This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

List of Elia Kazan Movies: Ranked Best To Worst

1. On the Waterfront (1954)
16
2
On the Waterfront
16
2

This 8 Academy Awards-winning movie revolves around Terry Malloy, a boxer and longshoreman, who works for the dock union boss, Johnny Friendly. After witnessing a fellow-dockhand’s murder by Johnny’s gangsters, he rethinks about the people he is working for. When he meets the victim’s sister Edie, he decides to join hands with her in Father Barry’s campaign against the corrupt union bosses.

Starring:
Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Pat Henning
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
Awards:
Academy Award for Best Director, Golden Globe Award for Best Director
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
13
2
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
13
2

The Nolans manage to live life to the fullest, despite the fact that they are living in poverty. Their daughter Francie, decides that she is going to make it big in her life, with the help of her mother and her alcoholic father.

Starring:
Dorothy McGuire, James Gleason, Joan Blondell, James Dunn, Lloyd Nolan
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
3. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
15
3
A Streetcar Named Desire
GP
15
3

Based on Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, A Streetcar Named Desire focuses on the story of Blanche DuBois, a Southern belle who travels to New Orleans to live with her married sister and her boorish husband in a dilapidated tenement apartment. Here, she tries to start a new life; but very soon her grimy past catches up with her. 

Starring:
Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
4. East of Eden (1955)
15
3
East of Eden
TV-PG
15
3

East of Eden is a drama film, which tells the story of two brothers who compete for the approval of their strict father, as well as for the affection of the woman whom they both are attracted to. 

Starring:
James Dean, Julie Harris, Burl Ives, Raymond Massey, Richard Davalos
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
5. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
12
6
A Face in the Crowd
12
6

A Face in the Crowd is a musical drama film which revolves around Marcia, a radio producer, who decides to give exposure to a folk singer named Larry Rhodes. Over time, Larry gains a lot of popularity, but decides to use it for personal gains.

Directed By:
Elia Kazan
6. America America (1963)
15
2
America America
15
2
Starring:
Estelle Hemsley, Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Harry Davis, Elena Karam
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
Awards:
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
7. Splendor in the Grass (1961)
13
2
Splendor in the Grass
13
2

Splendor in the Grass is a romantic drama period film which tells the story of Bud and Deanie, who are weighed down by the expectations of their parents, and soon it also starts to affect their relationship.

Starring:
Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Phyllis Diller, Pat Hingle, Zohra Lampert, Barbara Loden
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
8. Wild River (1960)
14
2
Wild River
14
2
Starring:
Bruce Dern, Lee Remick, Montgomery Clift, Jay C. Flippen, Jo Van Fleet
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
9. The People of the Cumberland (1937)
10
6
The People of the Cumberland
10
6
Starring:
Richard Blaine
Directed By:
Elia Kazan, Jay Leyda, Sidney Meyers
10. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
17
2
Gentleman's Agreement
17
2

Philip Green is a widowed journalist who has just moved to New York City with his son and his mother. When a magazine publisher asks him to write an article on antisemitism, he doesn’t show much interest initially, but soon, he gets inspired to adopt a Jewish identity, so that he can write about his first-hand experiences.

Directed By:
Elia Kazan
Awards:
Academy Award for Best Director, Golden Globe Award for Best Director
11. Baby Doll (1956)
13
2
Baby Doll
R
13
2

Baby Doll is a black comedy film which tells the story of Archie, a middle aged man who is married to a 19 year old girl named Baby Doll. He has been facing financial troubles and Baby Doll threatens to leave him if he doesn’t do something to fix their problems. Things get worse as Silva, Archie’s competitor, has managed to take away his business, due to his newer and modern cotton gin. In order to retaliate, Archie burns doen his rival's gin one night.

Starring:
Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock, Karl Malden, Lonny Chapman
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
Awards:
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
12. Viva Zapata! (1952)
11
2
Viva Zapata!
11
2

Viva Zapata! is a historical drama film which revolves around the story of Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary who is knowing  for leading a rebellion against the corrupt and oppressive dictatorship of President Porfirio Diaz, who ignores the needs of his people during the early 20th century. The government is replaced but the new administration proves to be just as corrupt, especially General Victoriano Huerta.   

Starring:
Anthony Quinn, Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Joseph Wiseman, Arnold Moss
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
13. Panic in the Streets (1950)
11
2
Panic in the Streets
11
2

Panic in the Streets is a crime drama thriller film which takes us to a dock in New Orleans, where a dead body is found. A police sergeant feels that the dead man is also displaying other symptoms. A doctor with the US Public Health Service named Clint Reed diagnoses a highly contagious disease, known as pneumonic plague. Although he tries to convince others about its danger, everyone, including the police, is doubtful. He also estimates that they have around 48 hours to stop its spread.

