Entertainment The Best '30s Romance Movies  

Ranker Film
860 votes 150 voters 5.9k views 80 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
46 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
40 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
23 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
15 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
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
13 8
Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
15 10
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
12 8
Holiday is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
9 5
Twentieth Century is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
8 4
Gold Diggers of 1933 is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
12 9
Ninotchka is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
12 9
Swing Time is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
11 8
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
8 5
42nd Street is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
8 5
Bachelor Mother is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
8 5
You Can't Take It With You is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
5 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

19
5 2
Second Honeymoon is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
5 2
Café Metropole is listed (or ranked) 20 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.

21
5 2
Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
4 1
Thin Ice is listed (or ranked) 22 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.

23
4 1
Alexander's Ragtime Band is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
4 1
It's Love I'm After is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
3 0
Chance at Heaven is listed (or ranked) 25 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