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Ranking the best Paul Newman films

  • Ranking the best Paul Newman films
    1/ Lmattozz // Wikimedia Commons

    Ranking the best Paul Newman films

    With a film career spanning more than 50 years, Paul Newman is one of the most prolific actors of the past century. Prior to his death in 2008, Newman had 85 acting credits listed on IMDb, plus a handful of directing, producing, and writing credits. It’s an impressive curriculum vitae for a man with humble beginnings in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Though he never finished drama school at Yale University, he landed his first big role in "Picnic" on Broadway. His performance garnered attention from Warner Brothers, who gave Newman a film contract, and the rest is history.

    To get a sense of just how enduring Newman’s career was, Stacker compiled a list of all 54 films starring the actor, then ranked the list from lowest to highest IMDb rating. The list is not all hits, though: Newman’s first film was widely panned by critics and viewers alike. Keep reading for the full list of Newman’s lead roles in feature films, from “Cars” to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

    RELATED: Click here to see the best black and white films of all time.

  • #55. When Time Ran Out...
    2/ Warner Bros.

    #55. When Time Ran Out...

    IMDb rating: 4.4
    IMDb votes: 2,173
    Release year: 1980
    Director: James Goldstone

    When a massive volcano erupts in this disaster film, the survivors inside a tropical resort must decide whether to follow oil rigger Hank Anderson (Newman) on a dangerous journey to the safe side of the island, or hole up in the hotel with owner Shelby Gilmore (William Holden).

  • #54. The Silver Chalice
    3/ Victor Saville Productions

    #54. The Silver Chalice

    IMDb rating: 4.6
    IMDb votes: 1,204
    Release year: 1954
    Director: Victor Saville

    Newman’s first film, “The Silver Chalice,” didn’t have the critical reception that the filmmakers were hoping for. The biblical saga follows a young Greek artisan (Newman) who is sold into slavery and commissioned to create the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. 

  • #53. Quintet
    4/ Lion's Gate Films

    #53. Quintet

    IMDb rating: 5.2
    IMDb votes: 2,533
    Release year: 1979
    Director: Robert Altman

    This post-apocalyptic science fiction film takes place during an ice age where survivors play a game called Quintet to pass the time. Seal hunter Essex (Newman) joins a tournament of Quintet, only to discover that the group takes the rules of the game into real life by executing players who are killed in the game.

  • #52. WUSA
    5/ Paramount Pictures

    #52. WUSA

    IMDb rating: 5.5
    IMDb votes: 880
    Release year: 1970
    Director: Stuart Rosenberg

    In this 1970 film, WUSA is the name of a right-wing radio station in New Orleans where drifter Rheinhardt (Newman) takes a job. Though he doesn’t mind the station’s extreme stance at first, he becomes disturbed by the way its owners are trying to influence the community after a white supremacist rally spirals out of control.

  • #51. Pocket Money
    6/ First Artists

    #51. Pocket Money

    IMDb rating: 5.5
    IMDb votes: 1,263
    Release year: 1972
    Director: Stuart Rosenberg

    This movie based on the novel “Jim Kane” stars Newman as the book’s titular character, a broke but honest cowboy. Desperate for a job, Kane agrees to escort 200 cattle from Mexico to Arizona in a shady business deal, but it turns out to be a little more complicated than he thought. 

  • #50. Lady L
    7/ Compagnia Cinematografica Champion

    #50. Lady L

    IMDb rating: 5.6
    IMDb votes: 845
    Release year: 1965
    Director: Peter Ustinov

    Sophia Loren plays the eponymous Lady L, a fascinating elderly woman who recounts her life story to a biographer. Paul Newman took the role of Armand, a thief and anarchist who Lady L fell in love with in Paris while she was working in a brothel. Lady L eventually agrees to marry Lord Lendale, who in turn says that he will ignore Armand’s criminal activities. That’s not how the love story ends, though: Armand hides in plain sight as the family’s chauffeur and Lady L continues her affair with him throughout the years. 

  • #49. Harry & Son
    8/ Orion Pictures

    #49. Harry & Son

    IMDb rating: 5.8
    IMDb votes: 1,721
    Release year: 1984
    Director: Paul Newman

    In this 1984 film, Paul Newman plays widower and demolition crane operator Harry Keach. Tension between Harry and his son Howard, an aspiring writer who doesn’t have the gumption to chase his dreams, comes to a head when Harry finds out his health issues will prevent him from going back to work.

