Top 25 Films of 1939

by bwolskin-9 | created - 19 Dec 2010 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

Considered the greatest year in motion pictures and it's hard to argue.

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1. The Women (1939)

Not Rated | 133 min | Comedy, Drama

A study of the lives and romantic entanglements of various interconnected women.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland

Votes: 11,752 | Gross: $2.27M

There are a few films on here that I haven't seen in a while that might be able to challenge "The Women" for top spot but after seeing it again,in terms of pure entertainment it'll be hard to beat...I just think it's an absolute treat to watch.

10

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

73 Metascore

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold

Votes: 99,880 | Gross: $9.60M

10

3. The Four Feathers (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A timid British Army officer has quit and burns his last day summons to a war in Egypt. Calling him a coward, his girl friend and 3 officer friends give him a white feather. In redemption, he shadows his friends in war to save their lives.

Director: Zoltan Korda | Stars: John Clements, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith, June Duprez

Votes: 5,157

10

4. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Passed | 100 min | Biography, Drama

91 Metascore

A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan

Votes: 6,866

10

5. Stagecoach (1939)

Passed | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

93 Metascore

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 39,134

10

6. The Rules of the Game (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély

Votes: 24,703

10

7. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance

A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveller the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson

Votes: 15,146

10

8. Love Affair (1939)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A French playboy and an American former nightclub singer fall in love aboard a ship. They arrange to reunite six months later, after he has had a chance to earn a decent living.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lee Bowman

Votes: 3,976

10

9. Bachelor Mother (1939)

Approved | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

An unemployed woman discovers an abandoned baby on the steps of an orphanage, and accepts an offer to take responsibility for the child in return for a job.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson

Votes: 3,339

10

10. Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | 117 min | Adventure, Comedy, War

In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Votes: 10,313

9

11. The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

Passed | 113 min | Adventure, History, Romance

Despotic King Louis XIV discovers he has a twin brother who has grown up under the tutelage of his foster father, the patriotic musketeer D'Artagnan.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, Warren William, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 1,355

9

12. Le Jour Se Leve (1939)

Not Rated | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events that led him to the killing.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Jean Gabin, Jacqueline Laurent, Arletty, Jules Berry

Votes: 6,064 | Gross: $0.03M

9

13. Ninotchka (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Romance

A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi

Votes: 17,565 | Gross: $1.19M

9

14. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | 117 min | Drama, Romance

In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 9,667 | Gross: $3.27M

9

15. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Not Rated | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

86 Metascore

At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess

Votes: 11,295

9

16. Beau Geste (1939)

Passed | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy

Votes: 5,131

9

17. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, History, Romance

Newlyweds Gil and Lana Martin try to establish a farm in the Mohawk Valley but are menaced by Indians and Tories as the Revolutionary War begins.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins

Votes: 5,164 | Gross: $1.00M

9

18. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 268,813 | Gross: $198.68M

9

19. Stanley and Livingstone (1939)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, History

When American newspaperman and adventurer Henry M. Stanley comes back from the western Indian wars, his editor James Gordon Bennett sends him to Africa to find Dr. David Livingstone, the ... See full summary »

Directors: Henry King, Otto Brower | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan

Votes: 1,176

9

20. Dodge City (1939)

Approved | 104 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A Texas cattle agent witnesses first hand, the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabot

Votes: 4,248

9

21. In Name Only (1939)

Approved | 94 min | Drama, Romance

After a wealthy man finds out his wife is a gold digger, he meets and falls for a widowed mother, and complications ensue.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, Kay Francis, Charles Coburn

Votes: 2,430

9

22. Idiot's Delight (1939)

Approved | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

A group of disparate travelers are caught and thrown together in a posh Alpine hotel when the borders are closed at the beginning of World War II.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Edward Arnold, Charles Coburn

Votes: 1,193

9

23. Destry Rides Again (1939)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Western

When a tough western town needs taming, the mild-mannered son of a hard-nosed sheriff gets the job.

Director: George Marshall | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger

Votes: 9,311 | Gross: $0.35M

9

24. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Unrated | 114 min | Drama, Romance

An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades.

