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Every Gregory Peck Movie Ranked Worst To Best

The 1940s, '50s, and '60s were truly the Golden Age of Hollywood: an era when motion pictures came into their own, became more than glorified stage plays, and produced a new generation of on-screen superstars. Following in the footsteps of Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, a new star emerged in this era named Gregory Peck. 

Debuting in a leading role in 1944, he shot to stardom after just a few films, as his debonair looks, natural charm, and dominating screen presence made him a favorite of directors everywhere. In fact, Peck wound up working with many of the best of his generation, and seemed to favor working with filmmakers he'd had success with in the past. He starred in multiple films for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Henry King, William Wyler, and J. Lee Thompson, and appeared on screen opposite some of his day's biggest leading ladies.

Today, Peck's Hollywood legacy lives on in the form of his grandson Ethan Peck, star of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." Many of his films, meanwhile, have become iconic in their own right, and continue to be watched by new generations of fans. From Westerns and war movies to some of the finest rom-coms in Tinseltown, we've ranked every Gregory Peck film, worst to best.

54. The Chairman

At the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, veteran actor Gregory Peck starred in an espionage action thriller titled "The Chairman." The film reunited Peck with director J. Lee Thompson, who had helmed two of his previous hits, "Cape Fear" and "The Guns of Navarone," but this one never went on to be the classic their other collaborations have become.

Here, Peck plays renowned scientist Dr. John Hathaway, who is recruited by the U.S. military to travel on a crucial intelligence mission to China, where his former protégé Soong Li (Keye Luke) has developed a revolutionary new chemical enzyme. This innovation reportedly allows crops to grow in any climate on Earth, making it incredibly valuable to U.S. interests. To monitor his travels, Hathaway has a microchip installed in his brain. But what he isn't told is that the chip is also armed with an explosive that his handlers will activate should he fail in his task.

More than just a bad movie, the plot of "The Chairman" is nonsensical and the execution poor. One problem might even that Peck was badly miscast, with Roger Ebert saying in his review, "Gregory Peck bleeds with nobility, dignity, taste, restraint and all the things that are deadly to an action movie ... guys like this just don't have the savvy for action pictures." Meanwhile, New York Magazine far less nuanced in its review, simply calling the film "idiotic." 

53. The Portrait

A late career return to the screen and his final leading role, "The Portrait" is a 1993 made-for-television movie starring Gregory Peck and his real-life daughter Cecilia Peck during her brief attempt to launch a Hollywood career in front of the camera. The younger Peck is the star of the film, playing a portrait painter named Margaret Church. In a possible case of calling in some familial favors, Gregory Peck appears as her father and his "Designing Woman" co-star Lauren Bacall returns to his side to play his wife and Margaret's mother.

This sappy TNT original movie was adapted from the Arthur Penn play "Painting Churches" and sees Margaret arrive to paint a portrait of her aging parents for a project she's working on back in New York. But during the visit, Margaret is surprised to learn that her parents are preparing to move from her childhood home, and out of the well-to-do community where father Gardner has lived throughout his successful career as a poet. As she reconnects with them both, though, she slowly realizes they are not the active and vibrant parents she remembers.

Despite a pair of Hollywood icons, "The Portrait" is a pale imitation of Penn's play, and as a television production it's all awkwardly staged and haphazardly constructed. Unless you're a diehard Peck fan, this one is an easy skip.

52. Old Gringo

The 1989 melodrama "Old Gringo" is near the bottom of the list for Gregory Peck, despite co-starring fellow Hollywood icon Jane Fonda and "L.A. Law" star Jimmy Smits. Based on a novel by Carlos Fuentes, it's an overwrought romance story set amid the Mexican Revolution, and was a passion project for Fonda (via The Los Angeles Times).

Peck's first big screen leading role in nearly a decade, he played famed author and titular old gringo Ambrose Bierce in a quasi-biopic of the writer. Leaving for Mexico to witness Pancho Villa's revolution himself, Bierce joins with the freedom fighters in a fictionalized account of what happened after his real life disappearance. Fonda stars as Harriet Winslow, an American schoolteacher who heads down to Mexico on a journey of her own, only to get swept up in the revolution after falling in love with General Tomas Arroyo (Smits).

According to a 1989 report in The New York Times, "Old Gringo" was so awful that it was openly booed at the Cannes Film Festival, something all the more embarrassing considering Peck's legendary status by the late 1980s. Whether the movie's problems are all the result of a troubled production nobody can say for sure, but it remains one of the worst of Peck's long career.

51. Amazing Grace and Chuck

The 1987 family drama "Amazing Grace and Chuck" isn't quite a Gregory Peck movie, with the former "Moby Dick" star only playing a minor supporting role. But the part he plays is an important one, as he takes on the role of the President of the United States. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis ("Halloween") and William Petersen ("CSI") in an all-ages story that speaks to America's very real worries about nuclear proliferation in the 1980s before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The story centers on a 12-year-old little leaguer named Chuck Murdock (Joshua Zuehlke), who becomes so concerned about nuclear weapons that he refuses to take the field for a big game, forcing his team to forfeit. When his silent protest makes the news, it catches the attention of star NBA player "Amazing Grace" Smith (Alex English), who takes the heartfelt message to the national level when he too refuses to play. As more and more pro athletes join their movement, Smith's sports agent (Curtis) is unsure of where the protest will end. Eventually, little Chuck winds up with a meeting at the White House, where he's applauded for his message of peace by the U.S. President. 

The final product is a well-meaning but limp drama with a preposterous premise. "'Amazing Grace' is destined to go down in history as the camp classic of the anti-nuke genre," wrote Variety. "As amazingly bad as it is audacious, [it] will live forever in the hearts of connoisseurs of Hollywood's most memorably outrageous moments."

50. Shoot Out

The 1971 Western "Shoot Out" was based on the book "The Lone Cowboy" by Will James. But being written by Marguerite Roberts, produced by Hal B. Wallis, and directed by Henry Hathaway, the film version came from the same trio that crafted the classic "True Grit" just two years earlier. Throw in the fact that its premise was strikingly similar, pairing Peck's gunslinging cowboy with a young girl (played by Dawn Lyn of "My Three Sons"), and expectations must have been sky high that the movie would be a monster hit. 

In the movie, Peck plays Clay Lomax, a bank robber who's just been released from a seven-year sentence after being betrayed by his partner, Sam Foley (James Gregory). Now a free man, Lomax wants revenge, and sets out to find his former partner. But when he goes to retrieve the loot he'd stashed with a friend years before, he's instead met by 7-year old Decky, and to get his money he'll have to take care of her, too. Becoming a sudden father-figure doesn't slow his mission, but when Foley's men kidnap Decky it raises the stakes and makes Lomax more deadly than ever.

Unable to live up to "True Grit" in nearly any fashion, it's easily the worst of Peck's Wild West movies. 

49. Marooned

The lone outer space movie in Gregory Peck's filmography, the 1969 movie "Marooned" wound up being a well-timed release, just months following the first moon landing. What might be more noteworthy about its timing, however, is that the space-based disaster movie tells a story that is eerily prescient in hindsight. Chronicling an Apollo mission gone wrong, it dropped less than four months before the real-life Apollo 13 mission left three astronauts marooned themselves.

