Spencer Tracy - Rotten Tomatoes

Spencer Tracy

Highest Rated:   100% Desk Set (1957)
Lowest Rated:   14% The Sea of Grass (1947)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Universally regarded among the screen's greatest actors, Spencer Tracy was a most unlikely leading man. Stocky, craggy-faced, and gruff, he could never be considered a matinee idol, yet few stars enjoyed greater or more consistent success. An uncommonly versatile performer, his consistently honest and effortless performances made him a favorite of both audiences and critics throughout a career spanning well over three decades. Born April 5, 1900, in Milwaukee, WI, Tracy was expelled from some 15 different elementary schools prior to attending Rippon College, where he discovered and honed a talent for debating; eventually, he considered acting as a logical extension of his skills, and went on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first professional work cast him as a robot in a stage production of R.U.R. at a salary of ten dollars a week. He made his Broadway debut in 1923's A Royal Fandango and later co-starred in a number of George M. Cohan vehicles. Tracy's performance as an imprisoned killer in 1930's The Last Mile made him a stage star, and during its Broadway run he made a pair of shorts for Vitaphone, The Hard Guy and Taxi Talks. Screen tests for MGM, Universal, and Warners were all met with rejection, however, but when John Ford insisted on casting Tracy as the lead in his prison drama Up the River, Fox offered a five-year contract.Tracy's second film was 1931's Quick Millions, in which he portrayed a racketeer. He was frequently typecast as a gangster during his early career, or at the very least a tough guy, and like the majority of Fox productions throughout the early part of the decade, his first several films were unspectacular. His big break arrived when Warners entered a feud with Jimmy Cagney, who was scheduled to star in 1933's 20,000 Years in Sing Sing; when he balked, the studio borrowed Tracy, and the picture was a hit. His next two starring roles in The Face in the Sky and the Preston Sturges epic The Power and the Glory were also successful, earning very positive critical notice. Still, Fox continued to offer Tracy largely low-rent projects, despite extending his contract through 1937. Regardless, much of his best work was done outside of the studio grounds; for United Artists, he starred in 1934's Looking for Trouble, and for MGM starred as The Show-Off. After filming 1935's It's a Small World, executives cast Tracy as yet another heavy in The Farmer Takes a Wife; he refused to accept the role and was fired. Despite serious misgivings, MGM signed him on. However, the studio remained concerned about his perceived lack of sex appeal and continued giving the majority of plum roles to Clark Gable. As a consequence, Tracy's first MGM offerings -- 1935's Riff Raff, The Murder Man, and 1936's Whipsaw -- were by and large no better than his Fox vehicles, but he next starred in Fritz Lang's excellent Fury. For the big-budget disaster epic San Francisco, Tracy earned the first of nine Academy Award nominations -- a record for male stars -- and in 1937 won his first Oscar for his work in Victor Fleming's Captains Courageous. Around the release of the 1938 smash Test Pilot, Time magazine declared him "cinema's number one actor's actor," a standing solidified later that year by Boys' Town, which won him an unprecedented second consecutive Academy Award. After 1939's Stanley and Livingstone, Tracy starred in the hit Northwest Passage, followed by a turn as Edison the Man. With the success of 1941's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he even usurped Gable's standing as MGM's top draw.Tracy was happily married to actress Louise Treadwell when he teamed with Katharine Hepburn in 1942's Woman of the Year. It was the first in a long series of collaborations that established them as one of the screen's greatest pairings, and soon the two actors entered an offscreen romance which continued for the remainder of Tracy's life. They were clearly soulmates, yet Tracy, a devout Catholic, refused to entertain the thought of a