  • #48. Blaze
    9/ Touchstone Pictures

    #48. Blaze

    IMDb rating: 5.9
    IMDb votes: 3,245
    Release year: 1989
    Director: Ron Shelton

    When Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Young (Newman) falls in love with a stripper, he worries for his political career. After the couple moves in together, Young’s political opponents use the controversy to attack his radical beliefs.

     

  • #47. Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!
    10/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #47. Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!

    IMDb rating: 6.0
    IMDb votes: 951
    Release year: 1958
    Director: Leo McCarey

    Residents of Putnam's Landing, a small Long Island town, are shocked to discover a secret Army plan to build a missile base in the community. Married couple Harry (Newman) and Grace Bannerman (Joanne Woodward) lead the opposition effort. 

     

  • #46. A New Kind of Love
    11/ Llenroc Productions

    #46. A New Kind of Love

    IMDb rating: 6.0
    IMDb votes: 1,049
    Release year: 1963
    Director: Melville Shavelson

    Newman and Woodward reunite again as romantic interests in “A New Kind of Love,” a comedy that takes place in Paris. Woodward plays Samantha, a fashion designer mistaken for a prostitute by womanizing journalist Steve (Newman). When Steve asks Samantha if he can interview her about her profession, she goes along with it to get revenge on him for snubbing her in the past.

  • #45. Winning
    12/ Universal Pictures

    #45. Winning

    IMDb rating: 6.1
    IMDb votes: 1,518
    Release year: 1969
    Director: James Goldstone

    “Winning” is about race car driver Frank Capua (Newman), who is fixated on winning the Indianapolis 500. But will his fixation on his career derail his new romance with divorcee Elora (Joanne Woodward)?

  • #44. Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson
    13/ Dino De Laurentiis Company

    #44. Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson

    IMDb rating: 6.2
    IMDb votes: 3,534
    Release year: 1976
    Director: Robert Altman

    Buffalo Bill (Newman) decides to put on a Wild West sideshow, and hires Chief Sitting Bull (Frank Kaquitts) to appear in it. What the businessman doesn’t realize is that Sitting Bull doesn’t plan to go along with this exploitative plan—he hopes to expose the American expansion into the West as a murderous attack on Native Americans.

  • #43. Twilight
    14/ Cinehaus

    #43. Twilight

    IMDb rating: 6.2
    IMDb votes: 9,023
    Release year: 1998
    Director: Robert Benton

    No, this isn’t the first film in the Stephenie Meyer vampire series. Instead, the 1998 film “Twilight” focuses on a retired cop who stumbles into a 20-year-old cold case when a rich actor asks him to deliver blackmail money.

  • #42. Message in a Bottle
    15/ Bel Air Entertainment

    #42. Message in a Bottle

    IMDb rating: 6.2
    IMDb votes: 32,130
    Release year: 1999
    Director: Luis Mandoki

    This romantic drama begins when Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright) finds a mysterious love letter in a bottle on the beach in Cape Cod. She tracks down the writer, Garret Blake (Kevin Costner), who lost his wife tragically early. Despite a rocky start, the pair can’t deny their deep connection. Newman plays Garret’s father, Dodge. 

     

  • #41. The Outrage
    16/ Martin Ritt Productions

    #41. The Outrage

    IMDb rating: 6.3
    IMDb votes: 1,689
    Release year: 1964
    Director: Martin Ritt

    The premise of “The Outrage” sounds like the opening line of a joke: A preacher, a con man, and a prospector meet at a railroad station. All three were witnesses to the dramatic trial of Juan Carrasco (Newman) for the rape of a woman and murder of her husband, but all three accounts differ drastically. Who is telling the truth?

  • #40. The MacKintosh Man
    17/ Newman-Foreman Company

    #40. The MacKintosh Man

    IMDb rating: 6.3
    IMDb votes: 3,535
    Release year: 1973
    Director: John Huston

    In this thriller, British intelligence officer Joseph Rearden (Newman) pretends to be a criminal and allows himself to be caught and imprisoned in order to infiltrate a spy organization.

     

  • #39. Where the Money Is
    18/ Gramercy Pictures

    #39. Where the Money Is

    IMDb rating: 6.3
    IMDb votes: 4,842
    Release year: 2000
    Director: Marek Kanievska

    Carol (Linda Fiorentino), a nurse at a retirement home, notices something odd about one of her patients: Despite the fact that he has had a stroke, notorious bank robber Henry (Newman) is actually in far better condition than his doctors believe. After she threatens to expose his secret, Henry agrees to team up with Carol and her husband Wayne (Dermot Mulroney) to plan one last great heist.

