Basil Rathbone:
Master of Stage and Screen


Updated June 13, 2016






photo from The Hound of the Baskervilles, 20th Century Fox





This website exists to honor one of Hollywood's greatest screen and stage actors: Basil Rathbone. Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the 1930s and 1940s, Rathbone gave outstanding performances in many, many other films as well. Rathbone also appeared in many plays, and his voice could be heard in numerous radio broadcasts and recordings.  



New this month:  A review of the 1930 film The Lady of Scandal, starring Basil Rathbone and Ruth Chatterton. Watch this film on TCM June 13.

The schedule of Basil Rathbone films being shown on TV in June is on the Schedule page. Note TCM's special Rathbone movie marathon on June 13! (See below.)


Photo of the Month

A promo photo of Basil Rathbone and Ruth Chatterton from The Lady of Scandal, 1930


Basil Rathbone Marathon on TCM

Turner Classic Movies is helping us celebrate Basil Rathbone's birthday by showing his films all day on Monday, June 13, 2016. Get your VCRs and DVRs ready! Here's what we can look forward to:

The Lady of Scandal
Sin Takes a Holiday
Anna Karenina
A Feather in Her Hat
Kind Lady
The Black Sleep
Hillbillys in a Haunted House

Check your local listings for showtimes.



Features of this website: Click here for a description of the icons in the left column, and a guide to the pages of this website. 

Vote for Basil Rathbone!

This drawing is based on characters from the 1958 film The Last Hurrah, a story about a mayoral election in a New England city. Pictured here are the two opposite sides in the election facing one another like gangs in the street. The gang on the left is headed by Frank Skeffington (Spencer Tracy), the veteran mayor who wants to win his last Election. Beside him is his nephew, Adam Caulfield (Jeffrey Hunter), the sportswriter of the local newspaper. On his side are Skeffington supporters Boland, Gillen, Gorman, and Cortez. The opposite side is led by conservative banker Norman Cass (Basil Rathbone), Amos Force (John Carradine), candidate Kevin McCluskey, and Cardinal Martin Burke.
Drawn by Jaime Gabaldà Méndez, 2016


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Learn about the Basil Rathbone Biography Project

The fourteen Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were released on Blu-ray on March 29, 2011.

Click here to order from Amazon!

Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films is once again available to buy!

Michael Druxman's biography of Rathbone is well-researched and well-written--a "must have" for every Basil Rathbone fan. The book traces the fascinating life of the actor and provides detailed descriptions of all of Rathbone's films, including cast, credits, critics' reviews and production notes. Out-of-print for more than thirty-five years, Michael Druxman’s book is once again available for purchase. This new reprint edition mirrors the original 1975 biography/filmography, including its more than 250 rare photographs, and also contains a new Introduction by the author.

Buy it at

Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films

Also by Michael Druxman: Rathbone, a one-person play in THE HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS collection.

Order from Amazon

Sherlock Holmes & the Fabulous Faces: The Universal Pictures Repertory Company is a tribute to the men and women who were part of Universal's repertory company. Author Michael A. Hoey discusses the lives and careers of the many character actors and actresses who supported Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in the 12 Holmes films made at Universal between 1942 and 1946. These players graced hundreds of films with their diversified performances.

Michael A. Hoey is a film and television writer, director and producer. He is also the son of British actor Dennis Hoey, who played the unforgettable Inspector Lestrade in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series.

Order from BearManor Media or

Check out this wonderful video montage of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, made by Julie, the Ravin' Maven of Classic Film.

Spotted on YouTube: Someone with way too much time on his or her hands has recreated the final duel between Robin Hood and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (from The Adventures of Robin Hood) using LEGO figures! It's very cleverly done. Click here to see it (opens in new window).


 You can search for particular words or phrases using the search tool below.


Links to film reviews can be found on the Films page. Reviews without pictures are old ones to which I plan to add pictures as soon as possible.

How much do you know about Basil Rathbone? Try to solve my Basil Rathbone Crossword Puzzle!

Click here to read the 1918 newspaper citation concerning the award of the Military Cross to Basil Rathbone.

Visit the Potpourri section of this site for "Ode to Basil" and other poems written about Rathbone, as well as "Leaving Baker Street" -- an article by Andy Demsky.

Have you ever wondered,
"What if Basil Rathbone had played other famous movie roles?" 
Click here to explore this question.


Tell Turner Classic Movies what Rathbone films you'd like to see. Write to:

Charlie Tabesh ( )
Vice President of Programming
Turner Classic Movies
1050 Techwood Drive
Atlanta, GA 30318



This page was created by and is maintained by Marcia Jessen.
All original content is © Marcia Jessen, 2016.

I'm happy to receive your comments or suggestions by e-mail, but please put something in the subject line to indicate that your message is a Rathbone-related question or comment. Like many other people, I am inundated by junk mail. I will not open e-mails with nothing in the subject line, or something like "Hi," "Hello," or "Hi there."

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I am deeply appreciative of the many people who have given me information about Basil Rathbone, shared personal stories, inspired me, and helped me build up my Rathbone collection. Among them are David M, Greg, Joanna, Simon, Debbie, Mary, John, Lisa, David C, Anthony, Neve, Nanette, Rosemarie, and Anna.  Many THANKS for all you've done and continue to do!


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All original content is © Marcia Jessen, 2016