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Actors With The Most Movies With A 100 Percent Rotten Tomatoes Score

There are a few almost universally recognizable Hollywood stars who seem to be in all the best movies. And some of these actors may even find themselves lucky (and talented and hard-working) enough to land roles in the handful of films that go on to secure 100% positive reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Making this happen just once would be commendable enough, but some incredible actors have actually hit double-digit counts.

Interestingly, some of the biggest surprises on this list come from those who didn't quite make the cut. You won't find Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis here. That's because most members of this exclusive 100% club are from bygone eras of film, showcasing how both Hollywood and critical reception have changed over time. Though we have a large number of incredible actors active in the current era of Hollywood, the bulk of films that have a 100% from 2000 onward are documentaries rather than narrative films. So, making this list is a true testament to these stars as genuinely historic figures in cinema.

Henry Daniell can boast nine films with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes

Charles Henry Pywell Daniell had a lengthy name (though he went by a shortened Henry Daniell in most credits) and an even lengthier catalogue of accolades. If you don't find the name all that familiar, you're likely to recognize one or more of the most notable (and best-reviewed) titles in which he appeared, like the legal thriller Witness for the Prosecution, the John Wayne adventure flick The Comancheros, and the Vincent van Gogh biopic Lust for Life.

Though Daniell was clearly a popular actor, his characters were anything but. After beginning his career on the stage, he rose to prominence in the cinematic world by playing the "bad guy," like Spy magazine publisher Sidney Kidd in The Philadelphia Story, who threatens the reputation of the heroine's family. His long, sharp features and stern countenance made him ideal for such "villainous but suave" roles, as his New York Times obituary from 1963 describes them. He was remembered also for his wide range, which gave him the latitude necessary to rack up a whopping nine films with 100% critical approval.

Barbara Stanwyck continues to impress all these decades later

It makes sense that one of early cinema's favorite leading ladies, Barbara Stanwyck, would be best known for playing complex, independent female characters. After all, as a child, she'd learned how to fend for herself. While we wouldn't wish the death of a mother and subsequent abandonment of a father on any young child, this is largely the reason that Stanwyck began working when she was only 13, first as a chorus girl, then a nightclub dancer, and finally with touring companies before she landed her first Broadway play, 1926's The Noose, in the role of a cabaret dancer. 

Her leading role in 1927's Burlesque was what earned Stanwyck her first movie offers, the beginning of a long career that included recognizable films like The Lady Eve from 1941, one of nine of her films with a 100% rating. Stanwyck was one of the most versatile, adaptable actresses in the history of cinema. She even drastically changed her name at the alleged behest of a producer or financier of The Noose, as her birth name was Ruby Catherine Stevens. 

Because versatility and character acting were more her bread and butter as opposed to the glamour that was the typical fare of female leads during that time, The New York Times notes that she was often passed over for actresses like Bette Davis or Jean Arthur. Despite this, none of these "first choices" ever earned more 100% ratings than this queen of stage, screen, and self-sufficiency did.

Wallace Ford changed his name and found critical acclaim

Is there a correlation between changing your name and finding yourself in a staggering number of critically acclaimed films? That's probably not mathematically provable, but maybe there's something about shedding the identity you're born with that enables a person to convincingly take up others on stage and screen. For proof, look no further than Wallace Ford (pictured left). In addition to having nine films with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, he was a man who changed his name before finding success.

Born Samuel Jones, he ran away from an abusive home and joined a vaudeville troupe traveling in Canada, introducing him to performing during his formative years. As a teenager, he traveled south by train-hopping to the U.S. in search of a better life with his friend, Wallace Ford. Tragically, his buddy was run over by a locomotive, and Jones then took the name of his dead friend as tribute.

And what a tribute it was. From theater troupes to Broadway to Hollywood, Ford made a home in the entertainment industry just as he made a home in America, as a tough but friendly, light-hearted, quick-witted comic character who starred in over 150 TV series and films, nine of which were 100% loved by critics, including Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt and the surprisingly dark Jimmy Stewart Western The Man from Laramie.

Alec Guinness earned a knighthood and nine perfect films on Rotten Tomatoes

Alec Guinness was such a great actor that Elizabeth II knighted him in 1959, in case his nine 100%-reviewed films on Rotten Tomatoes, his Academy Award, his BAFTA, and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame weren't testament enough to his talent.

Like certain actors throughout the ages, Alec Guinness enjoyed working with a particular director. Similar to Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, the British thespian was a "preferred collaborator" for well-respected director David Lean, appearing in his famous screen adaptations of Charles Dickens films like 1946's Great Expectation and 1948's Oliver Twist. Both of these films are among the 100% laureates, which also includes two of the darkest comedies ever made — The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets.

