1930s American films

by robertfarrell452 | created - 08 Mar 2018 | updated - 09 Mar 2018 | Public

Many full-length films were produced during the decade of the 1930s. The 1930s was a decade of political turmoil and economic problems; the Great Depression had affected the entire world, and Europe was dealing with both the fallout of World War I and the economic hardships of the time, both of which resulted in the rise of fascist political movements. The uncertainty of the era resulted in widespread popularity of fantastical, escapist fare. Swashbuckling adventures and the safe scares of the Universal Horror films were highly successful during this period.

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1. Party Girl (1930)

Passed | 67 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Jay Rountree, son of a wealthy manufacturer and young, rising businessman, gets caught up in a web involving an escort service or 'party girls.' While eluding the wily Diana Holster, the ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Halperin | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Jeanette Loff, Judith Barrie, Marie Prevost

Votes: 180

4. O'Malley Rides Alone (1930)

60 min | Western

An old prospector is murdered after striking it rich. Sgt. O'Malley sets out to find his killers.

Director: J.P. McGowan | Stars: Bob Custer, Phyllis Bainbridge, Martin Cichy, Bud Osborne

6. The Bishop Murder Case (1929)

Passed | 88 min | Drama, Mystery

When the body of a man nicknamed "Cock Robin" is found with an arrow in the heart on an archery range along with a chess bishop as a clue, Philo Vance investigates.

Directors: David Burton, Nick Grinde | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Leila Hyams, Roland Young, Alec B. Francis

Votes: 582

7. No, No, Nanette (1930)

98 min | Comedy, Musical

A bible publisher is falling in love with a chorus girl and finds himself backing a Broadway show.

Director: Clarence G. Badger | Stars: Bernice Claire, Alexander Gray, Lucien Littlefield, Louise Fazenda

Votes: 18

8. Peacock Alley (1930)

Passed | 63 min | Drama, Music, Romance

Claire Tree is a singer/dancer who goes after what she wants in a straight-forward, no-nonsense manner, so when she finds herself in the New York City hotel-suite, in fashionable Peacock ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel De Sano | Stars: Mae Murray, George Barraud, Jason Robards Sr., Richard Tucker

Votes: 84

9. The Climax (1930)

65 min | Thriller

Young Italian girl wants to become a great opera singer.

Director: Renaud Hoffman | Stars: Jean Hersholt, Kathryn Crawford, LeRoy Mason, John Reinhardt

Votes: 7

10. Second Choice (1930)

67 min | Drama, Romance

Drama of thwarted love and marriage.

Director: Howard Bretherton | Stars: Dolores Costello, Chester Morris, Jack Mulhall, Edna Murphy

11. The Lone Star Ranger (1930)

Passed | 64 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

After shooting a man in self-defense, Buck Duane finds himself accused of many crimes, none of which he committed. In order to prove his innocence, he joins the Texas Rangers, and also ... See full summary »

Director: A.F. Erickson | Stars: George O'Brien, Sue Carol, Walter McGrail, Warren Hymer

Votes: 31

12. Lilies of the Field (1930)

Passed | 60 min | Drama, Romance

Mother-love drama, with songs.

Director: Alexander Korda | Stars: Corinne Griffith, Ralph Forbes, John Loder, Eve Southern

Votes: 13

13. Love Comes Along (1930)

Passed | 77 min | Adventure, Drama, Music

An American sailor comes to a seedy banana republic, and finds a fellow yank, a stranded girl, as a saloon singer. They fall in love, but a misunderstanding about her feelings toward the local dictator threaten their happiness.

Director: Rupert Julian | Stars: Bebe Daniels, Lloyd Hughes, Montagu Love, Ned Sparks

Votes: 28

14. Chasing Rainbows (1930)

Passed | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

The road-show troupe of a top Broadway show go cross-country while taking the audience along on the on-stage scenes as well as what happens and is happening back stage of the production. ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Reisner | Stars: Bessie Love, Charles King, Jack Benny, George K. Arthur

Votes: 197

16. Behind the Make-Up (1930)

Passed | 70 min | Drama

Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown's act and his girlfriend, whom he marries.

Directors: Robert Milton, Dorothy Arzner, Henry Hathaway, Rollo Lloyd | Stars: Hal Skelly, William Powell, Fay Wray, Kay Francis

Votes: 93

18. The Night Ride (1930)

Passed | 60 min | Crime, Drama

Just after newsman Rooker and Ruth Kearns are married he covers a double murder during a bank robbery. Cigarettes at the scene implicate gangster Tony Garotta. Garotta kidnaps Rooker and another reporter, intending to kill them.

Director: John S. Robertson | Stars: Joseph Schildkraut, Barbara Kent, Edward G. Robinson, Harry Stubbs

Votes: 17

21. Lummox (1930)

88 min | Drama

The story of Bertha, a young immigrant woman who cleans the homes of the rich, and is largely ignored by them, except for a young poet who considers her a muse.

Director: Herbert Brenon | Stars: Winifred Westover, Dorothy Janis, Lydia Yeamans Titus, Ida Darling

22. The Rampant Age (1930)

60 min | Drama

Wealthy playboy Sandy Benton falls for pretty but decidedly less wealthy neighbor Doris Lawrence. She rebuffs his attentions, but scheming golddigger Estelle has her own plans for Sandy. ... See full summary »

Director: Phil Rosen | Stars: James Murray, Merna Kennedy, Eddie Borden, Margaret Quimby

Votes: 18

23. The Melody Man (1930)

Passed | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Music

A Viennese composer Von Kemper (John St.Polis), who after murdering both his unfaithful wife and royal lover, flees to America with his young daughter Elsa (Alice Day). Eighteen years later... See full summary »

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: William Collier Jr., Alice Day, John St. Polis, Johnnie Walker

24. Take the Heir (1930)


A butler impersonates his tippler boss and falls for a beautiful young maid. However, a notorious gold-digger, who thinks the butler is the wealthy young man he's impersonating, sets her sights on him.

