Tony Curtis was a renowned American actor who starred in numerous films throughout his career, which spanned over five decades.

Born Bernard Schwartz in 1925, Curtis made his way to Hollywood in the 1950s and quickly became a leading man in some of the most popular films of the era.

He was known for his versatility and his ability to take on a wide range of roles, from dramatic to comedic.

Curtis appeared in over 100 films during his career and received numerous awards and nominations for his work.

He was a true icon of the silver screen, and his performances continue to be celebrated and studied today.

Best Tony Curtis Movies

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of Tony Curtis’s best movies, highlighting his range as an actor and the impact he had on the film industry.

1. Some Like It Hot (1959)

“Some Like It Hot” is widely regarded as one of Tony Curtis’s best films, as well as one of the greatest comedies of all time.

Directed by Billy Wilder, the film follows two musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), who witness a gangland massacre and go on the run disguised as women in an all-female band.

Curtis gives a hilarious and charming performance as Joe, who falls for the band’s lead singer, played by Marilyn Monroe.

Curtis’s performance as the suave and smooth-talking Joe is one of the film’s highlights, and his chemistry with both Monroe and Lemmon is palpable. The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release and has remained a beloved classic to this day.

Some Like It Hot
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, George Raft (Actors)
  • Billy Wilder (Director) - R. Thoeren (Writer) - Billy Wilder (Producer)
  • English, French (Playback Language)
  • English, French (Subtitles)

2.The Defiant Ones (1958)

“The Defiant Ones” is a drama film directed by Stanley Kramer, which tells the story of two convicts, one black (Sidney Poitier) and one white (Tony Curtis), who escape from a prison chain gang while shackled together.

As they flee through the South, the two men must overcome their racial prejudices and learn to work together in order to survive.

   

Curtis’s performance as the cynical and self-centered white convict, John “Joker” Jackson, is a standout in the film. He brings depth and nuance to the character, who undergoes a transformation as he comes to understand and respect his fellow escapee.

The film was a critical and commercial success and earned Curtis an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

The Defiant Ones (1958)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel (Actors)
  • Stanley Kramer (Director) - Harold Jacob Smith (Writer) - Stanley Kramer (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3.The Boston Strangler (1968)

“The Boston Strangler” is a crime thriller based on the true story of a serial killer who terrorized the city of Boston in the 1960s. Tony Curtis plays the role of Albert DeSalvo, a mild-mannered family man who is revealed to be the notorious killer.

Curtis’s performance in “The Boston Strangler” is a departure from his usual charming and comedic roles, as he delivers a chilling portrayal of a disturbed and complex character.

He immerses himself in the role, capturing both the killer’s frightening intensity and his vulnerability. The film was a critical success, and Curtis’s performance was praised by critics and audiences alike.

4.Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

“Sweet Smell of Success” is a film noir drama directed by Alexander Mackendrick, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of Sidney Falco, a press agent who is willing to do whatever it takes to get his clients in the spotlight. Burt Lancaster plays J.J.

Hunsecker, a powerful newspaper columnist who is Falco’s key to success.

Curtis delivers a standout performance as the conniving Sidney Falco, capturing both the character’s desperation and his ruthless ambition.

His chemistry with Lancaster is electric, and the two actors play off each other brilliantly. The film is a dark and gripping exploration of the seedy underbelly of the media world, and Curtis’s performance is one of its most memorable elements.

The Boston Strangler [DVD]
  • Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy (Actors)
  • Richard Fleischer (Director) - Edward Anhalt (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

5.The Great Race (1965)

“The Great Race” is a slapstick comedy directed by Blake Edwards, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of The Great Leslie, a dashing and heroic daredevil who sets out to win a race from New York to Paris in the early 1900s. The film also stars Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood.

Curtis’s performance in “The Great Race” is a delightful blend of charm, humor, and athleticism. He brings a larger-than-life quality to the role of The Great Leslie, who is equal parts swashbuckling hero and suave ladies’ man.

   

The film’s elaborate and outrageous set pieces, including a memorable pie fight, showcase Curtis’s physicality and comedic timing. “The Great Race” remains a beloved classic of the comedy genre and is a testament to Curtis’s versatility as an actor.

The Great Race
  • DVD Not Rated. Has special features.
  • Color 160 minutes. All New digital transfer.
  • Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood (Actors)
  • Blake Edwards (Director) - Arthur Ross (Writer) - Martin Jurow (Producer)
  • English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese (Subtitles)

6.Forbidden (1953)

“Forbidden” is a drama film directed by Rudolph MatΓ©, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of Eddie Darrow, a young man from a working-class background who falls in love with a wealthy older woman, played by Joanne Dru.

Curtis’s performance in “Forbidden” is a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a young man caught between his love for the older woman and the societal pressures that keep them apart.

He brings a vulnerability and emotional depth to the character, showcasing his range as an actor beyond his more well-known comedic roles.

The film was a critical success, and Curtis’s performance was praised by critics for its authenticity and sincerity.

