For Millennials. By Millennials.
Guys, today we are here with Judy Garland Movies Ranked From Best To Worst. The actress was born as Frances Ethel Gumm and was known as ‘the little girl’ because she was short-sighted. The actress’ first performance as an adult was in “Little Nellie Kelly” in 1940. However, she did not get a glamorous role all the way until 1944. Garland struggled with a poor body image and grueling shooting schedules during her 15 years with MGM, which aggravated her addiction issue.
Before her firing in 1950 as a result of her irrational behavior, she made 28 films for MGM. Garland made a remarkable comeback in “A Star Is Born” four years after being fired from MGM. She has also twice been nominated for an Oscar in the acting category.
Moreover, she has also performed in record-breaking concerts. She has also produced a gold album that won a Grammy. Judy Garland even recorded classic songs in a manner no one has been able to do in quite the same manner. In honor of what would have been her 100th Birthday on June 10th, here is a list of some of Judy Garland movies ranked from best to worst.
1. The Wizard of Oz
Judy Garland’s performance in the 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is not only her best and most iconic movie performance, but the movie itself continues to be a gold standard for Hollywood greatness even after more than 70 years of its release. The story follows young Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland), a farmer from Kansas, and her dog Toto. They are carried off by a tornado and transported to the fantastical Land of Oz.
There is no place like home for Dorothy and thus she travels to the Emerald City. She does this to ask the Wizard of Oz, the only person who can return her to her home for assistance. Along the way, she receives assistance from the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. However, Dorothy, her friends, and even Toto are all being followed by the Wicked Witch of the West.
Related: The Wizard of Oz Meets Pink Floyd Perfectly In ‘The Dark Side of the Rainbow’
2. A Star Is Born
Even though ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is the more well-known film, Garland’s talents were best displayed in this 1954 film. It also happened to be one of her most disappointing career endeavors. Judy Garland plays promising singer Esther Blodgett, whose rise to stardom is supported by fading actor Norman Maine. Norman is falling down the Hollywood ladder as Esther is climbing it, and simultaneously their romance is growing. Esther who has been nicknamed Vicki Lester by her new bosses in the industry becomes a star.
As opposed to Norman, whose excessive drinking causes him to lose favor with the industry. Esther’s career is in danger due to Norman’s actions. However, she is willing to sacrifice everything to keep their relationship intact.
Despite being nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Esther, Garland did not take home the award. The film is regarded as the best adaptation of this heartbreaking Hollywood story, even though it did not earn the praise it warranted upon its premiere. And it is on our list of some of the best Judy Garland movies ranked.
3. Meet Me in St. Louis
This movie is also on our list of the best Judy Garland movies ranked. The actress portrays Esther in this 1944 film, Meet me in St. Louis, and is said to be one of her best on-screen performances, where she is acting in a way that balances both zeal and emotion. The story itself follows the prosperous Smith family’s life as they consider leaving their peaceful life in the Midwest for the hustle of New York City.
As one season ends and the next begins, Esther who is the second eldest daughter develops feelings for John Truett, the boy who lives next door, while Esther’s sister Rose eagerly anticipates a marriage proposal and Tootie, the youngest sister, frets about whether she can bring her Christmas toys to New York.
The film presented some of Judy Garland’s best-known and signature songs. Including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the incredibly catchy, Oscar-nominated “The Trolley Song.” Meet me in St. Louis was one of MGM’s highest-grossing films up to that point and received four Academy Award nominations.
4. Judgement at Nuremberg
Judgment at Nuremberg, a 1959 ‘Playhouse 90’ teleplay adaptation made into a movie. It brings together a stellar cast to create a dramatized version of the late 1940’s Nuremberg trials. In those trials, Nazi regime members were prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Garland portrays Irene Hoffman, a reluctant witness, and Holocaust victim, who is cross-examined by Hans Rolfe during her testimony.
