best film:   My Fair Lady and it is not terribly close with her second best film (which could be Funny Face or Charade). Audrey often outperformed the films she was in (Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) but My Fair Lady is a glowing exception. It is so handsomely mounted on a large canvas (65mm- and stunning) by George Cukor and of course Rex Harrison is perfection in the co-lead role. Hepburn does not sing here (and Harrison does) but she is near his equal overall in the film and this is a major feather in her cap.



Audrey in 1964’s best picture Oscar winner My Fair Lady



best performance:  Sabrina. Hepburn was so damn consistently good throughout her career that the difference between this performance and her ninth best performance (maybe Robin and Marion) is miniscule. But if forced to choose, her work here in Billy Wilder’s Sabrina is as fine a choice as any. One main reason this gets the top slot is Audrey so clearly out acts both Humphrey Bogart and William Holden- two of the truly great actors of that era.



from Sabrina here- right near the beginning (1954) of the fifteen (15) year stretch from 1953 to 1967 when Audrey Hepburn was one of the world’s biggest movie stars and best actors. In retrospect, it seems sort of fitting she would move out of the way in 1967, still at a young age (not yet 40) with the advent of the next generation and The New Hollywood movement.



stylistic innovations/traits:  It feels odd saying this, but the two categories above are not really the strength for Audrey Hepburn’s case for this category. It is possible that she is a top 50 all-time female actor, without giving one of the best 100 female acting performances in film history. But Hepburn’s resume has incredible depth and she did not miss often. The Brussels-born actor was in fourteen (14) archiveable films in roughly only 27 overall films. So she was choosy with her roles and films in an era when not many actors were- obviously knowing what she was doing. Hepburn has become an icon of style (it is harder to find stills of her from her films because it is often all about her hair or clothes on internet searches). She could play both a child-like nymph and clearly a romantic, gracefully leading lady. In fact, most of her great roles feature a character duality or transformation. In Sabrina she goes abroad and comes back different and matured, in Roman Holiday she is a princess in disguise, in My Fair Lady she goes from a flower girl to a woman of sophistication. She had charisma and an honesty that connected with audiences in every performance. She was also just a big star- a lead or co-lead in twelve (12) in films—all except the first and last on the list below (not many tiny performances where she did not contribute much to the overall film) and terrific in all of them. Her weakness would be that she does not appear in enough top-level films.



Audrey’s most famous character- Holly Golightly- from Blake Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s



directors worked with:   Stanley Donen (3), Billy Wilder (2), William Wyler (2) and George Cukor (1), King Vidor (1), Blake Edwards (1) and Fred Zinnemann (1) once a piece



top five performances:

  1. Sabrina
  2. My Fair Lady
  3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  4. Roman Holiday
  5. Charade



archiveable films

1951- The Lavender Hill Mob
1953- Roman Holiday
1954- Sabrina
1956- War and Peace
1957- Funny Face
1957- Love in the Afternoon
1959- The Nun’s Story
1961- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
1963- Charade
1964- My Fair Lady
1966- How to Steal a Million
1967- Two for the Road
1967- Wait Until Dark
1976- Robin and Marion