Humphrey Bogart had a famed career and is one of the most iconic actors in the history of Hollywood motion pictures. Bogart, usually portraying a smart-talking and slick gentleman sporting bow ties, was the son of a surgeon and magazine illustrator. Following a stint of managing a stage company, Bogart garnered stage and film roles, although very minor.
His big break came in 1936 in the film “The Petrified Forest” in which he won the part over acclaimed actor Edward G. Robinson. It wasn’t until Leslie Howard threatened Warner Bros. to quit the production if Bogart wasn’t selected for the role of Duke Mantee.
It was a successful portrayal and he earned a long-term contract with Warner Bros. For four years, Bogart starred in 28 pictures, mostly in supporting roles and as a gangster. In 1941, he had one of the greatest years of his career. He gained the lead role in “High Sierra” and “The Maltese Falcon.” These legendary films were followed with the renowned 1942 classic “Casablanca,” the 1946 picture “The Big Sleep” and the 1948 movies “Key Largo” and “The Treasure of Sierra Madre.”
By the 1950s, Bogie won the Academy Award for best actor for “The African Queen.” In his final years, Bogart starred in light celebrated movies, such as “Sabrina,” “The Barefoot Contessa” and “We’re No Angels.”
Prior to his death, Bogart starred in one of his final roles where he portrayed the villain in “The Desperate Hours.” His final film was “The Harder They Fall,” a movie about a former sports writer who is hired to promote an Argentinean fighter.
Bogart has been in approximately 80 films, and has portrayed eclectic characters. He was truly a remarkable actor with a screen presence unmatched by anyone preceding or succeeding him, including James Cagney, James Stewart and Spencer Tracey.
Whether it was a supporting role or the leading man, Bogart captured the audience’s attention in any picture. From his early days as a bad guy gangster to the peak of his career portraying a tough private detective, Bogart was talented in all aspects.
Best Bogart Movies (in alphabetical order):
“The African Queen” (1951) – Charlie Allnut (Bogart), a captain, is persuaded by a church missionary, Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn), to utilize his boat to attack a Nazi warship.
“Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938) – Rocky Sullivan (James Cagney) visits his old neighborhood after being released from a three-year prison sentence. He visits his old friend, who is now a priest (Pat O’Brien), and old female friend (Ann Sheridan). When he tries to get his $100,000 and 50-50 share from James Frazier (Humphrey Bogart), his life becomes endangered.
“Black Legion” (1937) – Frank Taylor (Bogart) loses out on a promotion after a Polish-born worker gets the position. He begins to resent the man and joins the secretive and racist Black Legion. Taylor enters the world of threats, intimidation, violence and murder.
“Bullets or Ballots” (1936) – ‘Bugs’ Fenner (Humphrey Bogart) believes former detective John Blake (Edward G. Robinson), who is attempting to join the mob, is a police agent.
“Casablanca” (1942) – Rick Blaine (Bogart) runs a popular cafe in Casablanca. He unexpectedly meets Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), his former lover from Paris, who is now with underground Czech leader, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). They rekindle their love, but Blaine is the hero of the resistance and helps Laszlo and Ilsa escape Casablanca.
“Dead End” (1937) – ‘Baby Face’ Martin (Bogart) visits his old neighborhood where he his labelled as a murderer by his mother and is denounced by his former girlfriend, Drina (Sylvia Sidney)
“The Desperate Hours” (1955) – Escaped convict Glenn Griffin (Bogie) and his partners break into a home and terrorize Dan Hilliard (Fredric March) and his family.
“In a Lonely Place” (1950) – Fledgling Hollywood screenwriter, Dixon Steele (Bogart) who maintains a violent temper, falls in love with his neighbor, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame). Unfortunately, she feels that her life is in danger and tries to flee.
“Key Largo” (1948) – A returning WWII soldier, Frank McCloud (Bogart), visits his old pal’s hotel in Key Largo where he comes into contact with exiled gangster, Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson). Meanwhile, he falls in love with his deceased friend’s woman, Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall).
“The Maltese Falcon” (1941) – Quick-witted, fast-talking private detective, Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) gets entangled in the mysterious Maltese Falcon hunt after his partner, Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) gets murdered.
“The Petrified Forest” (1936) – Smart. Poetic. Empathy. These are the words to describe the first-time viewing of the classic “The Petrified Forest.” Watching Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Bogart work together was certainly poetry in motion.
“The Roaring Twenties” (1939) – It’s the 1920s, WWI has ended, prohibition is in effect and everyone is getting rich, nearly everyone. Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) becomes a king of New York when he enters the bootlegging business. When he bumps into his old pal, George Hally (Humphrey Bogart), they become partners until power strangles the partnership.
“The Treasure of Sierra Madre” (1948) – Two Americans Frank Dobbs (Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) are in desperate need of money. When they come across old-timer Howard (Walter Huston), they decide to mine gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains, but paranoia becomes the best of the three men.