Total Nerd The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies  

Ranker Film
261 votes 134 voters 1.5k views 34 items Embed

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

The greatest ‘30s sci-fi movies feature many of the same creatures and characters that would go on to dominate the genre for years to come. At the top of this list, you will find several titles starring the legendary Boris Karloff as Frankenstein. Karloff, an English actor, achieved widespread fame for his portrayal of the monster. Modern conceptions of Dr. Frankenstein’s creation stem from Karloff’s iconic portrayal. Scrolling through this list, you will see Karloff’s name appear again and again, as he was a highly desired sci-fi and horror actor in the ‘30s and ‘40s.


On our list of the best ‘30s sci-fi movies, you will also encounter several Pre-Code classics. Before the institution of the Motion Picture Production Code in 1934, Hollywood films contained much racier subject matter, including drug use, sexual innuendo, and graphic violence.
The Invisible Man, based on H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name, is one such Pre-Code science fiction film. Featuring Claude Rains in his first American film role, the movie would inspire numerous spin-offs and sequels featuring the character of the Invisible Man.


Other classic ‘30s sci-fi movies on this list include
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Son of Kong, and Island of Lost Souls. Vote up the best science fiction films from the 1930s below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

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Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Frankenstein Boris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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Dracula is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Tommi Welchoff-White added Dracula Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Carla Laemmle

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Bride of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Bride of Frankenstein Boris Karloff, Walter Brennan, Billy Barty

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The Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Invisible Man Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor

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King Kong is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Tommi Welchoff-White added King Kong Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot

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Son of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Son of Frankenstein Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone

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Things to Come is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Things to Come George Sanders, Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson

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Werewolf of London is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Werewolf of London Valerie Hobson, Spring Byington, J. M. Kerrigan

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Miriam Hopkins

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The Mask of Fu Manchu is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Mask of Fu Manchu Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone

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Island of Lost Souls is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Island of Lost Souls Bela Lugosi, Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott

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Buck Rogers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Buck Rogers Buster Crabbe, Jack Mulhall, Constance Moore

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The Invisible Ray is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Invisible Ray Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Beulah Bondi

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The Man They Could Not Hang is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Man They Could Not Hang Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Dick Curtis

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Transatlantic Tunnel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Transatlantic Tunnel

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Alraune is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Alraune Brigitte Helm, Albert Bassermann

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Flash Gordon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Flash Gordon Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, George Cleveland

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The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Walking Dead Boris Karloff, Barton MacLane, Edmund Gwenn

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Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton

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Son of Kong is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Son of Kong Helen Mack, Frank Reicher, Noble Johnson

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The Lost Jungle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Lost Jungle Mickey Rooney, George "Gabby" Hayes, Clyde Beatty

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Air Hawks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Air Hawks Ralph Bellamy, Robert (Tex) Allen, Douglass Dumbrille

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Just Imagine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Just Imagine Maureen O'Sullivan, El Brendel, Marjorie White

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Torture Ship is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Torture Ship Lyle Talbot, Irving Pichel, Carleton Young

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End of the World is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
End of the World Abel Gance, Victor Francen, Colette Darfeuil - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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Aerograd is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Aerograd Vladimir Uralsky, Yevgeniya Melnikova, Stepan Shkurat

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Undersea Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Tommi Welchoff-White added Undersea Kingdom Lon Chaney, Jr., Monte Blue

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Life Returns is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Life Returns Valerie Hobson, Lois Wilson, Onslow Stevens

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Deluge is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
Deluge Sidney Blackmer, Lois Wilson, Peggy Shannon

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The Phantom Creeps is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Phantom Creeps Bela Lugosi, Eddie Dunn, Hooper Atchley

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The Phantom Empire is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Phantom Empire Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Frankie Darro

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The Man Who Changed His Mind is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Man Who Changed His Mind Boris Karloff, Cecil Parker, Anna Lee

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The Return of Doctor X is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Return of Doctor X Humphrey Bogart, Wayne Morris

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The Lost City is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies
The Lost City William Boyd, Josef Swickard, Kane Richmond