Here it is, ladies and gents, a list of all the best pre-code movies of all time, many of which are streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The pre-code Hollywood movie genre refers to films made between the widespread use of sound in movies in 1929 and the enforcement of the Hays Code in 1934 (also known as the Motion Picture Production Code), and featured stars such as Clark Gable, Joan Blondell, and Barbara Stanwyck.
The films on this list cover the top pre-code movies of all time and is currently ordered from best to worst, according to your votes, so be sure to thums up movies like The Gay Divorcee or Hold Your Man if you like them -- or vote them down if they weren’t your cup of tea. This list has everything from Wonder Bar to The Wet Parade, and more, but if we missed any pre-code films on this list by famous directors like Cecil B. DeMille, please add them yourself, as this is an open list, which means you can add any movies whenever you like (choices are subject to moderation).
So whether you're at home and want to watch these pre-code Hollywood movies on DVD or streaming… or if you're seeing them at an Indie theatre for the first time, this list of the best pre-code films will help you decide what to watch. So from the latest, to the greatest pre-code movies, here is the full list of pre-code films, ordered from best to worst.
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Busby BerkeleyGold Diggers of 1933 is a pre-code Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It stars Warren William,... more
Directed by: Busby Berkeley, Lloyd BaconFootlight Parade is a 1933 American musical film starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell and featuring Frank McHugh, Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert and Ruth Donnelly. The movie... more
Directed by: Lloyd Bacon42nd Street is a 1933 American Warner Bros. musical film directed by Lloyd Bacon with choreography by Busby Berkeley. The songs were written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, and the script was written... more
Directed by: Victor FlemingBombshell is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic comedy-drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, C. Aubrey Smith, Mary Forbes and Franchot Tone. The film... more
Directed by: William DieterleFashions of 1934 is a 1934 Pre-Code American musical comedy film directed by William Dieterle with musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley. The screenplay by F. Hugh Herbert and Carl... more
Directed by: Roy Del RuthGold Diggers of Broadway is a 1929 Warner Bros. comedy/musical film which is historically important as the second two-strip Technicolor all-talking feature length movie. Gold Diggers of Broadway was... more
Directed by: Frank CapraPlatinum Blonde is a 1931 American romantic comedy motion picture starring Jean Harlow, Robert Williams, and Loretta Young. The film was written by Jo Swerling and directed by Frank Capra. Platinum... more
Directed by: Ernst LubitschThe Love Parade is a 1929 musical comedy film about the marital difficulties of Queen Louise of Sylvania and her consort, Count Alfred Renard. Despite his love for Louise and his promise to be an... more
Directed by: Roy Del RuthThe Maltese Falcon is an American pre-code crime film, based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett and directed by Roy Del Ruth. The film stars Ricardo Cortez as private detective Sam... more
Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. SchoedsackKing Kong is a 1933 American fantasy monster/adventure film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was from an idea... more
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoyLittle Caesar is a 1931 Warner Bros. Pre-Code crime film that tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and... more
Directed by: Lowell ShermanShe Done Him Wrong is a Pre-Code 1933 Paramount Pictures comedy romance starring Mae West and Cary Grant. Its plot includes melodramatic and musical elements. The supporting cast features Owen Moore,... more
Directed by: Frank CapraIt Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite tries to get out from under her father's thumb,... more
Directed by: Lewis MilestoneAll Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John... more
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoyThree on a Match is a 1932 American pre-Code crime drama released by Warner Bros. The film was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and stars Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak and Bette Davis. The film also features... more
Directed by: Victor FlemingRed Dust is a 1932 American romantic drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and Mary Astor. The film is based on the 1928 play of the same name by Wilson... more
Directed by: William A. WellmanThe 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
Directed by: Sam WoodHold Your Man is a 1933 American romantic drama film directed by an uncredited Sam Wood and starring Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, the third of their six films together. The screenplay by Anita Loos... more
Directed by: Edmund GouldingGrand Hotel is a 1932 American drama film directed by Edmund Goulding. The screenplay by William A. Drake is based on the 1930 play of the same title by Drake, who had adapted it from the 1929 novel... more
Directed by: Tod BrowningFreaks is a 1932 American horror film in which the eponymous characters were played by people who worked as carnival sideshow performers and had real deformities. The original version was considered... more
Directed by: Tod Browning, Karl FreundDracula is a 1931 vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton... more
Directed by: James WhaleFrankenstein is a 1931 horror monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by Mary... more
Directed by: Alfred E. GreenBaby Face is a 1933 American dramatic film directed by Alfred E. Green, and starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent. Based on a story by Darryl F. Zanuck, this sexually charged, Pre-Code Hollywood... more
Directed by: Ernst LubitschTrouble in Paradise is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall and featuring Charles Ruggles and Edward... more
Directed by: Rouben MamoulianDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American Pre-Code horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the... more