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215 voters

The Best '30s Romance Movies

Updated June 15, 2019 1.3k votes 215 voters 10.3k views80 items

List RulesVote 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!
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    62
    20

    It Happened One Night

    Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

    Released1934

    Directed byFrank Capra

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    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 thumb,...  more

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  • 2
    58
    18

    Gone with the Wind

    Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh

    Released1939

    Directed bySam 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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  • 3
    27
    9

    Holiday

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

    Released1938

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

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    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 only to...  more
  • 4
    22
    7

    Twentieth Century

    Carole Lombard, John Barrymore

    Released1934

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    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 Hawks,...  more
  • 5
    30
    18

    Bringing Up Baby

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

    Released1938

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    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

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  • 6
    21
    7

    Gold Diggers of 1933

    Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell

    Released1933

    Directed byMervyn 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 William,...  more
  • 7
    18
    5

    Love Affair

    Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer

    Released1939

    Directed byLeo McCarey

    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
  • 8
    16
    5

    Show Boat

    Irene Dunne, Paul Robeson

    Released1936

    Directed byJames Whale

    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
  • 9
    20
    10

    Dark Victory

    Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis

    Released1939

    Directed byEdmund Goulding

    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 Cora...  more
  • 10
    14
    4

    Day-Time Wife

    Tyrone Power

    Released1939

    Directed byGregory Ratoff

    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 second...  more
  • 11
    17
    10

    My Man Godfrey

    Carole Lombard, Jane Wyman

    Released1936

    Directed byGregory La Cava

    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 Avenue, a...  more
  • 12
    16
    9

    Top Hat

    Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers

    Released1935

    Directed byMark 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 and...  more

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  • 13
    12
    4

    Romeo and Juliet

    Norma Shearer, Basil Rathbone

    Released1936

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    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 Shearer...  more
  • 14
    12
    5

    Trouble in Paradise

    Herbert Marshall, Charlie Ruggles

    Released1932

    Directed byErnst Lubitsch

    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 Edward...  more
  • 15
    16
    10

    Jezebel

    Bette Davis, Henry Fonda

    Released1938

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    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
  • 16
    11
    4

    In Old Chicago

    Tyrone Power, Don Ameche

    Released1938

    Directed byHenry King

    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 a fictionalized...  more

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  • 17
    11
    4

    A Farewell to Arms

    Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes

    Released1932

    Directed byFrank Borzage

    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 Farewell...  more
  • 18
    11
    4

    Café Metropole

    Tyrone Power, Loretta Young

    Released1937

    Directed byEdward H. Griffith

    Café Metropole is a 1937 film directed by Edward H. Griffith....  more
  • 19
    9
    2

    Platinum Blonde

    Jean Harlow, Loretta Young

    Released1931

    Directed byFrank Capra

    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. Platinum...  more
  • 20
    13
    7

    Blonde Venus

    Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich

    Released1932

    Directed byJosef von Sternberg

    Blonde Venus is a 1932 pre-Code drama film starring Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, and Cary Grant. The movie was produced and directed for Paramount Pictures by Josef von Sternberg from a...  more
  • 21
    11
    6

    Second Honeymoon

    Tyrone Power, Loretta Young

    Released1937

    Directed byWalter Lang

    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 playboy...  more
  • 22
    14
    10

    Shall We Dance

    Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire

    Released1937

    Directed byMark 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
  • 23
    9
    3

    Ladies in Love

    Tyrone Power, Don Ameche

    Released1936

    Directed byEdward H. Griffith

    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 Budapest and...  more
  • 24
    9
    3

    Lloyd's of London

    Tyrone Power

    Released1936

    Directed byHenry King

    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.

  • 25
    9
    3

    The Rains Came

    Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power

    Released1939

    Directed byClarence Brown

    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 directed by...  more

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