Peck stars as NASA director Charles Kieth, who is left to orchestrate a rescue when the Apollo spacecraft Ironman One suffers a critical systems failure. As the situation deteriorates, Kieth realizes that the ship doesn't have enough fuel to get back to Earth, and they may have to take bold action to save astronauts Buzz Lloyd (Gene Hackman), Clayton Stone (James Franciscus), and Jim Pruett (Richard Crenna). While their wives worry about the astronauts' fate, Kieth prepares to launch an experimental new craft into orbit to retrieve them, but an approaching weather system threatens to derail the mission.

Though the effects were first rate (earning it an Academy Award), it's a surprisingly dull film that doesn't seem any more impressive today with Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" doing everything it did but better. In the end, it was bad enough to be lampooned on "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

48. Other People's Money

In his final big screen role, Gregory Peck starred alongside Danny DeVito, Piper Laurie, and Penelope Anne Miller in the 1991 comedy "Other People's Money." It's an unorthodox role for Peck, who for decades played the strong man of action or charismatic leading man, but in his twilight years was mostly playing wise mentor types. Instead, here he plays Andrew Jorgenson, the chairman of a cable company that employs most of the people in the small town in which it's based. Not the greedy corporate big wig you might expect, Peck's part sees him as a principled and old fashioned money man who tries to be the town's savior.

DeVito, meanwhile, plays a more ruthless modern executive named Larry Garfield. A corporate raider, he comes to town with his eye on a hostile takeover, hoping rip the company apart and sell it off piece by piece for massive profits. But Jorgenson isn't about to take this lying down, and tries to use his attractive stepdaughter Kate (Miller) to disrupt his plans. Representing the company, Kate and the slimy Garfield actually hit it off, and the hotshot businessman must decide if he wants the girl or the green.

A dark comedy seen today as a warning about corporate greed (via Hollywood in Toto), "Other People's Money" carries an important message and timeless words of caution. Unfortunately, the movie itself isn't all that memorable.

47. The Sea Wolves

After playing a Nazi villain in "The Boys from Brazil" two years earlier, Peck returned to play a war hero from the other side of World War II in the 1980 film "The Sea Wolves." The story follows a heavily fictionalized real-life raid by a team of British and Scottish reserve soldiers on a Nazi merchant ship that was known to be coordinating U-boat attacks. Known as Operation Creek, it proved instrumental in the Allies' dominance at sea, as U-boat attacks largely ceased following the encounter (per Defense Media Network).

"The Sea Wolves" sees German attack boats devastating British shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, with the Allied Forces seemingly powerless to stop them. When they get intelligence suggesting that a German merchant vessel may contain a secret transmitter that is coordinating the attacks, British SOE sets out to stop them. But because the territory is neutral, no national military force can be sent in. Gregory Peck plays Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Henry Owain Pugh, a British officer tasked with training and leading a mostly volunteer force comprised of the Calcutta Light Horse and Calcutta Scottish against the Nazi merchant ship Ehrenfels.

With a cast of English stars including Roger Moore and David Niven, the film was loaded with talent, but the results were less than the sum of its parts.

46. Billy Two Hats

A late career Western for Gregory Peck — who by the mid-1970s had become one of Hollywood's most respected elder statesmen — "Billy Two Hats" was part of a new generation of Hollywood Westerns, far different from the classics of the 1950s and '60s. Featuring darker stories with a grittier feel and much more violence and bloodshed, the bar was set by Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch," which changed the landscape of the genre five years earlier (via The Los Angeles Times). Co-starring Desi Arnaz Jr. and Jack Warden, Peck leads the story of two outlaws on the run.

Set firmly in the Wild West, Peck is Arch Deans, one of a trio of bank robbing bandits. One of them is killed during a robbery, and Dean's surviving partner, a half-Native American man named Billy Two Hats (Arnaz Jr.), is captured by Sheriff Gilford. But when Deans goes to break him out, he's shot in the leg and unable to walk. With a makeshift contraption, Billy carries Deans with him as they make a run from Gilford, and despite being slowed down, he refuses to leave Dean to die.

A grim survivalist outlaw adventure with plenty of gore, most viewers and critics didn't feel it lived up to the best of the new wave of Westerns.

45. McKenna's Gold

Though at the time of its release, the 1969 Western "McKenna's Gold" was a big-budget adventure with a major Hollywood star, it's best known today for something else entirely. Famously, it was the subject of a behind-the-scenes documentary film by a young George Lucas titled "6-18-67." He picked a good film to chronicle too, because it had a notoriously troubled production (per Turner Classic Movies). Originally shot in 70mm, the first cut reportedly ran nearly three hours, forcing a nervous studio to chop it up and show it in 35mm widescreen.

The film is adapted from a book by Heck Allen, and follows a group of people seeking their fortune in the mountains hoping to find gold in a lost canyon said to be swimming in it. But it's Marshal Sam McKenna (Peck) who, after defeating a fierce Apache Warrior named Prairie Dog, obtains a map that could lead him straight to it. McKenna learns he wasn't the only one who knew of Prairie Dog's map, and now he finds himself being hunted by Mexican outlaw John Colorado (Omar Sharif), the U.S. Cavalry led by Sgt. Tibbs (Telly Savalas), and a rag-tag bunch of frontier gold hunters.

A promising concept, however, is let down by a plodding plot and a nonsensical script, with the New York Times calling it "a Western of truly stunning absurdity." Releasing the same year as other greats like "True Grit" didn't help.

44. Only the Valiant

An old-fashioned "Cowboys and Indians" Western war movie, "Only the Valiant" stars Gregory Peck, Barbara Payton, Ward Bond, Lon Chaney Jr., Jeff Corey, and Gig Young. Set in the aftermath of the American Civil War, the United States holds a fragile peace with the Native American tribe in what is then the New Mexico Territory. There, a heavily fortified army installation called Fort Invincible is the last line of defense against the aggression of the Apache in the region. 

In the film, Peck stars as Captain Richard Lance, an American officer who must earn the respect of his assembled group of cavalry soldiers. He's sent in when the Apache take Fort Invincible after a well-timed attack, and is able capture their leader Tuscos (Michael Ansara). But a mission to escort the tribesman to nearby Fort Grant goes bad, leaving Lance's friend Lt. Holloway (Young) dead, which devastates Cathy (Payton), who had been in love with both Lance and Holloway. Now with Tuscos freed, it's up to Lance and his team to retake Fort Invincible and stop the Apache from continuing their advance through the territory.

A below average Western for the day, Peck as usual helps elevate an otherwise unremarkable story into a something better than it ought to be.

43. The Great Sinner

In his first role opposite leading lady Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck starred in "The Great Sinner," a big screen version of Dostoyevsky's 1866 novel "The Gambler," even if the on-screen credits never say it (via TCM). This big-budget 1949 period film adaptation boasted lavish production values, and while never credited to the great writer, does note in its prologue that it was inspired by an acclaimed author who was himself a big gambler.

Peck plays Fedya, a successful writer who is working on his memoirs, as he looks back upon his life. The film then recounts Fedya's earlier years, and how he met and fell in love with Pauline, a compulsive gambler and daughter of a prominent general. Fascinated by her addiction to gambling, Fedya begins to explore the pastime on his own and slowly becomes consumed with it himself. As his life spirals out of control, he also discovers that Pauline is arranged to marry another man.

Mixing "The Gambler" with elements of Dostoyevsky's own life left audiences and critics confused. Despite its grand production and big names in the cast, the film failed to succeed at the box office. As Time Magazine wrote, "The rich, exuberant flow of dialogue, incident and atmosphere characteristic of the Russian master has been choked to a pedestrian trickle."

