Boris Karloff filmography

This is the filmography of Boris Karloff. Born as William Henry Pratt, he joined a touring company and adopted the stage name Boris Karloff. During these early stages of his career he was mostly left in obscurity. By 1919, Karloff found regular work as an extra at Universal Studios. Karloff's first significant hit film was in Howard Hawks's The Criminal Code (1931). While shooting Graft, director James Whale convinced Karloff to star as a character in one of his most popular roles as Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein which led to him becoming an overnight superstar. After Frankenstein and starring in several high-profile films such as Bride of Frankenstein and Scarface, Karloff spent the remainder of the 1930s continuing to work at an incredible pace, but progressively more into less financially successful films. Karloff starred in a few acclaimed Val Lewton produced horror films of the 1940s and by the mid-1950s, he was a familiar presence on television hosting his own series including Thriller and The Veil and guest starring on such variety programs as The Donald O'Connor Show. He also was Detective Wong in the 1930s In the 1960s, Karloff was a fixture at Roger Corman's American International Pictures. His final American film was Peter Bogdanovich's Targets, portraying an aging horror film star.


Year Film Role Director Notes
1918 The Lightning Raider George B. Seitz 15-chapter film serial.
1919 The Masked Rider Mexican roughneck in saloon (Ep. 2 only) Aubrey M. Kennedy 15-chapter film serial.
His Majesty, the American The Spy Joseph Henabery Credited as an extra.
The Prince and Betty Robert Thornby Bit part.
1920 The Deadlier Sex Jules Borney Robert Thornby
The Courage of Marge O'Doone Tavish David Smith
The Last of the Mohicans Maurice Tourneur, Clarence Brown Credited as an extra.
1921 The Hope Diamond Mystery Dakar / High Priest of Temple of Sita Stuart Paton Film serial.
Without Benefit of Clergy Ahmed Khan James Young
Cheated Hearts Nil Horned Hobart Henley
The Cave Girl Baptiste Joseph Franz
1922 The Man from Downing Street Edward Monckton / Maharajah Jehan Deharwar Edward José
The Infidel the Nabob James Young
The Altar Stairs Hugo Lambert Hillyer
Omar the Tentmaker the Holy Imam Mowaffak James Young
The Woman Conquers Raoul Maris Tom Forman
1923 The Gentleman from America Edward Sedgwick Uncredited bit part.
The Prisoner Prince Kapolski Jack Conway
1924 Riders of the Plains Jacques Jaccard
The Hellion Outlaw Bruce Mitchell
Dynamite Dan Tony Garcia Bruce Mitchell
1925 Parisian Nights Pierre Alfred Santell
Forbidden Cargo Pietro Castillano Tom Buckingham
The Prairie Wife Diego Hugo Ballin
Perils of the Wild Francis Ford
Never the Twain Shall Meet Villain Maurice Tourneur Uncredited
Lady Robinhood Cabraza Ralph Ince
1926 The Greater Glory the scissors grinder Curt Rehfeld
Her Honor, the Governor Snipe Collins Chet Withey
The Bells Mesmerist James Young
The Nickel-Hopper Big Bohunk Hal Yates
The Golden Web Dave Sinclair Walter Lang
The Eagle of the Sea Pirate Frank Lloyd
Flames Blackie Blanchett Lewis H. Moomaw
Old Ironsides Saracen Guard James Cruze
Flaming Fury Gaspard James Hogan
Valencia Dimitri Buchowetzki Uncredited bit part.
The Man in the Saddle Robber Clifford S. Smith Uncredited.
1927 Tarzan and the Golden Lion Ozawa, the Waziri chief J. P. McGowan
Let It Rain the crooks Edward Francis Cline
The Meddlin' Stranger Al Meggs Richard Thorpe
The Princess from Hoboken Pavel Allan Dale
The Phantom Buster Ramón William Bertram
Soft Cushions The chief conspirator Edward Francis Cline
Two Arabian Knights Purser Lewis Milestone
The Love Mart Fleming George Fitzmaurice
1928 The Vanishing Rider The villain Ray Taylor Film serial.
Burning the Wind Pug Doran Henry MacRae, Herbert Blaché
Vultures of the Sea Grouchy Richard Thorpe Film serial.
The Little Wild Girl Maurice Kent Frank Mattison
1929 The Devil's Chaplain Boris Duke Worne
The Fatal Warning Mullins Richard Thorpe Film serial.
