Best Movies of 1936

1.

My Man Godfrey

5.7

Fifth Avenue socialite Irene Bullock needs a "forgotten man" to win a scavenger hunt, and no one is more forgotten than Godfrey Park, who resides in a dump by the East River. Irene hires Godfrey as a servant for her riotously unhinged family, to the chagrin of her spoiled sister, Cornelia, who tries her best to get Godfrey fired. As Irene falls for her new butler, Godfrey turns the tables and teaches the frivolous Bullocks a lesson or two.

Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon
Directed by: Gregory La Cava
Release date: 1936-09-17
2.

Fury

4.8

Joe, who owns a gas station along with his brothers and is about to marry Katherine, travels to the small town where she lives to visit her, but is wrongly mistaken for a wanted kidnapper and arrested.

Starring: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel, Bruce Cabot, Edward Ellis
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Release date: 1936-06-05
3.

Swing Time

4.8

Lucky is tricked into missing his wedding to Margaret by the other members of Pop's magic and dance act, and has to make $25,000 to be allowed to marry her. He and Pop go to New York where they run into Penny, a dancing instructor. She and Lucky form a successful dance partnership, but romance is blighted by his old attachment to Margaret and hers for Ricardo—the band leader who won't play for them to dance together.

Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore
Directed by: George Stevens
Release date: 1936-08-27
4.

The Petrified Forest

4.7

A drifter, a waitress and a notorious gangster cross paths in the Petrified Forest region of Arizona. Alan, a destitute writer, goes into the diner where Gabrielle works. Gabrielle dreams of studying art, and she and Alan connect as they talk about Europe and she tells him her ambitions. But gangster Duke Mantee shows up and takes the customers hostage.

Starring: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Genevieve Tobin, Dick Foran, Humphrey Bogart
Directed by: Archie Mayo
Release date: 1936-02-08
5.

Sabotage

4.3
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A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.
Starring: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester, John Loder, Joyce Barbour
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Release date: 1936-12-02
6.

Libeled Lady

4.0

When a major newspaper accuses wealthy socialite Connie Allenbury of being a home-wrecker, and she files a multi-million-dollar libel lawsuit, the publication's frazzled head editor, Warren Haggerty, must find a way to turn the tables on her. Soon Haggerty's harried fiancée, Gladys Benton, and his dashing friend Bill Chandler are in on a scheme that aims to discredit Connie, with amusing and unexpected results.

Starring: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Walter Connolly
Directed by: Jack Conway
Release date: 1936-10-09
7.

These Three

4.0

Martha and Karen graduate from college and turn an old Massachusetts farm into a school for girls. The friends are aided in their venture by local doctor Joe Cardin, who begins a relationship with Karen, and a prominent woman whose granddaughter, Mary, later enrolls in the new school. Mary soon reveals herself to be a spiteful child and tells a scandalous lie about Martha and Joe that threatens to destroy the lives of all involved.

Starring: Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea, Catherine Doucet, Alma Kruger
Directed by: William Wyler
Release date: 1936-03-18
8.

Charlie Chan's Secret

3.9
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Allen Colby, heir to a huge fortune, is presumed drowned after an ocean liner sinks off the coast of Honolulu. Mysteriously, Colby reappears at his mansion only to be murdered soon after. When his body is discovered during a seance, everyone in attendance becomes a suspect, and it's up to Chan to find the murderer before he or she strikes again.
Starring: Warner Oland, Rosina Lawrence, Charles Quigley, Henrietta Crosman, Edward Trevor
Directed by: Gordon Wiles
Release date: 1936-01-17
9.

Camille

3.9

Life in 1847 Paris is as spirited as champagne and as unforgiving as the gray morning after. In gambling dens and lavish soirees, men of means exert their wills and women turned courtesans exult in pleasure. One such woman is Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo), the Camille of this sumptuous romance tale based on the enduring Alexandre Dumas story. Garbo's aloof mystique and alabaster beauty illuminate this George Cukor-directed film featuring what many call her finest performance. Her Camille is a movie paragon of true love found (in suitor Armand Duval, memorably played by Robert Taylor), then sacrificed for a greater good. Garbo earned an Academy Award nomination and the New York Film Critics Best Actress Award for her memorable work.

Starring: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Jessie Ralph
Directed by: George Cukor
Release date: 1936-12-12
10.

The Story of Louis Pasteur

3.8

A true story about Louis Pasteur, who revolutionized medicine by proving that much disease is caused by microbes, that sanitation is paramount and that at least some diseases can be cured by vaccinations.

