Favorite pre-code films

Films made before the enforcement of the production code that are my personal favorites.
Arranged in ABC order.
This list is my own opinion.
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1.
42nd Street (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A director puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a naive newcomer has to replace the star. (89 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
 
2.
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
 
3.
Anna Christie (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past. (89 mins.)
Director: Clarence Brown
 
4.
Are You Listening? (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A radio writer/producer accidentally kills his wife and then attempts to escape an on-air hunt for him. (73 mins.)
Director: Harry Beaumont
 
5.
Baby Face (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young woman, sexually exploited all her life, decides to turn the tables and exploit the hapless men at a big city bank - by gleefully sleeping her way to the top. (71 mins.)
Director: Alfred E. Green
 
6.
The Beast of the City (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Police Chief Jim Fitzpatrick ruthlessly goes after organized crime and is prepared to use brutal and violent methods to fight it. (86 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
 
7.
A Bill of Divorcement (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left. (70 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
8.
Billy the Kid (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
In this version of the Billy the Kid legend, Billy, after shooting down land baron William Donovan's henchmen for killing Billy's boss... (98 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
9.
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
 
10.
Blessed Event (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Al Roberts writes a gossip column for the Daily Express. He will write about anyone and everyone as long as he gets the credit... (80 mins.)
Director: Roy Del Ruth
 
11.
The Broadway Melody (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt. (100 mins.)
Director: Harry Beaumont
 
12.
The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A romance between a struggling composer and an American singer. (88 mins.)
 
13.
A Connecticut Yankee (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
(95 mins.)
Director: David Butler
 
14.
Crooner (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Story of a saxophonist and his rise to fame as a singing star. (68 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
 
15.
The Dawn Patrol (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths. (108 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
16.
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
 
17.
Devil-May-Care (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A Bonapartist falls for a Royalist. (97 mins.)
Director: Sidney Franklin
 
18.
Dinner at Eight (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a handful of wealthy and/or well-born acquaintances, each of whom has much to reveal. (111 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
19.
Disraeli (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Prime Minister of Great Britain Benjamin Disraeli outwits the subterfuge of the Russians and chicanery at home in order to secure the purchase of the Suez Canal. (90 mins.)
Director: Alfred E. Green
 
20.
The Divorcee (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
When a woman discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her, she decides to respond to his infidelities in kind. (84 mins.)
 
21.
Doctor X (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer. (76 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
22.
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.)
 
23.
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
 
24.
The Eagle and the Hawk (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The pilots of a Royal Air Force squadron in World War I face not only physical but mental dangers in their struggle to survive while fighting the enemy. (73 mins.)
Director: Stuart Walker
 
25.
Emma (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After decades of raising the motherless Smith children, housekeeper Emma Thatcher is faced with resentment when she marries their father. (72 mins.)
Director: Clarence Brown
 
26.
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
An American ambulance driver and an English nurse fall in love in Italy during World War I. (80 mins.)
Director: Frank Borzage
 
27.
Flying Down to Rio (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An aviator and band leader who is always getting his group fired for his flirtatious behavior with the female guests soon finds himself falling for an engaged woman. (89 mins.)
 
28.
Footlight Parade (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses. (104 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
 
29.
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
 
30.
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
 
31.
A Free Soul (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him. (93 mins.)
Director: Clarence Brown
 
32.
The Girl Said No (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A brash, pushy young man gets a job in a bank and sets his cap for his boss's secretary, but the death of his father makes him reassess his priorities. (93 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
33.
Going Hollywood (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Sylvia is the French teacher at Briarcroft's School for Girls, but she wants to find romance. When she hears Bill on the radio... (78 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
34.
Going Wild (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Rollo and Lane just happen to be tossed off the train at White Beach where Robert Story -Air ace and writer- is supposed to stop... (68 mins.)
 
35.
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A wealthy composer rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play. (97 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
36.
Grand Hotel (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas. (112 mins.)
Director: Edmund Goulding
 
37.
Hold Your Man (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years. (87 mins.)
 
38.
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An all-star revue featuring MGM contract players. (130 mins.)
 
