Film The Best '30s Romance Movies  

Ranker Film
840 votes 140 voters 4.7k views 78 items

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

This list tanks 1930s romance movies from best to worst, with those that have aged like fine wine at the top and those that haven't stood the test of time so well closer to the bottom. Many of these '30s love movies are still popular today, gaining new fans every year. Some have held up so well, in fact, that you might even be surprised scrolling through this 1930s romance movies list.

It's a Wonderful Life is such a holiday favorite, for example, that it's difficult to image a time when it didn't exist. This 1930s romance film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including a Best Actor nod for Jimmy Stewart. Another classic 1930s love story is Gone with the Wind, which was by far the most successful movie of its time. Fun Fact: Gone with the Wind was the first color film to take home an Oscar for Best Picture.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were one of the most beloved onscreen duos of the 1930s. Their films The Gay Divorcee, Swing Time and Top Hat all appear on this list of '30s romantic movies.

Which romance movie from the 1930s is your favorite? Vote up the best and feel free to add any great '30s romances that aren't already included. And if you've seen all of the films on the list, rerank it to create your own definitive version!
list ordered by

1
39 11
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland 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

2
35 10
It Happened One Night is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Ward Bond Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite tries to get out from under her father's ...more

3
22 8
Bringing Up Baby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Barry Fitzgerald Bringing Up Baby is a 1938 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film tells the story of a ...more

4
14 8
Shall We Dance is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Edward Everett Horton 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

5
16 10
Dark Victory is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart Dark Victory is a 1939 American drama film directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Bette Davis and featuring George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Henry Travers and ...more

6
13 8
Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire 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

7
15 10
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Merle Oberon Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Wuthering Heights is a 1939 American black-and-white film directed by William Wyler and produced by Samuel Goldwyn. It is based on the novel, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The film ...more

8
13 8
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Margaret Lindsay Jezebel is a 1938 American romantic drama film released and directed by William Wyler. It stars Bette Davis and Henry Fonda, supported by George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Richard ...more

9
9 5
Twentieth Century is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Carole Lombard, John Barrymore, Charles Lane Twentieth Century is a 1934 American screwball comedy film. Much of the film is set on the 20th Century Limited train as it travels from Chicago to New York. The film was directed by Howard ...more

10
8 4
Gold Diggers of 1933 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
ForLuvOfAnimals added Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, Billy Barty 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

11
12 9
Ninotchka is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Greta Garbo, Bela Lugosi, Melvyn Douglas Ninotchka is a 1939 American film made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by producer and director Ernst Lubitsch that stars Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. It was written by Billy Wilder, Charles ...more

12
12 9
Swing Time is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Betty Furness 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

13
8 5
You Can't Take It With You is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Ann Miller You Can't Take It With You is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra and starring Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, and Edward Arnold. Adapted from the Pulitzer ...more

14
8 5
42nd Street is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
ForLuvOfAnimals added Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler 42nd Street is a 1933 American Warner Bros. musical film directed by Lloyd Bacon with choreography by Busby Berkeley. The songs were written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, and the script was ...more

15
8 5
Bachelor Mother is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn Bachelor Mother is an American comedy film directed by Garson Kanin, and starring Ginger Rogers, David Niven, and Charles Coburn. The screenplay was written by Norman Krasna based on an Academy ...more

16
5 2
Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore Marie Antoinette is a 1938 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette. Based upon the 1932 biography of the ill-fated ...more

17
5 2
Second Honeymoon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Loretta Young Second Honeymoon is a 1937 screwball romantic comedy, starring Tyrone Power and Loretta Young about a newly remarried woman who finds her businessman husband boring and runs into her wealthy ...more

18
5 2
Café Metropole is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Café Metropole Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Adolphe Menjou Café Metropole is a 1937 film directed by Edward H. Griffith.

19
4 1
Thin Ice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Sonja Henie, Bobby Vitale Thin Ice is a United States comedy/romance film directed by Sidney Lanfield starring Tyrone Power and figure skater Sonja Henie.

20
4 1
Alexander's Ragtime Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Ethel Merman, Don Ameche Alexander's Ragtime Band is a film released by 20th Century Fox that takes its name from the 1911 Irving Berlin song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to tell a story of a society boy who ...more

21
4 1
It's Love I'm After is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Leslie Howard Bette Davis

It's Love I'm After was initiated by Leslie Howard, who after heavy dramatic roles in The Petrified Forest (1936), Romeo and Juliet (1936) and most of his other films, demanded a comic change of pace for his next picture at Warner Bros. Despite some misgivings at the executive level about Howard's ability to play comedy, producer Hal Wallis reluctantly accepted Howard's suggestion that he film the story "Gentleman After Midnight," all about a matinee idol who takes time from romantic sparring with his leading lady to try to cure a young female fan of her mindless devotion to him. Casey Robinson fashioned a witty screenplay that gave Howard the chance to drop comic zingers, swashbuckle through the grounds of a posh Pasadena mansion and spoof his Romeo and Juliet when he and his leading lady perform the play's final scene while whispering insults to each other.

It's Love I'm After is a 1937 American comedy film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and Olivia de Havilland. Based on the story "Gentlemen After ...more

22
3 0
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou A Farewell to Arms is a 1932 American romance drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, and Adolphe Menjou. Based on the 1929 semi-autobiographical novel A ...more

23
3 0
Made for Each Other is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added James Stewart, Carole Lombard, Charles Coburn Made for Each Other is a 1939 drama film directed by John Cromwell, produced by David O. Selznick, and starring Carole Lombard, James Stewart and Charles Coburn. Lombard and Stewart portray a ...more

24
3 0
Platinum Blonde is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Jean Harlow, Loretta Young, Halliwell Hobbes Platinum Blonde is a 1931 American romantic comedy motion picture starring Jean Harlow, Robert Williams, and Loretta Young. The film was written by Jo Swerling and directed by Frank Capra. ...more

25
14 12
My Man Godfrey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Carole Lombard, Jane Wyman, William Powell My Man Godfrey is a 1936 American comedy-drama film directed by Gregory La Cava. The screenplay was written by Morrie Ryskind, with uncredited contributions by La Cava, based on 1101 Park ...more

26
10 8
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Lionel Stander Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 American screwball comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in her first featured role. Based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat ...more

27
10 8
The Gay Divorcee is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Betty Grable The Gay Divorcee is a 1934 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It also features Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore and Erik ...more

28
10 8
Holiday is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lew Ayres Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Holiday is a 1938 film directed by George Cukor, a remake of the 1930 film of the same name. The film is a romantic comedy which tells the story of a man who has risen from humble beginnings ...more

29
5 3
In Old Chicago is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Alice Faye In Old Chicago is a 1937 American drama film directed by Henry King. The screenplay by Sonya Levien and Lamar Trotti was based on the Niven Busch story, "We the O'Learys." The film is ...more

30
4 2
Ranker Video
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power

Lloyd's of London is a 1936 American drama film directed by Henry King. It stars Tyrone Power, Madeleine Carroll, and Guy Standing. The supporting cast includes Freddie Bartholomew, George Sanders, Virginia Field, and C. Aubrey Smith. Loosely based on historical events, the film follows the dealings of a man who works for Lloyd's of London during the Napoleonic Wars. Lloyd's of London was a hit; it demonstrated that 23-year-old Tyrone Power, in his first starring role, could carry a film, and that the newly formed 20th Century Fox was a major Hollywood studio.

Lloyd's of London is a 1936 American drama film directed by Henry King. It stars Tyrone Power, Madeleine Carroll, and Guy Standing. The supporting cast includes Freddie Bartholomew, George ...more

31
4 2
Ranker Video
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power

When a young wife discovers her husband of two years is involved with his beautiful secretary, she applies for a job as secretary to a business rival.

Day-Time Wife is a 1939 Comedy directed by Gregory Ratoff, starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell. Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power play Jane and Ken Norton, a married couple approaching their ...more

32
4 2
Ladies in Love is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Loretta Young Ladies in Love is a romantic comedy film directed by Edward H. Griffith and starring Janet Gaynor, Constance Bennett and Loretta Young. The film revolves around three roommates in exotic ...more

33
4 2
The Rains Came is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, Joseph Schildkraut The Rains Came is a 1939 20th Century Fox film based on an American novel by Louis Bromfield. A remake of the film was released in 1955 under the name The Rains of Ranchipur. The film was ...more

34
3 1
Bed of Roses is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Joel McCrea, Constance Bennett, Pert Kelton Bed of Roses is a Pre-Code comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava and starring Constance Bennett. The picture was released by RKO Radio Pictures.