42. David and Bathsheba

The 1950s were the golden age of religious epics, with Charlton Heston starring in two of them, "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur." Both became classics, not to mention two of the biggest box office hits of the era. But before either of them, Gregory Peck helped kick off the craze in 1951 with "David and Bathsheba," a film that recounted the adventures of the most famous heroes in the Old Testament.

Not long after his defeat of the Philistines, King David (Peck) returns to Israel as its greatest king, but forsakes his wife and falls in love with Bathsheba, who is married to Uriah, one of his soldiers. Though they've kept their affair a secret, Bathsheba is revealed to be with child, which forces David to take drastic action to cover their sin. But no matter what he does, it becomes clear that he must face the Lord's wrath for his wrongdoing, and all he can do is to try to save Bathsheba from God's retribution.

Second only to "Quo Vadis," this 1951 bible story was the biggest earner at the ticket counter that year, but while reviewers enjoyed it, audiences have been less than impressed over the years. A far cry form other, better epics, Peck's strong showing as David is the best thing the film has going for it.

41. The Stalking Moon

There are all manner of thrillers in Hollywood history, and "The Stalking Moon" is the rare one of the Western variety. This story, based on a book by Theodore Victor Olsen, acts as an early slasher flick of sorts, with a deadly killer haunting the heroes and out for blood. But instead of teens in suburbia or a group of friends in a cabin in the woods, this time it's an American scout, a young woman, and her son trying to escape the bloodthirsty clutches of a ruthless killer across the Western plains.

The story begins when cavalry scout Sam Varner, while helping move a group of Apache to a reservation, discovers an American woman named Sarah Carver among them. With her is her half-Native American son, and Varner is ordered to take them both back to civilization. But Sarah is terrified of something, and as they traverse the frontier Varner learns just what is hunting her: an Apache warrior who is also the father of her son, and he will stop at nothing to get them back.

It may not be a great Western or a great thriller, but it is definitely something bold and unique. Unfortunately, there's also a certain amount of racism that definitely doesn't help it hold up on modern rewatches.

40. Days of Glory

The first on-screen roles for most actors in Hollywood, even the biggest names ever to grace the screen, are usually uncredited roles or minor supporting parts. But Gregory Peck is the rare star who made his debut in the lead on a major motion picture — in this case, the 1944 war movie "Days of Glory." The film, set just three years earlier in 1941, was made while the Second World War was still going on, and dramatizes Germany's doomed invasion of Russia.

In war-torn Russia, the Nazis are everywhere and small militias are striking back, with squad leader Vladimir (Peck) in charge of a group of irregulars. But Vladimir's squad is disrupted by the arrival of Nina, an alluring young ballerina. As Vladimir and Nina embark on a passionate affair, he finds himself unable to send her on crucial missions, which endangers the success of their plans against the Nazis.

Though the film wasn't well received, with criticism thrown to the film's director for not doing quite enough with its compelling story, Peck made a positive impression, even if his acting was still a little rough around the edges. "As the man, Gregory Peck comes recommended with a Gary Cooper angularity and a face somewhat like that modest gentleman's," said the New York Times

39. Beloved Infidel

"Beloved Infidel" is a 1959 biopic of acclaimed author F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose works included "The Great Gatsby" and "This Side of Paradise." The film follows the latter days of Fitzgerald's life, in particular his relationship with columnist Sheilah Graham, who is played by Deborah Kerr.  The film's title is owed to it being based on the real Graham's autobiography of the same name, published a year earlier.

When we meet Fitzgerald in the film he's already a renowned author, but his best days are behind him. His wife, fellow author Zelda, resides in a psychiatric facility after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Now, Fitzgerald works in Hollywood working on movie scripts when he meets a young British ex-pat named Sheilah Graham, and the two quickly become inseparable. But their relationship is no paradise, as Fitzgerald turns out to be abusive and obsessive. Eventually, Sheilah must decide whether to leave him, a choice not made any easier by his deteriorating health.

A sweeping melodrama, "Beloved Infidel" tries to tackle some weighty issues. But whatever success it achieves is largely thanks to Peck and Kerr, who make a captivating on-screen couple.

38. MacArthur

His second major biopic, Gregory Peck went from playing acclaimed author F. Scott Fitgerald in 1959's "Beloved Infidel" to one of the greatest modern military generals to ever live in "MacArthur." Previously played by Hollywood legend Henry Fonda in a made-for-television movie and by Dayton Lummis in "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell," this 1977 epic war film was the first big-screen biography of the legendary general. 

Told mostly in flashback as he visits West Point in 1962 to deliver an address, the film takes a broader view of the life of General Douglas MacArthur than other portrayals. The film's action begins not long after America's entry into the world's second global conflict in 1942, with MacArthur fighting in the Battle of Bataan. There he leads forces of the United States and their allies from the Philippines against the Japanese navy. A decade later, we meet MacArthur again in the 1950s during the Korean War, where his insubordinate actions get him removed from command by President Truman.

Clearly inspired by the success of 1970's "Patton," Peck does a good job as always in the role. While critical consensus shows it's not the best biopic, it tells a good story and remains one of the best on-screen portrayals of MacArthur.

37. The Purple Plain

An odd loophole in the tax code in the 1950s led several big stars to briefly relocate overseas and film movies outside of Hollywood (via Turner Classic Movies). Gregory Peck was one of them, and in 1953 he signed a two-picture deal in England which produced "The Million Pound Note" that same year, and the 1954 war movie "The Purple Plain." The film tells the story of a Royal Air Force pilot during the Second World War, and is notable for Peck's demand that his Asian love interest be played by an Asian actress, newcomer Win Min Than, in her first and only role.

Set during the Burma Campaign in Southeast Asia in the waning days of the war, we meet RCAF pilot Bill Forrester (Peck), who has become emotionally compromised after the death of his wife in the London Blitz. Though he hopes he can find death in combat, he finds only medals and accolades for his skill and gallantry in war. Noticing Forrester's recklessness, squad physician Dr. Harris (Bernard Lee) sends him to a remote village where he meets Anna (Min Than), a reserved young Burmese woman who rekindles his lust for life and love. 

More an emotional character drama than an action-packed war picture, "The Purple Plain" is a different kind of movie than you might expect, ultimately becoming a thoughtful look at the emotional complexities of war.

36. The Macomber Affair

"The Macomber Affair" is a 1947 romantic drama set in British colonized East Africa. Centering on Margaret Macomber (Joan Bennett), the film tells the story of an unhappily married woman who gets caught up in a dangerous love triangle with two men (Gregory Peck and Robert Preston) who she joins on safari, and whose battle for her affection turns deadly. 

The story begins with the death of her husband Francis (Preston) while they're out hunting big game, but the rest of the film is a flashback to the events that have brought her to this day. Francis has hired safari guide Robert (Peck) to accompany him and his wife on a hunting trip across Africa. But while Francis shows meekness on their journey, Robert shows himself to be daring and bold, exciting Margaret and leading to tension between the two men as Francis becomes determined to prove himself. 

Based on another short story by Ernest Hemingway, "The Macomber Affair" is as exciting an action movie as it is a stirring romance. A product of its day, it may not appeal to modern audiences, but should satisfy those looking for a sweeping, old school romantic adventure.

35. The Paradine Case

Based on a 1933 novel of the same name, "The Paradine Case" is a film noir courtroom drama, and Gregory Peck's second film with acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock after the 1945 classic "Spellbound." Though the lead role was originally envisioned for superstar John Barrymore, Peck — a younger rising star at the time — stepped in, while John's sister Ethel wound up in the film in a smaller supporting role (via TCM).