     

  • #38. The Helen Morgan Story
    19/ Warner Bros.

    #38. The Helen Morgan Story

    IMDb rating: 6.4
    IMDb votes: 601
    Release year: 1957
    Director: Michael Curtiz

    Ann Blyth takes the role of Helen Morgan, a singer who gets her start at carnivals and eventually winds up on Broadway. Despite her initial success, Helen’s involvement with gin-runner and con man Larry Maddux (Newman) and businessman Russell Wade (Richard Carlson) ultimately lead to her downfall.

  • #37. The Secret War of Harry Frigg
    20/ Universal Pictures

    #37. The Secret War of Harry Frigg

    IMDb rating: 6.4
    IMDb votes: 1,178
    Release year: 1968
    Director: Jack Smight

    When five one-star generals are captured during World War II, their potential escape is thwarted by their egos: They can’t agree on a plan and won’t take orders from one another, since they’re all the same rank. The military promotes escape artist Private Harry Frigg (Newman) to the rank of Major General—so he now outranks the others—and sends him in to plot their getaway. Hijinks ensue.

  • #36. Until They Sail
    21/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #36. Until They Sail

    IMDb rating: 6.5
    IMDb votes: 1,018
    Release year: 1957
    Director: Robert Wise

    This black-and-white drama follows New Zealand women who become romantically involved with American servicemen fighting in World War II. Newman plays Capt. Jack Harding, the Marine who is tasked with reviewing the backgrounds of Kiwi women who want to marry American soldiers.

  • #35. The Left Handed Gun
    22/ Haroll Productions

    #35. The Left Handed Gun

    IMDb rating: 6.5
    IMDb votes: 3,320
    Release year: 1958
    Director: Arthur Penn

    This Western hones in on Billy the Kid (Newman), a gunman who pledges to avenge the death of his boss, the Englishman (Colin Keith-Johnston), in the Lincoln County War. Billy the Kid becomes one of the most notorious criminals in the West and eventually, his former friend-turned-sheriff Pat Garrett (John Dehner) corners him for an epic showdown.  

     

  • #34. The Drowning Pool
    23/ First Artists

    #34. The Drowning Pool

    IMDb rating: 6.5
    IMDb votes: 3,990
    Release year: 1975
    Director: Stuart Rosenberg

    Based on Ross MacDonald’s novel of the same name, “The Drowning Pool” begins when private eye Lew Harper (Newman) travels to Louisiana to help his old flame Iris Devereaux (Joanne Woodward). Iris is worried her former chauffeur will reveal her affair to her husband, and Harper steps in to help keep her secret. Soon, he realizes the story is much more complicated than even she knew.

     

  • #33. Fat Man and Little Boy
    24/ Paramount Pictures

    #33. Fat Man and Little Boy

    IMDb rating: 6.5
    IMDb votes: 5,987
    Release year: 1989
    Director: Roland Joffé

    This 1989 film tells the story of The Manhattan Project. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Col. Leslie Groves (Newman) heads up the ultra-secret operation with physicist Robert Oppenheimer (Dwight Schultz), nurse Kathleen Robinson (Laura Dern), and young scientist Michael Merriman (John Cusack).

  • #32. Paris Blues
    25/ Pennebaker Productions

    #32. Paris Blues

    IMDb rating: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 2,060
    Release year: 1961
    Director: Martin Ritt

    Two jazz musician expatriates living in Paris (Newman and Sidney Poitier) meet two young Americans on holiday (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll). The musicians must weigh the pros and cons of moving back to the United States with their new lovers, or give up romantic happiness for France’s more tolerant and forward-thinking culture.

  • #31. From the Terrace
    26/ Linebrook

    #31. From the Terrace

    IMDb rating: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 2,150
    Release year: 1960
    Director: Mark Robson

    This romantic drama hinges on the personal life and professional career of David Alfred Eaton (Newman). Though he marries the beautiful Mary St. John (Joanne Woodward), family feuds, business failures, and multiple affairs threaten to derail his life.