Directors: Sam Wood, Sidney Franklin | Stars: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills

Votes: 9,113

9

25. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved | 106 min | Biography, Drama, History

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp

Votes: 4,647

9

26. The Old Maid (1939)

Approved | 95 min | Drama

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent, Donald Crisp

Votes: 2,898



9

27. The Spy in Black (1939)

77 min | Thriller, War

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw, Marius Goring

Votes: 1,785



9

28. Midnight (1939)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A chorus girl stranded in Paris is set up by a millionaire to break up his wife's affair with another man, while being romantically pursued by a cab driver.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer

Votes: 4,124



9

29. The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George

Votes: 11,618



9

30. The Great Man Votes (1939)

Passed | 72 min | Drama

In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: John Barrymore, Peter Holden, Virginia Weidler, Katharine Alexander

Votes: 484



9

31. Of Mice and Men (1939)

Approved | 106 min | Drama

Two itinerant migrant workers, one mentally disabled and the other his carer, take jobs as ranch hands during the Great Depression to fulfill their shared dream of owning their own ranch.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Charles Bickford

Votes: 5,107



8

32. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Approved | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.

Director: Sidney Lanfield | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie

Votes: 8,724



8

33. The Cat and the Canary (1939)

Approved | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

When an eccentric family meets in their uncle's remote, decaying mansion on the tenth anniversary of his death for the reading of his will, murder and madness follow.

Director: Elliott Nugent | Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal, Douglass Montgomery

Votes: 2,374



8

34. Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 8,256



8

35. Never Say Die (1939)

82 min | Comedy

A wealthy hypochondriac and an heiress are both experiencing romantic complications, prompting them to marry each other.

Director: Elliott Nugent | Stars: Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Andy Devine, Alan Mowbray

Votes: 355



8

36. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 356,680 | Gross: $2.08M

Truthfully after seeing it again I found many of the characters annoying at times and if it wasn't for Judy Garland and some enjoyable musical numbers I'm not sure there'd be much here.

8

37. Another Thin Man (1939)

Passed | 103 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

An explosives manufacturer suspects a young man is out to kill him. He calls in new parents Nick and Nora to sort things out.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Virginia Grey, Otto Kruger

Votes: 5,943



8

38. Dark Victory (1939)

Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether or not she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Votes: 9,137



8

39. Tower of London (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, History

In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter

Votes: 1,628



7

40. The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Unrated | 64 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging.

Director: Nick Grinde | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox, Roger Pryor

Votes: 1,282



7

41. Union Pacific (1939)

Passed | 135 min | Drama, Western

In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff, Robert Preston

Votes: 2,395



7

42. Juarez (1939)

Approved | 125 min | Biography, Drama, History

Louis Napoleon III takes advantage of the American Civil War to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power by helping Emperor Maximillian Hapsburg to add Mexico to his empire. of Mexico.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains

Votes: 1,793



7

43. Each Dawn I Die (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, George Bancroft

Votes: 2,573



7

44. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Approved | 85 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

Director: Alfred L. Werker | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino, Alan Marshal

Votes: 5,793

Sadly the film just wasn't as fun and engaging as I once thought.

6

45. Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939)

Approved | 74 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

Charlie's investigation of a phony psychic during the 1939 World Exposition on San Francisco's Treasure Island leads him to expose a suicide as murder.

Director: Norman Foster | Stars: Sidney Toler, Cesar Romero, Pauline Moore, Victor Sen Yung

Votes: 1,478



6

46. The Real Glory (1939)

Approved | 96 min | Action, History, Romance

A small American contingent tries to train rural tribesmen to defend themselves against fanatical Muslim radicals in 1906 Philippines.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Gary Cooper, David Niven, Andrea Leeds, Reginald Owen

Votes: 764



6

47. The Rains Came (1939)

Approved | 103 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Living in India with her crude husband, a British aristocrat is reunited with an old flame at a party, though she truly has her sights set on a handsome doctor.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, George Brent, Brenda Joyce

Votes: 1,714



6

48. Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

Passed | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, History

Starting in 1913 movie director Connors discovers singer Molly Adair. As she becomes a star she marries an actor, so Connors fires them. She asks for him as director of her next film. Many silent stars shown making the transition to sound.

Directors: Irving Cummings, Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair | Stars: Alice Faye, Don Ameche, J. Edward Bromberg, Alan Curtis

Votes: 325



6

49. The Return of Doctor X (1939)

Approved | 62 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi