The Best '30s Sci-Fi Movies

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. 
Ranked by
  • Bride of Frankenstein
    Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • King Kong
    Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Frankenstein
    Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: James Whale
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  • Dracula
    Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Tod Browning
  • The Invisible Man
    Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Son of Frankenstein
    Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Rowland V. Lee
  • Werewolf of London
    Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Stuart Walker
  • Transatlantic Tunnel

    Transatlantic Tunnel

  • Things to Come
    Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: William Cameron Menzies
  • Son of Kong
    Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Island of Lost Souls
    Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Erle C. Kenton
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu
    Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor
  • Buck Rogers
    Buster Crabbe, Jack Mulhall, Constance Moore
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Ford Beebe
  • The Man They Could Not Hang
    Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Dick Curtis
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Roy William Neill, Nick Grinde
  • The Walking Dead
    Boris Karloff, Barton MacLane, Edmund Gwenn
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Michael Curtiz
  • The Invisible Ray
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Beulah Bondi
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Arthur Lubin, Lambert Hillyer
  • Flash Gordon
    Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, George Cleveland
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Frederick Stephani, Robert F. Hill, Ray Taylor
  • Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars
    Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
    • Released: 1938
    • Directed by: Ford Beebe, Robert F. Hill
  • End of the World
    Abel Gance, Victor Francen, Colette Darfeuil
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Abel Gance
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  • Just Imagine
    Maureen O'Sullivan, El Brendel, Marjorie White
    • Released: 1930
    • Directed by: David Butler
  • The Man Who Changed His Mind
    Boris Karloff, Cecil Parker, Anna Lee
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Robert Stevenson
  • Alraune
    Brigitte Helm, Albert Bassermann
    • Released: 1930
    • Directed by: Richard Oswald
  • Air Hawks
    Ralph Bellamy, Robert (Tex) Allen, Douglass Dumbrille
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Albert S. Rogell
  • The Lost Jungle
    Mickey Rooney, George "Gabby" Hayes, Clyde Beatty
    • Released: 1934
    • Directed by: David Howard, Armand Schaefer