Top 25 Pre-Code Movies (1930-1934)

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1.
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations. (70 mins.)
Director: Erle C. Kenton
 
2.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. (136 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
3.
Scarface (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall. (93 mins.)
 
4.
The Public Enemy (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war. (83 mins.)
 
5.
M (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. (117 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ Note: Okay, this one doesn't really count, since it's not an American film, but I just had to include it anyway. ” - TheHestinator
 
6.
Gabriel Over the White House (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A political hack becomes President during the height of the Depression and undergoes a metamorphosis into an incorruptible statesman after a near-fatal accident. (86 mins.)
Director: Gregory LaCava
 
7.
King Kong (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition. (100 mins.)
 
8.
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers. (63 mins.)
 
9.
Doctor X (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer. (76 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
10.
The Invisible Man (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane. (71 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
11.
Duck Soup (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale. (68 mins.)
Director: Leo McCarey
 
12.
The Mayor of Hell (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided... (90 mins.)
Director: Archie Mayo
 
13.
Wild Boys of the Road (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected. (68 mins.)
 
14.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him. (92 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
15.
The Beast of the City (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Police Chief Jim Fitzpatrick ruthlessly goes after organized crime and is prepared to use brutal and violent methods to fight it. (86 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
 
16.
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments. (61 mins.)
Director: Robert Florey
 
17.
Heroes for Sale (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break... (76 mins.)
 
18.
Kongo (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
This remake of West of Zanzibar made four years later tries to outdo the Lon Chaney original in morbidity... (86 mins.)
Director: William Cowen
 
19.
The Son of Kong (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
The men who captured the giant ape King Kong return to Skull Island and find his likewise gigantic but far more friendly son. (70 mins.)
 
20.
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well. (104 mins.)
Director: Cedric Gibbons
 
21.
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does. (68 mins.)
Director: Charles Brabin
 
22.
Frankenstein (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. (70 mins.)
Director: James Whale
 
23.
L'âge d'or (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society. (60 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
“ Note: Okay, this one doesn't really count, since it's not an American film, but I just had to include it anyway. ” - TheHestinator
 
24.
Picture Snatcher (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Ex-convict Danny Kean decides to become honest as a photographer for a paper. He falls in love with Patricia... (77 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
 
25.
Lady Killer (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A former gangster makes it big in Hollywood, but his old life catches up with him. (76 mins.)
Director: Roy Del Ruth