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The Best 30s Dance Movies 

Ranker Film
254 votes 70 voters 4k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite dance films that were released in the 1930s.

Whether you’re talking drama, fantasy or musical comedy, the dance number has long been a Hollywood staple. On this list of the best ‘30s dance movies you’ll find classic musical films in every genre. Included on this poll of the top dance movies from the 30s are The Wizard of Oz (where the main characters dance down the yellow brick road), The Great Ziegfeld (which recreates the great showman’s Broadway style), and Gone with the Wind (which features several grand balls). Also here you’ll find six of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ films including Top Hat, Shall We Dance and Roberta.
 

So, which of the movies on this list of good 30s dance films got your toes tapping? Vote up the top ‘30s dance movies and make sure to add any we might have missed.

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1
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Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more

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2
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Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire

Released: 1935

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Top Hat is a 1935 screwball musical comedy film in which Fred Astaire plays an American dancer named Jerry Travers, who comes to London to star in a show produced by Horace Hardwick. He meets ...more

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#115 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #173 of 384 The Greatest Movie Themes #30 of 94 The Best Dance Movies Ever Made

3
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Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Edward Everett Horton

Released: 1937

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Shall We Dance is the seventh of the ten Astaire-Rogers musical comedy films. It was released in 1937. The idea for this film originated in the studio's desire to exploit the successful formula ...more
4
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Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Betty Furness

Released: 1936

Directed by: George Stevens

Swing Time is a 1936 American RKO musical comedy film set mainly in New York City, and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It features Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore and Georges ...more

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5
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Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire

Released: 1936

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Follow the Fleet is a 1936 Hollywood musical comedy film with a nautical theme which stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and features Randolph Scott, Harriet Hilliard, and Astrid Allwyn, with ...more
6
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Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Hattie McDaniel

Released: 1938

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

Carefree is a 1938 musical film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. With a plot similar to screwball comedies of the period, Carefree is the shortest of the Astaire-Rogers films, featuring ...more
7
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Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, Billy Barty

Released: 1933

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Busby Berkeley

Gold Diggers of 1933 is a pre-code Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It stars Warren ...more
8
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Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire

Released: 1935

Directed by: William A. Seiter

Roberta is a 1935 musical film by RKO starring Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Randolph Scott. It was an adaptation of a 1933 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was ...more

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9
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Shirley Temple, Edna May Oliver, Jimmy Durante

Released: 1938

Directed by: Irving Cummings

Little Miss Broadway is a 1938 American musical drama film directed by Irving Cummings. The screenplay was written by Harry Tugend and Jack Yellen. The film stars Shirley Temple in a story about ...more
10
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Jack Benny, Robert Taylor, Buddy Ebsen

Released: 1935

Directed by: Roy Del Ruth

Broadway Melody of 1936 is a musical film released by MGM in 1935. In New York, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, the site of many prestigious MGM premieres. It was a follow-up of sorts to ...more
11
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James Stewart, Buddy Ebsen, Eleanor Powell

Released: 1936

Directed by: Roy Del Ruth

Born to Dance is an American musical film starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and directed by Roy Del Ruth. The plot of Born to Dance is not much ...more
12
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Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer, William Powell

Released: 1936

Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

The Great Ziegfeld is a 1936 American musical drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by Hunt Stromberg. It stars William Powell as the theatrical impresario Florenz ...more

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13
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Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1939

Directed by: Sam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more

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14
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Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler

Released: 1934

Directed by: Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley

Dames is a 1934 Warner Bros. musical comedy film directed by Ray Enright with dance numbers created by Busby Berkeley. The film stars Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Guy Kibbee, ZaSu ...more
15
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Ronald Reagan, Benny Goodman, Dick Powell

Released: 1937

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

Hollywood Hotel is a 1937 American romantic musical comedy film, directed by Busby Berkeley, starring Dick Powell, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Hugh Herbert, Ted Healy, Glenda Farrell and Johnnie ...more
16
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Edna May Oliver, Bert Wheeler, Dorothy Lee

Released: 1930

Directed by: Paul Sloane

Half Shot at Sunrise is a 1930 American comedy film starring the comedy duo Wheeler & Woolsey and Dorothy Lee. Their fourth film together, it was the second starring vehicle for the two, ...more
17
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Eddie Cantor

Released: 1936

Directed by: Norman Taurog

Strike Me Pink is a 1936 film directed by Norman Taurog.
18
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Carole Lombard, Ray Milland, George Raft

Released: 1934

Directed by: Wesley Ruggles, Mitchell Leisen

Bolero is a musical drama film starring George Raft and Carole Lombard, and directed by Wesley Ruggles. The movie was a rare chance for Raft to star and to play a dancer, which had been his ...more
19
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Barbara Stanwyck, Ricardo Cortez, Sally Blane

Released: 1931

Directed by: Lionel Barrymore

Ten Cents a Dance is a 1931 American romance-drama film directed by Lionel Barrymore and starring Barbara Stanwyck as a married taxi dancer who falls in love with one of her customers. The film ...more
20
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Paul Robeson, Leslie Banks, Nina Mae McKinney

Released: 1935

Directed by: Zoltan Korda

Sanders of the River is a 1935 British film directed by the Hungarian-British director, Zoltán Korda, based on the stories of Edgar Wallace. It is set in British Nigeria. The lead ...more