TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK: Old-time Movie Serials worth watching!by Tony-Scheinman | created - 05 Feb 2018 | updated - 22 Feb 2018 | Public
Films like the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES sagas are tributes to the classic chapter-play serials from the 1930's, 40's and early 50's. The art of the classic movie serial is rarely seen nowadays due to their seeming hokey and out-of-date with often over-the-top costumed villains, fist-fights that completely wrecked rooms and furniture (but never caused the fighters' hats to come off) and cheesy special effects (although it was attempted on TV in 1979 with the NBC series CLIFFHANGERS!), but here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the best movie serials that are worth a look even more than half a century later.
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1. Flash Gordon (1936)
Approved | 245 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Alexis Zarkov visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has set his planet on a collision course with Earth.
2. The Green Hornet (1940)
Approved | 258 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama
A newspaper publisher and his Korean servant fight crime as vigilantes who pose as a notorious masked gangster and his aide.
4. Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)
Passed | 216 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"
5. The Green Archer (1940)
Passed | 285 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The struggle over the Bellamy estate ends with Michael Bellamy accused of murder and killed on the way to prison, while his brother, Abel Bellamy, takes control of the estate for his own nefarious plans.
6. G-Men vs. The Black Dragon (1943)
Passed | 243 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
American, British and Chinese secret agents battle the Japanese Black Dragon Society, a secretive ring that smuggles enemy agents into the U.S. disguised as mummies.
7. The Phantom (1943)
Passed | 299 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Professor Davidson and his niece Diana Palmer search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz, reputed to be the source of a large hidden treasure. Also searching is a local crook, Singapore Smith... See full summary »
8. The Lone Ranger (1938)
Approved | 264 min | Western
CHAP. 1, HI YO SILVER: An outlaw leader planning to take control of Texas after the Civil War kills Colonel Jeffries, a man empowered to levy taxes, and assumes his identity. His men then ... See full summary »
10. The Phantom Creeps (1939)
Approved | 265 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
A military intelligence officer and a pretty reporter try to find a scientist whose inventions can destroy the world.
11. The Secret Code (1942)
Approved | 275 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A police detective goes undercover and joins a gang of Nazi agents using explosive gases and artificial lightning to sabotage the war effort, whom he battles in disguise as The Black Commando.
12. Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940)
Passed | 267 min | Adventure, Action, Crime
A mad scientist plots the domination of America and only the masked hero, The Copperhead, can stop him.
13. Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)
Approved | 299 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura.
14. Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
Approved | 220 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them.
15. Buck Rogers (1939)
Approved | 237 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane.
17. Dick Tracy Returns (1938)
Approved | 260 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Dick Tracy battles spies and saboteurs in his efforts to bring to justice the Stark gang, a criminal family led by the vicious Pa Stark.
18. Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939)
Passed | 302 min | Action, Mystery, Crime
A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.
19. Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939)
Passed | 212 min | Action, Adventure, History
The masked hero leads a fighting force to fight a villian who plots the conquest of The Republic of Mexico.
20. Zorro Rides Again (1937)
Approved | 212 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The California-Yucatan Railroad, being built for the good of Mexico, is under siege by a gang of terrorists hoping to force its sale; no one can prove their connection to profiteer Marsden.... See full summary »
21. The Shadow (1940)
Passed | 285 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is trying to take over the world with his death ray.
22. The Spider's Web (1938)
Passed | 300 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A crime fighter known as The Spider battles a villain called The Octopus, who is out to sabotage America and install his own government.
23. The Spider Returns (1941)
Approved | 300 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The evil and masked "Gargoyle" is sabotaging all of America's industrial plants. It is up to the Spider to save the country.
24. Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)
Approved | 269 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and ... See full summary »
25. Manhunt of Mystery Island (1945)
Not Rated | 219 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A young couple journeys to Mystery Island to rescue the girl's father, who is being held prisoner by the evil Captain Mephisto, a pirate from 200 years ago who uses his Transformation ... See full summary »
26. The Crimson Ghost (1946)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A criminal mastermind known as the Crimson Ghost is out to steal a device called the Cyclotrode, which can short-circuit all electrical currents on the planet.
27. Junior G-Men (1940)
Approved | 240 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A gang of street kids work with the FBI in their attempt to find and rescue their leader's father, a scientist who has been kidnapped by a terrorist group.
29. The Purple Monster Strikes (1945)
Approved | 201 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A Martian spacecraft crash-lands near the observatory of Cyrus Layton, designer of Earth's first spaceship. The survivor, forerunner of an invasion, can assume the form of any earthman. ... See full summary »
31. Spy Smasher (1942)
Passed | 215 min | Action, Adventure
Alan Armstrong, aka Spy Smasher, battles a Nazi villain known as The Mask, who heads a gang of saboteurs determined to spread destruction across America.