Robert Taylor: 12 Essential 1950s Movies

Quo Vadis, Party Girl, Ivanhoe, Above and Beyond, and more!

Robert Taylor was one of the most popular actors during the Golden Age of Hollywood. During the 1950s, Taylor stayed on top of his game and starred in some of his best — and most memorable — films! 

Below, we’ve ranked the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies of all time. These films are definitely some of Taylor’s best. 

If you’re searching for the best of the best Taylor movies, use this list as a guide. You won’t want to miss these if you’re a fan! 

The 12 Best 1950s Robert Taylor Movies, Ranked

12. Ambush (1950)

Genre: Western

Starring: Robert Taylor, John Hodiak, Arlene Dahl, Don Taylor

Directed by: Sam Wood

Let’s start with 1950’s Ambush, a bit of an underrated Taylor film. Taylor starred in quite a lot of westerns throughout the 1950s, though Ambush is definitely one of his better ones. 

In Ambush, Taylor plays a prospector who agrees to search for and save a young woman who is being held by Apaches. Along the way, he falls in love with the captive woman’s sister (Dahl) who has decided to come along with him. 

11. The Hangman (1959)

Genre: Western

Starring: Robert Taylor, Tina Louise, Fess Parker, Jack Lord

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Next up, we’ve got 1959’s The Hangman, another somewhat underrated western of Taylor’s. Regardless, this is still one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies! 

The Hangman follows a government marshal (Taylor) who has a reputation for showing no mercy to the criminals he chases down. However, he faces a few issues when he comes to town searching for a young man — only to find that the man has changed his life around, and the town is working to keep him safe. 

10. Rogue Cop (1954)

Genre: Film Noir / Crime / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Janet Leigh, George Raft, Steve Forrest

Directed by: Roy Rowland

Now, let’s discuss a great underrated film noir starring Taylor. Rogue Cop is definitely one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies! 

In this film noir, Taylor plays a crooked cop that can easily be bought off — and every criminal and mobster knows it. However, things become rather complicated for him when his younger brother (Forrest) joins the force and refuses to also be bought off, earning him some enemies… 

Related — Janet Leigh: 9 Essential 1950s Movies

9. Saddle the Wind (1958)

Genre: Western

Starring: Robert Taylor, Julie London, John Cassavetes, Donald Crisp

Directed by: Robert Parrish

Saddle the Wind is also one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies! In this western, Taylor plays a rancher who has put his violent tendencies behind him after the Civil War. However, when his unstable, gun-toting little brother (Cassavetes) comes to town with his fiance (London), things quickly get out of hand. 

8. Above and Beyond (1952)

Genre: Biography / Action / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker, James Whitmore, Larry Keating

Directed by: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama

Above and Beyond is yet another excellent film — and one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies. In this drama, Taylor plays a pilot who helped drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Throughout the film, he struggles with what he has done and tries to come to terms with his new place in history. 

7. The Last Hunt (1956)

Genre: Western / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Lloyd Nolan, Debra Paget

Directed by: Richard Brooks

The Last Hunt is a great western and also one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies. In this western, Taylor and Granger play two frontiersmen who have made a living off of hunting buffalo. 

Granger’s character feels bad about his hunting ways now that the buffalo have thinned out so much. But he agrees to go on one last trip with Taylor’s character — and the two immediately begin to clash over Taylor’s treatment of buffalo and Native Americans. 

6. The Law and Jake Wade (1958)

Genre: Western / Romance / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens, Robert Middleton

Directed by: John Sturges

The Law and Jake Wade is a notable movie for a variety of reasons, not just because it’s one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies. This film also happened to be the last A-list picture that had Taylor as the top lead billed! 

The Law and Jake Wade follows an outlaw (Widmark) who forces his old friend and retired bandit (Taylor), along with his girlfriend (Owens), to hidden treasure. 

5. Ivanhoe (1952)

Genre: Adventure / Romance / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders

Directed by: Richard Thorpe

Ivanhoe isn’t just one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies. It’s also one of the most popular Taylor movies today! This adventure-drama is so fun to watch, thanks to its stunning, all-star cast.

In Ivanhoe, Taylor plays a noble knight on a mission to rescue the kidnapped King of England… though he also finds himself torn between two different maidens (played by Taylor and Fontaine). 

Related — Elizabeth Taylor: 7 Essential 1950s Movies

4. Devil’s Doorway (1950)

Genre: Western / Romance

Starring: Robert Taylor, Louis Calhern, Paula Raymond, Marshall Thompson

Directed by: Anthony Mann

Devil’s Doorway is definitely one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies… even though he does portray a Native American (which he is surely not). 

In Devil’s Doorway, a Native American Civil War hero (Taylor) who earned the Medal of Honor returns home to try to start his life again. However, continued bigotry from the white settlers near his land continues to make his life difficult, and she strives to save his people’s land from them. 

3. Party Girl (1958)

Genre: Film Noir / Crime / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Cyd Charisse, Lee J. Cobb, John Ireland

Directed by: Nicholas Ray

Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse in a film noir directed by Nicholas Ray? Need we ask for more? If you couldn’t tell, we really like Party Girl and consider it one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies! 

Also notably for those interested in the history of the Golden Age movie studios, Party Girl stars the last two MGM contract stars: Charisse and Taylor. This was Charisse’s last film for the studio, while it was Taylor’s second to last! 

Party Girl follows a crooked lawyer (Taylor) that defends mobsters and falls in love with a showgirl (Charisse) who shows him the light. He shouldn’t defend gangsters. However, when he tries to get loose from them, they don’t let him go too easily, and the two find themselves fighting against the mob. 

2. Westward the Women (1951)

Genre: Western / Adventure / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson, John McIntire

Directed by: William A. Wellman

Westward the Women is DEFINITELY one of the best 1950s Robert Taylor movies. We absolutely love this western here at Retro Gazing. 

In Westward the Women, Taylor plays a cynical frontiersman tasked with transporting a wagon train of mail-order brides to the West. Along the way, disaster strikes — and the women prove that they can also help out and take care of themselves. They aren’t easily scared! 

1. Quo Vadis (1951)

Genre: History / Drama

Starring: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Peter Ustinov

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy

Quo Vadis is the best 1950s Robert Taylor movie. It also happens to be one of his most popular movies today! 

This epic takes place during the final years of Emperor Nero’s reign in Rome. Taylor plays a Roman commander who falls in love with a Christian girl (Kerr), even though he himself is not Christian. When Nero begins to persecute and blame Christians, the movie escalates — and it’s riveting to watch! 

Related — Deborah Kerr: 10 Popular Movies

Comment below your own personal favorite Robert Taylor movie from the 1950s! Do you agree with this list? Or would you change it up a bit? Hit the comments below with all your thoughts and opinions! I’d love to hear what you think! 

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