in when he was a marshal, has been set free and is coming for revenge against him. He enlists the townspeople's help, but they turn cowardly when it comes time to fight. This film was Kelly's big break and helped her make a name for herself.
4. To Catch a Thief (1955)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
In her third and final collaboration with Hitchcock, Grace Kelly stars as Francie in To Catch a Thief opposite another favorite of the director's, Cary Grant. Because he wanted to go to France, Hitchcock made this film but also set Kelly on the path that would end her career. It was here that she met Prince Rainier of Monaco.
A Retired Cat Burglar
The film centers around a retired cat burglar named John Robie (Grant), who is framed for a new string of robberies in his signature style. To clear his name, he sets out on a mission to find this new cat burglar by following a list of the owners of the most expensive jewels. He meets one of them, Francie (Kelly), who soon realizes who he is but pursues him romantically anyway.
When someone steals her mother's jewels, she immediately suspects him. The chemistry between Grant and Kelly and the mystery make this an ideal film of Kelly's to enjoy.
5. High Society (1956)
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
As Grace Kelly's last film before retiring, she goes out on a high note. High Society is a musical remake of 1940's The Philidelphia Story. It follows the same storyline but brings in talented singers, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby.
Blackmail From a Tabloid
Kelly stars as Tracy, who is busily planning her wedding to her second husband-to-be (John Lund) when her ex (Crosby) comes back for the jazz festival, which features Armstrong. Her ex-husband is still helplessly in love with her.
To further complicate matters, a local tabloid blackmails her into covering her upcoming wedding, or they will run an unsavory article about her father. Seeing no other choice, she accepts the intrusion of reporter Mike (Sinatra) and photographer Elizabeth (Celeste Holm) into her house but doesn't make it easy for them.
Soon, Mike finds himself smitten with her too. Kelly is wonderful to watch here as always as she fully embodies her character.
6. The Country Girl (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby met for the first time on the set of The Country Girl. Kelly was engaged to Oleg Cassini, and Crosby was dating his future wife at the time, but apparently, Crosby fell hard for her and even asked her to marry him. While Kelly did call off her engagement, later on, it wasn't for Crosby but for Prince Rainier.
A Washed up Singer & Alcoholic
In one of her stellar dramatic roles, Kelly stars as Georgie, who is married to washed-up singer and alcoholic Frank (Crosby). When director Bernie Dodd (William Holden) decides to hire him for his new play, he thinks that Georgie is the troubled one but soon discovers the truth.
Kelly won her only Academy Award for her role, barely beating out Judy Garland, who was also nominated for Best Actress for her role in A Star is Born.
7. The Swan (1956)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
In an interesting parallel to real life, Grace Kelly plays a princess in The Swan. This film was her second to last performance, and they released it on April 18, 1956, to coincide with her wedding to Prince Rainier.
A Parallel To Real Life
Kelly stars as Alexandra, whose mother is pushing for her to marry Prince Albert, played by Alec Guinness long before his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi. To get Albert's attention, Alexandra flirts with her tutor Dr. Agi (Louis Jourdan), but the plan backfires when she starts having feelings for Agi.
8. Mogambo (1953)
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
While there seems to be some debate about this, supposedly, Grace Kelly had an affair with her co-star, Clark Gable, while filming.
A Big Game Hunter
The film centers around a big-game hunter named Victor, who is in Kenya when he meets Eloise (Ava Gardner) after a friend abandons her. They are immediately attracted to each other, but things get complicated when the Nordleys (Kelly and Donald Sinden) show up for a safari. Mrs. Nordley has an affair with Victor, and the two women soon fight over him.
9. The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
In her only war-related film, Grace Kelly stars in The Bridges at Toko-Ri opposite William Holden. Based on a novel by the same name, Holden only agreed to do the movie if they used the original ending. Filmmakers agreed and followed the story.
Set During The Korean War
The film is set during the Korean War and features Holden in the role of Navy fighter pilot Lt. Harry Brubaker. He is stationed in the Sea of Japan on an aircraft carrier while missing his wife Nancy (Kelly). Instead of returning home, he takes a dangerous bombing mission.
10. Green Fire (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Advertised as an adventure spectacle, Green Fire does place the heroes in some hazardous situations, such as a landslide. While it was Kelly's least favorite film, it delivers some of the promised adventure.
An Emerald in Colombia
The plot revolves around an emerald mine explorer Rian (Stewart Granger) finds in the mountains of Colombia. He fights with a bunch of groups over the mine, such as his business partner Vic (Paul Douglas), Cathy (Kelly), the owner of a coffee plantation nearby, and local outlaws.
11. Fourteen Hours (1951)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
In Grace Kelly's first film, she is far from the leading lady in this film noir about a man who threatens suicide by standing on a ledge for 14 hours. His parents and girlfriend come to dissuade him from jumping as a crowd gathers below.
Grace Kelly's First Film
Kelly plays a minor character and isn't even in the trailer, but she did meet Gary Cooper while on set, who would later be her co-star in High Noon. Her character went unnoticed, so she went back to TV and stage work afterward. Despite getting a higher score than Green Fire, this is her lowest-ranked film because of her lack of success.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Kristen Winiarski has worked as a professional writer for 15 years, studying classic TV shows and films to further her expertise and understanding about how they have evolved. This passion led her to start her own classic movie blog before branching out into the professional entertainment writing world.