Lionel Barrymore - Rotten Tomatoes

Lionel Barrymore

Highest Rated:   100% Dinner at Eight (1933)
Lowest Rated:   20% Devil Doll (1964)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Like his younger brother John, American actor Lionel Barrymore wanted more than anything to be an artist. But a member of the celebrated Barrymore family was expected to enter the family trade, so Lionel reluctantly launched an acting career. Not as attractive as John or sister Ethel, he was most effectively cast in character roles - villains, military officers, fathers - even in his youth. Unable to save what he earned, Barrymore was "reduced" to appearing in films for the Biograph Company in 1911, where he was directed by the great D.W. Griffith and where he was permitted to write a few film stories himself, which to Lionel was far more satisfying than playacting. His stage career was boosted when cast in 1917 as Colonel Ibbetson in Peter Ibbetson, which led to his most celebrated role, Milt Shanks in The Copperhead; even late in life, he could always count on being asked to recite his climactic Copperhead soliloquy, which never failed to bring down the house. Moving on to film, Barrymore was signed to what would be a 25-year hitch with MGM and begged the MGM heads to be allowed to direct; he showed only moderate talent in this field, and was most often hired to guide those films in which MGM wanted to "punish" its more rebellious talent. Resigning himself to acting again in 1931, he managed to cop an Academy Award for his bravura performance as a drunken defense attorney in A Free Soul (1931), the first in an increasingly prestigious series of movie character parts. In 1937, Barrymore was crippled by arthritis, and for the rest of his career was confined to a wheelchair. The actor became more popular than ever as he reached his sixtieth birthday, principally as a result of his annual radio appearance as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and his continuing role as Dr. Gillespie in MGM's Dr. Kildare film series. Barrymore was aware that venerability and talent are not often the same thing, but he'd become somewhat lazy (if one can call a sixtyish wheelchair-bound man who showed up on time and appeared in at least three films per year "lazy") and settled into repeating his "old curmudgeon with a heart of gold" performance, save for the occasional topnotch part in such films as It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Down to the Sea in Ships (1949). Denied access to television work by his MGM contract, Barrymore nonetheless remained active in radio (he'd starred in the long-running series Mayor of the Town), and at one point conducted a talk program from his own home; additionally, the actor continued pursuing his hobbies of writing, composing music, painting and engraving until arthritis overcame him. On the day of his death, he was preparing for his weekly performance on radio's Hallmark Playhouse; that evening, the program offered a glowing tribute to Barrymore, never once alluding to the fact that he'd spent a lifetime in a profession he openly despised.

