The Best 30 films of Spencer Tracy

by jacobyjhn-18-315763 | created - 10 Aug 2011 | updated - 24 Jan 2015 | Public

One of the greatest actors of all time, Tracy was so far ahead of his time and there was never a false note in any of his performances. He was the consumate movie actor and created many indelible screen characterizations over his wonderful career. Here are 30 of his very best, intended as a tribute to the great Spencer Tracy.

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1. Inherit the Wind (1960)

Passed | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

75 Metascore

Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

Votes: 26,889

2. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Approved | 179 min | Drama, War

60 Metascore

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazis judged for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 68,120

3. Captains Courageous (1937)

G | 117 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A spoiled brat who falls overboard from a steamship gets picked up by a fishing boat, where he's made to earn his keep by joining the crew in their work.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas

Votes: 8,582

4. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Not Rated | 108 min | Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton

Votes: 38,729 | Gross: $56.70M

5. Father of the Bride (1950)

Not Rated | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

76 Metascore

The father of a young woman deals with the emotional pain of her getting married, along with the financial and organizational trouble of arranging the wedding.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor

Votes: 9,835

6. The Last Hurrah (1958)

Approved | 121 min | Comedy, Drama

Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as mayor of a U.S. town for the last time.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster, Pat O'Brien

Votes: 2,969

7. Broken Lance (1954)

Approved | 96 min | Adventure, Western

The saga of the Devereaux rancher family, set in 1880's Arizona.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Jean Peters, Richard Widmark

Votes: 3,374

8. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger

Votes: 18,937

9. The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

Not Rated | 86 min | Adventure, Drama

An old Cuban fisherman's dry spell is broken when he hooks a gigantic fish that drags him out to sea. Based on Ernest Hemingway's story.

Directors: John Sturges, Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Felipe Pazos, Harry Bellaver, Richard Alameda

Votes: 6,984

10. Adam's Rib (1949)

Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell

Votes: 19,181

11. Woman of the Year (1942)

Passed | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Rival reporters Sam and Tess fall in love and get married, only to find their relationship strained when Sam comes to resent Tess' hectic lifestyle.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter, Reginald Owen

Votes: 8,921

12. State of the Union (1948)

Approved | 124 min | Comedy, Drama

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 3,425

13. Pat and Mike (1952)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

79 Metascore

Pat is a women's sports sensation unless her fiancé is around. Her new shady manager Mike keeps them apart and develops feelings for her.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray, William Ching

Votes: 5,046

14. Boys Town (1938)

Passed | 96 min | Biography, Drama

When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to start a home for young boys.

Director: Norman Taurog | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, Leslie Fenton

Votes: 5,078

15. Desk Set (1957)

Approved | 103 min | Comedy, Romance

Two extremely strong personalities clash over the computerization of a television network's research department.

Director: Walter Lang | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Gig Young, Joan Blondell

Votes: 7,537

16. Fury (1936)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel, Bruce Cabot

Votes: 11,072

17. Edison, the Man (1940)

Passed | 107 min | Biography, Drama

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman, Charles Coburn

Votes: 1,494

18. The Seventh Cross (1944)

Passed | 112 min | Drama, Thriller, War

In 1936, seven prisoners escape from a concentration camp. Nazis put up seven crosses for demonstrative executions. The story focuses on one of the fugitives, who relies on own courage and compassion of people to avoid the seventh cross.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Signe Hasso, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy

Votes: 2,399

19. San Francisco (1936)

Passed | 115 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy, Jack Holt

Votes: 4,810

20. Boom Town (1940)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr

Votes: 3,023 | Gross: $9.17M

21. Northwest Passage (1940)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

Directors: King Vidor, Jack Conway, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey

Votes: 3,255

22. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

G | 210 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

59 Metascore

A group of motorists hear about a crook's hidden stash of loot, and race against each other across the country to get to it.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney

Votes: 37,462 | Gross: $46.30M

23. Libeled Lady (1936)

Passed | 98 min | Comedy, Romance

When a socialite sues a big paper for libel, the editor responsible calls in the help of his ignored fiancée and a former employee to frame her and make the false story seem true.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy

Votes: 6,901

24. Test Pilot (1938)

Passed | 119 min | Drama, Romance

Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 2,053

25. Stanley and Livingstone (1939)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Tasked by his editor, American reporter Henry M. Stanley travels to a dangerous and uncharted region of East Africa to find the missing Scottish pioneer missionary Dr. David Livingstone.

Directors: Henry King, Otto Brower | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan

Votes: 1,251

26. Father's Little Dividend (1951)

Not Rated | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

Shortly after coming to terms with his daughter's marriage, a father faces the prospect of becoming a grandfather.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor

Votes: 3,341

27. Without Love (1945)

Approved | 111 min | Comedy, Romance

43 Metascore

In Washington, D.C. during World War II, Jamie Rowan enters into a loveless marriage with scientist Pat Jamieson and becomes his assistant. Struggles bring them closer together.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 1,999

28. A Guy Named Joe (1943)

Passed | 120 min | Drama, Romance, War

A dead World War II bomber pilot named Pete Sandidge, becomes the guardian angel of another pilot, Ted Randall. He guides Ted through battle and helping him to romance his old girlfriend, despite her excessive devotion to Sandidge's memory.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, Van Johnson, Ward Bond

Votes: 2,256

29. 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Passed | 78 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Arthur Byron, Lyle Talbot

Votes: 2,355

30. Tortilla Flat (1942)

Passed | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

70 Metascore

Danny, a poor northern Californian Mexican-American, inherits two houses from his grandfather and is quickly taken advantage of by his vagabond friends.

Director: Victor Fleming | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan

Votes: 1,444



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