The Phantom of the North Jules Gregg Harry S. Webb
Two Sisters Cecil Scott Pembroke
Anne Against the World Duke Worne Bit part.
Behind That Curtain Sudanese servant Irving Cummings First sound film.
The King of the Kongo Macklin / Martin Richard Thorpe Film serial.
The Unholy Night Abdoul Lionel Barrymore
1930 The Bad One Guard George Fitzmaurice
The Sea Bat Corsican Wesley Ruggles
The Utah Kid Baxter Richard Thorpe
The Mother's Cry Baxter Hobart Henley
1931 Sous les verrous ("Pardon Us" - French version) The Tiger James Parrott
The Criminal Code Ned Galloway Howard Hawks
The Vanishing Legion (serial) voice of The Voice, the serial's masked mystery villain Ford Beebe & B. Reeves Eason
King of the Wild Mustapha B. Reeves Eason, Richard Thorpe Final film serial.
Cracked Nuts Revolutionary Edward F. Cline
Young Donovan's Kid Cokey Joe Fred Niblo
Smart Money Sport Williams Alfred E. Green
The Public Defender Professor J. Walter Ruben
I Like Your Nerve Luigi William McGann
Graft Joe Terry William Christy Cabanne
Five Star Final "Reverend" Vernon Isopod Mervyn LeRoy
The Yellow Ticket Orderly Raoul Walsh
The Mad Genius Fedor's father Michael Curtiz
The Guilty Generation Tony Ricca Rowland V. Lee
Frankenstein The Frankenstein Monster James Whale
Tonight or Never The waiter Mervyn LeRoy
1932 Behind the Mask Jim Henderson John Francis Dillon
Alias the Doctor Autopsy surgeon Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz
Business and Pleasure Sheikh David Butler
Scarface Gaffney Howard Hawks
The Miracle Man Nikko Norman Z. McLeod
Night World "Happy" MacDonald Hobart Henley
The Old Dark House Morgan James Whale Billed as KARLOFF.
The Mask of Fu Manchu Dr. Fu Manchu Charles J. Brabin, Charles Vidor, King Vidor
The Mummy Imhotep/Ardath Bey Karl Freund Billed as KARLOFF.
1933 The Ghoul Prof. Morlant T. Hayes Hunter
1934 The Lost Patrol Sanders John Ford
The House of Rothschild Count Ledrantz Alfred L. Werker
The Black Cat Hjalmar Poelzig Edgar G. Ulmer Billed as KARLOFF.
Gift of Gab Cameo Appearance (as Karloff) Karl W. Freund Billed as KARLOFF.
1935 Bride of Frankenstein The Frankenstein Monster James Whale Billed as KARLOFF.
The Raven Edmond Bateman Lew Landers Billed as KARLOFF.
The Black Room Baron Gregor de Berghmann / Anton de Berghmann Roy William Neill
1936 The Invisible Ray Dr. Janos Rukh Lambert Hillyer Billed as KARLOFF.
The Walking Dead John Ellman Michael Curtiz
Juggernaut Victor Sartorius Henry Edwards
The Man Who Changed His Mind Dr. Laurence Robert Stevenson
Charlie Chan at the Opera Gravelle H. Bruce Humberstone
1937 Night Key Dave Mallory Lloyd Corrigan Billed as KARLOFF
West of Shanghai Gen. Wu Yen Fang John Farrow
1938 The Invisible Menace Mr. Jevries a.k.a. Dolman Lloyd Corrigan
Mr. Wong, Detective James Lee Wong William Nigh
1939 Devil's Island Dr. Charles Gaudet William Nigh
Son of Frankenstein The Frankenstein Monster Rowland V. Lee
The Mystery of Mr. Wong James Lee Wong William Nigh
Mr. Wong in Chinatown James Lee Wong William Nigh
The Man They Could Not Hang Dr. Henryk Savaard Nick Grinde
Tower of London Mord the executioner Rowland V. Lee
1940 The Fatal Hour James Lee Wong William Nigh
British Intelligence Valdar Terrell O. Morse a.k.a. Enemy Agent
Black Friday Dr. Ernest Sovac Arthur Lubin
The Man with Nine Lives Dr. Leon Kravaal Nick Grinde
Doomed to Die James Lee Wong William Nigh
Before I Hang Dr. John Garth Nick Grinde
The Ape Dr. Bernard Adrian William Nigh
You'll Find Out Judge Mainwaring David Butler
1941 The Devil Commands Dr. Julian Blair Edward Dmytryk
1942 The Boogie Man Will Get You Prof. Nathaniel Billings Lew Landers
1944 The Climax Dr. Hohner George Waggner
House of Frankenstein Dr. Gustav Niemann Erle C. Kenton
1945 The Body Snatcher John Gray Robert Wise
Isle of the Dead Gen. Nikolas Pherides Mark Robson
1946 Bedlam Master George Sims Mark Robson
1947 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Dr. Hugo Hollingshead Norman Z. McLeod
Lured Charles von Druten Douglas Sirk
Unconquered Guyasuta, chief of the Senecas Cecil B. DeMille
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome Gruesome John Rawlins
1948 Tap Roots Tishomingo George Marshall
The Emperor's Nightingale Narrator Jiří Trnka English-language version only.
