Today would have been Dame Elizabeth Taylor‘s 80th birthday. Hollywood is still feeling the loss of the iconic actress, whose violet eyes and dramatic finesse made an unforgettable impression on movie audiences the world over. Though the tabloid terror of Liz’s colorful personal life sometimes overshadowed her later career, she was a dazzling screen legend who graced us with her charm, beauty, and undeniable talent. We’ve taken a look back at the starlet’s film history, ranking her roles from best to worst. It’s not an easy job, given her prolific filmography. Lists like these are always subjective, but we’ve spotlighted some of the good, the bad (or the so bad it’s good), and the ugly. Thanks to Liz’s cinematic accomplishments, there’s lots to choose from. Share your picks below, and tell us what movies we may have missed.
It’s too easy to call a beautiful actress brave for undergoing a dramatic physical transformation. While anything that brings us closer to a character and makes a performance more believable is commendable, Mike Nichols’ study of one toxic couple’s marital decline doesn’t win a top spot for Taylor simply due to her downgraded looks. Her alcohol-soaked metamorphosis into the frumpy and foul-mouthed Martha is amazing to behold. It’s the shifting psychological and emotional hurricane that convincingly swings from sadistic to pitiable, however, that truly won Taylor her Oscar. Her braying manner and crass sex appeal doesn’t overpower the nuanced shades that Taylor expertly imbued her complex character with.