     

  • #30. Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
    27/ Cineplex-Odeon Films

    #30. Mr. & Mrs. Bridge

    IMDb rating: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 2,534
    Release year: 1990
    Director: James Ivory

    The wealthy Bridge family lives in the Country Club district of Kansas City, Missouri in the 1930s. Mr. Bridge (Newman) is a deeply conservative lawyer who resists his children’s attempts to modernize their lives while his wife (Joanne Woodward) tries desperately to hold the family together.

  • #29. Fort Apache the Bronx
    28/ Producers Circle

    #29. Fort Apache the Bronx

    IMDb rating: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 4,932
    Release year: 1981
    Director: Daniel Petrie

    The New York Police Department officers who work in the 41st precinct in the film call it “Fort Apache,” since working in the high-crime South Bronx neighborhood often feels like working in a foreign territory surrounded by opponents. Newman plays Officer Murphy, who becomes entangled in the murder case of two rookie cops and must wrestle with his loyalty to the force in order to do what’s right.

  • #28. Torn Curtain
    29/ Universal Pictures

    #28. Torn Curtain

    IMDb rating: 6.7
    IMDb votes: 21,271
    Release year: 1966
    Director: Alfred Hitchcock

    In this Alfred Hitchcock film, Newman plays physicist Michael Armstrong. After attending a conference in Copenhagen, Armstrong informs his assistant and fiance Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews) that she should go home without him, since he plans to defect to East Germany. Though he publicly states his decision was based on getting funding for a research project, Armstrong is actually there to obtain a secret formula from a professor in Leipzig.

  • #27. The Rack
    30/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #27. The Rack

    IMDb rating: 6.8
    IMDb votes: 960
    Release year: 1956
    Director: Arnold Laven

    Newman takes the role of Capt. Edward Worthington Hall, Jr., a Korean War hero who was brainwashed into cooperating with the enemy during his time in a prison camp. When he returns home, he is court-martialed and must try to get the military to see his side of the story.

  • #26. The Prize
    31/ Roxbury Productions Inc.

    #26. The Prize

    IMDb rating: 6.8
    IMDb votes: 3,549
    Release year: 1963
    Director: Mark Robson

    Based on the novel of the same name, this 1963 film begins when Nobel Laureates—including literature prize winner Andrew Craig (Newman)—arrive in Stockholm to accept their awards. After Craig makes an offhand suggestion that the chemistry prize winner might be an imposter, he is shocked to realize he might actually be right—and might have found the subject of his next novel.

  • #25. Exodus
    32/ Otto Preminger Films

    #25. Exodus

    IMDb rating: 6.8
    IMDb votes: 7,812
    Release year: 1960
    Director: Otto Preminger

    This historical epic centers on the founding of Israel in 1948. Newman plays Ari Ben Canaan, the former British Army captain who smuggles 611 Jewish refugees onto a cargo ship and tries to take them to Palestine. Twists and turns ensue in their quest to form a Jewish state.

  • #24. Absence of Malice
    33/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #24. Absence of Malice

    IMDb rating: 6.9
    IMDb votes: 10,373
    Release year: 1981
    Director: Sydney Pollack

    This courtroom drama about a false newspaper article about liquor wholesaler Michael Gallagher (Newman) written by journalist Megan Carter (Sally Field) is often used to teach libel law in journalism classes. Since Carter believed her information to be true and received it from a source who intentionally deceived her, she has an “absence of malice” and is therefore not guilty of libel.

  • #23. The Towering Inferno
    34/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #23. The Towering Inferno

    IMDb rating: 6.9
    IMDb votes: 33,989
    Release year: 1974
    Director: John Guillermin

    Architect Doug Roberts (Newman) arrives at the unveiling party for his latest skyscraper only to discover that his specifications haven’t been followed and the building is short-circuiting. Sparks soon turn to fire, and he must work with fire Chief Michael O'Halleran (Steve McQueen) to save the crowd of revelers.

  • #22. Sometimes a Great Notion
    35/ Universal Pictures

    #22. Sometimes a Great Notion

    IMDb rating: 7.0
    IMDb votes: 3,044
    Release year: 1971
    Director: Paul Newman

    Based on Ken Kesey’s novel, “Sometimes a Great Notion” follows a family of Oregon loggers who decide to keep operating during a strike in order to get business from the local mill. The drama explores everything leading up to the decision, from the historical background to their relationships.

  • #21. What a Way to Go!
    36/ Apjac-Orchard Productions

    #21. What a Way to Go!