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Swami Talpur Charles Barton
1951 The Strange Door Voltan Joseph Pevney
1952 Colonel March Investigates Col. March Cy Raker Endfield Compiled from several episodes of the television series Colonel March of Scotland Yard.
The Black Castle Dr. Meissen Nathan Juran
1953 Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde Charles Lamont
1954 The Island Monster Roberto Bianchi Montero
The Hindu General Pollegar Frank Ferrin a.k.a. Sabaka
1955 The Elgin Hour Mr. Mycroft Daniel Petrie Episode "Sting of Death" based on H. F. Heard's novel A Taste for Honey.
1957 Voodoo Island Dr. Phillip Knight Reginald Le Borg
1958 The Juggler of Our Lady Narrator Al Kouzel Animated short.
The Creation of the World Narrator (USA) Eduard Hofman English-language version only.
The Haunted Strangler James Rankin Robert Day
Frankenstein 1970 Baron Victor von Frankenstein Howard W. Koch
Corridors of Blood Dr. Thomas Bolton Robert Day
1962 Arsenic & Old Lace Jonathan Brewster George Schaefer Hallmark Hall of Fame TV film.
1963 Black Sabbath Gorca Mario Bava
The Terror Baron von Leppe Roger Corman
The Raven Dr. Scarabus Roger Corman
1964 Bikini Beach Art dealer William Asher
Mondo Balordo Narrator Roberto Bianchi Montero
The Comedy of Terrors Amos Hinchley Jacques Tourneur
1965 Die, Monster, Die!
(UK title: Monster of Terror)
Nahum Whitley Daniel Haller
1966 The Daydreamer The rat Jules Bass Voice only.
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini The corpse Don Weis
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Grinch and the narrator Chuck Jones Animated film. Won Grammy Award for Best Album for Children.
The Wild Wild West Mr. Singh Irving J. Moore 2x02 "The Night of the Golden Cobra".
1967 The Venetian Affair Dr. Pierre Vaugiroud Jerry Thorpe
Mad Monster Party? Baron Boris von Frankenstein Jules Bass Voice only.
The Sorcerers Professor Marcus Montserrat Michael Reeves
1968 Targets Byron Orlok Peter Bogdanovich
Curse of the Crimson Altar (a.k.a. The Crimson Cult) Prof. Marshe Vernon Sewell
Fear Chamber (a.k.a. Torture Zone) Dr. Carl Mandel Juan Ibañez, Jack Hill Released after Karloff's death; filmed in 1968
House of Evil (a.k.a. Dance of Death) Mathias Morteval Luis Enrique Vergara, Jack Hill Released after Karloff's death; filmed in 1968
1970 Cauldron of Blood (El Coleccionista de cadáveres); a.k.a. Blind Man's Bluff) Franz Badulescu Santos Alcocer, Edward Mann Released after Karloff's death; filmed in 1968
1971 The Incredible Invasion (a.k.a. Alien Terror and The Sinister Invasion) Prof. John Meyer Luis Enrique Vergara, Jack Hill Released after Karloff's death; filmed in 1968
Isle of the Snake People (a.k.a. Cult of the Dead) Karl Van Molder / Damballah Juan Ibañez, Jack Hill Released after Karloff's death; filmed in 1968


  • Nollen, Scott Allen (1991). Boris Karloff: A Critical Account of His Screen, Stage, Radio, Television and Recording Work. McFarland. ISBN 0-89950-580-5.
  • Buehrer, Beverley Bare (1993). Boris Karloff: A Bio-bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-27715-X.
  • Bojarski, Richard; Beals, Kenneth (1974). The Films of Boris Karloff. The Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0396-3.
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