Elizabeth Taylor’s most memorable movie roles
Screen siren Elizabeth Taylor is the epitome of Hollywood glamour; at the height of her career she was the most beautiful, mysterious and sought-after actor in the industry, a trailblazer who was followed by photographers and gossiped over relentlessly in newspapers around the world.
On the silver screen, she made just as much of an impact – her most iconic films are celebrated by audiences and critics alike. She will forever be a pillar of Old Hollywood and remind of the simplicity, elegance and glamour of that era.
From big-budget blockbusters to deeply emotional dramas, today we’re looking back at some of her most memorable movie roles.
Though Taylor had already appeared in several other films for MGM, it was her performance in National Velvet that’s considered her breakout role. Acting alongside newcomers Mickey Rooney and Angela Lansbury, the film told the story of Taylor’s character, Velvet Brown, who was training her beloved horse to win the Grand National. Though just 12 years old, the film was a commercial and critical success and launched Taylor into the spotlight.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Based on the work of famed playwright Tennessee Williams, this searing drama about an alcoholic ex-football player explores themes of greed, sexual desire, superficiality and social decay. Playing opposite the equally celebrated Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor gives one of the best performances of her career – in their scenes alone together in the bedroom, they both capture audiences with the power of their presence and the raw energy of their emotion.
Love it or hate it, Cleopatra will always be remembered as one of Elizabeth Taylor’s banner roles and the film that brought her together with the great love of her life Richard Burton. Though critics have slated the movie for being long and lumbering, audiences still love the spectacle; the sets are huge, costumes glamourous and actors beautiful.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
At the time, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was the most expensive black-and-white film ever made, costing the studio $7.5 million dollars. More than a third of the budget was just to pay the salaries of the film’s stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and its writer Edward Albee. Taylor’s performance as Martha won her her second Oscar for Best Actress and showed a new side of Taylor audiences had never seen before.
Father of the Bride
Known mainly for her dramatic roles, Father of the Bride shows Elizabeth Taylor is just as at ease in a romantic comedy. Starring as bride-to-be Katherine Banks, it tells the story of the father of a young bride who deals with the emotional pain of his daughter getting married. The film was later remade starring Steve Martin – and though its popularity has somewhat eclipsed the original, Father of the Bride is still well-worth a watch, if only to see Elizabeth Taylor’s raw talent at the beginning of her career.
Did we miss any of your favourites? What do you think were Elizabeth Taylor’s most memorable roles?
Silversurfer's Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Assistant Editor (see all)
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!