1936 Movies

Experience the enchantment of timeless cinema from 1936 like never before! If you're looking for any and all films from that time period, our 1936 Plex database makes it easy to find them. Discover a vast collection of films, each accompanied by direct links for effortless exploration.
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Browse 923 titles in our 1936 Movies Database

The Best Movies in 1936

Modern Times

"Modern Times," a film by Charlie Chaplin, stands out for presenting the Little Tramp character in a struggle to keep pace with the industrialized world. Released during the Great Depression, it paints a vivid picture of the economic and employment challenges of the era. Chaplin not only stars in his creation but also directs, adding layers of depth to the character's journey through comedic yet poignant scenes. This blend of comedy, drama, and romance invites viewers into a reflection on societal progress and its costs.

My Man Godfrey

Gregory La Cava's "My Man Godfrey" brings an intriguing story to the forefront of 1936 cinema. This film tells the tale of a socialite who finds a man named Godfrey living at a dump and decides to hire him as the family's butler. However, Godfrey is not who he appears to be. The plot weaves through themes of identity, class, and love in a narrative that is as engaging as it is unpredictable. With its sharp script and standout performances, especially by William Powell as Godfrey, the film challenges viewers to look beyond first impressions.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Directed by Frank Capra, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" explores the life of Longfellow Deeds, a man from a small town who suddenly inherits a fortune. Thrust into a world where his every move is scrutinized, Deeds battles societal cynicism and corruption. This comedy-drama-romance cleverly critiques the values of society while presenting a heartfelt story of remaining true to one's self amidst chaos. Gary Cooper's portrayal of Deeds is both sincere and memorable, making this film a standout of 1936.

San Francisco

Set against the backdrop of the 1906 earthquake, "San Francisco" directed by W.S. Van Dyke, narrates the dynamic yet tumultuous life in the city. The story focuses on a saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario competing for the affections of a beautiful singer, professionally and personally. The film's strong dramatic and musical elements, coupled with the historical context of San Francisco's most tragic moment, provide a unique movie-going experience. Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald deliver compelling performances, bringing depth to the romantic and competitive tensions in the story.

Swing Time

"Swing Time" brings the effervescence of musical romance to 1936 with the dynamic duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Directed by George Stevens, this film follows a gambler, played by Astaire, who ventures to New York City to win a sum for his fiancée's father. However, his encounter with a dance instructor, portrayed by Rogers, ignites an unexpected romance. The intricate dance numbers and charming chemistry between Astaire and Rogers make "Swing Time" a delightful viewing experience, showcasing the ambition of love against all odds.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1936

The 8th Academy Awards: A Turning Point

The 8th Academy Awards ceremony, held on March 5, 1936, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, marked a memorable moment in film history. Hosted by Frank Capra, this occasion stands out for being the first time the awards were officially referred to as "Oscars." This year also marked the end of the practice of allowing write-in votes, a method previously open for determining winners. "Mutiny on the Bounty" emerged as the Best Picture winner, while "The Informer" achieved a notable success, securing four awards, the highest tally of the evening. Additionally, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" earned the distinction of being the only film to win an Oscar via write-in vote for Best Cinematography.

Top-Grossing Films and Notable Releases

The terrain of North American cinema in 1936 was dominated by several high-achieving films. "The Great Ziegfeld" not only topped the box office, grossing $3,089,000 but also later secured the Best Picture award at the 9th Academy Awards, honoring films released in 1936. Other noteworthy releases that captured audiences included "San Francisco," "The Plainsman," "After the Thin Man," and "Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times," each contributing to a mixed and successful year for the film industry.

Technical and Artistic Innovations

1936 also witnessed the introduction and sole awarding of the Best Dance Direction category at the Academy Awards, a unique acknowledgment that lasted for only three years. This period highlighted an openness to recognizing various forms of artistic expression within the film industry, although the category was short-lived.

Influence of Global Events on Cinema

The year was especially shaped by international political events, with the film industry being no exception. The Spanish Civil War and the rise of the Popular Front in France were pivotal, pushing filmmakers to incorporate political themes and narratives into their work. A 2008 film festival showcased an array of newsreels, documentaries, and feature films from 1936, demonstrating the film industry's response and reflection on the prevailing political tensions and ideologies of the time.

Documentary and Genre Films

The list of American films of 1936 presents a broad array of genres, indicating a rich period of creative exploration and production. From historical epics to musicals and dramatic narratives, the year offered something for every viewer. The success of films like "The Great Ziegfeld" at the Academy Awards underlines the industry's embrace of various filmic expressions and storytelling techniques.

Legacy and Influence

The film and industry highlights of 1936 offer a fascinating snapshot of a transitional period in cinema history. From the technical advancements and genre expansions to the explicit interactions between cinema and global politics, the year paved the way for future developments in the industry. The discontinuation of write-in votes and the introduction of short-lived categories at the Academy Awards indicate an ongoing process of defining and refining the recognition and celebration of cinematic achievements.