This shortlist does not include Alfred Pennyworth, Lurch, Riff Raff or Wadsworth from Clue. This list contains films that are mostly from the housekeeper. Some of these films are based on novels and memoirs from people who were once housekeepers. The ones that are on this list are overwhelmingly sentimental with a lot of emotional ups and downs.
Remains of the Day (1993)
A sad yet good movie about a man too dedicated to his job. A butler forgoes seeing his father on his deathbed to serve his unintelligent employer. He witnesses his employer turn more into a Nazi sympathizer. Twenty years after his employer’s death, he tries to reconnect with the head housekeeper regretting ever staying at that job.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
During a time of poverty, a middle aged butler works in a luxury hotel in 19th century Dublin Ireland. Although biologically a woman, Albert has been living as a man for 30 years while secretly saving up money for a tobacco shop and independence from poverty. There’s always an anxiousness with the main character running about doing necessities in the hotel. This film is a romance drama with LGBTQ characters in the lead. It is an interesting film premise with a sad ending.
The Butler (2013)
This is butler worked for various presidents like Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon from 1957 to the 1990s. It has decades of first person perspective of black rights in America all based on a true story. It’s narrated by the main character about his life, his start in his career and the people in it.
I originally read the novel before I saw the movie. This is more of a thriller than a heartwarming feel good story. A widower remarries a younger woman and they try to settle into their large mansion surrounded by memorabilia of his first wife Rebecca. His housekeeper, Ms. Danvers, still remembers Rebecca and creepily reminds her how it will never replace his first wife. The story builds up to the events of the first wife’s death that reveal who Rebecca really was. In short, everyone but the new wife has issues. Even though the second wife is in the entire movie, she does not have a first name but only addressed has Mrs. de Winter.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
A homeless man, Godfrey, is recruited by a rich yet snobbish socialite, Cornelia, to win a bet to find a “forgotten man” for five dollars. After he was received and was paid, the socialite’s sister, Irene, bets him to be their butler to win another bet with Cornelia. He lives with the eccentric family as a butler serving drinks and answering calls. This was one of the first slapstick comedies that influenced a subgenre of comedy with the rich guys acting goofy and the poor guy as the wisecracking straight man commenting on all the weirdos in the house.