Peter Sellers, the veteran actor in Hollywood will always be remembered for his comic roles. His movies like The Pink Panther, The Ladykillers, and After The Fox still remain one of the most loved Peter Sellers movies. The actor has been nominated for various prestigious awards and has won the BAFTA Award for best actor twice and the Golden Globe Award for best actor. Filmmakers and audiences have often compared his comedic genius to the legendary Charlie Chaplin.
There is no denying that his genius was in portraying comic roles, but some of his underrated films witnessed his versatility as an actor. In movies like Never Let Go and Dr. Strangelove, he played multiple characters and did justice to each one.
To honor the late actor’s incredible career of over two decades, we have listed the top 10 Peter Sellers movies that every cinema enthusiast must watch at least once.
The British black comedy movie was released in 1955 and is one of Seller’s early works where he was cast as a supporting actor. Alec Guinness, Danny Green, and Katie Johnson have shared the screen in movies with peter sellers. The movie is about how a gang of five shady criminals ends up living with an aging but rich, Mrs. Wilberforce, with evil intentions. What follows is a comic series of mishaps as the thugs get what they deserve.
Petter Sellers plays the character of Harry who is part of the shady gang. Despite being surrounded by some of the already-established actors of the time, he managed to leave a mark on the audience.
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
Watch the trailer for The Ladykillers
I’m All Right, Jack
In the 1959 release, I’m All Right, Jack was a commercial hit with Seller in the full lead character for the first time. The movie won him the BAFTA award for the best British actor. The movie was directed by the Boulting brothers who were known for their satirical films on British institutions.
Peter Sellers’ character Fred Kite is a Union Leader, a freeloading fool. The movie takes a dig at the authorities and has some on-point slapstick comedy. The character of Fred Kite was cleverly written and well portrayed hence making the movie ranked one of the most loved and successful Peter Sellers movies.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Check out the trailer for I’m All Right Jack:
Never Let Go
If you thought Sellers always played comic roles, this one is about to prove you wrong. The 1960 movie, Never Let Go, saw him play a criminal, but not the satirical one, a legit villainous role.
He plays the character of Lionel Meadows who under the shade of a crooked garage sells stolen cars. He has a gang of people assigned to perform the tasks. But a common cosmetics salesman, John Cummings, gets dragged into the ugly world when Meadow’s men steal his car, and in desperation, he sets out to investigate the theft himself. The move gets brutal when John and Meadows come face-to-face with each other.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Here is the trailer for Never Let Go:
The Mouse That Roared
The 1959 release, The Mouse That Roared, witnesses Sellers in multiple roles for the first time which later became one of the trademarks of multiple Peter Sellers movies. The movie was well written and executed with various political factors in mind. Sellers can be seen playing three major characters in the movie, namely, Grand Dutchess Gloriana, Prime Minister Count Rupert, and Tully Bascombe.
The movie is set in the smallest country in the world, Grand Fenwick. The country experiences a financial crisis when its only source of income, the Pinot Grand Fenwick wine gets a Californian competitor in the market. The country’s Prime Minister comes up with the ridiculous idea of declaring war on the U.S. and losing the war within a day and claiming the financial aid offered by the U.S. The plan does not go as planned and what follows is a series of bone-tickling moments.
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Enjoy the trailer for The Mouse That Roared:
Also Read: The Ultimate List of All Jules Verne Movies
Only Two Can Play
Only Two Can Play is the movie adaptation of Kingsley Ami’s novel, ‘That Uncertain Feeling’, and witnessed one of Sellers’ most attractive performances. There are certain scenes in the movie which require the actor to act normal, something rarely seen in his works.
Peter Sellers played the character of John Lewis, a librarian who struggles in his professional as well as personal life. The actor was always known for improvising his comic characters with some accents and the movie gave him the perfect opportunity to play with a Welsh accent. His character was equally loved and appreciated by the critics as well as the audience. He got his second nomination for the BAFTA Award as Best British Actor for the movie.
Insider Goof: Peter Seller was not confident about the movie and hence gave up his profit participation. But when the movie was released it turned out to be a commercial success.
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Here is the trailer for Only Two Can Play:
The Return of the Pink Panther
The Pink Panther movie series is undoubtedly one of the most famous Peter Sellers movies. The first movie of the franchise came out in 1963 and Sellers played the character of Clouseau who was just a supporting character until the second movie, A Shot in the Dark.
The Return of the Pink Panther was released in 1975 and was the third film in the Pink Panther series. The movie witnessed the character development of Inspector Clouseau as he got more screen time and Seller added his touch of perfectionism to the character.
IMDb Rating: 7/10
Watch the trailer for The Return of the Pink Panther:
Director Stanley Kubrick turned the scandalous novel, Lolita, into a movie in 1962, starring James Manson, and Sue Lyon, who shared the Screen in movies with Peter Sellers. Sellers played the character of Claire Quilty and won his very first Golden Globe Award nomination for his impressive work.
The story is about a middle-aged man named Humbert who has a liking for a teenager named Lolita. In desperation to get close to the teenager he goes to extremes like dating her mother Shelley Winters. But soon realizes that his plan can’t sail smoothly and one of the major challenges between him and Lolita is Claire Quilty.
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Enjoy the trailer for the movie, Lolita:
The 1963 movie, Heavens Above, bought back the iconic combination of Peter Sellers and the Boulting brothers. They served their audience what they are best at the satirical comedy on British institutions. Sellers played the character of a naive prison officer, John Smallwood, who is from Birmingham. The audience once again got to see his stronghold on accents as he effortlessly inculcated the Brummie accent.
Smallwood is assigned as a vicar to a small but prosperous English town. But he soon finds his ideologies clashing with the high-class locals.
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Check out the trailer for Heavens Above:
Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Peter Sellers’ movies are known for various factors and one is, that him playing multiple characters. Dr. Stangelove is one such movie where he takes on three roles. Directed by Stanely Kubrick, the movie was released in 1963.
Sellers played the character of a US Air Force General, the US President, and an RAF Officer. He was nominated for the BAFTA Award and Academy Award for his impressive performance in the movie.
Insider Goof: Peter Sellers was originally supposed to play four characters but one of the roles was later passed on to another actor.
IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Here is the trailer for Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb:
Being There holds a special place in the hearts of all Peter Sellers’ fans. The 1979 movie marked the last project in his vast career of more than two decades. He played the complex character of Chauncey Gardiner in a simple way and was nominated for the BAFTA and the Academy Award for best actor. He also won the Golden Globe award for the movie.
His character can be seen explaining some basics of gardening which people often misinterpret as some complex emotions and metaphors. When his patron dies and he has to face the world outside of gardening, he explores some never visited roads which lead him to a never expected lifestyle.
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Watch the trailer for Being There:
Though Peter Sellers is long gone, fans and cinema enthusiasts will always remember him as the face of comic cinemas. After Charlie Chaplin, he was the first actor to impress the influence the audience to such an extent with his perfect comic timing and body language. You are sure to find some masterpieces in the above list.
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