The movie centers on London socialite Mrs. Paradine (Alida Valli), who is the prime suspect in the murder of her older, blind husband who was poisoned under suspicious circumstances. Renowned attorney Anthony Keane is hired to defend her, but despite being married himself becomes instantly infatuated with her beauty and grace. Determined to find her innocent, he sets up the Paradines' servant to cast doubt on her innocence, but when the case goes off the rails, it threatens to destroy all of their lives.

Though "The Paradine Case" never became a classic, it's still a good thriller, as you'd expect from the master of suspense.

34. Night People

An early Cold War spy thriller, "Night People" is a 1954 film set in Berlin in the years just after World War II, but before the construction of the Berlin Wall. With Soviet forces in control of the Eastern sector and Americans in charge of the West — and no barrier between them — the landscape was ripe for espionage and covert operations by both sides. Though they maintained a fragile peace, it left the German people caught in between the power struggle of global superpowers, and soldiers on both sides vulnerable.

One such soldier is Cpl. John Leatherby (Ted Avery) who is taken captive by mysterious agents while escorting his German companion home after a night on the town. Though the Soviets insist they are not involved in his disappearance, Lt. Col. Steve Van Dyke (Peck) is informed by a former German lover (Anita Bjork) that they are indeed responsible. But as Van Dyke's investigation unfolds, he is drawn into a perilous plot that brings him closer to mortal danger than he ever expected, and he soon realizes that nothing is quite what it seems.

An engaging spy story full of double crosses and stunning revelations, "Night People" was praised as an "exciting cloak-and-dagger thriller" by Variety. While not a home run, the outlet did deem it a "clean triple."

33. Snows of Kilimanjaro

Based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 movie "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is focused on a writer and war correspondent named Harry Street. Mostly told in flashback, the beleaguered Street is first seen suffering from a severe wound he suffered while on safari in Africa. Though just a thorn prick, the wound has become infected, leaving him mostly bedridden. While awaiting what he expects will be a slow and agonizing death, Harry is tended to by Helen (Susan Heyward), who listens as he tells her the story of the last few years of his life and the many loves he's had.

As Harry reflects, we learn that he was once involved with a woman named Cynthia Green (Ava Gardner), who was the muse for many of his early stories. We learn of his near-marriage to the Countess Elizabeth, his enlistment in the Spanish army, and eventually his meeting Helen and his trip to Kenya, where he hopes to solve an age old mystery.

Though a big hit in its day and well-reviewed by critics on its release, the film has aged poorly in the years since. Modern audience reviews point to its stiff screenplay and its failure to capture the heart of Hemingway, earning a place closer to the middle of Peck's filmography today. 

32. Arabesque

The 1966 adventure film "Arabesque" could be seen today as a precursor to the likes of "Indiana Jones," as a fast-paced, pulpy action movie that takes its archeologist hero around the world on a quest to thwart a megalomaniacal villain. Released around the same time as "Dr. No," the first film in the James Bond series, it shared many hallmarks with that saga as well: car chases, shoot-outs, and fisticuffs punctuated the wild globe-trotting romance between star Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren.

Though Peck doesn't have a whip or an Aston Martin, he has pluck and savvy in the role of Professor David Pollock, an expert in ancient languages at Oxford. When Pollock's old mentor is killed and a coded hieroglyphic message is stolen, Pollock is drawn into a sinister plot by the dangerous Beshraavi (Alan Badel) when his knowledge is needed to discover its contents. On the run from numerous adversaries who want the cipher to decode the stolen artifact, Pollock finds an unexpected ally in Beshraavi's beautiful lover Azir (Loren).

A labyrinthian plot worthy of both Bond and Jones, "Arabesque" is a gripping story sure to be enjoyed by those who might want to trace the roots of those later adventure films. It may not be one of the best in the genre, but it's a worthy predecessor to the greats. 

31. Captain Newman, M.D.

A trailblazing film that set the stage for a new subgenre of film and television, "Captain Newman, M.D." was highly influential — not just for its disillusioned tone towards war and combat, but for its focus on the doctor's role in war. In fact, this 1963 film starring Gregory Peck is often seen as the precursor to the likes of "Catch-22" for its cynicism (per TCM), and to "M*A*S*H" due to its focus on a military hospital and doctors doing more than just treating wounds, but caring for the mental health of soldiers as well. 

The film's cast was rounded out by a laundry list of stars that included Tony Curtis, Angie Dickinson, Dick Sargent, and a young Robert Duvall, but Gregory Peck stars as the eponymous Captain Newman. A noble psychiatrist working for the Air Force during World War II, his role is to help soldiers recover from the mental scars of combat. But Newman struggles with his job because it means sending these young men — damaged by the atrocities they've experienced — right back into the war zone only to go through it all over again.

Inspirational and influential, "Captain Newman, M.D." was Peck's first role after his Oscar-winning performance in "To Kill a Mockingbird." A worthy follow-up, Peck is once again at the top of his game as a morally upstanding hero who challenges the system.

30. The Million Pound Note

Filmed in Britain in 1953, "The Million Pound Note" was known stateside under the title "Man with a Million," and was based on a short story by Mark Twain that went by the former title. A classic rags-to-riches story, Gregory Peck had moved to the UK for a brief period in the 1950s, and this was his first effort there — a perfect vehicle to leverage his good looks and endless charm. Surrounded by a roster of English regulars, there may not be a host of big American stars, but the cast was as skillful and talented as any Hollywood great.

The film sees Peck as a down-on-his-luck American named Henry Adams who gets left homeless in England. But Adams unwittingly becomes the subject of a bet between two wealthy brothers to see what would happen if there could exist a bank note worth one million dollars. One brother predicts that the money needs to be spent to make a poor person rich, while the other insists that just possessing it would be enough to have people lavish him and treat him like royalty.

Certainly the film shares plenty of similarities to the much later 1983 comedy "Trading Places," which wasn't lost on reviewers of the Eddie Murphy classic (see, for example, a 2015 piece from The Atlantic comparing the two). Though each has its unique elements, "The Million Pound Note" has Gregory Peck, making it a distinguished '50s laugher of the highest caliber.

29. Duel in the Sun

A tragic and doomed romance set in the old West, the 1946 movie "Duel in the Sun" was one of the first films after Peck's star-making performance in the Hitchcock thriller "Spellbound" just a year earlier. An age-old story of obsession and taboo love, it explores a controversial interracial romance between a white man (Peck) and a Native American woman (Jennifer Jones) in 19th century America. A sweeping epic tale, it was produced by David O. Selznick, known for similarly star-crossed romances like "Gone with the Wind" and "Rebecca." 

Following her mother's murder at the hands of her father, orphaned Pearl Chavez (Jones) goes to live with her aristocratic white family in Texas. On their sprawling southern ranch, Pearl becomes the subject of everyone's attention: lusted after by the womanizing Lewt (Peck), mentored by cousin Laura Belle (Lillian Gish), and ruled over by gunslinging preacher Jubal Crabbe (Walter Huston). But when Pearl rejects Lewt for another man, the jilted lover becomes consumed with getting her back, even if it means spilling blood.

A divisive picture in its day, dueling reviews from The New York Times and Variety alternatively knocked and praised it for its salaciousness and visual splendor. Modern critics largely see it as a stylishly directed melodrama and a classic of the era.

