Blake Edwards would’ve celebrated his 98th birthday on July 26, 2020. Though best known for his comedies, the Oscar-nominated director dipped his toes into a number of different genres throughout his career, including thrillers, musicals and westerns. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look back at 15 of his greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1922, Edwards got his start as an actor before becoming a writer for movies and television. He rose to prominence after creating the TV show “Peter Gunn,” which starred Craig Stevens as a super-stylish detective. The series brought Edwards Emmy nominations for writing and directing in 1959.
He enjoyed his greatest big screen successes with the “Pink Panther” series, featuring Peter Sellers as bumbling French detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The films established Edwards as a master of physical comedy and sight gags, which his leading man was more than capable of delivering. The two completed five “Panther” films before Sellers’s death in 1980: “The Pink Panther” (1963), “A Shot in the Dark” (1964), “The Return of the Pink Panther” (1975), “The Pink Panther Strikes Back” (1976) and “Revenge of the Pink Panther” (1978). Edwards tried to return to the well three more times (including 1982’s “The Trail of the Pink Panther” featuring unused footage of the deceased star) to lesser results.
Edwards was married to Julie Andrews, who he would direct to a Best Actress Oscar nomination in the musical comedy “Victor/Victoria” (1982). That film brought him his sole Academy Award bid in Best Adapted Screenplay. Though he never won a competitive prize, he did receive an Honorary award in 2004, famously presented to him by Jim Carrey.
Edwards earned a Golden Globe bid for directing the addiction drama “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962) and a DGA bid for the romantic comedy “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961). He received WGA prizes for “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” and “Victor/Victoria,” competing again for penning “Operation Mad Ball” (1957), “The Notorious Landlady” (1962), “The Pink Panther,” “The Return of the Pink Panther,” “10” (1979) and “S.O.B.” (1981).
Tour our photo gallery of Edwards’s 15 greatest films, including some of the titles listed above, as well as “Operation Petticoat” (1959), “The Great Race” (1965), “The Party” (1968) and more.
– Original text and gallery published in July 2019.