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Greatest Film Performances of the 1930s (US/UK)

Movie images collage
Criteria: Film Performances of the 1930s are ranked based on initial and lasting acclaim, popular and cultural recognition, plus influence. In order to qualify for this list the performance has to come from a predominately English-language film produced or co-produced by American or British production companies.

List Begun: 2019-10-18
More:   2010s  |   2000s  |   1990s  |   1980s  |   1970s  |   1960s  |   1950s  |   1940s  |   1930s
  Actor - Film Title (Year of Release)
  1. James Stewart - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  2. Charlie Chaplin - City Lights (1931)
  3. Vivien Leigh - Gone With the Wind (1939)
  4. Charlie Chaplin - The Modern Times (1936)
  5. Clark Gable - Gone With the Wind (1939)
  6. James Cagney - The Public Enemy (1931)
  7. Cary Grant - Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  8. Bette Davis - Jezebel (1938)
  9. Gary Cooper - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
10. Greta Garbo - Camille (1936)
11. Bette Davis - Of Human Bondage (1934)
12. Katharine Hepburn - Morning Glory (1933)
13. Charles Laughton - The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
14. Paul Muni - I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
15. Greta Garbo - Anna Christie (1930)
16. Norma Shearer - The Divorcee (1930)
17. Clark Gable - It Happened One Night (1934)
18. Claudette Colbert - It Happened One Night (1934)
19. James Cagney - Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
20. Laurence Olivier - Wuthering Heights (1939)
21. Spencer Tracy - Boys Town (1938)
22. Bette Davis - Dangerous (1935)
23. Katharine Hepburn - Holiday (1938)
24. Greta Garbo - Ninotchka (1939)
25. Charles Laughton - Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
26. Helen Hayes - The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)
27. Edward G. Robinson - Little Caesar (1931)
28. Fredric March - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
29. Spencer Tracy - Captains Courageous (1937)
30. William Powell - The Thin Man (1934)
31. Jean Harlow - Red Dust (1932)
32. Paul Muni - Scarface (1932)
33. Bette Davis - Dark Victory (1939)
34. Robert Donat - Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
35. Leslie Howard - Pygmalion (1938)
36. Katharine Hepburn - Bringing Up Baby (1938)
37. Thomas Mitchell - Stagecoach (1939)
38. Judy Garland - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
39. John Wayne - Stagecoach (1939)
40. Katharine Hepburn - Little Women (1933)
41. Greta Garbo - Queen Christina (1933)
42. Claude Rains - The Invisible Man (1933)
43. Groucho Marx - Duck Soup (1933)
44. Peter Lorre - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
45. Myrna Loy - The Thin Man (1934)
46. W.C. Fields - It's a Gift (1934)
47. Victor McLaglen - The Informer (1935)
48. Paul Muni - The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)
49. Luise Rainer - The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
50. Luise Rainer - The Good Earth (1937)
51. Robert Montgomery - Night Must Fall (1937)
52. Katharine Hepburn - Alice Adams (1935)
53. Fred Astaire - Top Hat (1935)
54. Margaret Sullavan - Three Comrades (1938)
55. Fredric March - The Royal Family of Broadway (1930)
56. Marie Dressler - Min and Bill (1930)
57. Shirley Temple - Bright Eyes (1934)
58. Robert Donat - The Citadel (1938)
59. Wendy Hiller - Pygmalion (1938)
60. Claude Rains - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
61. Ray Bolger - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
62. Greer Garson - Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
63. Marlene Dietrich - Morocco (1930)
64. Greta Garbo - Romance (1930)
65. Greta Garbo - Grand Hotel (1932)
66. Marlene Dietrich - Shanghai Express (1932)
67. Clark Gable - Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
68. Boris Karloff - The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
69. Cary Grant - The Awful Truth (1937)
70. Paul Muni - Black Fury (1935)
71. Ginger Rogers - Top Hat (1935)
72. Irene Dunne - The Awful Truth (1937)
73. Greta Garbo - Anna Karenina (1935)
74. Boris Karloff - Frankenstein (1931)
75. John Barrymore - Grand Hotel (1932)
76. Lew Ayers - All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
77. Miriam Hopkins - Trouble in Paradise (1932)
78. Herbert Marshall - Trouble in Paradise (1932)
79. Clark Gable - Red Dust (1932)
80. Wallace Beery - The Champ (1931)
81. Irene Dunne - Cimarron (1931)
82. Lionel Barrymore - A Free Soul (1931)
83. Henry Fonda - Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
84. Irene Dunne - Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
85. Walter Huston - Dodsworth (1936)
86. Miriam Hopkins - Becky Sharp (1935)
87. Groucho Marx - A Night at the Opera (1935)
88. Michael Redgrave - The Lady Vanishes (1938)
89. Mickey Rooney - Boys Town (1938)
90. Fay Bainter - White Banners (1938)
91. Olivia de Havilland - Gone with the Wind (1939)
92. Paul Muni - The Good Earth (1937)
93. Charles Boyer - Conquest (1937)
94. Fredric March - A Star Is Born (1937)
95. Barbara Stanwyck - Stella Dallas (1937)
96. Carole Lombard - My Man Godfrey (1936)
97. William Powell - My Man Godfrey (1936)
98. Spencer Tracy - San Francisco (1936)
99. Errol Flynn - Captain Blood (1935)
100. Robert Donat - The 39 Steps (1935)