28. I Walk the Line

Long before the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic, there was another movie that used the country star's tune and title for its own: the 1970 neo noir crime drama "I Walk the Line," starring Gregory Peck and Tuesday Weld. But the legendary country music star Cash did more than just offer up his 1956 classic for the title, recording a slew new songs that would make up the film's official soundtrack, in essence making it an entirely new Johnny Cash album.

The film saw Peck playing small town Tennessee sheriff Henry Tawes, an older, world-weary lawman whose grown tired of his monotonous married life. When he meets the much younger Alma McCain (Weld), he becomes involved in a tawdry extra-marital affair with a teenaged girl that gets the community gossiping. Things get more complicated though when Alma's moonshine-running family force him to break his own rules to keep his relationship with Alma, putting him at odds with his own deputies.

With a good cast and some serious drama, "I Walk the Line" is strong modern Western, but the good-guy Peck somehow doesn't feel right as Tawes, a disillusioned, morally bankrupt older man lusting after a criminal teen.

27. The Boys from Brazil

Based on a novel by author Ira Levin, "The Boys from Brazil" takes Gregory Peck and turns him into one of mankind's greatest real-life villains, Nazi mastermind Josef Mengele. While it's best known for a bizarre, surrealist plot involving the monstrous Mengele, a despicable real-life figure who here becomes a maniacal supervillain, it's also a movie steeped in Hollywood royalty. The top billed cast of this 1978 thriller might be among the best in Peck's filmography, as he's joined by Laurence Olivier ("Wuthering Heights") and James Mason ("North by Northwest").

It begins with Mengele having escaped Nazi Germany after the fall of Adolf Hitler's regime at the end of World War II, escaping to Brazil. There he is determined to resurrect not just the Third Reich, but Hitler himself, using experimental cloning technology to create nearly 100 identical copies of the Führer. These "Boys from Brazil," as they became known, are central to Mengele's planned Fourth Reich, but when notorious Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman (Olivier) discovers Mengele's scheme, he sets out to take him down.

While there had been other films about resurrecting Adolf Hitler, "The Boys from Brazil" took the concept more seriously. For its efforts, the movie received three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actor nom for Olivier.

26. The World in His Arms

Starring Gregory Peck, Ann Blyth, and Anthony Quinn, the 1952 ocean-based adventure "The World in His Arms" was a reunion of Peck and director Raoul Walsh. That pair had worked together previously on another seafaring adventure, the wildly successful "Captain Horatio Hornblower," and must have been looking to continue the magic with another movie set on the water just a year later. Like the earlier film, Peck plays an intrepid explorer and captain, this time an American in the 1850s who sets sail off the coast of Alaska.

As Jonathan Clerk, Peck is an adversary of Russian captain Portugee (Quinn), and during a fateful encounter at sea he meets a wayward woman, Countess Marina Selanova (Blyth). Falling head over heals for one another, Clerk and Marina soon become engaged to be married, much to the dismay of the man who had been set to marry her back home, Prince Semyon. But upon discovering their torrid affair, Clerk's romantic Russian rival sets out to defeat him and win back the woman who has been promised to him. 

A solid action movie and passionate love story, it's not quite as good as Peck's previous "Hornblower," but stands up well nonetheless thanks to some good performances and exuberant action.

25. The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit

Based on a bestselling book by Sloan Wilson, "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" was inspired by the author's own life experiences, while its title later became a catchphrase in its day to denote all manner of corporate conformity (via TCM). The story of a man struggling with life after his time in the service, the book was a smash it, and this film version came just a year after its publication. 

It begins with husband, father, and war veteran Tom Rath (Gregory Peck) struggling to cope with his experiences during WWII. His marriage is suffering due to his reflections over a wartime affair with a young Italian woman named Maria (Marisa Pavan), and disturbing flashbacks to his combat experiences interfere with his everyday life. But when his wife (Jennifer Jones) pushes him into a better paying but more stressful job, he's pulled into the unfamiliar world of fast-paced office life. When he learns that his fling with his European lover Maria resulted in an illegitimate son, though, he's forced to make a difficult choice.

Called "mature, tender, and touching" by The New York Times, "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" has become much more than a treatise on post-war veterans, proving relatable to anyone familiar with the turbulent life of the American office worker.

24. On the Beach

The 1959 movie "On the Beach" is a borderline science fiction drama, set five years ahead in a dark possible future where nuclear war has devastated the planet. It's a rare early post apocalyptic tale, based on a book by Nevil Shute that was published just two years earlier as a cautionary tale and word of warning to future generations. The film adaptation features an all-star cast that includes Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins.

The year is 1964, and a third World War has obliterated most of mankind and left much of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable. While what's left of humanity has gathered in Australia, they learn that deadly fallout from the war is on its way, and means a death sentence for those who have survived. But a mysterious coded signal that appears to be coming from America's West Coast sets Dwight Towers — commander of the U.S. submarine Sawfish — on a new mission that could provide renewed hope for the survivors.

Perhaps one of the most somber and downright bleak films of its era — or in fact any era — the drama is capped off by the haunting final days for its cast of characters. Not for the feint of heart, "On the Beach" is a film audiences should tread carefully in choosing to watch.

23. The Keys to the Kingdom

Adapted from the epic novel by A.J. Cronin, "The Keys to the Kingdom" is a sweeping religious tale that tells the story of a man called Father Chisholm, a Roman Catholic priest. Played in his youth by a teenaged Roddy McDowall ("Planet of the Apes"), Chisholm is portrayed in adulthood by Gregory Peck, then in just his second feature film. Horror icon Vincent Price, "High Noon" star Thomas Mitchell, and Hitchcock favorite Edmund Gwenn also star, while Rose Stradner appears in her final film role.

At the outset of the movie we meet a young Francis Chisholm (McDowall), who is orphaned when his parents are killed in a storm, leaving him to be raised in a seminary. When he's older, the now-Father Chisolm (Peck) is pressed into volunteering for missionary work overseas, and is sent to far flung China. But when he arrives, Chisholm discovers the mission there has been all but destroyed by recent floods, leaving him a lone religious proselytizer who is mocked by the local community. With few choices, Chisholm decides to rebuild the church and continue his work.

A story about the power of faith, "The Keys to the Kingdom" is the movie that brought Peck to prominence, as in his sophomore big screen effort he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

22. Valley of Decision

Headlined by "Mrs. Miniver" star Greer Garson and leading man Gregory Peck, the 1945 film "The Valley of Decision" is another Peck movie based on a then-recent novel, this one from author Marcia Davenport ("East Side, West Side"). 

Set during the latter half of the 19th century in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the film follows a beautiful young Irish immigrant named Mary Rafferty (Garson), who is a caretaker to her ailing father (Lionel Barrymore) and her widowed sister (Geraldine Wall). But Mary upsets her family when she leaves home to take a full-time job as a live-in house maid to steel magnate William Scott (Donald Crisp). It's there that she meets her true love, Scott's dashing son Paul (Peck). Their love is complicated however when the workers at Scott's steel mill go on strike.

Though he won an Oscar the year before on "The Keys to the Kingdom" it was "The Valley of Decision" that solidified Gregory Peck as the next Hollywood superstar. In addition to the glowing praise he received for the film, Garson for her part was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

21. Behold a Pale Horse

Three highly regarded Hollywood superstars of the day led "Behold a Pale Hale," a 1964 drama adapted from a novel loosely based on the life of Spanish maquis guerrilla Francesc Sabaté Llopart. Set some years after the Spanish Civil War, it stars Gregory Peck as a veteran guerrilla named Manuel Artiguez, Anthony Quinn as his rival Captain Viñolas, and Omar Sharif as father Francisco, a local priest.  

