50 Greatest Films of the 1930sby DanielBamberg | created - 25 Mar 2011 | updated - 25 Mar 2011 | Public
Following the addition of sound, the film industry was only just exploding in the 1930s. Though the overall film library of the the decade is relatively small compared to the decades which followed, some of cinema's greatest accomplishments came from the 1930s. Here is the ordered list of what I feel are the 50 best films from the 1930 - 1939 era in motion pictures.
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1. Of Mice and Men (1939)
Approved | 106 min | Drama
Two itinerant migrant workers, one mentally disabled and the other his carer, take jobs as ranch hands during the Great Depression to fulfill their shared dream of owning their own ranch.
2. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance
A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.
Votes: 256,004 | Gross: $198.68M
4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
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 to Kansas and help her friends as well.
Votes: 341,512 | Gross: $22.20M
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
Exiled into the dangerous forest by her wicked stepmother, a princess is rescued by seven dwarf miners who make her part of their household.
Votes: 158,115 | Gross: $184.93M
6. La Grande Illusion (1937)
Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War
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.
Votes: 30,317 | Gross: $0.17M
7. The Blood of a Poet (1932)
Not Rated | 55 min | Fantasy
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 »
8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama
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.
Votes: 94,873 | Gross: $9.60M
12. Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)
TV-PG | 86 min | Drama, Romance, Adventure
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.
13. Hell's Angels (1930)
Passed | 127 min | Drama, War
Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.
14. A Night at the Opera (1935)
Passed | 96 min | Comedy, Music, Musical
A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.
19. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Passed | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
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.
Votes: 8,623 | Gross: $0.97M
20. City Lights (1931)
G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
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.
Votes: 139,406 | Gross: $0.02M
21. Duck Soup (1933)
Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Musical, War
Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.
24. Gulliver's Travels (1939)
Passed | 76 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
In 1726, Lemuel Gulliver arrives to Lilliput, He wonder to lied down on the beach to sacrifice looks a great royal court to save the world.
Votes: 3,252 | Gross: $0.55M
25. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Not Rated | 132 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.
28. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Not Rated | 96 min | Mystery, Thriller
While travelling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.
29. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
Not Rated | 122 min | Crime
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.
31. Pygmalion (1938)
Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A phonetics and diction expert makes a bet that he can teach a cockney flower girl to speak proper English and pass as a lady in high society.
Votes: 6,908 | Gross: $3.05M
32. The 39 Steps (1935)
Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller
A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
33. You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Passed | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.
Votes: 20,519 | Gross: $4.66M
34. King Kong (1933)
Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 72,164 | Gross: $10.00M
35. Sabotage (1936)
Not Rated | 76 min | Thriller
A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.
36. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
Passed | 117 min | Drama, Horror, Romance
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.
Votes: 9,028 | Gross: $3.27M
37. Tower of London (1939)
Approved | 92 min | Drama, History
In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »
39. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance
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.
40. Freaks (1932)
Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror
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.
41. Stagecoach (1939)
Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Western
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.
43. The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Approved | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery
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.
45. Fury (1936)
Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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 supposed murder.
46. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Approved | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
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.
48. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Not Rated | 98 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.
49. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
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.
Votes: 42,907 | Gross: $3.98M
50. Werewolf of London (1935)
Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror