Best Movies of 1934

1.

It Happened One Night

5.8

Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what he wants... a really juicy newspaper story!

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas
Directed by: Frank Capra
Release date: 1934-02-22
2.

The Thin Man

5.7

A husband-and-wife detective team takes on the search for a missing inventor and almost get killed for their efforts.

Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Release date: 1934-05-25
3.

The Man Who Knew Too Much

4.9
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While vacationing in St. Moritz, a British couple receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their young daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.
Starring: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Release date: 1934-11-30
4.

Them Thar Hills

4.1
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The story involves Stan and Ollie traveling to the mountains for Ollie to recover from gout. They park their caravan near a cabin of moonshiners; the moonshiners dump their brew in a well, which Stan and Ollie proceed to drink from, thinking that it is healthy mountain water.
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, Charlie Hall, Billy Gilbert
Directed by: Charley Rogers
Release date: 1934-07-21
5.

The Live Ghost

4.0
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Fish market workers Stan and Ollie are persuaded by a sea captain to shanghai a crew for him at the local bar for a dollar a head. Successful at first, the boys end up getting themselves shanghaied, and the crew vow revenge.
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Long, Mae Busch, Charlie Hall
Directed by: Charley Rogers
Release date: 1934-12-08
6.

The Gay Divorcee

4.0

Guy Holden falls for Mimi Glossop without knowing she's married. She's trying to get a divorce, so her dizzy aunt and incompetent lawyer hire a professional correspondent to pose as her lover. When Guy unknowingly gives Mimi the code phrase, she then thinks he's the faux beau—and she confuses his genuine interest for part of the act.

Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes
Directed by: Mark Sandrich
Release date: 1934-10-12
7.

Imitation of Life

3.9

A widow and her housekeeper go into business together but almost lose their daughters.

Starring: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks, Louise Beavers
Directed by: John M. Stahl
Release date: 1934-11-26
8.

The Merry Widow

3.9
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A prince from a small kingdom courts a wealthy widow to keep her money in the country.
Starring: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton, Una Merkel, George Barbier
Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch
Release date: 1934-11-02
9.

Twentieth Century

3.9
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Oscar Jaffe is a successful Broadway director, Lily Garland his biggest star. When she leaves his direction, his success goes with her. When he recognizes her aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, the train that both of them are riding, he tries to get her back for a new show. But accomplishing that feat isn't as simple as he had thought.
Starring: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Ralph Forbes
Directed by: Howard Hawks
Release date: 1934-05-11
10.

The Scarlet Empress

3.8

During the 18th century, German noblewoman Sophia Frederica, who would later become Catherine the Great, travels to Moscow to marry the dimwitted Grand Duke Peter, the heir to the Russian throne. Their arranged marriage proves to be loveless, and Catherine takes many lovers, including the handsome Count Alexei, and bears a son. When the unstable Peter eventually ascends to the throne, Catherine plots to oust him from power.

Starring: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser, C. Aubrey Smith
Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
Release date: 1934-05-09
11.

Punch Drunks

3.8
Moe discovers Curley's unknown boxing talent when he knocks out the Champ at a restaurant when Larry plays "Pop Goes the Weasal" on the violin. Moe becomes Curly's manager, and they win every fight, with the help of Larry. At the championship game, though, Larry's violin breaks. Curly is getting beat down bad when Larry makes his unexpected entrance and helps Curly prevail.
Starring: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Dorothy Granger, Al Hill
Directed by: Lou Breslow
Release date: 1934-07-13
12.

The Black Cat

3.8

After a road accident in Hungary, the American honeymooners Joan and Peter and the enigmatic Dr. Werdegast find refuge in the house of the famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig, who shares a dark past with the doctor.

Starring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Julie Bishop, Egon Brecher
Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
Release date: 1934-05-07
13.

The Grasshopper and the Ants

3.8
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As in the classic fable, the grasshopper plays his fiddle and lives for the moment, while the industrious ants squirrel away massive amounts of food for the winter. With his song, he's able to convince at least one small ant until the queen arrives and scares him back to work. The queen warns the grasshopper of the trouble he'll be in, come winter. Winter comes, and the grasshopper, near starvation, stumbles across the ants, who are having a full-on feast in their snug little tree. They take him in and warm him up. The queen tells him only those who work can eat so he must play for them. Written by Jon Reeves
Starring: Pinto Colvig
Directed by: Wilfred Jackson
Release date: 1934-02-10
14.

Of Human Bondage

3.7

Club-footed medical school student Philip Carey falls in love with cynical waitress Mildred Rogers. She rejects him and runs off with a salesman, later returning pregnant and unmarried. Philip takes her in, though "happily ever after" is not to be.

Starring: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Frances Dee, Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny
Directed by: John Cromwell
Release date: 1934-07-20
15.

Our Daily Bread

3.7
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John and Mary sims are city-dwellers hit hard by the financial fist of The Depression. Driven by bravery (and sheer desperation) they flee to the country and, with the help of other workers, set up a farming community - a socialist mini-society based upon the teachings of Edward Gallafent. The newborn community suffers many hardships - drought, vicious raccoons and the long arm of the law - but ultimately pull together to reach a bread-based Utopia.
Starring: Karen Morley, Tom Keene, Barbara Pepper, Addison Richards, John Qualen
Directed by: King Vidor
Release date: 1934-10-02
16.

Treasure Island

3.7
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In this early film adaptation of the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, young Jim Hawkins is caught up with the pirate Long John Silver in search of buccaneer Captain Flint's buried treasure.
Starring: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Lionel Barrymore, Otto Kruger, Lewis Stone
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Release date: 1934-08-17
17.

Manhattan Melodrama

3.7

The friendship between two orphans endures even though they grow up on opposite sides of the law and fall in love with the same woman.

Starring: Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Leo Carrillo, Nat Pendleton
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Release date: 1934-05-04
18.

Babes in Toyland

3.7

Ollie Dee and Stanley Dum try to borrow money from their employer, the toymaker, to pay off the mortgage on Mother Peep's shoe and keep it and Little Bo Peep from the clutches of the evil Barnaby. When that fails, they trick Barnaby into marrying Stanley Dum instead of Bo Peep. Enraged, Barnaby unleashes the bogeymen from their caverns to destroy Toyland.

Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlotte Henry, Felix Knight, Henry Brandon
Directed by: Gus Meins, Charley Rogers
Release date: 1934-12-14
19.

Death Takes a Holiday

3.7

After years of questioning why people fear him, Death (March) takes on human form so he can mingle among the mortals and find an answer. However, events soon spiral out of control as he falls in love with the beautiful young Grazia (Venable), the only woman unafraid of him. As he falls in love with her, her father, Duke Lambert (Standing), sees him for what he is and begs him to return to his duties. Death must decide whether or not to seek his own happiness, or sacrifice it so that Grazia may live.

Starring: Fredric March, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing, Katharine Alexander, Gail Patrick
Directed by: Mitchell Leisen
Release date: 1934-03-30
20.

Operator 13

3.7
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Union spy Gail Loveless impersonates a black maid in the early days of the Civil War, but complications arise when she falls in love with a Confederate officer.
Starring: Marion Davies, Gary Cooper, Jean Parker, Katharine Alexander, Ted Healy
Directed by: Richard Boleslawski
Release date: 1934-06-08

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