    IMDb rating: 7.0
    IMDb votes: 3,426
    Release year: 1964
    Director: J. Lee Thompson

    Four-time widow Louisa May Foster (Shirley MacLaine) spills the story of her husbands’ untimely deaths on her therapist’s couch in this dark comedy. Newman plays Larry Flint, an artist, inventor, and Foster’s second husband who literally works himself to death.

  • #20. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
    37/ Coleytown Productions

    #20. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

    IMDb rating: 7.0
    IMDb votes: 6,060
    Release year: 1972
    Director: John Huston

    Paul Newman plays the title character: Judge Roy Bean, a former outlaw who appoints himself judge of Vinegaroon, Texas. Instead of the gavel, Bean uses his pistols to dispense justice. 

  • #19. Harper
    38/ Gershwin-Kastner Productions

    #19. Harper

    IMDb rating: 7.0
    IMDb votes: 6,884
    Release year: 1966
    Director: Jack Smight

    Wealthy California matron Mrs. Sampson (Lauren Bacall) hires private investigator Lew Harper (Newman) to find her missing husband. As Harper tracks down Mr. Sampson, he finds himself immersed in the dark criminal underbelly of Los Angeles.

     

  • #18. The Color of Money
    39/ Touchstone Pictures

    #18. The Color of Money

    IMDb rating: 7.0
    IMDb votes: 64,919
    Release year: 1986
    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) is a former pool hustler who made a more legitimate career as a liquor salesman. Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) is a pool player, video gamer, and toy store clerk. Felson teaches Lauria his ways, but the two eventually play each other in a high-stakes tournament in Atlantic City. 

  • #17. Cars
    40/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #17. Cars

    IMDb rating: 7.1
    IMDb votes: 305,497
    Release year: 2006
    Directors: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft

    The first animated film on this list, “Cars” saw Newman take a voice acting role as Doc Hudson, a retired race car who finds a second career as a local judge. Will young upstart Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) go all the way in the Piston Cup championship?

  • #16. The Hudsucker Proxy
    41/ PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

    #16. The Hudsucker Proxy

    IMDb rating: 7.3
    IMDb votes: 70,344
    Release year: 1994
    Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

    In this comedy, a shrewd, maniacal member of Hudsucker Industries’ board of directors—played by Newman—attempts to tank the company’s stock by installing an inexperienced business school graduate as the president. 

     

  • #15. The Young Philadelphians
    42/ Warner Bros.

    #15. The Young Philadelphians

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    IMDb votes: 2,724
    Release year: 1959
    Director: Vincent Sherman

    In this two-hour drama, Newman takes the role of Anthony Judson Lawrence, a young lawyer who becomes one of Philadelphia’s elite businessmen after countless trials and tribulations. His parentage, middle-class upbringing, romantic affairs, and quite a few lucky breaks all help him get there.

  • #14. Sweet Bird of Youth
    43/ Roxbury Productions Inc.

    #14. Sweet Bird of Youth

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    IMDb votes: 5,851
    Release year: 1962
    Director: Richard Brooks

    Chance Wayne (Newman) returns to his hometown of St. Cloud, Florida after years away with the once-great movie actress Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page), who is now something of a drunk. Despite their pairing, Wayne really wants to get back together with his ex-girlfriend Heavenly Finley (Shirley Knight), who is the daughter of a corrupt local politician.

  • #13. Hombre
    44/ Hombre Productions

    #13. Hombre

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    IMDb votes: 9,669
    Release year: 1967
    Director: Martin Ritt

    His fellow stagecoach passengers snub John Russell (Newman) when they learn that he was raised by Apaches, but they change their tune as soon as they’re robbed. Russell must weigh his good-natured desire to help the group with his disdain for Professor Alexander Favor (Fredric March), the snobby aristocrat who was the target of the raid.

  • #12. Nobody's Fool
    45/ Capella International

    #12. Nobody's Fool

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    IMDb votes: 16,282
    Release year: 1994
    Director: Robert Benton

    Sully (Newman) is an aging hustler who now makes a living working construction in the sleepy town of North Bath, New York. He’s often at odds with his employer, Carl (Bruce Willis), and frequently steals his snowblower and sues him for unpaid wages. Everything changes when Sully’s estranged son Peter (Dylan Walsh) and grandson Will (Alexander Goodwin) come to town.

     

  • #11. Slap Shot
    46/ Kings Road Entertainment

    #11. Slap Shot

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    IMDb votes: 30,967
    Release year: 1977
    Director: George Roy Hill

    This sports comedy stars Newman as Reggie, a player and coach on the local hockey team. When the decline of the town’s mill threatens the team’s existence, Reggie puts an interesting new theory in place: allowing the violent Hanson brothers (Steve Carlson and David Hanson) to whale on their opponents on the ice.