The role for which Guinness is most famous, though, is not one of the nine. He will forever be remembered as Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy. (In fairness, the original boasts a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score.) This role means that he's a knight on two counts — an English knight for service to the arts and a Jedi Knight in the Star Wars universe.

Judy Garland sang her way to Hollywood success ... and tragedy

There are only two women on this list, and while Barbara Stanwyck may be more familiar to film buffs than to the general public, Judy Garland is a household name. In fact, the actress is listed as the #8 female star on AFI's list of Greatest American Screen Legends. Though she's perhaps best known as Dorothy in 1939's The Wizard of Oz, which almost eked out a 100% approval rating but currently sits at 98%, Garland has appeared in a total of nine films with a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, including the Christmas classic Meet Me in St. Louis and other beloved musicals like Summer Stock and Broadway Melody of 1938.

Judy Garland is yet another critically renowned actress who completely changed her name, in this case from Frances Ethel Gumm. While performing with her siblings as the singing Gumm Sisters, a fellow performer suggested she change her name. The Gumm Sisters became the Garland Sisters, and Judy chose her new first name based on inspiration from a Hoagy Carmichael song.

This change was one of the more innocuous decisions that her career in entertainment would force her to make. Garland was not marketed as glamorous. Instead, her brand was that of an "ugly duckling" throughout her career. Though this didn't stop her from appearing in an epic number of phenomenal films, unfortunately, the ridiculous demands placed on her by her industry sent her down a path of substance abuse and depression that tragically took her life.

Alan Hale starred alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood

You've probably never heard of Alan Hale, but he appeared in over 200 films, both as a leading man and more frequently alongside stars like Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, and even Ronald Reagan. In fact, ten of his movies have an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Not only was Hale's career long, it was in many ways consistent. Over the span of 28 years, he played the same character, Little John, in three theatrical releases based around the story of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood — 1922's Robin Hood, 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood, and finally The Rogues of Sherwood Forest in 1950. The first two have secured their place in the elite 100% club, while the final film hasn't been scored.

The one thing that wasn't consistent for this popular character actor? His name, as he was born Rufus Edward Mackahan. His son, however, took on both his father's adopted name and his career, going on to become the Skipper in Gilligan's Island.

Gary Cooper was the ultimate American movie star

Gary Cooper's characters were often soft-spoken and stoic but nonetheless heroic. This persona led the man born as Frank James Cooper to become a favorite both throughout the entertainment industry and with the common man who made up much of America's audience. After all, moviegoers found much to identify with in the characters that Cooper portrayed in all of his films, the ten that made the 100% club and otherwise.

With his iconic drawl and imposing height, Cooper was the perfect pick for the Western genre, and as a result, he starred in quite a few horse operas. So it should come as no surprise that titles like The Westerner, The Virginian, and The Plainsman are all riding tall in the 100% Rotten Tomatoes saddle. He also starred in war films like Beau Geste and comedies like Ball of Fire. However, if you really want to understand Cooper's charm, you have to look outside his 100% club and focus on 1941's Meet John Doe. In a roundabout way, that films says the most about the types of characters he portrayed. Rather than the Hollywood elite, whose star power leaked into every role, audiences got to know Cooper as the everyman, the John Doe, and he reflected who the average American was and who they aspired to be.

Humphrey Bogart has an impressive 11 films with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

It would be a shame if Humphrey Bogart didn't make this list, considering that he's the iconic face of the 1942 film so frequently cited as the epitome of "good cinema," Casablanca. In fact, renowned critic Roger Ebert said it probably appears on more "best films of all time" lists than any other movie.

But speaking of the best films of all time, from a critical standpoint, Humphrey Bogart has been in more than a few of them — 11, in fact, and all apart from Casablanca, which sits just below the 100% mark. His role in The Maltese Falcon in 1941, one of his films with 100%, catapulted him to a much higher success than what he'd been slowly amassing with his roles in B-movies and as a supporting character. But it's important to note that he had an exactly equal number of 100%-rated films before and after The Maltese Falcon, a testament to the fact that he'd always been an asset to the productions he was a part of, whether he was the leading man or not. Here's looking at him.

C. Aubrey Smith was a regal presence in 11 beloved films

Another knight who made the list, C. Aubrey Smith started out as a cricket player. Sportsmanlike conduct translated to the gentlemanly characters he frequently played on screen. In the majority of his 11 films that earned 100% ratings — including titles such as Rebecca, The Four Feathers, and And Then There Were None — he portrayed either a duke or an officer in the military.

