History The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked  

Ranker Film
4.1k votes 722 voters 37.1k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the best movies about or set during the Great Depression.

The Great Depression was a difficult time in American history so it's no surprise there are a lot of films based on the incident. The best Great Depression movies range in terms of genre and tone. Some good movies about the great depression are works of fiction while other good movies about the great depression are based on real-life events. Many of the best films about the great depression feature award-winning actors and are considered some of the greatest films of all time. 

What films will you find on this top Great Depression movies list? The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 film – based on John Steinbeck's novel of the same name – that follows the Joad family after they lose their farm during the great depression. The movie won two Oscars in 1941 including the trophies for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress. The Green Mile is another good movie set during the great depression. Bonnie and Clyde follows a criminal couple as they rob banks during the great depression. Other good great depression movies featured on this list include To Kill a Mockingbird, Cinderella Man, and Paper Moon.

Which great depression movie do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up.

1
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The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
The Green Mile Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more

2
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To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
To Kill a Mockingbird Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote was based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. ...more

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
O Brother, Where Art Thou? George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with ...more

4
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Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Of Mice and Men John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Sherilyn Fenn Of Mice and Men is a 1992 film based on John Steinbeck's novella of the same name. Directed and produced by Gary Sinise, the film features Sinise as George Milton alongside John Malkovich as ...more

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The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
The Grapes of Wrath Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally ...more

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Bonnie and Clyde is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Bonnie and Clyde Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Gene Wilder Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical crime film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film ...more

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Annie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Annie Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Greta Garbo Annie is a 1982 American musical comedy-drama film adapted from Broadway musical of the same name by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, which in turn is based on Little Orphan ...more

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Seabiscuit is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Seabiscuit Elizabeth Banks, Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical sports psychological-drama thriller film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is ...more

9
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Cinderella Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Cinderella Man Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by ...more

10
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The Sting is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Kurt Taube added The Sting Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw The Sting is a 1973 American caper film set in September 1936, involving a complicated plot by two professional grifters to con a mob boss. The film was directed by George Roy Hill, who had ...more

11
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Paper Moon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Paper Moon Tatum O'Neal, Randy Quaid, Madeline Kahn Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and released by Paramount Pictures. Screenwriter Alvin Sargent adapted the script from the novel Addie Pray by Joe ...more

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Water for Elephants is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Water for Elephants Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz Water for Elephants is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Francis Lawrence. Richard LaGravenese wrote the screenplay, which was based on Sara Gruen's 2006 novel of the same name. It ...more

13
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The Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
The Public Enemy Jean Harlow, James Cagney, Joan Blondell The Public Enemy is a 1931 American all-talking pre-code crime film produced and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film was directed by William A. Wellman and stars James Cagney, Jean Harlow, ...more

14
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Pennies from Heaven is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Pennies from Heaven Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton Pennies From Heaven is a 1936 American musical comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Bing Crosby, Madge Evans, and Edith Fellows. Based on the novel The Peacock Feather by ...more

15
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Mame is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Ian Sacci added Mame Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur, Bruce Davison Mame is a 1974 musical film based on the 1966 Broadway musical of the same name and the 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis. It was directed by Gene Saks, written by Paul Zindel, and starred Lucille ...more

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Mary Poppins Returns is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Mary Poppins Returns Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw Mary Poppins Returns is a 2018 American musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall. In 1935, during the era of the Great Depression in the United Kingdom, the now grown-up Jane (Emily ...more

17
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Kit Kittredge: An American Gir... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Stanley Tucci, Jane Krakowski, Abigail Breslin Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is a 2008 American comedy-drama film directed by Patricia Rozema. The screenplay by Ann Peacock focuses on the American Girl character Kit Kittredge, who lives in ...more

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Sounder is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Sounder Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Peter MacNeill

19
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They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern, Red Buttons They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is a 1969 American drama film directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay by James Poe and Robert E. Thompson is based on the 1935 novel of the same name by Horace ...more

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Give a Man a Job is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Give a Man a Job Moe Howard, Jimmy Durante Give a Man a Job is a short film produced in 1933 in conjunction with the National Recovery Administration in which audience members were encouraged to offer jobs to the unemployed in the midst ...more

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The Purple Rose of Cairo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
The Purple Rose of Cairo Viggo Mortensen, Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels The Purple Rose of Cairo is a 1985 American romantic fantasy comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Inspired by Sherlock, Jr., Hellzapoppin', and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search ...more

22
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Zelig is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked
Zelig Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Caitlin O'Heaney Zelig is a 1983 American mockumentary film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Allen and Mia Farrow. Allen plays Leonard Zelig, a nondescript enigma who, out of his desire to fit in ...more