23 Best Movies of the 1930s

by Chasemoser | created - 8 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public
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1. 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: 270,416 | Gross: $198.68M

2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

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.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 357,973 | Gross: $2.08M

3. 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: 198,872 | Gross: $0.16M

4. 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: 100,456 | Gross: $9.60M

5. 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: 44,779 | Gross: $3.98M

6. Stagecoach (1939)

Passed | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

93 Metascore

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.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 39,544

7. 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: 132,476 | Gross: $0.03M

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 54,448 | Gross: $3.27M

9. 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.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Charles Bickford

Votes: 5,151

10. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

99 Metascore

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: 153,277 | Gross: $0.02M

11. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Not Rated | 96 min | Film-Noir, 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: 43,879

12. 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: 86,993 | Gross: $4.36M

13. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Not Rated | 132 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

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: 19,424

14. 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: 75,225 | Gross: $10.00M

15. Frankenstein (1931)

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

91 Metascore

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: 60,533

16. 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: 42,809

17. 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: 1,367

18. 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: 40,460 | Gross: $4.36M

19. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Film-Noir, 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: 47,962

20. 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: 169,351 | Gross: $184.93M

21. Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence.

Director: Lambert Hillyer | Stars: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan

Votes: 5,256

22. 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: 7,988 | Gross: $4.36M

23. White Zombie (1932)

Passed | 69 min | Horror

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer

Votes: 8,621



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