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. 
Photo:
Ranked by
  • Bride of Frankenstein
    1
    Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • King Kong
    2
    Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Frankenstein
    3
    Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: James Whale
    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • Dracula
    4
    Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Tod Browning
  • The Invisible Man
    5
    Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: James Whale
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    6
    Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Son of Frankenstein
    7
    Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Rowland V. Lee
  • Werewolf of London
    8
    Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Stuart Walker
  • Transatlantic Tunnel
    9

    Transatlantic Tunnel

  • Things to Come
    10
    Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: William Cameron Menzies
  • Son of Kong
    11
    Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Island of Lost Souls
    12
    Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
    • Released: 1933
    • Directed by: Erle C. Kenton
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu
    13
    Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley
    • Released: 1932
    • Directed by: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor
  • Buck Rogers
    14
    Buster Crabbe, Jack Mulhall, Constance Moore
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Ford Beebe
  • The Man They Could Not Hang
    15
    Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Dick Curtis
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Roy William Neill, Nick Grinde
  • The Walking Dead
    16
    Boris Karloff, Barton MacLane, Edmund Gwenn
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Michael Curtiz
  • The Invisible Ray
    17
    Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Beulah Bondi
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Arthur Lubin, Lambert Hillyer
  • Flash Gordon
    18
    Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, George Cleveland
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Frederick Stephani, Robert F. Hill, Ray Taylor
  • Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars
    19
    Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
    • Released: 1938
    • Directed by: Ford Beebe, Robert F. Hill
  • End of the World
    20
    Abel Gance, Victor Francen, Colette Darfeuil
    • Released: 1931
    • Directed by: Abel Gance
    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • Just Imagine
    21
    Maureen O'Sullivan, El Brendel, Marjorie White
    • Released: 1930
    • Directed by: David Butler
  • The Man Who Changed His Mind
    22
    Boris Karloff, Cecil Parker, Anna Lee
    • Released: 1936
    • Directed by: Robert Stevenson
  • Alraune
    23
    Brigitte Helm, Albert Bassermann
    • Released: 1930
    • Directed by: Richard Oswald
  • Air Hawks
    24
    Ralph Bellamy, Robert (Tex) Allen, Douglass Dumbrille
    • Released: 1935
    • Directed by: Albert S. Rogell
  • The Lost Jungle
    25
    Mickey Rooney, George "Gabby" Hayes, Clyde Beatty
    • Released: 1934
    • Directed by: David Howard, Armand Schaefer