William Powell was a versatile and talented actor who appeared in over 90 films throughout his career, earning critical acclaim and popular success for his charming and witty performances.

Known for his debonair style and impeccable comedic timing, Powell became a leading man in the 1920s and 1930s and continued to captivate audiences with his performances well into the 1950s.

Best William Powell Movies – Introduction

In this list, we will highlight some of his best and most iconic movies that are still revered by fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

1. The Thin Man (1934)

“The Thin Man” is a comedy-mystery film released in 1934 and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Nick Charles, a retired detective who becomes embroiled in a murder case when an old friend goes missing.

The film follows Nick and his wife Nora, played by Myrna Loy, as they investigate the case and try to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance and murder. Powell’s performance in the film is charming and witty, showcasing his talent for playing suave and sophisticated characters.

“The Thin Man” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the comedy-mystery genre. The film offers a clever and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a playful and mischievous energy to the proceedings.

Overall, “The Thin Man” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and charisma as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

The Thin Man (1934)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan (Actors)
  • W.S. Van Dyke (Director) - Albert Hackett (Writer) - Hunt Stromberg (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. My Man Godfrey (1936)

“My Man Godfrey” is a comedy-drama film released in 1936 and directed by Gregory La Cava. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Godfrey, a homeless man who is hired as a butler by a wealthy family.

The film follows Godfrey as he tries to navigate the eccentricities of his new employers, while also trying to maintain his dignity and sense of self-respect.

Powell’s performance in the film is nuanced and poignant, showcasing his talent for playing complex and emotionally resonant characters.

“My Man Godfrey” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the screwball comedy genre. The film offers a witty and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of depth and poignancy to the proceedings.

Overall, “My Man Godfrey” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and emotional range as an actor and offers a charming and entertaining story that continues to resonate with audiences today.

   

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My Man Godfrey
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady (Actors)
  • Gregory La Cava (Director) - Morrie Ryskind (Writer) - Gregory La Cava (Producer)
  • Spanish, French, English (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

3. Mister Roberts (1955)

“Life with Father” is a comedy-drama film released in 1947 and directed by Michael Curtiz. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Clarence Day Sr., a strict and conservative father in 1880s New York City.

The film follows Clarence as he tries to maintain his authority and sense of order in the face of a chaotic and unruly household, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is nuanced and complex, showcasing his talent for playing conflicted and emotionally rich characters.

“Life with Father” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of family-friendly cinema.

The film offers a charming and nostalgic look at life in a bygone era, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of warmth and humor to the proceedings.

Overall, “Life with Father” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and emotional range as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

Mister Roberts [DVD]
  • Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell (Actors)
  • John Ford (Director) - Frank S. Nugent (Writer)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Life with Father (1947)

“Life with Father” is a comedy-drama film released in 1947 and directed by Michael Curtiz. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Clarence Day Sr., a strict and conservative father in 1880s New York City.

The film follows Clarence as he tries to maintain his authority and sense of order in the face of a chaotic and unruly household, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is nuanced and complex, showcasing his talent for playing conflicted and emotionally rich characters.

“Life with Father” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of family-friendly cinema.

The film offers a charming and nostalgic look at life in a bygone era, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of warmth and humor to the proceedings.

Overall, “Life with Father” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and emotional range as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

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Life With Father
  • William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor (Actors)
  • Michael Curtiz (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

5. The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

“The Great Ziegfeld” is a musical film released in 1936 and directed by Robert Z. Leonard. The movie stars William Powell in a supporting role as Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., a famous Broadway producer in the early 20th century.

The film follows Ziegfeld as he tries to maintain his position as a leading producer in the face of changing tastes and economic challenges, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional relationships.

Powell’s performance in the film is understated and effective, showcasing his talent for playing complex and nuanced characters.

“The Great Ziegfeld” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the musical genre. The film offers a lavish and entertaining look at the world of Broadway, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of depth and nuance to the proceedings.

Overall, “The Great Ziegfeld” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood musicals, as it highlights his talent and range as an actor and offers a delightful and engaging story that continues to captivate audiences today.

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The Great Ziegfeld
  • William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer (Actors)
  • Robert Z. Leonard (Director) - William Anthony McGuire (Writer) - Hunt Stromberg (Producer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

6. Libeled Lady (1936)

“Libeled Lady” is a screwball comedy film released in 1936 and directed by Jack Conway. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Warren Haggerty, a newspaper editor who gets caught up in a complicated scheme to prevent a libel lawsuit.

   

The film follows Haggerty as he tries to manipulate the situation to his advantage, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges. Powell’s performance in the film is witty and charming, showcasing his talent for playing suave and sophisticated characters.

“Libeled Lady” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the screwball comedy genre. The film offers a clever and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a playful and mischievous energy to the proceedings.

Overall, “Libeled Lady” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and charisma as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

Libeled Lady (1936)
  • Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy (Actors)
  • Jack Conway (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

“Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid” is a romantic comedy film released in 1948 and directed by Irving Pichel. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Arthur Peabody, a middle-aged man who becomes enamored with a beautiful mermaid.

