10 Best Shirley Temple Movies


With a screen debut at four years old, Shirley Temple started her career as a talented child star, adored by the public, having unsurpassed professionalism (she sang, danced, step danced and did lots of impressions). Shirley Temple movies were truly a unique phenomenon in American cinematography back in the day and even now they are a fun, sweet and enjoyable thing to do. The cuteness and innocence characteristic of her young age manipulated the thoughts and emotions of her audience, instilling optimism in a difficult time (the economic crisis of the ’30s), inducing the possibility of universal reconciliation in a time when war was very close. In 1934, she received the Honorary Academy Award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to the entertainment, with her movies becoming historical treasures

No matter the type of films she stared in, Shirley Temple displayed every time the bright spontaneity and charm of the amazing prodigy. Even though she acted with famous actors, such as Lionel Barrymore, Robert Young, Janet Gaynor, Victor Mac Laglen, she was sure of her lines each and every time, delivering a great performance. In her adolescent years, she turned into a charming ingenue, whose graceful freshness was not shattered by conventions. On the contrary, her lucid interpretations turned films into valuable creations, among which Fort Apache is the most known. Although in full artistic glory, Temple retired from cinema, devoting herself to diplomatic activity and story telling. In her honor, let’s have a look at ten best Shirley Temple movies.

1. Fort Apache, 1948

fort apache

Photo via Cha Cha

After the war of secession, Colonel Owen Thursday is named commander of a remote fort in the region of Apache Indians. He moves to his new position, along with his daughter, Philadelphia, played by Shirley Temple, decided to bring order, but especially demonstrate that a war hero such as him does not deserve to be banished in the wilderness. Egotism, arrogance and, ultimately, his failures, trigger a chain of conflicts, both inside the fort and between soldiers and Indians, conflicts which the skilful captain Kirby tries to settle.

Movie purchase link: HERE

2. The Little Princess, 1939

Photo via Njj Community

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, consider it your weekend homework and one of the best Shirley Temple movies. Shirley Temple plays young Sara, a little girl who is left in an exclusive, luxurious school for girls, while her father has to go to Africa to fight in the war. For a while, Sara is treated like a real princess, but her life changes dramatically when her father is pronounced dead. The Little Princess was Temple’s first movie filmed in Technicolor and the first success of her career. It was released on March 10th 1939, by Twentieth Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang after a script by Ethel Hill and Walter Ferris. The story is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, A Little Princess.

Movie purchase link: HERE

3. Heidi, 1937

Shirley Temple smilling

Little orphan Heidi is taken to the mountains by her aunt Dete, to live with her grandfather, Adolph Kramer, a grumpy old man. Her grandfather was still angry with Heidi’s parents, who married against his will. But through her love and innocent personality, Heidi manages to bring a smile on her grandfather’s face whose heart is conquered irremediably by her. Heidi’s aunt, however, returns unexpectedly and steals the little girl. She takes her back to Frankfurt to live with an invalid girl, Klara. Heidi and Klara become friends. Meanwhile, Heidi’s grandfather sold his most valuable belongings and went in search of his granddaughter.

Movie purchase link: HERE

4. Wee Willie Winkie, 1937

Photo via Life

Wee Willie Winkie is a family adventure film released by 20th Century Fox on 30 July 1937. The film is inspired by a story written by Rudyard Kipling and directed by John Ford. The film was signed by Julien Thompson and Ernest Pascal and the story embodies the British presence in nineteenth century India. The film was nominated for an Academy Award. During the British occupation a poor widow, Joyce Williams and little Priscilla (Shirley Temple) are escorted by Sergeant Donald McDuff to a military border in northern India, where the daughter’s grandfather awaits.

Movie purchase link: HERE

5. Since You Went Away, 1944

Shirley Temple grow-nup

Inspired by a best-selling book signed by Margaret Buell Wilder, the film reconstructs the atmosphere of World War 2. Anne Hilton is left to deal with the household and her two daughters, one of them played by Temple, when her husband departs to war. The only bright moments are when the three of them read his letters together.

6. A Kiss for Corliss, 1949

kiss for corliss

Shirley Temple plays the leading role of Corliss Archer, a teenage girl who is in love with an older man. She ends up telling her friends that that man is actually her boyfriend and very soon the word gets out. A great comedy with many confusing situations that will amuse the audience.

Movie purchase link: HERE

7. Adventure in Baltimore, 1949

adventure in baltimore

Temple plays Dinah Sheldon in the romantic comedy “Adventure in Baltimore”, a movie about the woman’s suffrage movement. Shirley Temple is a student at an exclusive girl’s school who starts campaigning for women’s rights. Her actions don’t sit well with her father, who’s a minister father, nor with Temple’s boyfriend. In the end, she wins her dad with her point of view and delivers an inspiring sermon about tolerance and individual rights.

8. Little Miss Broadway, 1938

Photo via Hulu

Little Miss Broadway is a 1938 American musical directed by Irving Cummings and another great addition to Shirley Temple movies. Temples is Betsy Brown, a little girl who was just released from an orphanage into the care of Pop Shea, her parents’ friend. He runs a boarding house for theatrical performers. When he gets into some trouble with the law, Betsy puts on a great performance to convince the judge to rule in his favor. The little girl presents a lavish musical show in the courtroom which impresses one of the observers so much that he offers the troupe a performance job.

Movie purchase link: HERE

9. Baby Take a Bow, 1934

Photo via Hulu

Eddie Ellison is an ex-convict. Soon after he gets out of jail, he marries Kay and they have a beautiful little girl named Shirley. However, when Eddie’s employer’s wife’s pearls go missing, it comes out that Eddie spent time in prison, and he’s fired. Once a criminal, always a criminal?

Movie purchase link: HERE

10. Stowaway, 1936

Shirley Temple wondering

Shirley Temple is Chin-Ching, a little girl who gets lost in Shanghai and starts a friendship with an American playboy. Will she convince Randall to settle down? Of course she will.

Movie purchase link: HERE

Shirley Temple is, without a doubt, a cinema icon and a star whose name will remain in the industry’s history until the end of time. We hope that this selection of Shirley Temple movies made you smile and remember the good old days of cinema. If you have other Shirley Temple movies you enjoy watching, feel free to share them with us.

 

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