1930s Faves

by ConfusedAssassin | created - 3 weeks ago | updated - 2 days ago | Public

Fifty of my favorite films from the 1930s.

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1. City Girl (1930)

Passed | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A Chicago waitress falls in love with a Minnesota farmer, and decides to face a life in the country.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence, Edith Murgatroyd

Votes: 2,550

2. 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: 52,225

3. She (1935)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Leo Vincey, told by his dying uncle of a lost land visited 500 years ago by his ancestor, heads out with family friend Horace Holly to try to discover the land and its secret of immortality... See full summary »

Directors: Lansing C. Holden, Irving Pichel | Stars: Helen Gahagan, Randolph Scott, Helen Mack, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 1,283

4. Pasha's Wives (1939)

98 min | Comedy, Drama

Mireille, a Frenchwoman, has married a westernized Turkish diplomat. Thinking that she will live a dream life in an Arabian Nights setting, she accepts to follow Vedad Bey, her husband, to ... See full summary »

Directors: Marc Sorkin, Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Viviane Romance, John Lodge, Marcel Dalio, Sylvie

Votes: 39

5. The Mummy (1932)

Approved | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

A resurrected Egyptian mummy stalks a beautiful woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his lover and bride.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron

Votes: 20,668

6. History Is Made at Night (1937)

Approved | 97 min | Drama, Romance

A wealthy divorcée falls for a charming Parisian, but her insanely jealous ex-husband will do anything to get her back.

Director: Frank Borzage | Stars: Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur, Leo Carrillo, Colin Clive

Votes: 1,308

7. Bluebeard (1936)

13 min | Animation, Short

Perrault's fairy tale presented in claymation with choral voices. Bluebeard goes courting, all six of his wives having died. He arrives at the house of a widow with two daughters. He's ... See full summary »

Directors: René Bertrand, Jean Painlevé

Votes: 240

8. Thirteen Women (1932)

Passed | 73 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Ursula plots to murder 12 women with her supernatural powers.

Director: George Archainbaud | Stars: Irene Dunne, Ricardo Cortez, Jill Esmond, Myrna Loy

Votes: 949

9. Shall We Dance (1937)

Approved | 109 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore

Votes: 5,963

10. Kiki (1931)

87 min | Musical

Kiki, a French chorus girl is desperate to get into and be someone in show business, come what may.

Director: Sam Taylor | Stars: Mary Pickford, Reginald Denny, Joseph Cawthorn, Margaret Livingston

Votes: 285 | Gross: $0.43M

11. Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)

Passed | 9 min | Animation, Short

At an orphanage, the children are sad because they received broken toys as gifts. Professor Grampy sees the children while passing by in his sled and has an idea on how to give them a merry Christmas.

Directors: Dave Fleischer, Seymour Kneitel | Stars: Jack Mercer, Mae Questel

Votes: 410

12. I Love to Singa (1936)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A spoof of Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer", a strict piano teaching owl is cursed with a son who "loves to singa", but only jazz.

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Tommy Bond, Johnnie Davis, Joe Dougherty

Votes: 1,575

13. 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.

Directors: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard | Stars: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr

Votes: 7,147 | Gross: $3.05M

14. Earth (1930)

Unrated | 75 min | Drama

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.

Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko | Stars: Stepan Shkurat, Semyon Svashenko, Yuliya Solntseva, Yelena Maksimova

Votes: 4,285

15. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Approved | 93 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director: H.C. Potter | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, Walter Brennan

Votes: 2,088 | Gross: $1.12M

16. 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.

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

Votes: 50,997

17. 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.

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

Votes: 46,688

18. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

A wealthy composer rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Ruby Keeler

Votes: 6,551 | Gross: $4.80M

19. The Kid from Spain (1932)

Passed | 96 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

An innocent man accused of robbing banks masquerades as a bullfighter to escape the police.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Eddie Cantor, Lyda Roberti, Robert Young, Ruth Hall

Votes: 421

20. Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

Not Rated | 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.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Anne Chevalier, Matahi, Hitu, Bill Bambridge

Votes: 4,391

21. The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

Passed | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Elizabeth Barrett's tyrannical father has forbidden any of his family to marry. Nevertheless, Elizabeth falls in love with the poet Robert Browning.

Director: Sidney Franklin | Stars: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan

Votes: 1,440

22. The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

Passed | 113 min | Adventure, History, Romance

Despotic King Louis XIV discovers he has a twin brother who has grown up under the tutelage of his foster father, the patriotic musketeer D'Artagnan.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, Warren William, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 1,340

23. Ugly Duckling (1939)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A newborn cygnet searches for a family that will accept him.

