4 Movies Starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas

Two great stars who were not great friends in real life

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Paramount Pictures

Over the course of five decades, actors Burt Lancaster and ​Kirk Douglas made several movies together. Some were good. A couple not so much. And at least two are all-time classics. Because they starred in several films together, audiences believed that Lancaster and Douglas were something of a team. While that may be true on the surface, behind the scenes the actors did not really like each other, a point both made in their own autobiographies. Here are four of the best films made starring both Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.

An underrated film noir, I Walk Alone marks the first time Lancaster and Douglas appeared on screen together. Directed by Byron Haskin, the film starred Lancaster as Frankie Madison, a former bootlegger just released from prison after 14 years. Frankie goes right from prison to look up his old rum-running partner, Noll Turner (Douglas), who has become quite successful running their old nightclub in his absence. Frankie wants his share of the club's profits, but Moll says it's tied up and forces his accountant (Wendell Corey) to cook the books to prove it. Meanwhile, Noll throws girlfriend Kay (Lizabeth Scott) at Frankie to find out what he knows, unwittingly sowing the seeds of his own downfall. I Walk Alone was not well received on its release, but has since become a minor classic.

There have been many Westerns made about the infamous shootout between the Earps and the Clanton gang, but few have been as substantial as John Sturges' Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The film starred Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Douglas as gunslinger Doc Holliday. Earp is the U.S. Marshal of Dodge City and travels with Holliday to Tombstone, Arizona, where Virgil Earp (John Hudson) is sheriff. Right away, he runs into trouble with Ike Clanton (Lyle Bettger) and Johnny Ringo (John Ireland), leading to the climatic gunfight. Look for a young Dennis Hopper as Billy Clanton and Star Trek's DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp.

In their third film together, Lancaster and Douglas traveled back to the American revolution with this adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's satirical play. The Devil's Disciple starred Lancaster as Rev. Anthony Anderson, a peacenik who transforms into a rebel rabidly fending off British redcoats. Douglas was Dick Dudgeon, a coward who instantly becomes a man of Christ-like conscience. Also on hand is Laurence Olivier as General Burgoyne, a charming gentleman of a British officer out to smash the rebels. Not the most important film made between Lancaster and Douglas, The Devil's Disciple did allow the two actors to cut loose on screen. Olivier was more subtle in his approach, however, and came away with the best performance.

Directed by John Frankenheimer, Seven Days in May was a tense political thriller about a military coup trying to oust the President of the United States. This time it was Douglas playing the hero. He starred as Col. Jiggs Casey, a loyal officer working in the office the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jiggs uncovers a plot involving Gen. James M. Scott, a rabid right-wing officer convinced that President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) is too soft to lead the country. Jiggs and Lyman try to find definitive proof that Scott is trying to usurp President Lyman, but are constantly stopped by protocol and human error. Seven Days in May was adapted by Rod Sterling from the bestselling novel written by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey. Published in 1962, the book was read by President John F. Kennedy, who agreed that such a scenario could happen.