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Murnau, Borzage & Fox
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Spencer Tracy Legacy
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey
  • Actor
1984
67% That's Entertainment, Part 2
  • Actor
1976
72% Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Matt Drayton
1967
70% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Capt. C.G. Culpepper
1963
86% How the West Was Won
  • Narrator
1963
92% Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Judge Dan Haywood
1961
80% The Devil at 4 O'clock
  • Father Matthew Doonan
1961
93% Inherit the Wind
  • Henry Drummond
1960
80% The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Old Man
1958
86% The Last Hurrah
  • Mayor Frank Skeffington
1958
100% Desk Set
  • Richard Sumner
1957
No Score Yet The Mountain
  • Zachary Teller
1956
97% Bad Day at Black Rock
  • John J. Macreedy
1955
85% Broken Lance
  • Matt Devereaux
1954
60% The Actress
  • Clinton Jones
1953
No Score Yet Plymouth Adventure
  • Capt. Christopher Jones
1952
85% Pat and Mike
  • Mike Conovan
1952
100% Father's Little Dividend
  • Stanley Banks
1951
No Score Yet The People Against O'Hara
  • James Curtayne
1951
90% Father of the Bride
  • Stanley T. Banks
1950
No Score Yet Malaya
  • Carnaghan
1949
96% Adam's Rib
  • Adam Bonner
1949
No Score Yet Edward, My Son
  • Arnold Boult
1949
80% State of the Union
  • Grant Matthews
1948
No Score Yet Cass Timberlane
  • Cass Timberlane
1947
14% The Sea of Grass
  • Col. James B. 'Jim' Brewton
1947
83% Without Love
  • Pat Jamieson
1945
67% A Guy Named Joe
  • Pete Sandridge
1944
100% Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
  • Lt. Col. James Doolittle
1944
100% The Seventh Cross
  • George Heisler
1944
No Score Yet Keeper of the Flame
  • Steven 'Stevie' O'Malley
1942
No Score Yet Tortilla Flat
  • Pilon
1942
89% Woman of the Year
  • Sam Craig
1942
64% Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Dr. Harry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
1941
40% Men of Boys Town
  • Father Flanagan
1941
80% Edison, the Man
  • Thomas Alva Edison
1940
100% Northwest Passage
  • Major Rogers
1940
No Score Yet I Take This Woman
  • Dr. Karl Decker
1940
No Score Yet Boom Town
  • Square John Sand
1940
No Score Yet Stanley and Livingstone
  • Henry M. Stanley
1939
No Score Yet Land of Liberty
  • Actor
1939
90% Boys Town
  • Father Edward Flanagan
1938
75% Test Pilot
  • Gunner Sloane
1938
No Score Yet Mannequin
  • John L. Hennessey
1937
No Score Yet Big City
  • Actor
1937
94% Captains Courageous
  • Manuel
1937
No Score Yet They Gave Him a Gun
  • Fred P. Willis
1937
92% San Francisco
  • Father Tim Mullin
1936
100% Fury
  • Joe Wheeler
1936
No Score Yet Riffraff
  • Dutch Miller
1936
86% Libeled Lady
  • Warren Haggerty
1936
No Score Yet Whipsaw
  • Ross 'Mac' McBride aka Danny Ross Ackerman
1935
No Score Yet Dante's Inferno
  • Jim Carter
1935
No Score Yet The Murder Man
  • Steve Gray
1935
No Score Yet Now I'll Tell
  • Murray Golden
1934
No Score Yet Marie Galante
  • Crawbett
1934
71% Man's Castle
  • Bill
1933
86% The Power and the Glory
  • Tom Gardner
1933
No Score Yet 20,000 Years in Sing Sing
  • Tommy Connors
1932
No Score Yet Me and My Gal
  • Dan Dolan
1932
No Score Yet Young America (We Humans)
  • Jack Doray
1932
No Score Yet Disorderly Conduct
  • Dick Fay
1932
No Score Yet She Wanted a Millionaire
  • William Kelley
1932
No Score Yet Quick Millions
  • Daniel J. 'Bugs' Raymond
1931
No Score Yet Goldie
  • Bill
1931
No Score Yet Up the River
  • Saint Louis
1930
No Score Yet The Hard Guy (The Tough Guy)
  • Actor
1930

Quotes from Spencer Tracy's Characters