Directors: Jack Cutting, Clyde Geronimi

Votes: 2,219

24. Jezebel (1938)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay

Votes: 10,660

25. Dinner at Eight (1933)

Passed | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

Affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a handful of wealthy and/or well-born acquaintances, each of whom has much to reveal.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow

Votes: 6,920

26. L'Age d'Or (1930)

Not Rated | 63 min | Comedy, Drama

A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, 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: 11,467 | Gross: $0.03M

27. Heidi (1937)

Approved | 88 min | Drama, Family, Musical

A plucky little orphan girl gets dumped abruptly into her gruff, hermit grandfather's care, then later gets retaken and delivered as a companion for an injured girl.

Director: Allan Dwan | Stars: Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt, Arthur Treacher, Helen Westley

Votes: 3,710

28. Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)

Passed | 101 min | Musical, Romance

Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show, but he is short of money. He gets an offer of money by the young widow Lillian, if she can dance in his new show. Bert Keeler, a newspaper man, ... See full summary »

Directors: Roy Del Ruth, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell, Robert Taylor, Una Merkel

Votes: 1,377

29. The Seahorse (1934)

15 min | Documentary, Short

Examines the sea horse, the only fish that swims upright. We watch it use its prehensile tail to wrap around plants and other sea horses. A frontal bulge houses organs including an air ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Painlevé

Votes: 443

30. Imitation of Life (1934)

Approved | 111 min | Drama, Romance

A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks

Votes: 3,585

31. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Passed | 77 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh

Votes: 4,148

32. The Divorce of Lady X (1938)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Divorce lawyer Everard Logan thinks the woman who spent the night in his hotel room is the erring wife of his new client.

Director: Tim Whelan | Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, Binnie Barnes, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 1,107

33. A Star Is Born (1937)

Passed | 111 min | Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway | Stars: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou, May Robson

Votes: 7,628 | Gross: $4.36M

34. Redes (1936)

Not Rated | 65 min | Drama

A story of burgeoning labor rights amongst poor fishermen in a small village in Mexico.

Directors: Emilio Gómez Muriel, Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Silvio Hernández, David Valle González, Rafael Hinojosa, Antonio Lara

Votes: 450

35. 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: 7,744

36. My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

Director: Gregory La Cava | Stars: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick

Votes: 18,704

37. 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: 163,944 | Gross: $184.93M

38. The Shanghai Drama (1938)

76 min | Drama

A Russian emigrant sings in a Shanghai nightclub under the assumed name of Kay Murphy. All she dreams of is a peaceful life with her daughter Vera. But this is only a pipe dream as she has ... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Christl Mardayn, Louis Jouvet, Raymond Rouleau, Dorville

Votes: 77

39. The Blue Angel (1930)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Music

88 Metascore

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti

Votes: 12,344 | Gross: $0.08M

40. Bachelor Mother (1939)

Approved | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

An unemployed woman discovers an abandoned baby on the steps of an orphanage, and accepts an offer to take responsibility for the child in return for a job.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson

Votes: 3,267

41. 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: 263,716 | Gross: $198.68M

42. 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: 38,189

43. What Price Hollywood? (1932)

Passed | 88 min | Drama

The career of a waitress takes off when she meets an amiable drunken Hollywood director.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman, Neil Hamilton, Gregory Ratoff

Votes: 1,878

44. Tiger Bay (1934)

Not Rated | 70 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A young Englishman abroad, Michael, visits the local low-life spot of Tiger Bay to test his assertion that the spirit of human romance survives even in the most unpromising of circumstances... See full summary »

Director: J. Elder Wills | Stars: Anna May Wong, Henry Victor, Lawrence Grossmith, Margaret Yarde

Votes: 59

45. The Old Maid (1939)

Approved | 95 min | Drama

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent, Donald Crisp

Votes: 2,825

46. 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: 2,496 | Gross: $1.01M

47. Snow-White (1933)

7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Trouble starts when the queen's magic mirror says Betty Boop is fairest. Cab Calloway sings "St. James Infirmary Blues."

Director: Dave Fleischer | Stars: Cab Calloway, Billy Murray, Mae Questel

Votes: 1,582

48. The Only Son (1936)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama

A widow sends her only son away to receive a better education. Years later, she visits him, finding him a poor school teacher with a wife and son.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chôko Iida, Shin'ichi Himori, Masao Hayama, Yoshiko Tsubouchi

Votes: 2,666

49. When Were You Born (1938)

Approved | 65 min | Mystery, Romance

Mei Lee Ling, an astrology expert, tells one of her fellow passengers on a ship, that he will die within two days and the next day he is dead. The police suspects that Mei does know ... See full summary »

Director: William C. McGann | Stars: Margaret Lindsay, Anna May Wong,