More than just a seasoned revolutionary, Artiguez is one of the most revered and legendary fighters, such that enemy Francoists in Spain still want him dead years after the fighting has stopped. Tasked with tracking him down is Viñolas, whose latest trap is set when he learns that Artiguez's mother is on her death bed, knowing it will draw the feared guerrilla fighter out into the open.

"Behold a Pale Horse" has aged like fine wine since its release, appreciated more now than in its day. Modern reviewers like Dennis Schwartz often point to star Peck's fine performance as Artiguez as one of the many once-overlooked highlights, as well as its focus on character over politics.

20. Designing Woman

Gregory Peck's second best romantic comedy behind the all-time classic "Roman Holiday," the 1957 film "Designing Woman" was helmed by Vincent Minnelli, husband of Judy Garland and director of "An American in Paris." This comical caper also introduced Peck to one of his best on-screen romantic partners, Lauren Bacall, with whom he'd reunite decades later in "The Portrait." The chemistry between the two leads is sparkling, and Minnelli's style and flare make the picture a true standout.

The film centers on a mismatched couple, Peck as sports reporter Mike Hagen and Bacall as fashionista Marilla Brown. They're both on vacation in Beverly Hills when they meet while Hagen is in the midst of a bender, leading to the film's first comedic mix-up. But eventually, the attractive pair begin a whirlwind love affair that culminates in a hasty wedding. Once they arrive home in New York and start getting to know each other, however, they realize they couldn't be more different, and don't actually get along at all. Making matters worse is Mike's latest article exposing a corrupt boxing promoter, which puts a mob boss' target on his back.

A big hit with critics, both stars received applause for their strong comedic turns, while the film's script was nominated for an Academy Award.

19. The Bravados

Following a six-year hiatus from the genre, Gregory Peck made his triumphant return to the Western in the 1958 outlaw adventure "The Bravados." In his fourth of six collaborations with director Henry King — who had also helmed his cowboy classic "The Gunfighter" — Peck plays a wild Western rancher named Jim Douglass, whose wife has recently been murdered by a band of vicious outlaws. The film features Hollywood legend Joan Collins ("Dynasty"), renowned character actor Henry Silva ("The Manchurian Candidate"), and Western great Lee Van Cleef ("The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly")

Douglass is an expert tracker and cowboy who has been hunting four fugitive killers and rides into town to find them already captured and awaiting execution. But just as they're about to be hanged, the four men execute a daring escape and kidnap a young girl named Emma. Now and it's up to Douglass to hunt them down and prove they're the men who killed his wife. 

A grizzly tale of vengeance with a bevy of gunslinging action and a few genuine surprises, "The Bravados" might not be the best Western in Peck's catalog, but it's an awfully good one.

18. Pork Chop Hill

One of the most underrated war films of the '50s, "Pork Chop Hill" was a major spotlight for Gregory Peck and a handful of future television stars. This included Martin Landau of "Mission: Impossible," Gavin MacLeod from "McHale's Navy," and George Peppard, who would star in the iconic '80s action series "The A-Team." But here they're all soldiers fighting in the Korean War, part of a squadron of men led by Lt. Joe Clemons (Peck), in a big screen adaptation of a true story.

With new orders, Clemons takes his fighting force straight into enemy territory on a mission to retake a position known colloquially as Pork Chop Hill due to its unique shape. But because the hill is of little strategic importance, Clemons' desperate pleas to command for more troops is denied, leaving his squad to take a beating and suffer massive casualties. As their numbers dwindle, enemy forces continue pounding their position, and their situation becomes more and more hopeless.

Receiving strong reviews on its release, "Pork Chop Hill" it's one of Peck's most compelling war movies.

17. How the West Was Won

An unusual and unique epic Western unlike any other, "How the West Was Won" tells five separate but often interconnected stories. Though it's never been considered among the finest in the genre, the film was made by three acclaimed directors responsible for some films that are recognized as masterpieces: Henry Hathaway ("True Grit"), John Ford ("The Searchers"), and George Marshall ("The Sheepman"). 

In addition to the incredible talent behind the camera, the film also featured one of the biggest rosters of on-screen talent a Western had ever seen, with a list of stars that included Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Lee Van Cleef, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Eli Wallach, and Agnes Moorehead. It begins with Stewart, who stars as mountain man Linus Prescott, and much of the film traces the journey of the Prescott family across the West. Eventually, Linus marries Eve (Carroll Baker) and fights in the Civil War, while his sister-in-law Lily (Reynolds) becomes involved with a mysterious hustler (Peck).

But despite all the star power surrounding the picture and its engaging story structure, the most incredible thing about the film is its original presentation. Filmed using a short-lived process called Cinerama, it was designed to be projected on a massive curved screen that surrounded the audience (via Slate). While this made the original theatrical release a stunning experience, it made recapturing its grandeur on home video nearly impossible.

16. Gentleman's Agreement

A controversial drama, "Gentleman's Agreement" is a 1947 film directed by divisive filmmaker Eliza Kazan. Though widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of the 20th century, Kazan also became known for his involvement in naming rumored Hollywood communists to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950s (via Biography). On the screen, however, Kazan's work included some of the best films of his day, like Marlon Brando's "On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire," and James Dean's "East of Eden." Known for making movies that tackled weighty, topical issues, his collaboration with star Gregory Peck was no different. Set in New York and Connecticut, it examined anti-Semitism in America.

Peck plays Philip Schuyler Green, reporter who has just moved his family to New York City and taken on his first story, an expose on anti-Jewish sentiment. Unsure of how to address such a delicate issue, Green decides to get first hand experience, and take on the persona of a Jewish man so that he can better understand the feelings of hatred towards Jewish people.

Praised for its sensitive handling of a serious and too often unspoken subject matter, "Gentleman's Agreement" proved controversial, but has since become one of the era's most important films. But more than just a powerful story, it's also a genuinely great movie, nominated for seven Academy Awards and winning Best Picture and Best Director.

15. Mirage

A jaw-dropping neo-noir thriller, "Mirage" was released in 1965 and left audiences' mouths agape. A convoluted tale of mystery and murder, its cast is led by stars Gregory Peck, Walter Matthau, and Diane Baker. It all centers on a complex puzzle that unfolds layer by layer, with shocking twists and mind-blowing reveals that arrive on screen with regularity. 

As the story opens, we meet Peck in the role of an accountant named David Stillwell, who, during an evacuation of his office building, finds a dead body on the street outside. Not long after, he finds himself the target of sinister agents who want him dead too, and he has no idea why. But when he tries to get answers, he comes to the realization that his entire life appears to be nothing but an elaborate deception: his job doesn't exist and people he's never met claim to know him intimately, including an apparent former lover (Baker). Hiring a private detective to help him get to the bottom of what's happening to him, he soon discovers that there's much more at stake than a case of amnesia.

Confusing at times, contrived at others, "Mirage" is nevertheless a brilliantly written whodunit thriller that will keep viewers guessing as much today as it did in the '60s.

14. Captain Horatio Hornblower

Among the most legendary adventure novels are those by author C.S. Forester, centered on the travels and battles of British naval officer Captain Horatio Hornblower. Famously used as inspiration by Gene Roddenberry when he created Captain Kirk for "Star Trek" (via TrekMovie.com), the fictional Hornblower had himself been inspired by several real life naval commanders, including Lord Cochrane and Admiral Horatio Nelson. His first book "The Happy Return" was published in 1937, but it wouldn't be until 1951 that a screen adaptation arrived. When it did, it starred Gregory Peck as the titular captain.

