My Favorite Films of the Thirties (1930-1939)

by psychotronicbeatnik | created - 20 Oct 2015 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

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1. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

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: 43,854 | Gross: $3.98M

2. Alexander Nevsky (1938)

Not Rated | 112 min | Action, Biography, Drama

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: 9,613

3. Anna Christie (I) (1930)

Passed | 89 min | Drama, Romance

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, Marie Dressler

Votes: 2,490 | Gross: $1.01M

4. The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy

Votes: 16,115

5. The Black Cat (1934)

Not Rated | 65 min | Adventure, Crime, Horror

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.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Julie Bishop

Votes: 8,118 | Gross: $0.24M

6. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 39,079

7. Captain Blood (1935)

Not Rated | 119 min | Action, Adventure

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.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill, Basil Rathbone

Votes: 11,744

8. 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.

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

Votes: 146,184 | Gross: $0.02M

9. The Devil Is a Woman (1935)

Approved | 79 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A young man is warned by a captain about a temptress; nonetheless, he finds himself falling in love with her.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton, Alison Skipworth

Votes: 2,638

10. Dracula (1931)

Passed | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Directors: Tod Browning, Karl Freund | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye

Votes: 41,107

11. Dragnet Girl (1933)

100 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A gangster tries to find redemption with the inadvertent help of an innocent shop girl and his jealous girlfriend will do anything to keep him.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Jôji Oka, Sumiko Mizukubo, Kôji Mitsui

Votes: 563

12. 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.

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

Votes: 52,188

13. Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

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: 58,485 | Gross: $12.00M

14. 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.

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

Votes: 38,147

15. Young and Innocent (1937)

Not Rated | 83 min | Crime, Mystery, Romance

A man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby

Votes: 7,740

aka: Young and Innocent

16. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 263,441 | Gross: $198.68M

17. 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.

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

Votes: 30,971 | Gross: $0.17M

18. Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | 117 min | Adventure, Comedy, War

In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Votes: 10,117

19. I Flunked, But... (1930)

65 min | Comedy, Drama

A story of a college student (Tatsuo Saitô) and his schoolmates trying to pass the exams by cheating.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Tatsuo Saitô, Kaoru Futaba, Kinuyo Tanaka, Tomio Aoki

Votes: 330

20. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams

Votes: 7,248

21. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

87 Metascore

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: 84,518 | Gross: $4.36M

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

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 4,207

23. The Kennel Murder Case (1933)

Passed | 73 min | Crime, Mystery

Philo Vance, accompanied by his prize-losing Scottish terrier, investigates the locked-room murder of a prominent and much-hated collector whose broken Chinese vase provides an important clue.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette, Ralph Morgan

Votes: 2,614

24. King Kong (1933)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

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: 73,508 | Gross: $10.00M

25. King Solomon's Mines (1937)

Not Rated | 77 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

White hunter Allan Quartermain and his enigmatic guide help a young Irish woman locate her missing father in unexplored Darkest Africa.

Directors: Robert Stevenson, Geoffrey Barkas | Stars: Paul Robeson, Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young, John Loder

Votes: 954

26. 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.

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

Votes: 42,584

27. L'Atalante (1934)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo | Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefebvre

Votes: 12,868

28. Let's Go with Pancho Villa (1936)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, War

The Mexican Revolution is on its way when six brave peasants, known as "Los Leones de San Pablo", decide to join Pancho Villa's army and help end the suffering in their community by ... See full summary »

Director: Fernando de Fuentes | Stars: Antonio R. Frausto, Domingo Soler, Manuel Tamés, Ramón Vallarino

Votes: 476

29. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

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: 126,989 | Gross: $0.03M

30. Mad Love (1935)

Passed | 68 min | Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi

In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy

Votes: 3,944

31. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Passed | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An elderly couple are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents in.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 6,387

32. The Mascot (1933)

26 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

A stuffed animal goes on a journey through frightening streets to get its kid an orange.

Director: Wladyslaw Starewicz

Votes: 1,352

33. The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

Passed | 68 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does.

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley, Charles Starrett

Votes: 2,780

34. Modern Times (1936)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

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: 189,414 | Gross: $0.16M

35. Morocco (1930)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, Romance

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: 4,872

36. 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.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 9,003 | Gross: $0.97M

37. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

73 Metascore

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: 97,961 | Gross: $9.60M

38. 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.

Director: Frank Lloyd | Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Herbert Mundin

Votes: 18,898

39. Night Nurse (1931)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A nurse enlists the help of a petty criminal to foil a sinister plot to murder two children.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell, Clark Gable

Votes: 2,853

40. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Not Rated | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

86 Metascore

At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess

Votes: 10,959

41. The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors: John Cromwell, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, C. Aubrey Smith, Raymond Massey

Votes: 3,850

42. The Public Enemy (1931)

Not Rated | 83 min | Crime, Drama

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.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell

Votes: 16,033

43. The Rules of the Game (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 24,210

44. The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Passed | 104 min | Drama, History, Romance

A German noblewoman enters into a loveless marriage with the dim-witted, unstable heir to the Russian throne, then plots to oust him from power.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser

Votes: 5,148

45. Secret Agent (1936)

Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller

After three British Agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: John Gielgud, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Young, Peter Lorre

Votes: 7,137

46. Shanghai Express (1932)

Approved | 82 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland

Votes: 6,491 | Gross: $3.70M

47. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

95 Metascore

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: 163,703 | Gross: $184.93M

48. The Spy in Black (1939)

77 min | Thriller, War

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw, Marius Goring

Votes: 1,734

49. Stagecoach (1939)

Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western