Film History

Films Throughout The Decades: 1930 – 1939

Here we are in the 1930s! Some of the most iconic movies came from this decade and I’m here to talk about them! I hope you’re enjoying my series so far, I’m working my way right up to the 2000s. I believe that the 30s was the most defining era for horror movies, so many iconic films were born in this decade. The 1930s, here we go!

1. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not only one of my favourite films from the 30s, but one of my favourite movies of all time. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is my favourite novel, so it was only natural that this film is one I would like.

There have been so many adaptations of this book, but this black and white version truly stands out to me the most. I remember watching it for the first time and just falling in love. Laurence Olivier and the stunning Merle Oberon play Heathcliff and Catherine, and so beautifully. Please go and watch this one, I just know you’ll love it just as much as I do.



2. Snow White (1937)

Who hasn’t seen this Disney classic? I remember my uncle bought me the DVD of Snow White and it was packaged in a box in the shape and style of an old fairytale book, which I just loved, I think I still have it somewhere. It also came with a little book that explained how they made the animation which was so cool!

This movie contained more than 250,000 seperate pictures and was drawn by 750 people. They drew over two-million sketches. In order for the film to be in colour, each frame was coloured in by hand.


3. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Can you believe this film was made in the 30s? This classic has remained a firm favourite to this day. Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. I’m certain we have all seen this film, how could you have not? Still heavily referenced in modern pop culture, this film will definitely be loved for many more generations to come.

The movie is surrounded by controversy. Judy Garland was famously mistreated on the set, she said that the only person who was actually kind to her was Margaret Hamilton, who played The Wicked Witch of the West. There are so many articles and videos about all of the ‘off’ things that are said to have happened.


4. Gone With The Wind (1939)

Before I talk about this film I want to say that today, the day I’m writing this, the wonderful Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie, passed away at the incredible age of 104.

Gone With The Wind is such a classic movie about two people, who definitely shouldn’t be together, who spark a romance during the American Civil War.

Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy – The House Servant, was the first black person to be nominated for an Oscar. Hattie was told she wasn’t allowed to attend the ceremony, where she was nominated for an award but was eventually allowed to go if she took a chaperone. Even then she was made to stay at the back of the hall. Hattie McDaniel won the award for the Best Actress in Supporting Role, making her the first black woman to win an Academy Award.


5. King Kong (1933)

Before Naomi Watts, there was Fay Wray. Arguably the most famous, and iconic, version of the film, Fay Wray played the helpless damsel with ease.

King Kong has been remade a few times and countlessly referenced throughout the 20th and 21st century, and likely will be for many years to come.

If you’re looking for an emotional ride then King Kong is your film.


6. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

I previously mentioned the 1910 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel in my post about films from the 1910s, you can check that one out here if you haven’t done so yet.

This one is a little different. This Frankenstein Monster is probably the most visually iconic version; the most recognisable anyway. She is clearly referenced in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with Magenta (Patricia Quinn) sporting her crazy hair at the end of the film. You will actually see and hear quite a few references to this 30s films in ‘Rocky Horror’.

Frankenstein’s Monster is no longer alone now. Frankenstein agrees to create a lovely lady Monster to be a companion for his lonely creature. Hence his new bride.


7. The Invisible Man (1933)

Another classic horror movie. Based on the novel of the same name by H.G Wells. I’ve not read the book, although I keep meaning to. I read War of The Worlds by Wells and I found it slow going, so I think it has put me off trying his other stories, despite loving this film.

A scientist discovers a way he can turn himself invisible but at the cost of his sanity. The drug he uses makes him incredibly dangerous and murderous.


8. Dracula (1931)

In my last post I talked about the iconic Nosferatu, check that out here. This film is again based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel. This certainly won’t be the last Dracula adaptation I’ll talk about in this series, so keep an eye out for that in my coming posts.

Dracula is an ancient vampire who comes from Transylvania to England to prey on the young and virtuous, Mina.


It is obvious that book adaptations seemed to be a huge part of the 1930s movie industry, not that I’m complaining. No one did it like the 30s and these films will be enjoyed and celebrated for decades, if not centuries, to come.

How many of these films have you seen?

Check out the last post in this series!


If you feel like helping me out, you can buy me a coffee! Thank you so much.


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