Combining stories from his first three books, "Captain Horatio Hornblower" the movie sees Hornblower captaining the HMS Lydia against Spanish warships and Central American rebels during his adventures in the Napoleonic Wars. After saving the life of Lady Wellesley (Virginia Mayo), Hornblower and his new maiden fall in love, only for their romance to hit the rocks when she becomes engaged to another officer, Rear Admiral Leighton (Dennis O'Dea).

A swashbuckling military movie full of action, adventure, romance, and high seas drama, it was both a critical and commercial hit, and one of the top grossing films of the year. Meanwhile, Peck himself put just the right amount of suave daring-do and sober resolve into the character of Horatio Hornblower to become the perfect on-screen inspiration for William Shatner 15 years later.

13. The Omen

Next to "The Exorcist," the most iconic supernatural horror film of the 1970s has to be "The Omen," the story of a little boy who is seemingly an incarnation of pure evil. At this point in his career, Gregory Peck was Hollywood royalty, and his addition to the cast lent the film an air of sophistication and respectability not often seen in low-budget frighteners of its sort. Perhaps owed in part to his star power, the film was widely seen and became a groundbreaking entry in the genre that sparked a trend of similar nightmarish thrillers.

Peck stars as Robert Thorn, whose newborn baby dies shortly after birth. Wishing to spare his wife Katherine grief, Thorn secretly adopts another newborn at the suggestion of the hospital chaplain: a mysterious boy named Damien. Keeping the child's origin a secret, Thorn and his wife raise the child as their own, with Katherine never knowing he isn't of her blood. But as Damien grows older she soon discovers something is very wrong with him. Animals avoid him, those around him suffer horrible fates, and the two parents must face up to the fact that their son may in fact be the spawn of Satan himself.

One of the most famous horror movies ever made, it's not just that it's shocking like "Poltergeist" or bloody like "Friday the 13th," but also a brilliantly made psychological horror thriller. Spawning a franchise, it received three sequels and a remake in 2006 starring Liev Schreiber.

12. The Scarlet and the Black

Based on the book "The Scarlet Pimpernel and the Vatican," this TV film version likely altered its title to avoid confusion with the more famous but unrelated fiction novel "The Scarlet Pimpernel." This version is in fact inspired by a true story, in particular the life of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, an Irish priest in Rome who, like the more famous Oskar Schindler, helped save victims of Nazi aggression during World War II, including more than 6,000 Allied soldiers and Jewish families.

Gregory Peck stars as Irish priest Hugh O'Faherty, who serves as a priest in the Vatican in Nazi-occupied Rome, a central hub of the Axis powers in Italy. But because Vatican City is considered sovereign ground, SS commanders fear that enemies of the state will seek protection within its borders, and send Obersturmbannführer Herbert Kappler (Christopher Plummer) to keep a close eye on the Pope and the rest of his clergy. It's not long before they discover that O'Faherty is running an underground organization that is helping Allied POWs and thousands of Jewish people escape the Third Reich.

Even though "The Scarlet and the Black" was only ever aired on television, it proved to be one of Peck's better films, and a moving tale of personal courage and the power of faith and moral conviction.

11. The Yearling

A family film favorite, the 1946 movie "The Yearling" was based on an acclaimed book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. One of star Gregory Peck's early films, it paired him with co-star Jane Wyman and director Clarence Brown, fresh off his Oscar nomination for the Elizabeth Taylor drama "National Velvet." It's the story of a young boy from a poor Florida family who adopts a wild deer. But long before Peck, Wyman, and Brown even signed on, the film was already notorious in Hollywood for its troubled production, as chronicled by Turner Classic Movies.

Beginning filming in the early part of the decade, the project originally starred Spencer Tracy, but problems behind the scenes delayed the project. Eventually, so much time had passed that all new animal actors had to be found as young fawns had "aged out" of their roles. As the production languished, everything fell apart, and filming didn't resume until it was essentially an all new production with Brown in the director's chair and Gregory Peck leading the film.

Problems or not, "The Yearling" wound up an all-time classic and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a Best Actor nom for Peck. 

10. Moby Dick

Arguably one of the most famous American novels of all time, "Moby Dick" was a classic that had everything you could want when looking for source material for a major motion picture: action, adventure, a sinister lead, a mysterious antagonist, and a compelling supporting cast. Taking it from page to screen effectively, however, would require a skilled director and a strong cast of actors. Fortunately, that's just what the 1956 adaptation received in Oscar-winning helmer John Huston ("The Maltese Falcon") and superstar Gregory Peck in the role of Captain Ahab. 

The story of Ahab's quest to capture the vaunted white whale that took his leg, "Moby Dick" was one of the most eye-opening feature films of the 1950s, and one of the best since color film had gained widespread use in the early part of the decade. A triumph of filmmaking and a classic in its own era, The New York Times raved, "['Moby Dick' is] a rolling and thundering color film that is herewith devoutly recommended as one of the great motion pictures of our times." 

And it was Peck who took home the lion's share of accolades, with the paper noting, "Peck gives Ahab a towering, gaunt appearance ... he holds that character's burning passions behind a usually mask-like façade ... [and] spouts fire from his nostrils."

9. Yellow Sky

William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" has served as the basis for films in several different genres (per TCM), one being the 1956 science fiction epic "Forbidden Planet," inspired by its tale of a mad sorcerer who lives on a remote island with his protective daughter. Several years earlier, though, it was also the starting point for a film in another genre, with the Gregory Peck Western "Yellow Sky" telling a similar story. This time, the sorcerer is an old prospector (James Barton) who has made a home in a forgotten ghost town where he resides with his gunslinger daughter Mae (Anne Baxter).

Peck plays James "Stretch" Dawson, leader of a group of Wild West bandits on the run from the law. Having just robbed a bank, a band of soldiers is hot on their tail, and Stretch leads them through the heat of Death Valley, where they discover what appear to be the remnants of a dusty, deserted old town. The only people they find there are Constance "Mike" Mae (Baxter), caretaker of her aging prospector father. Though the gang agrees to help him mine for gold and split the take, conflict within the group threatens them all.

A top-notch Western that is elevated by its high quality production, it was later remade as "The Jackals" in 1967 starring Robert Gunner and Vincent Price.

8. Spellbound

The fact that "Spellbound" isn't typically included among lists of director Alfred Hitchcock's best work, but is near the top of Gregory Peck's, is not at all a slight on the actor's stellar body of work. If anything, it just goes to show what an incredible filmmaker Hitchcock was that such a marvelous film as "Spellbound" doesn't even touch the director's top 20

Ingrid Bergman stars as Dr. Constance Petersen, a well-regarded psychoanalyst working a hospital in New England. When the hospital's director abruptly retires, his replacement arrives in the form of Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Peck), a more dashing and much younger doctor than she expected. Sparks fly right away between the two professionals, but Petersen is startled to find that her new lover is not what he seems, and is in fact an imposter who may have murdered the real Edwardes. But though he suffers from severe amnesia, Petersen becomes his most vocal defender, and the two work together to unravel the secret of his identity.

Another of Peck's films to be a big hit critically and commercially, it only took home an Oscar for Best Music, but was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director.

7. The Guns of Navarone

Gregory Peck made a number of war films in his long career, but few can compare with the 1961 film "The Guns of Navarone." An epic old school adventure, it co-stars David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Richard Harris, and James Darrin, in a story adapted from a 1957 novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean ("Where Eagles Dare"). The World War II story has a somewhat more light-hearted bent than one might expect, and sees a ragtag group of soldiers on a critical mission. 