  • #10. Somebody Up There Likes Me
    47/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #10. Somebody Up There Likes Me

    IMDb rating: 7.5
    IMDb votes: 6,426
    Release year: 1956
    Director: Robert Wise

    Newman plays boxer Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” a biopic based on his autobiography. The film follows his turbulent upbringing, amateur career, professional success, and eventual downfall.

  • #9. The Long, Hot Summer
    48/ Jerry Wald Productions

    #9. The Long, Hot Summer

    IMDb rating: 7.5
    IMDb votes: 8,509
    Release year: 1958
    Director: Martin Ritt

    Three works by William Faulkner—“Spotted Horses,” “Barn Burning,” and “The Hamlet”—form the basis of this film starring Newman as con man Ben Quick. Plantation owner Will Varner (Orson Welles) soon takes a liking to the hot-headed upstart and attempts to set him up with daughter, Clara (Joanne Woodward).

  • #8. Road to Perdition
    49/ DreamWorks

    #8. Road to Perdition

    IMDb rating: 7.7
    IMDb votes: 220,632
    Release year: 2002
    Director: Sam Mendes

    This crime film hones in on the relationship between mob enforcer Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) and his son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) after the latter finds out what his father does for a living. Newman plays Irish mob boss John Rooney in this movie set in 1930s Chicago.

  • #7. The Verdict
    50/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #7. The Verdict

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    IMDb votes: 30,462
    Release year: 1982
    Director: Sidney Lumet

    After prominent attorney Frank Galvin (Newman) is framed with jury tampering, he’s lost his former esteem and must resort to lurking around disaster sites to find cases. When his friend and fellow attorney Mickey Morrissey (Jack Warden) tosses him a medical malpractice case as a favor, Galvin sees an opportunity to resurrect his career.

  • #6. Hud
    51/ Paramount Pictures

    #6. Hud

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    IMDb votes: 16,828
    Release year: 1963
    Director: Martin Ritt

    In this drama, Newman plays Hud, the arrogant son of Texas rancher Homer Bannon (Melvyn Douglas). The father and son duo are so different—Hud is hot-headed and bitter while Homer is strict and principled—that they find conflict in almost every conversation.

  • #5. The Hustler
    52/ Rossen Films

    #5. The Hustler

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    IMDb votes: 68,396
    Release year: 1961
    Director: Robert Rossen

    “The Hustler” created the pool hustler character Eddie Felson that Newman would later resurrect in “The Color of Money.” In the original film, audiences see Felson travel across the country with his small-time hustling partner to challenge legendary player Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason).

  • #4. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    53/ Avon Productions (II)

    #4. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    IMDb votes: 38,340
    Release year: 1958
    Director: Richard Brooks

    Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Tennessee Williams, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” also received plenty of critical acclaim. In the film, alcoholic former football player Brick (Newman) finds himself reminiscing when he learns that his father Big Daddy Pollitt (Burl Ives) is dying of cancer.

  • #3. Cool Hand Luke
    54/ Jalem Productions

    #3. Cool Hand Luke

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    IMDb votes: 140,648
    Release year: 1967
    Director: Stuart Rosenberg

    Newman plays the title character in this 1967 prison drama. After Luke is caught cutting parking meters off their poles, he is sentenced to two years in a Florida prison run with an iron fist by the Captain (Strother Martin) and Boss Godfrey (Morgan Woodward). The only problem is, Luke refuses to follow the rules. 

  • #2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    55/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    IMDb votes: 178,087
    Release year: 1969
    Director: George Roy Hill

    Butch Cassidy (Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) lead a band of outlaws in Wyoming in the early 20th century. When their plan to rob a train goes awry, they turn to plan B: escape to Bolivia. But can they evade their enemies long enough to leave the country?

  • #1. The Sting
    56/ Zanuck/Brown Productions

    #1. The Sting

    IMDb rating: 8.3
    IMDb votes: 207,305
    Release year: 1973
    Director: George Roy Hill

    The top-rated Paul Newman film on IMDb is “The Sting,” a crime drama starring Newman and Robert Redford as con men Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker, respectively. After Hooker runs afoul of New York crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), he flees to Chicago to ask for Gondorff’s help evading his enemies and pulling off one last big con.

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