Judgment at Nuremberg was the actress’ first cinematic performance since her performance in the 1954 ‘A Star Is Born’. Judy Garland’s emotional turn as Irene is captivating. She gives a brief but excellent performance, and Judgment at Nuremberg serves as evidence of her versatile skills. Moreover, this movie is also on our list of some of the best Judy Garland movies ranked.
5. Easter Parade
Garland collaborates with the iconic Fred Astaire to tell a tale about show business in the early 20th century. The film follows when Nadine Hale decides to become a solo star, Don Hewes loses his dancing partner. Don pulls choir girl Hannah Brown from anonymity to demonstrate his ability to turn anyone into a dancing star. Naturally, they go on to become not only onstage sensations but also love interests.
However, difficulties in their relationship exist, such as Nadine’s resentment. Garland brilliantly portrays Hannah and sings classic Irving Berlin songs with elegance. After the film’s original lead Gene Kelly withdrew due to injury, Astaire came out of retirement to co-star with Judy Garland. Although it was bad for Kelly, it gave Garland and Astaire, Hollywood’s greatest and most talented, the chance to shine on screen together.
6. Little Nellie Kelly
A film specifically intended to transform Garland from a child actor to an adult leading woman. It is also the only film in which Garland’s character dies. Garland portrays a mother who passes away during childbirth. She then portrays the daughter, Nellie Kelly, who grows up to resemble her mother.
Nellie rekindles the conflict between her father and her mother’s father, who disapproved of her parent’s marriage. The film was not greatly appreciated by the critics. The New York Times stated that the film was “passing fair” when it was released during the 1940 holiday season. However, as for even the most unappreciated Judy Garland film, her song talents rise above any lackluster acting. And rank-wise, this movie doesn’t fall in the best Judy Garland films out there.
7. Love Finds Andy Hardy
MGM used stereophonic sound for the first time in this movie. It was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2000. In what was her first out of her three appearances in the Hardy family movie series, Judy Garland plays the titular character Andy Hardy’s friend Betsy Booth. While young Betsy has an unrequited crush on Andy, Andy is more into cars and his girlfriend Polly Benedict.
With regard to owning a car, dating women, and the Christmas Eve dance, Andy encounters a number of complexities. Garland and Rooney were inseparable; the chemistry between the two made each of their performances delightful, and they were incredibly successful at the box office.
8. Listen, Darling
1938’s ‘Listen, Darling’ is a short confection about two young children acting as matchmakers for the adults in their lives. It is probably best known for being Judy Garland’s final film prior to the debut of “The Wizard of Oz.” The film follows Dottie, a widow, and single woman, who pursues an emotionally detached relationship with a local banker in an effort to find stability. To prevent Dottie from ending up with the banker, her daughter Pinkie (played by Garland), and Pinkie’s pal Buzz, snatches her away. In an effort to make Dottie fall in love, Pinky and Buzz choose two potential suitors.
Despite being at most inconsequential, the film does have a brilliant musical performance by Garland. Even before it was released, critics noted that the film only had “three good song numbers handled capably by Garland” to offer. Her most famous song is “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart,” and the actress performed it for many years afterward. This song gives a wonderful peek into Garland’s early artistic development when she used to perform.
9. Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry
The first picture featuring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney together was Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, marking the beginning of a 10-film collaboration that would last for more than a decade. The movie itself is somewhat insignificant, it follows Timmie Donovan, a young jockey, as he successfully races Roger Calverton’s horse on the racetrack, though not without conflict from his cunning father. In the early days of television, reruns of movies like Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry would fill the stations. There are many more Garland films that outshine this horse novelty, making this movie a historical blip in her career.
This 1937 film was not intended as a Garland-Rooney showcase but rather was for Rooney and Freddie Bartholomew. The studio developed the character of Cricket especially for Judy Garland, according to TCM, because they wanted to highlight her. Naturally, the part was created to emphasize Garland’s singing, providing her the chance to perform for her male co-stars while belting out tunes like ‘Got A Pair Of New Shoes’. Moreover, this movie is also on our list of some of the best Judy Garland movies ranked.