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The Best '30s Romance Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated June 15, 2019 984 votes 183 voters 8k 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!
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1
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
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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2
It Happened One Night is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Ward Bond

Released: 1934

Directed by: Frank Capra

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

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3
Bringing Up Baby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Barry Fitzgerald

Released: 1938

Directed by: Howard 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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4
Gold Diggers of 1933 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
ForLuvOfAnimals added 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
5
Holiday is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lew Ayres

Released: 1938

Directed by: George Cukor

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
6
Top Hat is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
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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7
Dark Victory is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart

Released: 1939

Directed by: Edmund 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 ...more
8
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Merle Oberon

Released: 1939

Directed by: William Wyler

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

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9
Shall We Dance is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
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
10
My Man Godfrey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Carole Lombard, Jane Wyman, William Powell

Released: 1936

Directed by: Gregory 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 ...more
11
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Margaret Lindsay

Released: 1938

Directed by: William 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
12
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Lionel Stander

Released: 1936

Directed by: Frank Capra

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

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13
Ninotchka is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Greta Garbo, Bela Lugosi, Melvyn Douglas

Released: 1939

Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

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
14
Swing Time is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
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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15
42nd Street is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
ForLuvOfAnimals added Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler

Released: 1933

Directed by: Lloyd Bacon

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

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16
The Gay Divorcee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Betty Grable

Released: 1934

Directed by: Mark Sandrich

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
17
Twentieth Century is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Carole Lombard, John Barrymore, Charles Lane

Released: 1934

Directed by: Howard 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 ...more
18
Bachelor Mother is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn

Released: 1939

Directed by: Garson Kanin

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
19
You Can't Take It With Y... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Ann Miller

Released: 1938

Directed by: Frank Capra

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

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20
Grand Hotel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore

Released: 1932

Directed by: Edmund Goulding

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

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21
Only Angels Have Wings ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Jean Arthur

Released: 1939

Directed by: Howard Hawks

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
22
Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore

Released: 1938

Directed by: W. S. Van Dyke, Julien Duvivier

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
23
Platinum Blonde is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Jean Harlow, Loretta Young, Halliwell Hobbes

Released: 1931

Directed by: Frank 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. ...more
24
Topper is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young

Released: 1937

Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod

Topper is an American comedy film starring Constance Bennett and Cary Grant which tells the story of a stuffy, stuck-in-his-ways man, Cosmo Topper who is haunted by the ghosts of a fun-loving ...more
25
Love Affair is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '30s Romance Movies
Ana Milhinhos added Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya

Released: 1939

Directed by: Leo 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