Starring: Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise, Donald Woods, Fritz Leiber
Directed by: William Dieterle
Release date: 1936-01-01
11.

Follow the Fleet

3.8

When the fleet puts in at San Francisco, sailor Bake Baker tries to rekindle the flame with his old dancing partner, Sherry Martin, while Bake's buddy Bilge Smith romances Sherry's sister, Connie. But it's not all smooth sailing—Bake has a habit of losing Sherry's jobs for her and, despite Connie's dreams, Bilge is not ready to settle down.

Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Harriet Hilliard, Astrid Allwyn
Directed by: Mark Sandrich
Release date: 1936-02-20
12.

Poor Little Rich Girl

3.8
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Cossetted and bored, Barbara Barry is finally sent off to school by her busy if doting widowed soap manufacturer father. When her nurse is injured en route, Barbara finds herself alone in town, ending up as part of radio song-and-dance act Dolan and Dolan sponsored by a rival soap company.
Starring: Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Gloria Stuart, Jack Haley, Michael Whalen
Directed by: Irving Cummings
Release date: 1936-07-24
13.

The Devil-Doll

3.7

Paul Lavond was a respected banker in Paris when he was framed for robbery and murder by crooked associates and sent to Devil's Island. Years later, he escapes with a friend, a scientist who was working on a method to reduce humans to a height of mere inches (all for the good of humanity, of course). Lavond however is consumed with hatred for the men who betrayed him, and takes the scientist's methods back to Paris to exact painful revenge.

Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Rafaela Ottiano, Robert Greig
Directed by: Tod Browning
Release date: 1936-07-10
14.

Born to Dance

3.7

Sailor Ted meets and falls in love with Nora Paige, an aspiring Broadway show dancer, at the Lonely Hearts Club. After Ted rescues Lucy James' Pekinese during a public relations campaign on his submarine, Lucy falls in love with Ted; and Ted's captain orders him to meet Lucy for a date at a night club breaking a date with Nora. When she sees a picture of Ted and Lucy in the newspaper, Nora, who lives with Jenny and her daughter (Jenny's husband is Gunny), no longer wants anything to do with Ted.

Starring: Eleanor Powell, James Stewart, Virginia Bruce, Una Merkel, Sid Silvers
Directed by: Roy Del Ruth
Release date: 1936-11-27
15.

Tudor Rose

3.6
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The tragic story of Lady Jane Grey, the young queen who reigned in England for nine days before she was executed.
Starring: Nova Pilbeam, Cedric Hardwicke, John Mills, Felix Aylmer, Leslie Perrins
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Release date: 1936-09-01
16.

Come and Get It

3.5
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An ambitious lumberjack abandons his saloon girl lover so that he can marry into wealth, but years later becomes infatuated with the woman's daughter.
Starring: Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea, Frances Farmer, Walter Brennan, Mady Christians
Directed by: Howard Hawks, William Wyler, Richard Rosson
Release date: 1936-11-06
17.

Things to Come

3.5

The story of a century: a decades-long second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel.

Starring: Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Cedric Hardwicke, Margaretta Scott
Directed by: William Cameron Menzies
Release date: 1936-02-20
18.

Suzy

3.5
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A French air ace discovers that his showgirl wife's first husband is still alive.
Starring: Jean Harlow, Franchot Tone, Cary Grant, Lewis Stone, Benita Hume
Directed by: George Fitzmaurice
Release date: 1936-07-20
19.

Anthony Adverse

3.5

Based on the novel by Hervey Allen, this expansive drama follows the many adventures of the eponymous hero, Anthony Adverse. Abandoned at a convent by his heartless nobleman father, Don Luis, Anthony is later mentored by his kind grandfather, John Bonnyfeather, and falls for the beautiful Angela Giuseppe. When circumstances separate Anthony and Angela and he embarks on a long journey, he must find his way back to her, no matter what the cost.

Starring: Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Woods, Anita Louise, Edmund Gwenn
Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy
Release date: 1936-08-29
20.

The Walking Dead

3.5
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Down-on-his-luck John Ellman is framed for a judge's murder. After he's convicted and sentenced to death, witnesses come forth and prove his innocence. But it was too late for a stay to be granted and Ellman is executed. A doctor uses an experimental procedure to restore him to life, though the full outcome is other than expected.
Starring: Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn, Marguerite Churchill, Warren Hull
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Release date: 1936-03-14

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