Top Ten James Stewart Movies
Picking just my favourite yet alone a top ten list of James Stewart movies is not an easy task as I have been a fan ever since as a child I watched him in "The Glenn Miller Story". Since then I have never missed an opportunity to watch one of his movies with certain ones become perennial favourites especially a certain movie which shall we say is a little popular around Christmas Time. But to hour one of the best actors to have ever graced the big screen here is my Top Ten James Stewart movies.
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Despite the odds being stacked against him Charles Lindbergh (James Stewart) is preparing for his attempt to fly across the Atlantic. But as the minutes and hours tick by till he is due to take off he struggles to sleep and starts thinking back to his early days as a young carefree flier who pushed the limits as a barnstormer and mail carrier. It is these reminisces of his life which help him cope when his perilous flight starts as he must stay awake for the 36 hour flight where just the slightest mistake could mean death... full review
Whilst almost having fallen to his death during a roof top chase Detective John 'Scotty' Ferguson (James Stewart) develops a case of acrophobia which as he struggles even to cope with climbing stairs leads him to quit the force. But that is when old friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) asks him to follow his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) as he has noticed her behaving strangely and is concerned about her especially when she can't remember anything which she has been doing. Reservedly John accepts and as he finds Madeleine irresistibly attractive and spends time tailing her till eventually they actually meet and he believes that she is keen on him. Things take a nasty turn when Madeleine falls from a church tower to her death and John is unable to prevent it because of his acrophobia causing him to have a mental break down. But than is when things take an even stranger turn for John when he meets Judy Barton (Novak), who is the spitting image of Madeleine... full review
Charlie Anderson (James Stewart) is a man with strong beliefs, not religious beliefs but beliefs when it comes to fighting someone else's war and is why despite the Civil war being close to his farm in the heart of Virginia he expects his son to resist their feelings to fight and stay at home. But all that changes when his youngest, Boy (Phillip Alford), is mistaken for a soldier and is taken prisoner causing Charlie and his sons to leave their farm to find him, fighting for something which he does believe in... full review
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
When he learns that his old friend Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) has passed away, Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) heads back to Shinbone with his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) to attend his funeral. It is in Shinbone that Ransom ends up talking to the local newspaper about Doniphon and why he has made the special journey back to pay his respects. As he explains he had many years earlier ended up in Shinbone by accident when a gang lead by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) robbed the stagecoach and almost was whipped to death. Despite having nothing he ends up working for the Ericson's as a pot washer which is where he met Hallie. As time passed and having an understanding of legal matters Ransom found himself once again having problems with Valance when he stood as state representative and when Valance starts attacking those close to him he is forced to call Valance out leading to the legend of the mad who shot Liberty Valance... full review
Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is an easy going man who has a kind word for whoever he meets and enjoys popping in to the local bar for a drink. But Elwood is unique as his best friend is Harvey, a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall pooka, that is an invisible rabbit. For most people Elwood is just a harmless eccentric with a kind heart who talks to the thin air but his sister Veta (Josephine Hull) thinks otherwise. Having become embarrassed by her brother's eccentric behaviour she decides to have him committed to a mental hospital, something which as it turns out is easier said than done... full review
Rear Window (1954)
Photographer L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) finds himself confined to his Manhattan apartment after breaking his leg and ending up stuck in a wheelchair. Bored he passes the time between visits from his nurse and his attractive girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) by watching the lives of those in the apartments opposite him, conjuring up stories about the lives of the people he has no names for. But late one night he believes he witnesses something suspicious and is convinced that a man has murdered a woman in one of those apartments. The trouble is he can't prove it and without proof his friend detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) can't take him seriously and so he has to rely on his nurse and Lisa to try and find evidence of ill doing and by doing so putting them all in danger... full review
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
It's been two years since C.K. Dexter Haven's (Cary Grant) marriage to Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn) came to an end and now she is getting set to remarry the rich George Kittredge (John Howard). But that is until Haven decides to show up at the Lord mansion with reporters Macaulay Connor (James Stewart) and Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) who are masquerading as friends of Tracy's brother. The question is will the wedding still go ahead with not only Haven back on the scene but also with two journalists snooping around... full review
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Simply could well be Paul Biegler's (James Stewart) motto as he is a humble lawyer who enjoys his uncomplicated life where he goes fishing as much as he can. That is until one day having returned to his office from a relaxing few hours down at the river he finds himself with a new client as he asked to defend Lt. Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) who has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a bar tender who he believes raped his wife Laura (Lee Remick). As Paul sets about doing his research he stumbles across two things, not only does Frederick have known anger issues but his wife Laura is an attractive flirt. Despite this and the resounding opinion that he stands no hope of successfully defending Frederick Paul carries on undeterred even when he finds himself up against not only the D.A. but also the slick Asst. State Atty. Gen. Claude Dancer (George C. Scott)... full review
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
With an important Bill due to go through congress in a couple of weeks the news that a Senator has passed away is an issue but not for those who plan to find a naive young candidate who they can manipulate into voting in favour of the bill. That naive young man happens to be Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) a small town Boy Ranger leader who is stunned when the State Governor selects him to be the senator. Despite being over awed by all the political history he sees on arriving in Washington he soon comes to realise that those who have been elected by the people to serve the people are more interested in serving themselves, especially Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains) who he had respected for being a friend of his fathers. When Jefferson decides to oppose the bill he finds himself the centre of attention with Senator Paine and political boss Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) doing everything they can to stop him from convincing others to follow suit... full review
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
As a young man George Bailey (James Stewart) had a dream to see the world but his dreams were dashed when he had to take over the running of the family Buildings & Loans business in Bedford Falls so that the mean spirited Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore) didn't take it over. But despite this George settled down to his new life getting married, having kids and making sure no matter that the Buildings & Loans business kept on going. That is until one Christmas Eve George's uncle mislays the businesses money and George finds himself facing the possibility of going to prison for the missing money or selling up to Potter. Just as he can't take anymore and plans to take his life he is saved by Clarence (Henry Travers) and angel sent down to show him what difference he has made in everyone's lives so that he won't give up... full review
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