Melodrama: a genre mode

by PDZombie | created - 3 months ago | updated - 3 months ago | Public

Most essential films of the classic genre mode, including silent melodramas, 'women films', 'family melodramas', and modern representations.

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1. The Perils of Pauline (1914)

Passed | 199 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Young Pauline is left a lot of money when her wealthy uncle dies. However, her uncle's secretary has been named as her guardian until she marries, at which time she will officially take ... See full summary »

Directors: Louis J. Gasnier, Donald MacKenzie | Stars: Pearl White, Crane Wilbur, Paul Panzer, Edward José

Votes: 913

3. Broken Blossoms (1919)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard

Votes: 8,536

4. The Kid (1921)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Carl Miller

Votes: 96,392 | Gross: $5.45M

5. Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Not Rated | 150 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Frank Losee

Votes: 4,387 | Gross: $0.79M

6. Stella Dallas (1937)

Approved | 106 min | Drama, Romance

A working-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 4,109 | Gross: $2.00M

7. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance

A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveller the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson

Votes: 14,871

8. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 474,897 | Gross: $1.02M

9. Mildred Pierce (1945)

Passed | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden

Votes: 20,210

10. Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A writer falls in love with a young socialite and they're soon married. But her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of them both, and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price

Votes: 9,672

11. Duel in the Sun (1946)

Passed | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Western

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, William Dieterle, Sidney Franklin, William Cameron Menzies, David O. Selznick, Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 7,423 | Gross: $20.41M

12. All About Eve (1950)

Passed | 138 min | Drama

98 Metascore

An ingenue insinuates herself into the lives of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm

Votes: 107,829 | Gross: $0.01M

13. The African Queen (1951)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

91 Metascore

In Africa during World War I, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull

Votes: 66,347 | Gross: $0.54M

14. Limelight (1952)

G | 137 min | Drama, Music, Romance

A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton

Votes: 16,137 | Gross: $1.00M

15. All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Romance

An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.

Director: Douglas Sirk | Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel

Votes: 11,797

16. Written on the Wind (1956)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

Alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley marries the woman secretly loved by his poor but hard-working best friend, who in turn is pursued by Kyle's nymphomaniac sister.

Director: Douglas Sirk | Stars: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone

Votes: 9,079

17. Bigger Than Life (1956)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

A seriously ill schoolteacher becomes dependent on a "miracle" drug that begins to affect his sanity.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau, Robert F. Simon

Votes: 6,095

18. Love Story (1970)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A boy and a girl from different backgrounds fall in love regardless of their upbringing - and then tragedy strikes.

Director: Arthur Hiller | Stars: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal, John Marley, Ray Milland

Votes: 27,055 | Gross: $106.40M

19. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

PG | 112 min | Drama, Romance

78 Metascore

A recently widowed woman is on the road with her precocious young son, determined to make a new life for herself as a singer.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Mia Bendixsen, Alfred Lutter III

Votes: 18,527 | Gross: $17.60M

20. An Unmarried Woman (1978)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A wealthy woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband of sixteen years leaves her for a younger woman.

Director: Paul Mazursky | Stars: Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates, Michael Murphy, Cliff Gorman

Votes: 4,124 | Gross: $24.00M

21. Starting Over (1979)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

64 Metascore

A divorced man falls in love, but somehow he can't get over his ex-wife. This affects his love life in comic ways. Based on Dan Wakefield's novel.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Candice Bergen, Charles Durning

Votes: 2,105 | Gross: $41.64M

22. Ordinary People (1980)

R | 124 min | Drama

87 Metascore

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton

Votes: 42,133 | Gross: $54.80M

23. Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Votes: 49,337 | Gross: $108.42M

24. Beaches (1988)

PG-13 | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

A privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years.

Director: Garry Marshall | Stars: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Spalding Gray

Votes: 21,250 | Gross: $57.04M

25. Stella (1990)

PG-13 | 109 min | Drama, Romance

45 Metascore

Chronicling a strong, but eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.

Director: John Erman | Stars: Bette Midler, John Goodman, Trini Alvarado, Stephen Collins

Votes: 2,172 | Gross: $20.24M

26. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.

Director: Jon Avnet | Stars: Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 61,122 | Gross: $82.42M

27. How to Make an American Quilt (1995)

PG-13 | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse | Stars: Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Kaelynn Craddick

Votes: 9,959 | Gross: $23.57M

28. Moonlight Mile (2002)

PG-13 | 117 min | Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

As he copes with the death of his fiancée, a young man befriends her parents and must figure out what he wants out of life.

Director: Brad Silberling | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Alexia Landeau

Votes: 12,931 | Gross: $6.84M

29. Far from Heaven (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama

84 Metascore

In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson

Votes: 41,325 | Gross: $15.85M

30. The Hours (2002)

PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Romance

80 Metascore

The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

Director: Stephen Daldry | Stars: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 116,494 | Gross: $41.68M

31. Carol (2015)

R | 118 min | Drama, Romance

95 Metascore

An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler

Votes: 100,349 | Gross: $12.71M



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