My Top Tens: 1930s

My top ten films for each year of the 1930s. These are always up for revision as I watch more films, revisit ones I’ve seen before, and think about them over time. The films as listed in the “Best of Year” section are held fast at the end of the year (and include a listing of all films I saw that year as well as films released that year).

Oh, and I don’t really believe in top “ten” lists, despite using the common nomenclature for the title of this page. This is going to be the top several films of each year, down to whatever point I think the films stop being worthy of inclusion. Might be eight one year, might be twenty-three another.

1939

  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. The Women
  3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  4. Gone With the Wind
  5. Stagecoach
  6. Ninotchka
  7. Midnight
  8. Wuthering Heights
  9. Bachelor Mother
  10. The Roaring Twenties
  11. Dark Victory
  12. Destry Rides Again
  13. Dodge City
  14. Drums Along the Mohawk
  15. Only Angels Have Wings
  16. Love Affair

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Young Mr. Lincoln
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum
Le jour se leve
The Old Maid

1938

  1. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  2. Bringing Up Baby
  3. You Can’t Take It With You
  4. The Lady Vanishes
  5. Four Daughters
  6. Holiday
  7. Port of Shadows
  8. Porky in Wackyland
  9. Topper Takes a Trip
  10. Jezebel
  11. Carefree

TOP FIVE NOT YET SEEN
Angels with Dirty Faces
Alexander Nevsky
La bete humaine
Olympia
Boys Town

1937

  1. Stage Door
  2. The Awful Truth
  3. Grand Illusion
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. A Day at the Races
  6. Topper
  7. Nothing Sacred
  8. Stella Dallas
  9. Shall We Dance
  10. A Star is Born

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Captains Courageous
Make Way for Tomorrow
Pepe le Moko
You Only Live Once
Way Out West

1936

  1. Modern Times
  2. Swing Time
  3. Libeled Lady
  4. After the Thin Man
  5. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  6. Follow the Fleet
  7. Sabotage
  8. Poor Little Rich Girl
  9. My Man Godfrey
  10. Three Smart Girls
  11. The Petrified Forest

TOP FIVE YET TO WATCH
Dodsworth
Things to Come
Camille
Fury
The Crime of Monsieur Lange

1935

  1. Top Hat
  2. Captain Blood
  3. The 39 Steps
  4. Bride of Frankenstein
  5. A Night at the Opera
  6. The Little Colonel
  7. Triumph of the Will

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Informer
A Tale of Two Cities
Anna Karenina
David Copperfield
Dangerous

1934

  1. The Thin Man
  2. It Happened One Night
  3. The Gay Divorcee
  4. Tarzan and His Mate
  5. Twentieth Century

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Girl from Missouri
The Scarlet Empress
A Story of Floating Weeds
It’s a Gift
L’Atalante

1933

  1. King Kong
  2. Lady for a Day
  3. 42nd Street
  4. Gold Diggers of 1933
  5. Dinner at Eight
  6. Duck Soup
  7. The Story of Temple Drake
  8. Mystery of the Wax Museum
  9. Little Women
  10. Footlight Parade
  11. Design for Living
  12. Queen Christina
  13. The Kennel Murder Case

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Bombshell
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
Sons of the Desert
Zero for Conduct
I’m No Angel

1932

  1. Trouble in Paradise
  2. Love Me Tonight
  3. Scarface
  4. American Madness
  5. This is the Night
  6. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  7. Horse Feathers
  8. White Zombie
  9. One Hour With You
  10. The Old Dark House
  11. Red Dust
  12. Red-Headed Woman

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Shanghai Express
Vampyr
Freaks
Island of Lost Souls
The Mummy

1931

  1. Frankenstein
  2. M
  3. City Lights
  4. Private Lives
  5. The Miracle Woman
  6. The Public Enemy
  7. The Champ
  8. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  9. Monkey Business
  10. Dracula

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Night Nurse
Maedchen in Uniform
The Front Page
The Threepenny Opera
Tabu: A Story of the South Seas

1930

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front
  2. The Big Trail
  3. People on Sunday
  4. Animal Crackers
  5. The Office Wife
  6. The Blue Angel

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Morocco
Hell’s Angels
Murder!
L’age d’or
Under the Roofs of Paris