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The Best Movies About The Great Depression, Ranked

Updated June 30, 2019 5.6k votes 926 voters 53.0k views23 items

List RulesVote 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 are 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. Then see what TV shows are set in the 1930s.

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  • 1
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    368
    89

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Of Mice and Men
    323
    71

    Of Mice and Men

    John Malkovich, Gary Sinise

    Released1992

    Directed byGary Sinise

    Of Mice and Men is a 1992 film based on John Steinbeck's novella of the same name. Directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The Green Mile
    395
    107

    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    399
    126

    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    George Clooney, John Goodman

    Released2000

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure comedy film written, produced, edited, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    The Grapes of Wrath
    301
    81

    The Grapes of Wrath

    Henry Fonda, John Carradine

    Released1940

    Directed byJohn Ford

    The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Bonnie and Clyde
    246
    89

    Bonnie and Clyde

    Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway

    Released1967

    Directed byArthur Penn

    Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical film directed by Arthur Penn and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Cinderella Man
    183
    93

    Cinderella Man

    Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger

    Released2005

    Directed byRon Howard

    Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Seabiscuit
    184
    101

    Seabiscuit

    Elizabeth Banks, Jeff Bridges

    Released2003

    Directed byGary Ross

    Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical sports psychological-drama thriller film based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Annie
    230
    139

    Annie

    Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Huston

    Annie is a 1982 American musical comedy-drama film adapted from Broadway musical of the same... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Sting
    142
    74

    The Sting

    Paul Newman, Robert Redford

    Released1973

    Directed byGeorge Roy Hill

    The Sting is a 1973 American caper film set in September 1936, involving a complicated plot by... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Paper Moon
    129
    84

    Paper Moon

    Tatum O'Neal, Randy Quaid

    Released1973

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

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  • 12
    Road to Perdition
    37
    9

    Road to Perdition

    Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig

    Released2002

    Directed bySam Mendes

    Road to Perdition is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Sam Mendes. The screenplay was... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Water for Elephants
    104
    91

    Water for Elephants

    Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson

    Released2011

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

    Water for Elephants is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Francis Lawrence.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The Public Enemy
    92
    79

    The Public Enemy

    Jean Harlow, James Cagney

    Released1931

    Directed byWilliam A. Wellman

    The Public Enemy is a 1931 American all-talking pre-code crime film produced and distributed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Pennies from Heaven
    74
    78

    Pennies from Heaven

    Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong

    Released1936

    Directed byNorman Z. McLeod

    Pennies From Heaven is a 1936 American musical comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
    66
    85

    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

    Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern

    Released1969

    Directed bySydney Pollack

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  • 17
    Mame
    62
    86

    Mame

    Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur

    Released1974

    Directed byGene Saks

    Mame is a 1974 musical film based on the 1966 Broadway musical of the same name and the 1955... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    58
    88

    Sounder

    Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks

    Released2003

    Directed byKevin Hooks

  • 19
    Give a Man a Job
    42
    70

    Give a Man a Job

    Moe Howard, Jimmy Durante

    Released1933

    Give a Man a Job is a short film produced in 1933 in conjunction with the National Recovery... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Mary Poppins Returns
    66
    109

    Mary Poppins Returns

    Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Directed byRob Marshall

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  • 21
    Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
    49
    90

    Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

    Stanley Tucci, Jane Krakowski

    Released2008

    Directed byPatricia Rozema

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  • 22
    The Purple Rose of Cairo
    38
    86

    The Purple Rose of Cairo

    Viggo Mortensen, Mia Farrow

    Released1985

    Directed byWoody Allen

    The Purple Rose of Cairo is a 1985 American romantic fantasy comedy film written and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Zelig
    24
    96

    Zelig

    Woody Allen, Mia Farrow

    Released1983

    Directed byWoody Allen

    Zelig is a 1983 American mockumentary film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring... more on Wikipedia

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