101. Bela Lugosi - Dracula (1931)
102. Stan Laurel - Babes in Toyland (1934)
103. Oliver Hardy - Babes in Toyland (1934)
104. Fred Astaire - Swing Time (1936)
105. Ginger Rogers - Swing Time (1936)
106. Jean Arthur - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
107. Janet Gaynor - A Star Is Born (1937)
108. Paul Muni - The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
109. Ronald Colman - The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
110. Mickey Rooney - Babes in Arms (1939)
111. Irene Dunne - Love Affair (1939)
112. Frank Morgan - The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
113. Norma Shearer - The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
114. Oliver Hardy - Sons of the Desert (1933)
115. Stan Laurel - Sons of the Desert (1933)
116. Wallace Beery - The Big House (1930)
117. Ruth Chatterton - Sarah and Son (1930)
118. Joan Crawford - Grand Hotel (1932)
119. Gary Cooper - A Farewell to Arms (1932)
120. Ronald Colman - Arrowsmith (1931)
121. Barbara Stanwyck - Night Nurse (1931)
122. Barbara Stanwyck - The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
123. Norma Shearer - Marie Antoinette (1938)
124. Elisabeth Bergner - Escape Me Never (1935)
125. Merle Oberon - The Dark Angel (1935)
126. Claudette Colbert - Private Worlds (1935)
127. Marie Dresser - Dinner at Eight (1933)
128. Leslie Howard - Berkeley Square (1933)
129. John Barrymore - Counsellor At Law (1933)
130. Grace Moore - One Night of Love (1934)
131. Charles Laughton - The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
132. John Barrymore - Twentieth Century (1934)
133. Jean Harlow - Bombshell (1933)
134. May Robson - Lady for a Day (1933)
135. Jean Harlow - Dinner at Eight (1933)
136. Ann Harding - Holiday (1930)
137. Nancy Carroll - The Devil's Holiday (1930)
138. Norma Shearer - Their Own Desire (1930)
139. Marie Dressler - Emma (1932)
140. Louis Wolheim - All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
141. Jackie Cooper - Skippy (1931)
142. Alfred Lunt - The Guardsman (1931)
143. Lynn Fontanne - The Guardsman (1931)
144. Walter Brennan - Come and Get It (1936)
145. Miriam Hopkins - These Three (1936)
146. Walter Brennan - Kentucky (1938)
147. Alice Brady - In Old Chicago (1938)
148. Joseph Schildkraut - The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
149. May Whitty - Night Must Fall (1937)
150. Thomas Mitchell - The Hurricane (1937)
151. Gladys George - Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (1936)
152. Ralph Bellamy - The Awful Truth (1937)
153. Eugene Pallette - My Man Godfrey (1936)
154. Errol Flynn - The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
155. Charles Boyer - Algiers (1938)
156. Oliver Hardy - Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)
157. Stan Laurel - Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)
158. Diana Wynyard - Cavalcade (1933)
159. Victor McLaglen - The Lost Patrol (1934)
160. Claudette Colbert - Imitation of Life (1934)
161. Paul Lukas - Little Women (1933)
162. James Cagney - Footlight Parade (1933)
163. Marie Dressler - Anna Christie (1930)
164. Lon Chaney - The Unholy Three (1930)
165. Jean Harlow - Hell's Angels (1930)
166. George Arliss - The Green Godness (1930)
167. Irene Dunne - Show Boat (1936)
168. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. - The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
169. Victor Moore - Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
170. Adolphe Menjou - The Front Page (1931)
171. Clark Gable - A Free Soul (1931)
172. Marlene Dietrich - The Scarlet Empress (1934)
173. Warner Baxter - 42nd Street (1933)
174. Norma Shearer - A Free Soul (1931)
175. Maurice Chevalier - Love Me Tonight (1932)
176. Robert Donat - The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
177. Henry Brandon - Babes in Toyland (1934)
178. Fredi Washington - Imitation of Life (1934)
179. Franchot Tone - Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
180. Thomas Mitchell - Gone With the Wind (1939)
181. Basil Rathbone - The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
182. Boris Karloff - The Mummy (1932)
183. Johnny Weissmuller - Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
184. Olga Baclanova - Freaks (1932)
185. Elsa Lancaster - The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
186. Olivia de Havilland - Captain Blood (1935)
187. Anne Shirley - Stella Dallas (1937)
188. Lionel Barrymore - Captains Courageous (1937)
189. Lawrence Tibbett - The Rogue Song (1930)
190. Maurice Chevalier - The Big Pond (1930)
191. Jeanette MacDonald - Love Me Tonight (1932)
192. Wallace Beery - Min and Bill (1930)
193. Joel McCrea - The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
194. Greta Garbo - Mata Hari (1931)
195. Jackie Cooper - The Champ (1931)
196. Robert Morley - Marie Antoinette (1938)
197. Geraldine Fitzgerald - Wuthering Heights (1939)
198. Akim Tamiroff - The General Died at Dawn (1936)
199. Alice Brady - My Man Godfrey (1936)
200. Hattie McDaniel - Gone with the Wind (1939)

scene from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

scene from City Lights

scene from Gone With the Wind

scene from The Modern Times

scene from The Public Enemy

scene from Bringing Up Baby








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