The Best Movies of the 1930s

Here they are. The movies I consider to be the absolute best motion pictures of the 1930s.

Feel free to comment on my choice of movies.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.
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1.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. (136 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
2.
The Blue Angel (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer. (106 mins.)
 
3.
L'Age d'Or (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society. (60 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
4.
People on Sunday (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang... (73 mins.)
 
5.
City Lights (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically. (87 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
 
6.
Five Star Final (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The City Editor of a sleazy tabloid goes against his own journalistic ethics to resurrect a twenty year old murder case... with tragic results. (89 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
7.
The Public Enemy (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war. (83 mins.)
 
8.
M (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. (117 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
9.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde. (98 mins.)
 
10.
Frankenstein (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. (70 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
11.
Dracula (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina. (85 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
12.
Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
On the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, a young couple's love is threatened when the tribal chief declares the girl a sacred virgin. (86 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
 
13.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him. (92 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
14.
Blonde Venus (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation. (93 mins.)
 
15.
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme. (83 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
16.
Scarface (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall. (93 mins.)
 
17.
The Old Dark House (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate. (72 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
18.
Freaks (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. (64 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
19.
The Mummy (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover. (73 mins.)
Director: Karl Freund
 
20.
Vampyr (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire. (83 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
 
21.
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers. (63 mins.)
 
22.
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations. (70 mins.)
Director: Erle C. Kenton
 
23.
American Madness (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused for robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair...all in the same day. (75 mins.)
Director: Frank R. Capra
 
24.
If I Had a Million (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A dying tycoon gives million-dollar windfalls to eight people picked from the city directory. (88 mins.)
 
25.
King Kong (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition. (100 mins.)
 
26.
The Invisible Man (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane. (71 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
27.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A new crime wave grips the city and all clues seem to lead to the nefarious Dr. Mabuse, even though he has been imprisoned in a mental asylum for nearly a decade. (122 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
28.
Design for Living (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship. (91 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
29.
Queen Christina (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Queen Christina of Sweden is a popular monarch who is loyal to her country. However, when she falls in love with a Spanish envoy, she must choose between the throne and the man she loves. (99 mins.)
 
30.
It Happened One Night (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story. (105 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
31.
Imitation of Life (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way. (111 mins.)
Director: John M. Stahl
 
32.
The Thin Man (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it. (91 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
 
33.
The Black Cat (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident. (65 mins.)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
 
34.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate. (75 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
35.
Mad Love (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An insane surgeon's obsession with an actress leads him to replace her husband's hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives. (68 mins.)
Director: Karl Freund
 
36.
Dante's Inferno (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern... (89 mins.)
Director: Harry Lachman
 
37.
The Informer (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 1922, an Irish rebel informs on his friend, then feels doom closing in. (91 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
38.
The 39 Steps (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information. (86 mins.)
 
39.
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti... (132 mins.)
Director: Frank Lloyd
 
40.
Captain Blood (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After being wrongly convicted as a traitor, Peter Blood, an English physician, is sent to exile in the British colonies of the Caribbean, where he becomes a pirate. (119 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
41.
The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In the doomed Roman city, a gentle blacksmith becomes a corrupt gladiator, while his son leans toward Christianity. (96 mins.)
 
42.
Black Fury (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An immigrant coal miner finds himself in the middle of a bitter labor dispute between the workers and the mine owners. (94 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
43.
Cosmic Journey (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The science fiction film "Kosmicheskii Reis" was first shown in Soviet theaters in January 1936. Soviet... (70 mins.)
 
44.
The Petrified Forest (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert. (82 mins.)
Director: Archie L. Mayo
 
45.
Bullets or Ballots (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him... (82 mins.)
 
46.
Fury (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the Mob for his murder. (92 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
47.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
 
48.
Libeled Lady (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee a down on his luck reporter hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth, to stop a high-society woman from suing for libel. (98 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
 
49.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers. (115 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
50.
After the Thin Man (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Nick investigates the case of a missing man and later a murder that is connected to Nora's family. (112 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
 
51.
You Only Live Once (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control. (86 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
52.
Black Legion (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
When a hard-working machinist loses a promotion to a Polish-born worker, he is seduced into joining the secretive Black Legion, which intimidates foreigners through violence. (83 mins.)
Director: Archie L. Mayo
 
53.
La Grande Illusion (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from. (113 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
54.
A Star Is Born (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him. (111 mins.)
 
55.
The Good Earth (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The story of a farmer in China: a story of humility and bravery. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as wife... (138 mins.)
Director: Sidney Franklin
 
56.
Captains Courageous (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A spoiled brat who falls overboard from a steamship gets picked up by a fishing boat, where he's made to earn his keep by joining the crew in their work. (117 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
 
57.
Lost Horizon (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La - but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be? (97 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
58.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Snow White, pursued by a jealous queen, hides with the Dwarfs; the queen soon learns of this and prepares to feed her a poison apple. (83 mins.)
 
59.
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army. (102 mins.)
 
60.
Jezebel (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back. (104 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
61.
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids. (97 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
62.
A Christmas Carol (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner... (69 mins.)
Director: Edwin L. Marin
 
63.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home in Kansas and help her friends as well. (102 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
 
64.
The Roaring Twenties (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I. (106 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
65.
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge. (99 mins.)
Director: Rowland V. Lee
 
66.
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When an eccentric family meets in their uncle's remote, decaying mansion on the tenth anniversary of his death for the reading of his will, murder and madness follow. (72 mins.)
Director: Elliott Nugent
 
67.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her. (117 mins.)
 
68.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate. (80 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lanfield
 
69.
Union Pacific (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California. (135 mins.)
 
70.
Beau Geste (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire. (112 mins.)
 
71.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades. (114 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
72.
Ninotchka (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. (110 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
73.
Each Dawn I Die (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him. (92 mins.)