Audrey Hepburn would’ve celebrated her 91st birthday on May 4, 2020. The Oscar-winning actress only appeared in a handful of movies before her death in 1993 at the age of 63, but many of them remain classics. In honor of her birthday, let’s take a look back at 15 of her greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Hepburn was born in 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels. Her family moved to the Netherlands in 1939 after Britain declared war on Germany, and when Hitler’s army invaded in 1940, they were forced to remain for another five years. Hepburn was affected by the occupation both physically and psychologically, witnessing atrocities and suffering from malnutrition when food became scarce. (She would owe her famously slim waistline to this.)
Once the war ended in 1945, Hepburn began ballet training in Amsterdam and started appearing as a chorus girl in several musicals after moving to London. She popped up in small roles in a few films during that time (including a non-speaking part in 1951’s “The Lavender Hill Mob”), and was cast as the lead in the original Broadway production of “Gigi.”
She shot to stardom with her leading role in “Roman Holiday” (1953), playing a sheltered princess who falls in love with an American journalist (Gregory Peck). The film won her the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA as Best Actress and firmly established her screen persona as a glamorous, effervescent and endlessly charming leading lady.
Hepburn would earn subsequent Oscar nominations for her leading roles in “Sabrina” (1954), “The Nun’s Story” (1959), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) and “Wait Until Dark” (1967). All but “Sabrina” brought her Golden Globe bids, as did “War and Peace” (1956), “Love in the Afternoon” (1957), “Charade” (1963), “My Fair Lady” (1964) and “Two for the Road” (1967). She won additional BAFTAs for “The Nun’s Story” and “Charade,” competing again for “Sabrina” and “War and Peace.”
On the TV side, she won a posthumous Emmy for producing the informational program “Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn” (1993). She also won a posthumous Grammy for the spoken word children’s album “Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales” in 1994 and a Tony for her leading role in the play “Ondine” in 1954, making her just one of 15 people to clinch the EGOT. She received the Cecil B. DeMille prize in 1990 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award posthumously in 1990.
Tour our photo gallery of Hepburn’s 15 greatest films, including the titles listed as well as “Funny Face” (1957), “The Children’s Hour” (1961), “How to Steal a Million” (1966) and more.