7.Boeing, Boeing (1965)

“Boeing, Boeing” is a comedy film directed by John Rich, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of Bernard Lawrence, a suave American journalist living in Paris who is engaged to three different airline stewardesses, played by Thelma Ritter, Suzanna Leigh, and Christiane Schmidtmer.

   

Curtis’s performance in “Boeing, Boeing” is a perfect showcase of his comedic timing and charm. He effortlessly juggles the three women in his life, each of whom has a different personality and nationality, resulting in a series of hilarious misunderstandings and mishaps.

The film is a light-hearted romp through the swinging sixties, and Curtis’s performance is a key factor in its enduring appeal.

Boeing-Boeing
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis, Dany Saval (Actors)
  • John Rich (Director) - Marc Camoletti (Writer) - Joseph H. Hazen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8.Who Was That Lady? (1960)

“Who Was That Lady?” is a comedy film directed by George Sidney, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of David Wilson, a college professor who convinces his friend, played by Dean Martin, that he is a secret agent in order to cover up an affair he had with one of his students.

Curtis’s performance in “Who Was That Lady?” is a perfect example of his comedic talents. He plays the role of the bumbling professor with a sense of wit and charm, and his chemistry with Dean Martin is palpable.

The film is a lighthearted romp that showcases Curtis’s ability to bring humor and levity to any role.

Who Was That Lady?
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Dean Martin, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis (Actors)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9.The Perfect Furlough (1958)

“The Perfect Furlough” is a comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of Private First Class Paul Hodges, a soldier who is chosen to go on a seven-day furlough with a beautiful movie star, played by Janet Leigh, in order to improve morale among the troops.

Curtis’s performance in “The Perfect Furlough” is a charming and lighthearted portrayal of a soldier who is both excited and nervous about his assignment.

His chemistry with Janet Leigh is palpable, and the two actors play off each other brilliantly. The film is a fun and frothy romantic comedy that showcases Curtis’s charm and comedic timing.

The Perfect Furlough
  • Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn (Actors)
  • Blake Edwards (Director) - Stanley Shapiro (Writer) - Robert Arthur (Producer)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

10.Houdini (1953)

“Houdini” is a biographical film directed by George Marshall, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of the famous escape artist Harry Houdini. The film traces Houdini’s rise to fame, his relationship with his wife, played by Janet Leigh, and his quest to expose fraudulent spiritualists.

Curtis’s performance in “Houdini” is a standout, as he brings a sense of depth and intensity to the character. He captures both Houdini’s charisma and his vulnerability, as well as his obsession with his craft.

The film features several of Houdini’s famous escape acts, which Curtis performs with aplomb. “Houdini” remains a classic biopic of one of the most famous performers in history, and Curtis’s performance is a key factor in its enduring appeal.

Houdini
  • Tony Curtis gives a winning performance as the great Houdini, the struggling circus performer who...
  • Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh (Actors)
  • George Marshall (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

11.Trapeze (1956)

“Trapeze” is a drama film directed by Carol Reed, in which Tony Curtis plays the role of Tino Orsini, a young trapeze artist who teams up with a former star, played by Burt Lancaster, to perform a dangerous and difficult triple somersault.

Curtis’s performance in “Trapeze” is a physically demanding one, as he trained extensively to perform the stunts required for the role.

He brings a sense of athleticism and grace to the character of Tino, who is driven by his passion for the art of the trapeze.

His chemistry with Burt Lancaster is electric, and the two actors play off each other brilliantly. The film is a tribute to the artistry and athleticism of circus performers, and Curtis’s performance is a key factor in its success.

Sale
Trapeze
  • Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida (Actors)
  • Carol Reed (Director) - Β Liam O'Brian (Writer) - Β Harold Hecht (Producer)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3 Reasons To Watch Tony Curtis Movies

Versatility: Tony Curtis was a versatile actor who could take on a wide range of roles, from dramatic to comedic. He had the ability to bring depth and nuance to his characters, making each performance a unique and memorable experience.

Iconic performances: Curtis delivered several iconic performances throughout his career, including his roles in “Some Like It Hot” and “The Defiant Ones”. These performances have stood the test of time and continue to be celebrated and studied today.

Hollywood history: Tony Curtis was a Hollywood icon who appeared in over 100 films during his career. Watching his movies is a way to experience the history of Hollywood and the evolution of the film industry over the course of several decades.

Best Tony Curtis Movies – Wrap Up

Tony Curtis was a talented and versatile actor who starred in numerous films throughout his career, which spanned over five decades.

From comedic roles in “Some Like It Hot” and “The Great Race” to dramatic performances in “The Defiant Ones” and “The Boston Strangler”, Curtis demonstrated his range and depth as an actor.

Other noteworthy films in his career include “Sweet Smell of Success”, “Forbidden”, “Boeing, Boeing”, “Who Was That Lady?”, “The Perfect Furlough”, “Houdini”, and “Trapeze”. These movies showcased his acting abilities, comedic timing, and physicality.

Watching Tony Curtis’s movies not only provides an opportunity to appreciate his talent and the history of Hollywood, but also allows audiences to enjoy timeless classics that continue to entertain and inspire.