Director: Lloyd Ingraham | Stars: Edward Everett Horton, Dorothy Devore, Frank Elliott, Edythe Chapman

25. Call of the Circus (1930)

60 min | Drama, Romance

A retired circus clown, Herbert Rawlinson, finds love entering his life when he marries a member of the circus troupe, Ethel Clayton and the adoption of an orphaned circus girl, Joan Wyndham... See full summary »

Director: Frank O'Connor | Stars: Francis X. Bushman, Ethel Clayton, Joan Wyndham, William C. Kirby

26. The Parting of the Trails (1930)

50 min | Western

Wanderers "Ramblin'" Raymond and "Restless" Roberts meet up with eastern millionaire J. Addington Fiske and his daughter Corliss. Fiske is always seeking diversion and soon has more than he... See full summary »

Director: J.P. McGowan | Stars: Bob Custer, Vivian Bay, Bobby Dunn, George Miller

27. Embarrassing Moments (1930)

58 min | Comedy

A couple meet, fall in love and get married in a 24-hour period.

Director: William James Craft | Stars: Reginald Denny, Merna Kennedy, Otis Harlan, Greta Granstedt

28. Playing Around (1930)

Passed | 66 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

New York girl has a dull boyfriend and seems destined for a dull marriage when she meets a rich playboy who has money to burn and places to go. She gets involved with the playboy and never ... See full summary »

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Alice White, Chester Morris, William Bakewell, Richard Carlyle

Votes: 175

29. Parade of the West (1930)

66 min | Western

A cowboy joins a Wild West show, where he has to ride a horse called "Mankiller."

Director: Harry Joe Brown | Stars: Ken Maynard, Gladys McConnell, Otis Harlan, Jack Hanlon

30. Murder on the Roof (1930)

Passed | 55 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

This primarily two-set programmer has a has-been criminal lawyer, Anthony Sommers (William V. Mong) wrongly accused of murder and follows the efforts of his daughter, Molly Sommers (Dorothy... See full summary »

Director: George B. Seitz | Stars: Dorothy Revier, David Newell, Raymond Hatton, Margaret Livingston

31. The Danger Man (1930)

72 min | Drama

This is Lightning Hutch (1926), a silent ten episode serial, re-edited into feature film format, and released with sound effects and a recorded musical score; Charles Hutchison was the ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Hutchison, Bud Pollard | Stars: Charles Hutchison, Edith Thornton, Virginia Pearson, Sheldon Lewis

32. 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: 2,602 | Gross: $1.01M

33. The Woman Racket (1930)

Passed | 70 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

During a raid on a speakeasy, a cop finds himself attracted to a pretty female employee. Instead of arresting her and taking her to jail, he not only helps her escape but takes her out to ... See full summary »

Directors: Albert H. Kelley, Robert Ober, Paul Bern | Stars: Tom Moore, Blanche Sweet, Sally Starr, Robert Agnew

Votes: 70

35. Seven Days Leave (1930)

Approved | 80 min | Drama

Based on the play The Old Lady Shows Her Medals by J.M. Barrie, the film is about a young Canadian soldier (Gary Cooper) wounded while fighting in World War I. While recovering from his ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Wallace | Stars: Gary Cooper, Beryl Mercer, Daisy Belmore, Nora Cecil

Votes: 76

38. Firebrand Jordan (1930)

Passed | 55 min | Western

'Firebrand' Jordan is a ranger sent into the high Sierras to assist the local Sheriff Ed Burns in capturing a mysterious band of counterfeiters. His coming is made known to the gang leader,... See full summary »

Director: Alan James | Stars: Lane Chandler, Aline Goodwin, Yakima Canutt, Sheldon Lewis

39. Men Without Women (1930)

Passed | 77 min | Action, Drama

Navy divers clear the torpedo tube of a sunken submarine.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Kenneth MacKenna, Frank Albertson, J. Farrell MacDonald, Warren Hymer

Votes: 206

40. The Ship from Shanghai (1930)

Passed | 67 min | Action, Crime, Drama

On a yacht sailing from Shanghai to the United States, the sailors, led by the megalomaniac steward, revolt and take control.

Director: Charles Brabin | Stars: Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, Carmel Myers, Holmes Herbert

Votes: 98

41. They Learned About Women (1930)

Passed | 95 min | Musical, Drama

When Jack and Jerry are not playing professional baseball with the Blue Sox, they are packing them in on the Vaudeville circuit. Jack is engaged to Mary, but a gold digger named Daisy has ... See full summary »

Directors: Jack Conway, Sam Wood | Stars: Joe Schenck, Gus Van, Bessie Love, Mary Doran

Votes: 187

43. Wide Open (1930)

69 min | Comedy

A nervous woman-shy office clerk, already troubled by an amorous female co-worker, suddenly has to deal with a very forward and attractive young woman who has sneaked into his apartment - and doesn't want to leave.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: Edward Everett Horton, Patsy Ruth Miller, Louise Fazenda, Vera Lewis

Votes: 87

44. Burning Up (1930)

Passed | 60 min | Action, Crime, Romance