35
2 0
Internes Can't Take Money is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Lloyd Nolan Internes Can't Take Money is a 1937 American drama film directed by Alfred Santell and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Lloyd Nolan, and Stanley Ridges. McCrea portrays Dr. Kildare in the ...more

36
2 0
Gambling Lady is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Pat O'Brien Gambling Lady is a 1934 American drama film directed by Archie Mayo, and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea.

37
2 0
Chance at Heaven is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Andy Devine Chance at Heaven is a 1933 American drama film directed by William A. Seiter and written by Julien Josephson and Sarah Y. Mason. The film stars Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Marian Nixon, Andy ...more

38
2 0
Man's Castle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
ardensokolowski added Man's Castle Spencer Tracy, Loretta Young, Glenda Farrell

Man's Castle is a 1933 film directed by Frank Borzage about a man and woman who fall in love while living in a Depression era Hooverville

Man's Castle is a 1933 romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage.

39
9 8
Grand Hotel is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore Grand Hotel is a 1932 American drama film directed by Edmund Goulding. The screenplay by William A. Drake is based on the 1930 play of the same title by Drake, who had adapted it from the 1929 ...more

40
7 6
Show Boat is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Irene Dunne, Paul Robeson, Hattie McDaniel Show Boat is a 1936 film. Directed by James Whale, it is based on the musical Show Boat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which the team adapted from the Show Boat by Edna Ferber. In 1929 ...more

41
7 6
Only Angels Have Wings is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Jean Arthur Only Angels Have Wings is a 1939 American drama film directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur, based on a story written by Hawks. The film also marked the first major ...more

42
6 5
Trouble in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Herbert Marshall, Charlie Ruggles, Miriam Hopkins Trouble in Paradise is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall and featuring Charles Ruggles and ...more

43
5 4
Love Affair is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ana Milhinhos added Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya Love Affair is a 1939 American romantic film starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer and featuring Maria Ouspenskaya. It was directed by Leo McCarey and written by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden ...more

44
4 3
Love is News is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, George Sanders, Don Ameche Love Is News is a 1937 romantic film starring Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, and Don Ameche. The movie was directed by Tay Garnett and was the first film for which Power had top billing. The ...more

45
3 2
Suez is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Annabella Suez is an American film released on October 28, 1938 by 20th Century Fox, with Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production, directed by Allan Dwan and starring Tyrone Power, Loretta Young and ...more

46
3 2
Second Fiddle is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Second Fiddle Tyrone Power

Second Fiddle is a 1939 American musical romance film directed by Sidney Lanfield, starring Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Rudy Vallee and Lyle Talbot and released by 20th Century Fox. The score was composed by Irving Berlin.[1] The screenplay involves a Hollywood publicity agent who falls in love with a new actress he helped to discover. The film parodies the extensive search for an actress to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. It is sometimes known as Irving Berlin's Second Fiddle.

Second Fiddle is a 1939 film directed by Sidney Lanfield.

47
3 2
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Norma Shearer, Basil Rathbone, John Barrymore Romeo and Juliet is a 1936 American film adapted from the play by Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Talbot Jennings. The film stars Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma ...more

48
3 2
Of Human Bondage is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Reginald Denny Of Human Bondage is a 1934 American drama film directed by John Cromwell and is widely regarded by critics as the film that made Bette Davis a star. The screenplay by Lester Cohen is based on ...more

49
2 1
Two in a Crowd is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Joan Bennett, Joel McCrea, Reginald Denny Two in a Crowd is a romantic comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green, starring Joan Bennett and Joel McCrea, and released by Universal Pictures. The screenplay was written by Lewis R. Foster, ...more

50
2 1
Bird of Paradise is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Lon Chaney, Jr., Dolores del Río Bird of Paradise is a 1932 American romantic adventure drama film directed by King Vidor, starring Dolores del Río and Joel McCrea. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures. In 1960, the ...more