The top 30 films of the 1930s

by Kino_Pravda | created - 30 Jun 2013 | updated - 30 Jun 2013 | Public

My favorites from the 1930s, in no order

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1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold

Votes: 85,832 | Gross: $9.60M

2. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Unrated | 136 min | Drama, War

8.1
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    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.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 50,206 | Gross: $3.27M

3. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.4
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    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.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 111,659 | Gross: $0.03M

4. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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    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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 43,372

5. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

7.9
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    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.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 35,341

6. Duck Soup (1933)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Musical, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx

Votes: 49,599

7. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 47,918

8. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime

7.9
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    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.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schündler

Votes: 9,539

9. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Unrated | 113 min | Drama, War

8.1
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    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.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim

Votes: 29,007 | Gross: $0.17M

10. A Night at the Opera (1935)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Music, Musical

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

Directors: Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding | Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kitty Carlisle

Votes: 26,679

11. King Kong (1933)

Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
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A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 69,361 | Gross: $10.00M

12. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

8.2
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A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 73,423

13. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
97 Metascore

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.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 41,248 | Gross: $3.98M

14. The Lower Depths (1936)

Approved | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet, Jany Holt

Votes: 2,476

15. Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and shelters him, but the tramp's odd behavior starts to wear everyone down.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska, Jean Gehret

Votes: 4,313

16. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

8.1
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100 Metascore

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.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 320,864 | Gross: $22.20M

17. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

8.6
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    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.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Votes: 125,588 | Gross: $0.02M

18. Morocco (1930)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, Romance

7.3
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    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.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt

Votes: 4,181

19. Animal Crackers (1930)

Passed | 97 min | Comedy, Musical

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding.

Director: Victor Heerman | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, The Marx Brothers

Votes: 11,496

20. Alexander Nevsky (1938)

Not Rated | 112 min | Action, Biography, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of how a great Russian prince led a ragtag army to battle an invading force of Teutonic Knights.

Directors: Sergei M. Eisenstein, Dmitriy Vasilev | Stars: Nikolay Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitriy Orlov

Votes: 8,877

21. L'Age d'Or (1930)

63 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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    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.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque, Max Ernst

Votes: 10,418 | Gross: $0.03M

22. The Rules of the Game (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély

Votes: 22,443

23. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Not Rated | 75 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper

Votes: 13,963

24. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Not Rated | 96 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty

Votes: 39,146

25. Frankenstein (1931)

Not Rated | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
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An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles

Votes: 53,764 | Gross: $12.00M

26. The Blood of a Poet (1932)

Unrated | 55 min

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking. The artist tries to wipe it away with his hand, but when he looks... See full summary »

Director: Jean Cocteau | Stars: Enrique Rivero, Elizabeth Lee Miller, Pauline Carton, Odette Talazac

Votes: 4,660

27. I Was Born, But... (1932)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

8.1
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91 Metascore

Two young brothers throw a tantrum when they discover that their father isn't the most important man in his workplace.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Tatsuo Saitô, Tomio Aoki, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara

Votes: 3,739

28. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Exiled into the dangerous forest by her wicked stepmother, a princess is rescued by seven dwarf miners who make her part of their household.

Directors: William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, Roy Atwell

Votes: 149,100 | Gross: $184.93M

29. Modern Times (1936)

Passed | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
96 Metascore

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford

Votes: 164,962 | Gross: $0.16M

30. Stagecoach (1939)

Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Western

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 34,394