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet The Lady And The Mouse
  • Actor
2010
20% Devil Doll
  • Paul Lavond / Madame Mandilip
1964
No Score Yet Bell Science - Our Mr. Sun
  • Actor
1956
No Score Yet Yesterday And Today
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Main Street to Broadway
  • Himself
1953
No Score Yet Lone Star
  • Andrew Jackson
1952
No Score Yet Right Cross
  • Sean O'Malley
1950
No Score Yet Malaya
  • John Manchester
1949
No Score Yet Down to the Sea in Ships
  • Capt. Bering Joy
1949
97% Key Largo
  • James Temple
1948
80% Duel in the Sun
  • Senator Jackson McCanles
1946
94% It's a Wonderful Life
  • Henry Potter
1946
No Score Yet The Secret Heart
  • Dr. Rossiger
1946
No Score Yet The Valley of Decision
  • Pat Rafferty
1945
78% Since You Went Away
  • Clergyman
1944
No Score Yet A Guy Named Joe
  • The General
1944
No Score Yet Dragon Seed
  • Narrator
1944
No Score Yet Thousands Cheer
  • Announcer
1943
No Score Yet Lady Be Good
  • Judge Murdock
1941
No Score Yet The People vs. Dr. Kildare (My Life Is Yours)
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1941
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Crisis
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1940
No Score Yet Doctor Kildare Goes Home
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1940
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Strange Case
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1940
No Score Yet The Secret of Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1939
No Score Yet On Borrowed Time
  • Julian Northrup - Gramps
1939
No Score Yet Calling Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. Leonard Gillespie
1939
No Score Yet Land of Liberty
  • Actor
1939
No Score Yet Let Freedom Ring
  • Thomas Logan
1939
No Score Yet Young Dr. Kildare
  • Dr. Gillespie
1938
91% You Can't Take It With You
  • Martin Vanderhof
1938
No Score Yet A Yank at Oxford
  • Dan Sheridan
1938
71% Test Pilot
  • Howard B. Drake
1938
No Score Yet Saratoga
  • Grandpa Clayton
1937
93% Captains Courageous
  • Disko
1937
No Score Yet A Family Affair
  • Judge James K. Hardy
1937
No Score Yet Navy Blue and Gold
  • Capt. Skinny Dawes
1937
No Score Yet The Gorgeous Hussy
  • Andrew Jackson
1936
No Score Yet The Road to Glory
  • Papa LaRoche
1936
No Score Yet The Voice of Bugle Ann
  • Springfield 'Spring' Davis
1936
87% The Devil-Doll
  • Paul Lavond / Madame Mandilip
1936
91% Camille
  • Duval
1936
No Score Yet Ah, Wilderness!
  • Nat Miller
1935
No Score Yet The Return of Peter Grimm
  • Peter Grimm
1935
No Score Yet Public Hero #1
  • Actor
1935
79% Mark of the Vampire
  • Prof. Zelin
1935
No Score Yet The Little Colonel
  • Colonel Lloyd
1935
No Score Yet David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger)
  • Dan Peggotty
1935
No Score Yet Treasure Island
  • Billy Bones
1934
No Score Yet The Girl From Missouri (100 Per Cent Pure) (Born to Be Kissed)
  • T.R. Paige
1934
No Score Yet Night Flight
  • Robineau
1933
No Score Yet Berkeley Square
  • Innkeeper
1933
No Score Yet One Man's Journey
  • Dr. Eli Watt
1933
100% Dinner at Eight
  • Oliver Jordan
1933
No Score Yet Stranger's Return
  • Grandpa Storr
1933
No Score Yet Looking Forward (The New Deal)
  • Tim Benton
1933
No Score Yet Rasputin and the Empress
  • Rasputin (aka Father Grisha)
1933
No Score Yet The Washington Masquerade
  • Jeff Keane
1932
57% Mata Hari
  • Gen. Serge Shubin
1932
No Score Yet Arsene Lupin
  • Detective Guerchard
1932
No Score Yet Broken Lullaby, (The Man I Killed)
  • Dr. H. Holderlin
1932
86% Grand Hotel
  • Otto Kringelein
1932
No Score Yet Guilty Hands
  • Richard Grant
1931
No Score Yet A Free Soul
  • Stephen Ashe
1931
No Score Yet Ten Cents a Dance
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet The Rogue Song
  • Director
  • Producer
1930
No Score Yet Free and Easy (Easy Go)
  • Himself
1930
No Score Yet The Mysterious Island
  • Count Dakkar
1929
No Score Yet Absinthe
  • Director
1929
40% The Hollywood Revue of 1929
  • Himself
1929
No Score Yet The Unholy Night (The Green Ghost)
  • Director
1929
No Score Yet West of Zanzibar
  • Mr. Crane
1928
83% Sadie Thompson
  • Alfred Atkinson
1928
No Score Yet Love (Anna Karenina)
  • Actor
1927
No Score Yet Camille
  • Actor
1927
No Score Yet The Show
  • Actor
1927
No Score Yet The Temptress
  • Canterac
1926
No Score Yet The Bells
  • Actor
1926
57% America
  • Capt. Walter Butler
1924
No Score Yet Decameron Nights
  • Suladin
1924
No Score Yet The Face in the Fog
  • Blackie Dawson, reformed crook
1922
80% The Penalty
  • Actor
1920
No Score Yet Judith of Bethulia
  • Extra
1914
No Score Yet Power of the Press
  • Steve Carson
1914
No Score Yet The Musketeers of Pig Alley
  • Actor
1912

Quotes from Lionel Barrymore's Characters