If anyone ever says they don’t like at least one Frank Sinatra song, they’re lying. But seriously, Sinatra was one of the best singers that ever lived. He had a silky smooth voice that spoke of romance and fun. However, Sinatra wasn’t just an amazing singer, he was also an accomplished actor. His acting garnered him multiple nominations; he even won an Oscar and four Golden Globes. Sinatra was a man of many talents, and it’s time his contribution to cinema was acknowledged. Here is my list of top 10 Frank Sinatra movie performances.
Guys and Dolls
If you haven’t seen Guys and Dolls with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, you are missing out on a great musical. Sinatra plays Nathan Detroit, a known criminal who runs one of the best crap games in the city. Sinatra’s character could easily be played as a lousy deadbeat; instead, he brings some light-hearted humor and friendliness to the role. Especially in scenes with Adelaide, you can tell Nathan adores the girl, even though they’ve engaged for 14 years and have yet to tie the knot.
Starring alongside Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, this movie is a fantastic showcase of Sinatra’s comedic chops. He plays tabloid writer Mike Connor who is writing a story on Grace Kelly’s family and ultimately falls in love with her. This movie is stunning, from the costumes to the sets, everything is bright and beautiful. It is everything a 1950s movie should be. It was actually one of the top ten highest grossest movies of 1956.
From Here to Eternity
This movie about three soldiers in Hawaii leading up to Pearl Harbor is one of Sinatra’s best films. Sinatra campaigned hard for the role of Maggio and even had other well-known actors reach out to the head of Columbia Pictures to get him this role. Lucky for him, this tactic worked, and he ended up winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Sinatra also stated he learned more about acting from Montgomery Clift than he ever had from anyone else before.
In this 1954 movie, Sinatra plays assassin John Baron who plots to murder the president when his tour stops in a small California town. This was Sinatra’s first dramatic role, and many critics were astounded by his performance. One review stated Sinatra played the role with the perfect amount of malice and psychosis.
The Manchurian Candidate
Sinatra considered this particular film, about the Cold War and sleeper agents, to be one of the best of his career. He plays Captain Bennett Marco, who begins to suspect that his close friend was brainwashed during captivity. He plays the character with such empathy, and even adds some light humor into this dark tale; critics were once again clamoring to praise him.
The Man With the Golden Arm
This film showcase’s more of Sinatra’s dramatic skills as he plays Frankie Machine, a recently sober drug addict fresh out of prison. To prepare for the role, Sinatra visited rehab facilities and talked with many of the patients there. His hard work was present in every scene, and he earned himself an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
A Hole in The Head
Based on the broadway play of the same name, Sinatra plays Tony Manetta, a man struggling with debt and the loss of his dreams. This movie is labeled a comedy but it is bittersweet watching Manetta goes through his life trying to provide for his son, but also trying everything to become wealthy. Sinatra sang the song ‘High Hopes’ in this production, which ended winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The First Deadly Sin
This film was produced by Sinatra’s production company and was his last movie role. He plays the role of NYPD Sergeant Edward Delaney, who works to solve a murder to distract himself from his dying wife. His performance is gritty and emotionally raw, it is a fantastic final showing for Sinatra’s acting career.
Sinatra plays struggling singer Joey Evans, who finds himself stuck between a former flame and a charming young chorus girl. Rita Hayworth played one of the two love interests, but critics raved Sinatra was the true star of the show. He injected empathy into a role and got audiences to like an unlikeable character. This role earned Sinatra a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
On The Town
Starring Sinatra and Gene Kelly, this musical is a brightly colored tale of three sailors on leave in New York City who fall in love with three girls. The songs are upbeat, and the story is genuinely engaging. Sinatra is obviously brilliant in this movie as it allows him not only an opportunity to act but also show off that beautiful singing voice that made him famous.
- Feature Picture [Flickr]