As many different hats as he wore in his acting career, Smith never quite forgot his roots. Even after arriving in California, he insisted that his fellow countrymen who were also working there join the Hollywood Cricket Club and make a point to show up and play.

In addition to being easily recognized for his roles in Hollywood films, he was also a bit iconic for his facial hair, including a set of bushy eyebrows and a handlebar mustache. Along with his cricket obsession, that impressive 'stache fed back into the persona of the gentleman. If Smith was typecast, it served him well because he ended up in a lot of great films.

Henry Fonda left behind quite a legacy

From his beginnings at the Omaha Community Playhouse, Henry Fonda rose to prominence in the entertainment industry and eventually played in 11 films that received 100% approval ratings from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. He appeared in many productions we would now call classics, like 1940's The Lady Eve and the iconic courtroom thriller 12 Angry Men. His working relationship with John Ford also produced quite a few films with 100% ratings, including The Grapes of Wrath, Young Mr. Lincoln, and My Darling Clementine.

Fonda's legacy is not just in his films but in his family. He's the father of decorated actress and activist Jane Fonda, as well as actor and director Peter Fonda. His Rotten Tomatoes profile describes him as having a "benign, paternal presence," and despite being somewhat distant as an actual dad, he did instill a love of acting into his children.

Fonda's range was wide not just in terms of acting ability but in terms of the productions he appeared in. He's the only actor with a number of 100% films in the double digits who also appeared in a film with a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes: Tentacles from 1977.

James Stewart was a beloved icon with 12 perfectly reviewed films

Audiences saw actor and military officer James Stewart as the best of us, the embodiment of an ideal American. While this is a bit of a nebulous accolade, one thing we know for sure is that James Stewart was one of the best when it came to film, appearing in a dozen pictures that were 100% favorably reviewed.

The moral rectitude of his early roles may have been part of what made the moral obscurity of his later roles more striking. Though they aren't among the perfectly reviewed pieces, he starred in well-known Hitchcock films, often as a far shadier character than he played in most of his pictures or in real life. That's also true for The Naked Spur, a Western with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes that found Stewart as a bounty hunter with a dark side.

In his typical roles, however, the darker side of life wasn't absent. Stewart's characters were often nuanced and conflicted, even as they were both idealists and ideals. As his career endured, he began to take on characters with more and more depth and both internal and external confrontation, as in Westerns like The Man from Laramie and Winchester '73. After all, what's the purpose of having an ideal if not to prevail over adversity in a way that gives us all hope?

John Wayne was larger than life

One of the most recognizable names in cinema history also boasts a whopping 12 movies with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Marion Robert Morrison, known professionally by his screen name John Wayne, is almost synonymous with the American Western, and he was a frequent box-office champion for decades. None of this might ever have happened, though, if Marion Robert Morrison the football player hadn't suffered a career-ending injury. In a way, learning to be something other than an athlete was the first role John Wayne ever tackled, no pun intended.

After a series of small parts, his very first leading role was a Western, The Big Trail, in 1930, but the one for which he would first become widely known, also a Western, didn't come until nine years later. Stagecoach was directed in 1939 by John Ford, and it was the role of the Ringo Kid that made Wayne the household name he still is today. Whether they caught on at the time or not, both of these films — along with other classics like Rio Bravo, Red River, El Dorado, and The Sons of Katie Elder – earned 100% approval ratings.

Ward Bond has a staggering 15 films with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes

The name is Bond. Ward Bond. And he has the most movies with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score of any actor in history, one of the apparent benefits of being a character actor. He even beat out his former football teammate, John Wayne, in the Rotten Tomatoes count. Though he played starting lineman on USC's very first national championship team in 1928, Bond didn't often play the lead in his films, but his status as an indispensable supporting character led to the record breadth of his career in universally beloved films.

He starred in almost two dozen films alongside John Wayne. In fact, he appeared in many of the same films as multiple companions on this list, under the direction of preferred collaborators like John Ford and Frank Capra. He won the top spot here simply by going where the action was. While he isn't the most recognizable name on this list, he's starred alongside most of them. And he's been in a shocking 15 films with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, including The Grapes of Wrath, The Maltese FalconYoung Mr. Lincoln, and Rio Bravo. Plus, he's played in all-time classics with less than perfect scores, such as Gone with the Wind and It's a Wonderful Life. And it was surely a wonderful life for Bond, whose record of universal acclaim is unlikely to ever be beaten.