I’ve seen thousands of films in my now 35 years of life, but sadly I haven’t seen a lot of films from the 1920’s or 1930’s. I’ve only seen about a half a dozen or so from the 1920’s and maybe two dozen or so from the 1930’s like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Gone with the Wind, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Still I wanted to make a list of the top 10 to 15 films of each decade, but for the 1930’s with my limited number of films seen I am only going to go with the top 5 films, and here are my top 5 films of the 1930’s.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front: All Quiet on the Western Front is the best film of the 1930’s as well as being one of the best if not the best war film of all time, which is a little funny since All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war film. One of the first war films not to glorify war, and truly show the horrors of ordinary soldiers during World War I. The film opens with a German instructor a impassioned speech about the glory of war, serving in the arming, and protecting the “Fatherland” to his students. The film follows a group of young German men who were so inspired enlist. Through All Quiet on the Western Front these young men learn the real hard truth about war and the futility of it, especially for the regular soldier, and the moment with the butterfly is just absolutely tragic and heart wrenching moment that always brings me to tears.
2. Frankenstein: There were a lot of good monster films during the 1930’s that include Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man, and many would say that Dracula deserves to be on this list, and they’re right as the great Bela Lugosi gave a truly terrifying performance as Count Dracula. If I were doing a top 10 list of the best films of the 1930’s I’d definitely would add it, but for me director James Whale’s Frankenstein is the most terrifying film of the 1930’s and one of the best horror films ever. Whale an openly guy man in the early 20th century beautifully crafted with the help of screenwriters a horrifying film that deliverers a message without the audience realizing it about playing god, fitting in and being ostracized because of it. By the end of the film you realize that perhaps Dr. Frankenstein’s monster isn’t really the monster of the film, but the citizens of the village and we the people are the monsters.
3. Gone with the Wind: As a child growing up I used to see Gone with the Wind at least twice a year on TBS or TNT, and I just didn’t like it. I found it boring, and as I young child and in my very early teens I just couldn’t appreciate the epic scope, splendor of the film, and the wonderful acting by the stars, but as I got older I came to realize what a great film Gone with the Wind was. It certainly is in my list of top 100 films of all time.
4. Mutiny on the Bounty: The third film adaptation of based historical events that took place in 1789 on the HMS Bounty where Fletcher Christian lead a successful mutiny against his Captain William Bligh. Clark Gable perhaps one of the best if not the actor of his generation in Hollywood gave his perhaps his best performance as Fletcher Christian outside of playing Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.
5. Mr. Smith goes to Washington: James “Jimmy” Stewart at his best in the first whistle blower film, that still has an impact today. To bad basically nothings change in politics since then except for things to get much worse.