The year is 1943, and the Second World War is raging across the globe when the enemy plans a daring attack on a small island as a show of force. Circumstances prevent a standard rescue of the 2,000 British soldiers trapped there, so the Allies assemble an elite squad of commandos on a mission to the nearby Navarone island, where they must disable enemy guns and allow a larger force to bring home their men. The team is led by Major Roy Franklin (Anthony Quayle), and his men include intelligence agent Kieth Mallory (Peck), explosives expert John Miller (Niven), engineer Butcher Brown (Stanley Baker), and the steely-eyed Colonel Stavros (Quinn). 

One of the top grossing films of the year, it was a spectacular hit, beloved by audiences and praised by critics for nothing less than its sheer fun factor. A belated sequel arrived nearly two decades later, but the entire cast was replaced, with Robert Shaw standing in for Peck.

6. Big Country

For the 1956 epic Western "Big Country," Gregory Peck paired with one of Hollywood's most noted directors of the 1940s and '50s, Academy Award winner William Wyler, whose previous work had included "Ben Hur," "Mrs. Miniver," and "Wuthering Heights." Joining Peck for the film was Wyler's "Ben Hur" star Charlton Heston and "Guys and Dolls" star Jean Simmons, while the movie's memorable opening titles were created by renowned designer Saul Bass.

In the film, Peck plays laid back New England sea captain James McKay, who puts his love of the ocean behind him to come live on the sprawling ranch owned by his land-loving fiancée Patricia (Carroll Baker) and her father Henry, the Major (Charles Bickford). Unfortunately, a group of bad boy locals cause trouble for the Major, and though McKay tries to do his best to keep tensions from boiling over by playing peacemaker, the ranch's foreman Leech (Heston) sparks a bitter rivalry that forces him to take action.

A fairly simple story, "The Big Country" is all about its sterling cast, with Peck and Heston in top form, while co-star Burl Ives won himself an Academy Award. But as good as "Big Country" is, it's not even the best film collaboration between Wyler and Peck.

5. Twelve O'Clock High

The finest war movie in Gregory Peck's lengthy catalog of films, "Twelve O'Clock High" was the first of six films pairing the actor with director Henry King, and it remained their best production together. Set during World War II, the film was a groundbreaking aerial combat movie about Air Force pilots and their daring runs over Nazi Germany. Influential in Hollywood, it helped inspire George Lucas during the making of the first "Star Wars" film, such that he even used snippets of the movie itself during early cuts of the sci-fi epic before VFX had been completed (via /Film).

Centered on an American Air Force squadron during the Second World War, the film shows how the prolonged conflict has taken its toll on the men in the skies. Dispirited and losing hope as the war has dragged on, the squadron is assigned a new commander, General Frank Savage (Peck), an intimidating leader who rubs everyone the wrong way. But together, Savage and his men will soon become the most feared flyers in the skies above Germany.

Lauded by critics for its sensitive approach to the troubles faced by wartime soldiers, "Twelve O'Clock High" was another multiple Academy Award winner, though Peck himself would lose out on the Oscar for Best Actor.

4. Roman Holiday

Making the top 10 on Vanity Fair's list of the best romantic comedy films of all time is the 1953 William Wyler film "Roman Holiday" starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Originally credited to screenwriter Ian McLellan Hunter, the film was actually written by maligned scribe Dalton Trumbo while on Hollywood's notorious blacklist, only receiving official credit in 2011, nearly 60 years after the film was first released (via The Guardian).

Hepburn fills the role of a young European royal, Princess Ann, who just wants to be out and about like an ordinary young woman. In an effort to find some freedom, Ann escapes her handlers and hits the streets of Rome. That's where she meets Joe Bradley, an American journalist who has no idea who she is. When he finds out, though, he tries to get an exclusive story, a plan that's derailed when the two find themselves falling madly in love with each other.

A delightful romantic romp, the film catapulted the then-unknown Hepburn to superstardom, earning her an Oscar in the process. A time-tested classic, it remains one of the most highly acclaimed films of both stars' careers, and was nominated for an astonishing 10 Academy Awards, winning three.

3. The Gunfighter

Just a year after their successful pairing on "Twelve O'Clock High," director Henry King and Gregory Peck re-teamed for what remains one of the best Westerns ever made, the 1950 classic "The Gunfighter." Centered on a notorious gunslinger and fastest draw in the West, the leading role was originally offered to Western icon John Wayne, who passed on the script and opened the part for Gregory Peck to step into (via TCM). With a focus on realism, the film eschewed the glossier style of other films in the genre, and went for a darker, more sobering tone.

An impeccable, gritty Western, "The Gunfighter" tells the story of Jimmy Ringo, a beleaguered cowboy who becomes the target of every pistol-packing scoundrel and outlaw in the land. It isn't about revenge and it isn't for money — it's simply because he's the most legendary sharp-shooter in history, and out-drawing him could make a man famous ... or leave him dead. But all Jimmy wants is to retire to a quiet life with the woman he loves, despite the fact that his attempts at settling down are interrupted when those seeking to make their name come gunning for him.

Reviews of "The Gunfighter" on its release from outlets like The New York Times heaped praise on the film's unique protagonist, with Peck applauded for his performance as the legendary gunslinger who wants to move beyond his violent, bloody past.

2. Cape Fear

Considered to be among the best thrillers in cinematic history, the 1962 masterpiece "Cape Fear" is no doubt one of the most acclaimed of the era. Directed by longtime Peck collaborator J. Lee Thompson ("The Guns of Navarone"), it co-starred Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Martin Balsam, and Telly Savalas. 

Peck plays Sam Bowden, a family man with a wife and daughter who's also a renowned lawyer. Robert Mitchum stars as Cady, a hardened criminal who has just been released from nearly a decade behind bars after being convicted of a violent assault. But now that he's free, Bowden has no interest in turning over a new leaf, instead intent on getting revenge against Bowden, who he feels is directly responsible for his incarceration. But to exact his vengeance, Cady targets Bowden's wife and daughter, culminating in a violent confrontation on a water-bound houseboat.

A twisted tale about a violent madman on a quest for blood, "Cape Fear" is as suspenseful and frightening as any thriller could be. Uncompromising in its psychological horror, its influence on the genre was undeniable, with film after film trying — and usually failing — to capture its edge-of-your-seat terror.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird

Released just two years after the book won a Pulitzer Prize, an adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" starred living legend Gregory Peck, and became nearly as famous as the original text. Like "Moby Dick" before it, the story and film are both considered American classics, with the film nominated for seven Academy Awards and winning three, including one for Gregory Peck for Best Actor, the first and only Oscar he'd take home during his illustrious career. 

Peck stars as Atticus Finch, a highly respected lawyer who takes on the controversial defense of a Black man named Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) who is wrongly accused of the violent assault of a young white woman in the still-segregated Southern United States. Now, Atticus and his children Scout and Jem (Mary Badham and Philip Alford) are forced to confront the racism, hatred, and violence that exist in their own community, directed at them simply because he is representing Robinson.

Examining taboo subjects at the height of the Civil Rights movement, "To Kill a Mockingbird" was thought-provoking film that did justice to the original novel, something not easy to do. But with Peck leading the way and a powerful performance from Brock Peters, the film has gone down as one of the best treatises on prejudice — and one of the greatest courtroom dramas — in movie history.