Best Drama Movies of 1929


The Trespasser

A stenographer who works for a lawyer falls in love with and marries a wealthy young man. His family has the marraige annulled, after which she gives birth to a child. Her former boss helps her out to ensure the child's welfare, which starts gossip that she is a "kept woman."
Starring: Gloria Swanson, Robert Ames, Purnell Pratt, Henry B. Walthall, Wally Albright
Directed by: Edmund Goulding
Release date: 1929-11-11

The Iron Mask

King Louis XIII of France is thrilled to have born to him a son - an heir to the throne. But when the queen delivers a twin, Cardinal Richelieu sees the second son as a potential for revolution, and has him sent off to Spain to be raised in secret to ensure a peaceful future for France. Alas, keeping the secret means sending Constance, lover of D'Artagnan, off to a convent. D'Artagnan hears of this and rallies the Musketeers in a bid to rescue her. Unfortunately, Richelieu out-smarts the Musketeers and banishes them forever.
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Belle Bennett, Marguerite De La Motte, Dorothy Revier, Vera Lewis
Directed by: Allan Dwan
Release date: 1929-02-21


A young Chinese woman, working in the kitchen at a London dance club, is given the chance to become the club's main act.
Starring: Anna May Wong, Gilda Gray, Jameson Thomas, Cyril Ritchard, King Hou Chang
Directed by: E.A. Dupont
Release date: 1929-02-01


A Southern belle's flirtation with a working man leads to tragedy.
Starring: Mary Pickford, Johnny Mack Brown, Matt Moore, John St. Polis, William Janney
Directed by: Sam Taylor
Release date: 1929-04-06



A black laborer turns preacher after accidentally killing a man.

Starring: Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney, William Fountaine, Harry Gray, Fanny Belle DeKnight
Directed by: King Vidor
Release date: 1929-08-20

The Broadway Melody


Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet, but when he meets Queenie, he falls in love to her, but she is courted by Jock Warriner, a member of the New Yorker high society. It takes a while till Queenie recognizes, that she is for Jock nothing more than a toy, and it also takes a while till Harriet recognizes, that Eddie is in love with Queenie

Starring: Charles King, Anita Page, Bessie Love, Nacio Herb Brown, Mary Doran
Directed by: Harry Beaumont
Release date: 1929-02-08

The Manxman

A fisherman and a rising lawyer who grew up as brothers fall in love with the same woman.
Starring: Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen, Anny Ondra, Randle Ayrton, Clare Greet
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Release date: 1929-01-21

A Cottage on Dartmoor

Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He threatens the customer with an open razor and lands in jail.
Starring: Norah Baring, Uno Henning, Hans Adalbert Schlettow, Anthony Asquith, Judd Green
Directed by: Anthony Asquith
Release date: 1929-10-01

The Godless Girl

High school students led by the Girl and Boy turn from Christianity toward secret atheistic meetings. When a girl is accidentally killed by a stairway collapse, the Girl and Boy go to reform school where they are treated brutally.
Starring: Lina Basquette, Tom Keene, Marie Prevost, Noah Beery, Eddie Quillan
Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille
Release date: 1929-03-31

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

This first cinematic version of the classic book is a part-talkie, although the only surviving print is silent (housed in the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY). It is a straight-forward telling of the intermingled lives of a group of strangers doomed to die in a collapsing bridge accident. The Art Direction, paltry and unremarkable, surprisingly won an Oscar over the far more remarkable work nominated in THE IRON MASK. The special effect scene of the lovers plummeting with the bridge into the chasm is unforgettable and remarkably done.
Starring: Lili Damita, Ernest Torrence, Raquel Torres, Don Alvarado, Duncan Renaldo
Directed by: Charles Brabin
Release date: 1929-03-30


Ranged across several generations, the story begins with a wealthy merchant, Lind, and his wife travelling in the coldest depths of winter to christen their baby daughter. Attacked by wolves, they lose the baby, which is found by the Lapp Jaampa (a dominating performance by Tryggve Larssen) and subsequently raised by a rich reindeer herder,
Starring: Mona Mårtenson, Tryggve Larssen, Harald Schwenzen, Peter Malberg, Cally Monrad
Directed by: George Schnéevoigt
Release date: 1929-10-14

Hell's Heroes

Three bank robbers on the run happen across a woman about to give birth in an abandoned covered wagon. Before she dies, she names the three bandits as her newborn son's godfathers.
Starring: Charles Bickford, Fred Kohler, Raymond Hatton, Fritzi Ridgeway, Maria Alba
Directed by: William Wyler
Release date: 1929-12-27

The Kiss

A chaste kiss between a woman and a younger man leads to tragedy.
Starring: Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Anders Randolf, Holmes Herbert, Lew Ayres
Directed by: Jacques Feyder
Release date: 1929-11-16

The Single Standard

A bored socialite finds fleeting romance with an artist.
Starring: Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, Johnny Mack Brown, Dorothy Sebastian, Lane Chandler
Directed by: John S. Robertson
Release date: 1929-07-27

The Bridge

In this short silent film (Charles Vidor's first as director) a convicted spy manages to avoid being hanged from a bridge when the rope breaks and he flees for his life and freedom.
Starring: Nicholas Bela, Charles Darvas
Directed by: Charles Vidor
Release date: 1929-04-30

The Lady Lies

Much to the disapproval of his snooty children, a wealthy widowed attorney takes up with a beautiful but "lower-class" woman.
Starring: Walter Huston, Claudette Colbert, Charles Ruggles, Patricia Deering, Tom Brown
Directed by: Hobart Henley
Release date: 1929-09-21

The Pagan

Henry, the pagan son of a white father and native mother, has inherited land and a store, but he prefers the simple life. When he falls in love with a native girl, her guardian, who is trying to bring her up as a 'proper' Christian, but who also lusts after her himself, plots to keep them apart.
Starring: Ramon Novarro, Donald Crisp, Renée Adorée, Dorothy Janis
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Release date: 1929-04-26

Wild Orchids

A prince in Java tries to seduce his visitor's wife, but he's discovered.
Starring: Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone, Nils Asther, Dick Sutherland
Directed by: Sidney Franklin
Release date: 1929-02-23

The Wild Party

A comely collegian (Clara Bow) falls for an anthropology professor (Fredric March).
Starring: Clara Bow, Fredric March, Marceline Day, Shirley O'Hara, Joyce Compton
Directed by: Dorothy Arzner
Release date: 1929-04-06

Madame X

A young, unfaithful wife and mother is thrown out by her cold, unforgiving husband, the Attorney General of France. She is barred from ever seeing her three year old son again despite her earnest attempts to make amends. For many years the mother seeks refuge overseas and in Absinthe. In the end, her son, a young and promising lawyer unknowingly defends her in court. Ruth Chatterton gives a marvelous performance in this early talkie in her portrayal of Madame X.
Starring: Ruth Chatterton, Lewis Stone, Raymond Hackett, Sidney Toler, Carroll Nye
Directed by: Lionel Barrymore
Release date: 1929-08-17

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