The daughter of Edgar Lansbury (an English politician) and Moyna Macgill (an Irish actress), Angela Lansbury is a legendary actress with a mixed career in theatre, film, and television. She began appearing in films in 1943 and is yet to retire from the industry. Her career, which has lasted for eight decades and counting, has brought so much respect, multiple awards, huge followings worldwide, and high regard both within and outside the entertainment community. Angela Lansbury’s movies are always interesting and exciting to watch.
Born Angela Brigid Lansbury on October 16, 1925, the actress holds British, American, and Irish citizenship. As an actress, she invested much of her acting skills on the filming sets in the United States, having launched her career in Hollywood after her family moved to the U.S in the year 1940. The iconic actress debuted with the media company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). It was while she was there that she clinched her first acting roles in the films Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). After portraying subsequent roles for MGM as a supporting actor, she called it quits with the company and began making appearances in theatres.
Her career eventually got a boost following a superlative performance in the movie The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and later in the Broadway musical Mame (1966), which, to date, is considered one of her best projects. Angela continued to impress film critics after moving to County Cork, Ireland from California in the year 1970, focusing mostly on cinematic and theatrical works.
The award-winning actress equally boasts an impressive résumé on television projects. She has been part of several projects in the television industry but she is best known for being the fictional writer of the American television series, Murder, She Wrote, wherein she played the character, detective Jessica Fletcher. The series, which aired from 1984 to 1996 for twelve seasons holds the record as the most popular and one of the longest-running detective drama series in TV history.
Angela’s résumé also covers a slew of voice works for animated projects, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991). She has walked home with numerous awards from nominations including a Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA, 6 Golden Globes, 5 Tony Awards, and an Olivier Award. To crown it all, the British-Irish-American actress was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), in the year 2014, by Queen Elizabeth II.
The list of Angela Lansbury movies contains over fifty movies, about nineteen theatrical performances, and more than forty-five television projects. Like every other accomplished thespian, Angela Lansbury movies have seen a diverse rating by film critics, review aggregation websites, and the movie community. The paragraphs below contain a compilation of her less-than-impressive movies and the ones that really captured the hearts of the critics and viewers.
Angela Lansbury Movies Ranked – Best To Worst
1. Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)
Till the Clouds Rolls By sits on a very top position on the list of Angela Lansbury movies. This project, remains, to date, one of the best projects she has ever taken part in. The 1946 documentary/classics/musical & performing arts masterpiece is a high-fictionalized musical project that documents the life story of Jerome Kern, a legendary American composer. Sadly, Kern passed on (1946) before the project could be completed.
Following its release, the film was well-received and also earned positive reviews from critics due to the impressive elements that were embedded in it, including its extensive flashback and more. Lansbury was featured as London Specialty alongside stars like Lucille Bremer, Cyd Charisse, Van Johnson, and Gower Champion. The film grossed $6.724 million from a budget of $2.841 million and is highly rated by Rotten Tomatoes (100%) and other review sites.
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Directed by Oliver Parker and produced by Barnaby Thompson, Angela Lansbury played the fictional character Sibyl Vane in this horror-drama movie that was created based on iconic Irish poet Oscar Wilde’s novel of the same name which was published in 1890. The project, which tells the story of an intelligent but naive and easily manipulated young man (Dorian Gray) and how his weaknesses led to his ultimate misery, is both a commercial and critical success. It fetched Angela a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the year 1945 as well as a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture in the year.
3. Death on the Nile (1978)
While on a cruise on the Nile River, tragedy struck when Linnet Ridgeway was murdered. Fortunately, the very day the wealthy heiress was killed, Hercule Poirot and his friend Colonel Race were also passengers on the steamer S.S. Karnak boat. The Belgian detective and his friend immediately launched a thorough investigation into the murder.
The mystery drama is an exceptional piece of work, as attested by film critics and the movie community. The producer was able to come up with something impressive as a result of the actors and actresses he picked and other elements that make a film really mystifying and thrilling at the same time. Death on the Nile is most critics’ favorite and a huge success in all ramifications. It is also the same project that won Lansbury a nomination for BAFTA Award in 1978 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Angela’s role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street earned her a Tony Award in 1979 and later a Primetime Emmy Award in 1985. The film itself won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Videotape Editing – Limited Series or Special. It is one of the finest films that has captured the actress’s unique acting skills and also boosted her career with an enviable award and nomination. It didn’t disappoint film critics and at the box office as well.
5. Gaslight (1944)
Lansbury’s performance in Gaslight is still many critics’ favorite role in the history of classical mystery-thriller film. The actress has never been scared of portraying any character in any genre, which obviously explains she convincingly delivered her part in Gaslight. Even though she was only 17 years when she joined other casts, she didn’t make a wrong step for once in the film. Gaslight was her first film and was also the first to earn her a nomination for an Academy Award. The incredible film excelled at the box office and is considered to be of high quality by film critics.
6. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Also starring James Gregory as Sen. John Yerkes Iselin, Frank Sinatra as Maj. Bennett Marco, Janet Leigh as Eugénie Rose Chaney Henry Silva as Chunjin, Laurence Harvey as Raymond Shaw, and Leslie Parrish as Jocelyn Jordan, The Manchurian Candidate is 126 minutes long film that tells the story of the Cold War and sleeper agents. The 1962 thriller movie featured Angela as Mrs. Eleanor Iselin and also earned her a nomination for an Academy Award in 1962. Across several film review aggregators, the film holds a decent approval rating because it has everything one needs in a movie. In 1994, it was picked as one of the projects to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry.
7. Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote follows a retired English teacher Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) who became an accomplished mystery writer after the death of her husband in her early 50s. The project, which ran from 1984 to 1996, holds the record as one of the successful television series in the world.
Featuring Angela in the main role as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher, the TV project has bagged three nominations at the Emmys in the Outstanding Drama Series category and two Golden Globe Awards from six nominations. Lansbury’s role in Murder, She Wrote, earned her an enviable record as the actress with the most Golden Globe nominations and wins for Best Actress in a TV drama series and the most Emmy nominations (12) for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, having won four Golden Globe awards from 10 nominations for the work. The series tops the chart on the list of Angela Lansbury movies and tv shows.
8. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/Trial by Jury
Yet another outstanding television series featuring Lansbury, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/Trial by Jury is a wrap-up of events that started in the 2005 series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Night. The project earned her a nomination for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2005. Both critically and commercially, the series is a major hit and one of the best TV series Angela has had roles in.
9. Magnum P.I.
Magnum, P.I. is related to Murder, She Wrote and occupies an impressive position on the list of Angela Lansbury movies and television shows. The TV project follows the adventures of a private investigator based in Hawaii. It was rated 8/10 by IMDb and has been inundated with positive reviews by critics.
10. Beauty and the Beast – The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
Beauty and the Beast – The Enchanted Christmas is widely adjudged as one of Lansbury’s worst projects in the industry. For so many reasons, it failed to meet the expectations of critics and the movie community. It is poorly rated by film review sites for lots of shortcomings including its poor animation. The actress voiced the character, Mrs. Potts, in the Disney animated sequel.
11. The Revlon Mirror Theater (1953)
Directed by Jack Donohue and Daniel Petrie, The Revlon Mirror Theater is a TV drama and anthology series that aired from June 23, 1953, to September 1, 1953, on NBC with two seasons and more than 34 episodes. Angela guest-starred in the series alongside stars like Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, Eva Marie Saint, Eddie Albert, Agnes Moorehead, Joanne Dru, and Lee Marvin; however, the project failed to meet the standard and expectations of critics. Information about its commercial status is yet to be revealed.