Starring:
Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, Barbara Bel Geddes, Paul Douglas
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
14. Man on a Tightrope (1953)
14
2
Man on a Tightrope
14
2

A circus-owner in Communist Czechoslovakia has been ordered to insert Marxist messages into his acts. Many of his men have also been conscripted and his equipments declared government property.  Unable to operate his circus the way he wants he finally decides to flee with his entire troop. But escaping from Communist regime is not easy.  His daughter’s affair further complicates the matter. 

Starring:
Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Grahame, Cameron Mitchell, Terry Moore
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
15. Watchtower Over Tomorrow (1945)
9
5
Watchtower Over Tomorrow
9
5

Watchtower Over Tomorrow is a documentary short film about the Dumbarton Oaks Plan, as well as the proposed formations of the United Nations.

Starring:
John Nesbitt, Grant Mitchell, Martin Kosleck, Miles Mander, Edward R. Stettinius Jr.
Directed By:
16. Pinky (1949)
10
2
Pinky
10
2
Starring:
Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters, William Lundigan, Basil Ruysdael
Directed By:
17. City for Conquest (1940)
10
4
City for Conquest
10
4
Starring:
James Cagney, Anthony Quinn, Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, Frank Craven
Directed By:
Anatole Litvak, Jean Negulesco
18. Boomerang! (1947)
10
3
Boomerang!
10
3
Starring:
Brian Keith, Jane Wyatt, Arthur Miller, Lee J. Cobb, Dana Andrews, Arthur Kennedy
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
19. Blues in the Night (1941)
9
4
Blues in the Night
9
4

Jigger Pine, along with his friends Nickie, Peppi, Leo and Leo’s wife Ginger, forms a music band which performs at various gigs. However, a big break always eludes them. Then Del Davis, a mobster whom they meet in a rail boxcar, helps them get a break at a New Jersey roadhouse. As bar-beauty Kay Grant enters Jigger’s life, things start getting complicated.

Starring:
Lloyd Nolan, Jack Carson, Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Richard Whorf
Directed By:
Anatole Litvak
20. The Arrangement (1969)
13
2
The Arrangement
R
13
2
Starring:
Deborah Kerr, Hume Cronyn, Faye Dunaway, Kirk Douglas, Maureen McCormick, Richard Boone
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
21. Love, Marilyn (2012)
10
4
Love, Marilyn
10
4
Starring:
F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Ellen Burstyn
Directed By:
Liz Garbus
22. The Visitors (1972)
10
2
The Visitors
R
10
2

Vietnam War veteran Bill Schmidt lives with his girlfriend Martha and son Hal in a farmhouse. One day two of his ex-army friends Mike and Tony arrive and start terrorizing the family. This leads to revelations, a fight, and horrific consequences.  

Starring:
James Woods, Steve Railsback, Patrick McVey, Patricia Joyce, Chico Martínez
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
23. The Sea of Grass (1947)
9
2
The Sea of Grass
9
2
Starring:
Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Melvyn Douglas, Robert Walker, Phyllis Thaxter
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
24. The Last Tycoon (1976)
9
2
The Last Tycoon
PG
9
2

Based on an unfinished novel of the same name by F Scott Fitzgerald, this drama film tells the story of a movie producer, who works tirelessly in a time of turmoil. However, problems arise because he neglects and disrespects the other studio executives, and they feel like they would be better off without him.

Starring:
Donald Pleasence, John Carradine, Ray Milland, Tony Curtis, Jeanne Moreau, Robert Mitchum, Robert De Niro
Directed By:
Elia Kazan
25. Pie in the Sky (1935)
8
4
Pie in the Sky
8
4

A priest completes his sermon and brings out a pie to distribute between several men who are waiting to eat. However, two men who were waiting at the end, doesn’t get any.

Role:
(as Elia 'Gadget' Kazan)
Starring:
Russell Collins, Irving Lerner, Ralph Steiner, Elman Koolish
Directed By:
Ralph Steiner
26. Strangers All (1935)
7
1
Strangers All
7
1
Starring:
William Bakewell, May Robson, Preston Foster, Florine McKinney,
Directed By:
Charles Vidor
27. Cafe Universal (1934)
12
2
Cafe Universal
12
2
Directed By:
Ralph Steiner
28. A Letter to Elia (2010)
9
2
A Letter to Elia
9
2
Role:
Himself (archiveFootage)
Starring:
Martin Scorsese, Elias Koteas
Directed By:
Martin Scorsese, Kent Jones
29. Mist (1988)
8
2
Mist
8
2
Starring:
Rutkay Aziz, Kenan Pars, Asli Altan, Sevtap Parman
Directed By:
Zülfü Livaneli
30. Diaspora (2001)
4
1
Diaspora
4
1
Directed By:
Atom Egoyan

Elia Kazan Awards

Academy Awards
On the Waterfront Best Director 1955
Gentleman's Agreement Best Director 1948
Golden Globe Awards
America America Best Director 1964
Baby Doll Best Director 1957
On the Waterfront Best Director 1955
Gentleman's Agreement Best Director 1948