The film follows Peabody as he tries to keep his love for the mermaid a secret from his wife and friends, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is charming and whimsical, showcasing his talent for playing romantic and lighthearted characters.

“Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of romantic comedy. The film offers a charming and imaginative story, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of warmth and whimsy to the proceedings.

Overall, “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and versatility as an actor and offers a delightful and enchanting story that continues to captivate audiences today.

8. After the Thin Man (1936)

“After the Thin Man” is a comedy-mystery film released in 1936 and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Nick Charles, a retired detective who becomes embroiled in another murder case.

The film is a sequel to “The Thin Man” and follows Nick and his wife Nora, played by Myrna Loy, as they investigate the murder of Nora’s cousin, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is charming and witty, showcasing his talent for playing suave and sophisticated characters.

“After the Thin Man” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the comedy-mystery genre. The film offers a clever and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a playful and mischievous energy to the proceedings.

Overall, “After the Thin Man” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and charisma as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

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After The Thin Man
  • William Powell, Myrna Loy (Actors)
  • W S Van Dyke (Director) - Hunt Stromberg (Producer)
  • English, French, Spanish (Subtitles)

9. Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

“Manhattan Melodrama” is a crime-drama film released in 1934 and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. The movie stars William Powell in a supporting role as Jim Wade, a criminal defense attorney who becomes involved in a love triangle with two childhood friends.

The film follows Wade as he navigates the complexities of his relationships with the two friends, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is nuanced and powerful, showcasing his talent for playing complex and emotionally rich characters.

“Manhattan Melodrama” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of crime-drama cinema. The film offers a compelling and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of depth and nuance to the proceedings.

Overall, “Manhattan Melodrama” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and emotional range as an actor and offers a captivating and thought-provoking story that continues to resonate with audiences today.

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
  • Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy (Actors)
  • W.S. Van Dyke (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

10. The Canary Murder Case (1929)

“The Canary Murder Case” is a mystery film released in 1929 and directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of Philo Vance, a suave and sophisticated detective who investigates a high-profile murder case.

The film follows Vance as he tries to unravel the complicated web of clues and suspects in the case, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is understated and effective, showcasing his talent for playing intelligent and composed characters.

“The Canary Murder Case” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of the mystery genre. The film offers a clever and engaging story, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of wit and charm to the proceedings.

Overall, “The Canary Murder Case” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and sophistication as an actor and offers a delightful and entertaining story that continues to captivate audiences today.

11. The Heavenly Body (1944)

“The Heavenly Body” is a romantic comedy film released in 1944 and directed by Alexander Hall. The movie stars William Powell in the lead role of William “Bill” Whitley, an astronomer who becomes infatuated with a beautiful woman named Vicky.

The film follows Whitley as he tries to balance his passion for astronomy with his growing love for Vicky, while also dealing with a variety of personal and professional challenges.

Powell’s performance in the film is charming and witty, showcasing his talent for playing romantic and lighthearted characters.

“The Heavenly Body” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains a beloved classic of romantic comedy. The film offers a charming and imaginative story, with Powell’s performance adding a sense of warmth and humor to the proceedings.

Overall, “The Heavenly Body” is a must-watch for fans of William Powell and classic Hollywood cinema, as it highlights his talent and versatility as an actor and offers a delightful and enchanting story that continues to captivate audiences today.

THE HEAVENLY BODY
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, James Craig (Actors)
  • Alexander Hall (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3 Reasons To Watch William Powell Movies

Versatility: William Powell was a highly versatile actor who excelled in a range of genres, including drama, comedy, and mystery.

His performances were marked by their nuance, intelligence, and emotional depth, making him one of the most versatile and respected actors of his time.

Charm and Sophistication: Powell’s onscreen persona was defined by his charm, sophistication, and wit. He often played suave and debonair characters who exuded a sense of refinement and elegance, making him a beloved icon of classic Hollywood cinema.

Timeless Appeal: Despite being a product of a bygone era, William Powell’s movies continue to captivate audiences today.

His performances are marked by a timeless quality that transcends time and place, making his films just as enjoyable and relevant today as they were when they were first released.

Best William Powell Movies – Wrap Up

In conclusion, William Powell was one of the most talented and versatile actors of his time, with a career that spanned over three decades and included numerous iconic performances.

From his roles in classic films like “The Thin Man” and “My Man Godfrey” to his dramatic turns in films like “Manhattan Melodrama” and “The Great Ziegfeld,” Powell showcased his talent and range as an actor.

Whether he was playing suave and sophisticated characters or complex and emotionally rich ones, Powell always brought a sense of wit, charm, and intelligence to his performances.

His movies continue to captivate audiences today, making him a beloved icon of classic Hollywood cinema.

If you’re a fan of William Powell or classic Hollywood cinema, be sure to check out some of his best films, including “The Thin Man,” “My Man Godfrey,” “Mister Roberts,” “The Great Ziegfeld,” and “Manhattan Melodrama.”