5 Outstanding Films From Olivia De Havilland's 53-Year Career

Date February 9, 2018

Olivia De Havilland, the daughter of a British actress and an attorney father, is known by most people for her character as Melanie Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, but De Havilland featured in 49 films during her illustrious career.


READ ALSO: Eminent ‘Gone With The Wind’ Actress, Olivia De Havilland, Is Already 101

Early life and career

The veteran actor, who is 101-years-old now, was born in Japan. She only came to live in California by chance when the family had to stop en route England from Japan after she and her sister, the actress Jane Fontaine, fell sick.

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Outstanding films

She had an outstanding Hollywood career spanning 53 years and is considered one of the remaining actors from Hollywood's golden age. She was nominated for five Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscars and won two of them. Of the memorable movies she starred in, these are considered her top five movies.

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1. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

© The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) / Warner Bros

In 1995, this original telling of the Robin Hood story was called "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress. It has inspired a number of remakes that have tried to make the story relevant even today.

READ ALSO: Legendary Film, ‘Gone With The Wind’, Celebrates Its 78th Anniversary

2. To Each His Own (1946)

Olivia De Havilland won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Miss Josephine, 'Jody' Norris, in this film where a woman who has a child out of wedlock has to give up her child for adoption.

3. The Snake Pit (1948)

This film which remains relevant even today was revelatory with its take on mental illness. It was adapted from a novel by Mary Jane Ward. Here, Olivia De Havilland played Virginia Cunningham, a woman who is being treated for delusion and is unable to recognize her husband. The film fetched Olivia De Havilland an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

4. The Heiress (1949)

© The Heiress (1949) / Paramount Pictures

Here, Olivia De Havilland played an impressionable young woman who falls in love with a man which her abusive father views as a gold digger and threat to the family. It was loosely based on the novel, "Washington Square".

5. The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)

Olivia de Havilland plays Joan Fisk, the daughter of an American France Ambassador, who takes it upon herself to repair the image of American servicemen, after an American Senator visiting France decides that American servicemen will no longer come to Paris.

An Inspiration To Women

Olivia De Havilland's career continues to inspire women the world over but especially in the film industry. In the course of her five-decade career, she notably risked everything when she fought Warner Brothers for extending her contract unfairly.

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Fans have gone on to create art based on her characters.

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