Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Dr. Tony Flagg's friend, Steven, has problems in the relationship with his fiancee, Amanda, so he persuades her to visit Dr. Flagg. After some minor misunderstandings, she falls in love ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Documentary | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A two-hour in-depth exploration into the Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.

Director: Phillip Dye
Stars: Shirley Jones, Don Ameche, Fred Astaire
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

This is a documentary that revisits the making of Gone with the Wind with Archival footage, screen tests, insightful interviews and rare film footage.

Director: David Hinton
Stars: Christopher Plummer, L. Jeffrey Selznick, David O. Selznick
The Viking (1928)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vikings compete for power and the love of a woman.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Donald Crisp, Pauline Starke, LeRoy Mason
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Ruby Carter, the American Beauty queen of the night club-sporting world, shifts her operations from St. Louis to New Orleans (which kind of belies the Western genre designation), mostly to ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Mae West, Roger Pryor, Johnny Mack Brown
MGM: When the Lion Roars (TV Mini-Series 1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The history of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Stars: Patrick Stewart, Samuel Marx, June Allyson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

On vacation with his family on California's Catalina Island, Andy Hardy falls head over swim fins for a sophisticated young beauty. Judge Hardy warns his son that she is too fast for him.

Director: George B. Seitz
Stars: Lewis Stone, Cecilia Parker, Mickey Rooney
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A working girl is menaced by her tyrannical employer.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Warren William, Loretta Young, Wallace Ford
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Various film historians, film makers, and cultural commentators discuss the cultural, political, economic and religious reasons for what is known as the pre-code era of Hollywood movie ... See full summary »

Stars: Valerie Spencer, John Landis, Jonathan Kuntz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

William Powell plays William Foster, a slick attorney who stays within the law, but specializes in representing crooks and shady characters. He's adept at keeping them out of jail, winning ... See full summary »

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: William Powell, Kay Francis, Scott Kolk
How to Sleep (1935)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A humorous look at the problems people have trying to sleep.

Director: Nick Grinde
Stars: Robert Benchley
Hot Saturday (1932)
Drama | Romance
    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.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Cary Grant, Nancy Carroll, Randolph Scott


Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Thomas Schatz ...
Himself - Author of 'The Genius of the System'
F.X. Feeney ...
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Scott Eyman ...
Himself - Author of 'Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer'
Jeanine Basinger ...
Herself - Author of 'The Star Machine'
Aubrey Solomon ...
Himself - Author of 'The Films of Twentieth Century-Fox'
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Author of 'Frankly, My Dear'
Himself (archive footage)
Himself - Author of 'Inside Warner Bros.'
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph McBride ...
Himself - Author of 'Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success'
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis




TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1939: El gran año de Hollywood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Available on the Gone with the Wind (1939) Ultimate Collector's Edition and Scarlet Edition Blu-Ray releases, as well as the Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD. See more »


Features Dark Victory (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Nice "sampler" package of Hollywood treats from an important period in time
15 November 2009 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

I really enjoyed this "sampler" of Hollywood's greatest hits of 1939 - a year which (as the title implies) many consider to be Hollywood's greatest. Somewhat thin and rushed in its overall feel, one nevertheless can't deny that this documentary makes a sincere effort to open the eyes of today's movie lovers to a bygone era of Hollywood greatness.

The deficiency of this documentary can best be explained very simply: Not enough time! That is to say, the subject matter is really too vast to be condensed neatly into a 75-minute documentary with any expectation that it will reveal enough facts, figures, anecdotes, history and lore of late-30's Hollywood to even begin to satisfy the more serious film buff. So in effect, the documentary comes across more as a compilation of trailers and previews of all those great films of 1939, rather than any sort of serious history lesson.

The viewer nevertheless does get a sense of the historical "place" of 1939 Hollywood: it is made apparent that the preceding 8 or 9 years of hard economic times, i.e. The Great Depression, culminated in an end-of-decade perfect storm of masterful film productions. Whether this is cause and effect or something else entirely, is left up to the viewer to decide. Also, one can see that 1939 was a transitional year on a global scale, what with war clouds looming on the horizon, which indubitably cast long shadows into the movie studios of the time. Further, there were some interesting comments about the manner by which major Hollywood studios controlled not only production of their films, but distribution as well (in the form of wholly-owned theater chains), leading to members of U.S. Congress leveling charges of monopoly tactics.

I wish there would have been a lot more to this documentary, but I also wonder, how much could they really do with 75 minutes? At what point did they decide to "draw the line," and leave much of the historical context on the cutting room floor, and simply concentrate more on showcasing the finished product - i.e. the films themselves? I think in that regard they did the right thing. As I noted above, the subject matter is too vast for a 75-minute documentary.

As a movie lover, and as someone who enjoys exploring movies from the bygone era of Hollywood, I commend this documentary for allowing me to see some of my favorites - Ninotchka, Gone With The Wind, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, etc. - in a new light. In addition, I thank this work for showing some snippets of movies that I have not yet seen, but really must check out: Midnight, Dodge City, The Women, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, etc. If nothing else, I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone interested in getting some "movie night" ideas. Hopefully there is a video store near you that carries many of these movie titles from 1939, "Hollywood's Greatest Year."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: