Best Movies of 1931


City Lights


City Lights is the first silent film that Charlie Chaplin directed after he established himself with sound accompanied films. The film is about a penniless man who falls in love with a flower girl.

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia
Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Release date: 1931-02-26



Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan
Directed by: James Whale
Release date: 1931-11-21

The Public Enemy


Two young Chicago hoodlums, Tom Powers and Matt Doyle, rise up from their poverty-stricken slum life to become petty thieves, bootleggers and cold-blooded killers. But with street notoriety and newfound wealth, the duo feels the heat from the cops and rival gangsters both. Despite his ruthless criminal reputation, Tom tries to remain connected to his family, however, gang warfare and the need for revenge eventually pull him away.

Starring: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell, Donald Cook
Directed by: William A. Wellman
Release date: 1931-04-23



The legend of vampire Count Dracula begins here with this original 1931 Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi.

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan
Directed by: Tod Browning
Release date: 1931-02-12

Monkey Business

Four stowaways get mixed up with gangsters while running riot on an ocean liner.
Starring: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Rockliffe Fellowes
Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod
Release date: 1931-09-19

Little Caesar


A small-time hood shoots his way to the top, but how long can he stay there?

Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell, William Collier Jr., Sidney Blackmer
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy
Release date: 1931-01-25

One Good Turn

Down and out Stan and Ollie beg for food from a friendly old lady who provides them with sandwiches. While eating, they overhear the lady's landlord tell her he's going to throw her out because she can't pay her mortgage. They don't realize that the old lady is really rehearsing for a play. Stan and Ollie decide to help the old lady by selling their car. During the auction a drunk puts a wallet in Stan's pocket. Ollie accuses Stan of robbing the old lady, but when the truth is revealed Stan takes revenge on Ollie.
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mary Carr, James Finlayson, Billy Gilbert
Directed by: James W. Horne
Release date: 1931-10-31

The Phantom of Paris

Chéri-Bibi is a world class escape artist, but he cannot escape the false murder charge that is placed on him.
Starring: John Gilbert, Leila Hyams, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, C. Aubrey Smith
Directed by: John S. Robertson
Release date: 1931-09-12

Waterloo Bridge

In World War I London, Myra is an American out-of-work chorus girl making ends meet by picking up men on Waterloo Bridge. During a Zeppelin air raid she meets Roy, a naive young American who enlisted in the Canadian army. After they fall for each other, Roy tricks Myra into visiting his family, who live in a country estate outside London, his mother having remarried to a retired British Major. Myra is reluctant to continue the relationship with Roy, he not aware of her past.
Starring: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, Ethel Griffies, Frederick Kerr
Directed by: James Whale
Release date: 1931-09-04



The youngsters Matahi and Reri are in love with each other. The old warrior Hitu announces that Reri is to be the new chosen virgin for the gods. This means she must stay untouched, otherwise she and her lover will be killed. But Matahi abducts and escapes with her to an island ruled by the white man, where their gods would be harmless and powerless. Tabu is the last film from director F.W. Murnau; he died before the film’s premiere in a car accident.

Starring: Matahi, Anne Chevalier, Bill Bambridge, Hitu, Jules
Directed by: F.W. Murnau
Release date: 1931-08-01

Tonight or Never

A young opera singer finds her career stalled because of her cold and passionless performances, until she finds romance with a handsome admirer.
Starring: Gloria Swanson, Melvyn Douglas, Alison Skipworth, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Boris Karloff
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy
Release date: 1931-01-04

Laughing Gravy

Stan and Ollie try to hide their pet dog Laughing Gravy from their exasperated, mean tempered landlord, who has a "No Pets" policy.
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Harry Bernard, Charles Dorety, Laughing Gravy
Directed by: James W. Horne
Release date: 1931-04-04

Street Scene

The setting is one anonyomous city block during a sweltering summer, where the residents - Italian and Jew, Swede and German and Irish - serve as representatives of the not-very-idealized American melting pot. There is idle chitchat...idle gossip...jealousy...racism...adultery...and, suddenly but not unexpectedly, a murder.
Starring: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor, Beulah Bondi, David Landau
Directed by: King Vidor
Release date: 1931-09-05

Beau Hunks

Stan and Ollie join the French Foreign Legion after Ollie's sweetheart rejects him. The title Beau Hunks is both a reference to Beau Geste and a pun on the mild ethnic slur Bohunk (a portmanteau of "Bohemian" and "Hungarian.").
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charles Middleton, Harry Schultz, Broderick O'Farrell
Directed by: James W. Horne
Release date: 1931-12-12

Bimbo's Initiation

Bimbo finds himself surrounded by a mysterious group of robed figures who invite him to become a member of their secret organisation. When he refuses, they fling him through a nightmarish sequence of terror and torture devices. Will our hapless hero make it out alive?
Starring: Billy Murray, Mae Questel
Directed by: Dave Fleischer, Grim Natwick
Release date: 1931-07-24


Marian is a factory worker determined to leave the assembly line behind and move up in the world.
Starring: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Wallace Ford, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, Frank Conroy
Directed by: Clarence Brown
Release date: 1931-11-21

The Champ


A broken-down alcoholic prizefighter struggles to keep custody of his adoring son.

Starring: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates, Edward Brophy
Directed by: King Vidor
Release date: 1931-11-21

The Miracle Woman

A phony faith healer falls for a blind man and seeks to go straight.
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Sam Hardy, Beryl Mercer, Russell Hopton
Directed by: Frank Capra
Release date: 1931-07-17



The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.

Starring: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Warner Oland, Lew Cody
Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
Release date: 1931-04-04

Night Nurse

Lora Hart manages to land a job in a hospital as a trainee nurse. Upon completion of her training she goes to work as a night nurse for two small children who seem to be very sick, though something much more sinister is going on.
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell, Clark Gable, Blanche Friderici
Directed by: William A. Wellman
Release date: 1931-07-16

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