I feel silly but there are about 7 movies of Audrey Hepburn I’ve never watched even though I collected her entire filmography (Wait Until Dark, The Children’s Hour, War and Peace, They All Laughed, Robin and Marian, Always). But through the entirety of last week, I watched the remaining films. I now have a final opinion on her film career: wonderful. She excelled in every single film with a different role. She’s played an angel, an aging Lady Marian, a nun, a princess, a blind woman, socialite, a thief, a frustrated housewife, a bohemian-turned-model, a jungle girl, and an alleged lesbian schoolteacher. Many people sidestep her other films for the classics, but it’s good to see take a dab into films that many fans forget about.
1. Wait Until Dark (1967)
A suspenseful thriller that is very close to her essentials. Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman stalked by three killers. She does a fantastic job showing the audience her helplessness. Wait Until Dark won her an Academy Award and become her retirement film of the 1960s to focus on her children and family life. What an exit. She doesn’t play the charming princess or the waif socialite, but a true thespian.
2. The Nun’s Story (1959)
One of Audrey’s favorite films, she plays the nun who is on a quest to treating lepers in the Belgian Congo. A true story that also demonstrates her dramatic acting abilities as she received a BAFTA award for best actress.
3. Children’s Hour (1961)
Definitely one Audrey’s daring roles as she teams up with Shirley MacLaine to play alleged lesbian schoolteachers as a child’s lie ruins their lives with a shocking ending. As much as I loved the shocking twists and their thespian craft, I can not watch this film again for its homophobic issue as it truly outdated. In those times, if you were a lesbian or gay, you had to have an emotional trauma that led to death. But kudos for Hepburn and MacLaine for tackling a gay issue.
4. Love in the Afternoon (1957)
An admirable role that pairs Audrey with Gary Cooper in an endearing romantic comedy as Cooper plays an American playboy while Hepburn plays a private investigator‘s daughter. They compliment each other very well with Cooper’s dry wit and Audrey’s graceful presence, but their 30-year age difference is a bit distracting.
5. How To Steal A Million (1966)
In a delightful heist movie, Audrey is paired with Peter O’ Toole as they set out to steal a painting. Clever and entertaining film that showcases Audrey in full 60s mode attire.
6. Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
Audrey Hepburn plays a shy assistant who helps screenwriter William Holden with his writer’s block. Audrey is always a pleasure, but the continuing plot lines trip on each other as they try to figure the script. My least favorite Audrey flick as I got a headache halfway through the film. I think it was during the vampire reveal.
7. War and Peace (1956)
I believe that War and Peace is the only American version of the famed Russian novel, so it would have to be over three hours, of course. Despite its time length, I enjoyed the film as Audrey is likeable and mesmerizing as the royal Natasha Rostova as she ages from a teenager to a full adult with her three suitors. It’s worth a look at.
8. The Unforgiven (1960)
A compelling drama in which Audrey Hepburn is plays a half-white and half Indian woman who causes a stir amongst the racist people. Audrey is of course beautiful as she is paired with Burt Lancaster, but it’s hard to believe she’s even Indian. Still, a good film with plenty of racist characters.
9. Green Mansions (1959)
Directed by her husband Mel Ferrer, Green Mansions was one of Audrey’s few failures. Still, she is mesmerizing as the jungle girl Rima who engages with traveler Anthony Perkins. I’ve watched this film on television, but this is one of the few Audrey films unavailable on DVD.
THE LATER YEARS
10.Robin and Marian (1976)
After her 9-year retirement, Audrey Hepburn returns to the film industry as an aging Lady Marian from Robin Hood mythology. Still very graceful and funny after her hiatus as she is paired with Sean Connery. They bicker constantly and demonstrate their undying love for each other. A somewhat good film that returns Audrey back to her graces.
11. They All Laughed (1981)
Audrey Hepburn shows off her maternal skills as one of the women followed by private investigators. She’s on screen with her son Sean, but this film as very little screen time for Audrey as it is mostly an ensemble cast. She’s not in her prime amongst the gritty new Hollywood film techniques. One of her lesser known films as it is notorious for castmate Dorothy Stratten’s last film before her untimely murder.
12. Always (1989)
Audrey’s last film served as a cameo in Steven Spielberg’s story about a recently deceased man who must come terms with his lover moving on. Audrey only has two scenes but she’s memorable as an angel. Still charming, sweet, and graceful even in her final cinematic performance.
There are a few films worth mentioning that are part of Audrey’s acting career, but are completely overlooked for various reasons. Audrey’s films before her first American film, Roman Holiday in 1953, were all European and considered minimal as she was usually an extra (Dutch in Seven Lessons, One Wild Oat, Laughter in Paradise, Monte Carlo Baby, Young Wives’ Tale, The Lavender Hill Mob, and the Secret People) between the years 1948 and 1952. Many People forget these movies, but they are briefly played in some biography movies. In 1979, Audrey appeared in Bloodline as the heir to a fortune in which killers are tracking to kill her. Her only R-rated film that is not available on DVD or even VHS. And in the 80s, Audrey ventured in a 1987 made-for-tv movie entitle Love Amongst Thieves with Robert Wagner and presented a PBS show entitled Gardens of the World With Audrey Hepburn. Love Amongst Thieves borrowed plot elements from Hepburn’s famous films while Gardens of the World aired 9 episodes and played a day before Audrey Hepburn passed away on January 22, 1993. Many of these films are unavailable on DVD.