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Originally published in Essential Cinema, copyright 2004 Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here are Rosenbaums' favorite 94 films from the 1930s:

L'age d'Or (Bunuel) 
All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone) 
The Blue Angel (Sternberg) 
Earth (Dovzhenko) 
Her Man (Tay Garnett) 
Laughter (Harry d'Arrast) 
Monte Carlo (Lubitsch) 
Sous les toits de Paris (Clair) 
Tabu (Murnau) 
That Night's Wife (Ozu)

Blonde Crazy (Roy del Ruth) 
The Champ (King Vidor) 
La chienne (Renoir) 
City Lights (Chaplin) 
Dishonored (Sternberg) 
Enthusiasm (Vertov) 
M (Lang) 
The Man I Killed (Lubitsch) 
La nuit du carrefour (Renoir) 
Philips Radio (Joris Ivens) 
The Struggle (Griffith)

Boudu sauve des eaux (Renoir) 
Freaks (Tod Browning) 
Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod) 
Las hurdes (Land Without Bread) (Bunuel) 
Ivan (Dovzhenko) 
I Was Born But (Ozu) 
Love Me Tonight (Robert Mamoulian) 
Marie, legende hongrois (Fejos) 
The Mask of Fu Manchu (Charles Brabin) 
Me and My Gal (Walsh) 
Million Dollar Legs (Edward F. Cline) 
The Music Box (James Parrott) 
The Old Dark Horse (James Whale) 
One Hour with You (Lubitsch) 
Scarface (Hawks) 
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Lang) 
Trouble in Paradise (Lubitsch) 
Vampyr (Dreyer) 
Zero de conduite (Jean Vigo)

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (Frank Capra) 
Bombshell (Victor Fleming) 
Deserter (Pudovkin) 
Duck Soup (Leo McCarey) 
The Great Consoler (Kuleshov) 
Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (Milestone) 
Hard to Handle (Mervyn LeRoy) 
Man's Castle (Borzage) 
Passing Fancy (Ozu) 
Stoopnocracy (Dave Fleischer) 
Topaze (d'Arrast)

Angele (Marcel Pagnol) 
L'atalante (Vigo) 
The Black Cat (Edgar G. Ulmer) 
Cleopatra (DeMille) 
The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich) 
Judge Priest (John Ford) 
Our Daily Bread (King Vidor) 
The Scarlet Empress (Sternberg) 
La signora di tutti (Max Ophuls) 
Toni (Renoir) 
Twentieth Century (Hawks)

Aerograd / Frontier (Dovzhenko) 
Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale) 
Le crime de Monsieur Lange (Renoir) 
Ruggles of Red Gap (McCarey) 
The Scoundrel (Ben Hecht / Charles MacArthur) 
Sylvia Scarlett (George Cukor) 
The 39 Steps (Hitchcock)

The Devil Doll (Browning) 
Fury (Lang) 
Modern Times (Chaplin) 
The Only Son (Ozu) 
The Prisoner of Shark Island (Ford) 
Rose Hobart (Joseph Cornell) 
Slussakkord (Final Accord) (Douglas Sirk) 
Show Boat (Whale)

La grande illusion (Renoir) 
The Great Garrick (Whale) 
Make Way for Tomorrow (McCarey) 
Les perles de la couronne (Sacha Guitry) 
You Only Live Once (Lang)

Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein) 
La bete humaine (Renoir) 
The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (Mark Donskoi) 
The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock) 
Olympia (Leni Riefenshahl) 
You and Me (Lang)

L'espoir (Andre Malraux) 
Love Affair (McCarey) 
Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks) 
La regle du jeu (Renoir) 
Story of Late Chrysanthemums (Mizoguchi) 
The Wizard of Oz (Fleming)

So who owned the '30s? Rosenbaum's auteur scorecard:

Renoir - 8 Lang - 5 Lubitsch - 4 McCarey - 4 Ozu - 4 Whale - 4 Dovzhenko - 3 Hawks - 3 Sternberg - 3 d'Arrast - 2 Browning - 2 Bunuel - 2 Chaplin - 2 Fleming - 2 Ford - 2 Hitchcock - 2 Milestone - 2 Vidor - 2 Vigo - 2