1934 Movies

Transport yourself to the enchanting world of 1934 as you explore the captivating cinematic treasures in our Plex database. Here, you may find a wide variety of classic films all in one convenient place, so you can explore the world of historical cinema. Discover the inherent beauty of this art form and delve into the remarkable cinematic accomplishments of the past.
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Browse 785 titles in our 1934 Movies Database

The Best Movies in 1934

It Happened One Night

In "It Happened One Night," directed by Frank Capra, the narrative involves a renegade reporter and a young heiress who find themselves on a spontaneous road trip. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert bring these characters to life, creating an unforgettable dynamic. Their journey is fraught with comedic instances and burgeoning romance, setting a high benchmark for romantic comedies that followed. What sets "It Happened One Night" apart is its pioneering influence on the romantic comedy genre. The chemistry between Gable and Colbert showcases the potential for nuanced relationships in cinema beyond mere comedic or romantic labels. This film also demonstrated how a simple narrative, when executed with charming performances and sharp dialogue, could resonate deeply with audiences.


Jean Vigo's "L'Atalante" merges elements of comedy, drama, and romance through the story of a newlywed couple navigating life on a barge. The film explores the intricacies of married life, juxtaposed against the eccentric backdrop of the barge's crew. "L'Atalante" stands out for its poetic realism, a testament to Vigo's innovative direction. The significance of "L'Atalante" lies in its artistic approach to storytelling. Vigo uses the barge, a confined space, to explore broader themes of love, jealousy, and the pursuit of happiness. The film's blend of humor and drama, coupled with its visual style, contribute to its enduring legacy in cinema history.

The Thin Man

"The Thin Man," directed by W.S. Van Dyke, introduces audiences to a married couple who get involved in solving a murder mystery. William Powell and Myrna Loy embody these characters with a mix of wit and elegance, making the film a standout in the comedy-crime mystery genre. Their rapport, filled with sharp dialogue and humor, provides a template for on-screen partnerships in detective narratives. This film is recognized for elevating the mystery genre with its blend of humor and suspense. The main couple serves as both sophisticated socialites and adept detectives, breaking stereotypes and adding layers to their character portrayals. "The Thin Man" has thus been influential in shaping perceptions of detective stories, making it a classic in its own right.

The Gay Divorcee

In "The Gay Divorcee," Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dazzle in a musical comedy directed by Mark Sandrich. The plot revolves around mistaken identities aimed at securing a divorce, enriched with impressive dance numbers and musical pieces. Astaire and Rogers' partnership on screen captures the essence of a golden era in Hollywood musicals. Astaire and Rogers' performances in "The Gay Divorcee" are pivotal to the film's acclaim. Their dance sequences not only advance the plot but also highlight their physical comedy and acting skills. This film showcases the potential of dance as a storytelling tool, securing its place in the history of musical cinema.

One Night of Love

Directed by Victor Schertzinger, "One Night of Love" follows an aspiring opera singer under the guidance of a demanding maestro. The film explores themes of ambition, mentorship, and love, set against the backdrop of operatic performances. Grace Moore and Tullio Carminati deliver compelling performances that underscore the emotional depth of their characters' journey. "One Night of Love" stands out for its portrayal of the arts, particularly opera, as both a passion and a career. The film dives into the complexities of the mentor-mentee dynamic, offering insights into personal growth and artistic integrity. Its blend of romance and music elevates it beyond a traditional cinematic experience.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1934

The Onset of the Hays Code

In 1930, Hollywood introduced a set of moral guidelines known as the Motion Picture Production Code, or the Hays Code. By 1934, under pressure from various conservative and religious groups, these guidelines became strictly enforced. This shift was a response to concerns that films were negatively influencing morals by portraying crime, sin, or wrongdoing in a sympathetic light. The enforcement of the Hays Code marked a momentous turning point, dictating content production and setting boundaries on what could be depicted in films.

Noteworthy Films of 1934

The year 1934 was a standout period for cinema, with several films leaving a lasting impact on the industry. "It Happened One Night," directed by Frank Capra, emerged as a standout success, achieving a rare Oscars sweep by winning five awards, including Best Picture. This romantic comedy set a high bar for the genre. Meanwhile, "L'Atalante" and "The Thin Man" also received high praise, further showcasing the year's mixed film offerings. At the box office, "Cleopatra," "Forsaking All Others," and of course, "It Happened One Night," led the charge in North America, illustrating the public's varied tastes in films during this era.

The 7th Academy Awards

The Oscars of this year were particularly memorable, with the 7th Academy Awards taking place on February 27, 1935. "It Happened One Night" stood out, securing multiple awards and emphasizing its influence and popularity. The event highlighted the achievements of the film industry during a difficult economic period, celebrating the creativity and resilience of filmmakers. Other films that received considerable attention included "One Night of Love," "Cleopatra," "The Gay Divorcee," and "The Thin Man," each earning multiple nominations and confirming 1934 as a year of artistic achievement and innovation in cinema.

Industry Challenges

The film industry in 1934 faced hurdles beyond content regulation. The Great Depression exerted widespread pressure on studios, prompting them to produce films with controversial themes, including those featuring sex and violence, in an attempt to draw audiences. This tension between generating profit and adhering to moral guidelines underscored the challenges studios navigated. Compounding these challenges were international issues, such as complaints in Australia regarding government interference in film content, indicating the global nature of the struggle between creative expression and regulation.

International Perspectives

The global impact of Hollywood's film industry was evident, even as countries grappled with the balance between regulation and creative freedom. The tension highlighted in Australia was just one example of the broader conversations happening worldwide regarding the content and influence of films. These discussions were important in shaping international film, influencing both the production and reception of Hollywood films abroad.