39.
Hot Saturday (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A pretty but virtuous small-town bank clerk is the victim of a vicious rumor from an unsuccessful suitor that she spent the night with a notorious womanizer. (73 mins.)
Director: William Seiter
 
40.
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
 
41.
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
 
42.
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
 
43.
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
 
44.
It's Tough to Be Famous (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Fame proves to be too overwhelming when Scott becomes a national hero. (79 mins.)
Director: Alfred E. Green
 
45.
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.)
 
46.
Little Caesar (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune. (79 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
47.
Little Women (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Little Women is a "coming of age" drama tracing the lives of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. During the American Civil War... (115 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
48.
Love Is a Racket (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Jimmy writes the 'Up and Down Broadway' column for the New York Globe, and he is head over heels for Mary... (72 mins.)
 
49.
Madam Satan (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela... (116 mins.)
 
50.
The Man in Possession (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A charming bailiff's assistant poses as a young woman's butler until she can pay her debts. (84 mins.)
 
51.
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does. (68 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
 
52.
Mata Hari (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I. (89 mins.)
 
53.
The Mayor of Hell (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided... (90 mins.)
Director: Archie Mayo
 
54.
Men in White (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
An idealistic doctor must make some hard choices between his dedication to the profession and his personal life. (74 mins.)
 
55.
Monte Carlo (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Minutes before her wedding to Duke Otto Von Seibenheim, Countess Helene Mara flees, on a whim, to Monte Carlo... (90 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
56.
Morning Glory (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
When a naively innocent, aspiring actress arrives on the Broadway scene, she is taken under the wing of several theater veterans who mentor her to ultimate success. (74 mins.)
Director: Lowell Sherman
 
57.
Morocco (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself. (92 mins.)
 
58.
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
 
59.
Navy Blues (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On shore leave, a young sailor meets and falls in love with a pretty young blonde. He goes home with her to meet her parents... (77 mins.)
Director: Clarence Brown
 
60.
No Man of Her Own (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Con Man on the runs falls for a woman. (85 mins.)
Director: Wesley Ruggles
 
61.
Picture Snatcher (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Ex-convict Danny Kean decides to become honest as a photographer for a paper. He falls in love with Patricia... (77 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
 
62.
Possessed (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Ambitious factory Girl Marion Martin meets a handsome well-to-do, but he's interested in her as a mistress, not a wife. (76 mins.)
 
63.
The Lost Patrol (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during world war I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies. (73 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
64.
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.)
 
65.
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.)
 
66.
Red Dust (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees. (83 mins.)
 
67.
Red Headed Woman (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Lillian relentlessly attempts to seduce a married man. (79 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
 
68.
Riptide (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Park Avenue party-girl Mary (Norma Shearer) and staid English nobleman, Lord Phillip Rexford (Herbert Marshall) are married on a lark... (92 mins.)
Director: Edmund Goulding
 
69.
Smilin' Through (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The adoptive father of a young woman is horrified to learn she plans to marry the son of the man who accidentally killed her mother years before. (98 mins.)
Director: Sidney Franklin
 
70.
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes. (100 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
 
71.
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
 
72.
Torch Singer (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer. (71 mins.)
 
73.
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
 
74.
The Unholy Three (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
"Talkie" remake of Tod Browning's 1925 silent film. A trio of former sideshow performers double as the "Unholy Three" in a scam to nab some shiny rocks. (72 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
 
75.
Union Depot (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Travelers of different and varied backgrounds meet and interact on one night in a metropolitan train station and its environs. (67 mins.)
Director: Alfred E. Green
 
76.
Viva Villa! (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death... (115 mins.)
Director: Jack Conway
 
77.
Way for a Sailor (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Jack is a sailor who lives to go to sea. A typical sailor, he is always broke and has been in seven jails in the last seven ports... (85 mins.)
 
78.
When Ladies Meet (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Mary, a writer working on a novel about a love triangle, is attracted to her publisher. Her suitor Jimmy... (85 mins.)
Director: Harry Beaumont
 
79.
Whoopee! (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Western sheriff Bob Wells is preparing to marry Sally Morgan; she loves part-Indian Wanenis, whose race is an obstacle... (93 mins.)
 
80.
Wonder Bar (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man... (84 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon