Besides Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most beautiful women of the 1950s and possibly all of cinema. Her raven, jet-black hair and her rare violet eyes are mesmerizing while her acting abilities rival that of a great Shakespearean thespian. Her humanitarian efforts for the fight against AIDS has undeniably marked her a living legend and an unending icon for the LGBT community (the first celebrity to speak against it). Many of her movies are iconic and need to be watched.
1. A Place in the Sun (1951)
She’s been an actor since she was a child with critical acclaim from her finest work in National Velvet, but A Place in the Sun became her breakout role as an adult actor. She played the beautiful debutante swooned by the swooning Montgomery Clift. While she plays a minor role considering Clift’s murderous act against his pregnant girlfriend, Taylor still shines. It’s fantastic to see her glamorous at 17 years old, a feat unheard of for many child actors.
2. Butterfield 8 (1960)
One of the best movies of her career. Taylor plays a chic call girl with problems as she relishes her lifestyle. She won an Academy Award, but the ending is truly tragic since apparently all bad girls die.
3. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Taylor played side by side with Katherine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift, and it proved to be a winning situation as all three thespians feed off each other. Taylor plays the newly demented patient who witnesses a shocking secret about her cousin. Clift must uncover the truth while Hepburn must bury the terrible lie. It’s very suspenseful, and difficult not to see the fantastic bickering of the two female screen legends.
4. Cat on A Hot Tin Roof (1958)
There’s so much tension exuding from Taylor in a claustrophobic Southern mansion. With her crippled husband played by Paul Newman, Taylor is beautiful and smoldering as she faces verbal arguments from her husband’s family. Like all Tennessee Williams plays, there’s a secret that needs to be uncovered, and it’s shockingly queer. Newman and Taylor provide great thespian acting with their pitch perfect looks.
5. Cleopatra (1963)
With her role as the Egyptian queen, an icon is spoken. Besides the death-defying drama of romance, accidents, and box office failure, it’s an extravagant movie of luxurious settings as she is in cahoots with Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar.
Sadly I haven’t watched her impeccably awesome roles in Taming of the Shrew, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Boom!, and Reflection in a Golden Eye. I will someday, but I know they will be good.