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john65pennington's avatar

Why was 1939 THE YEAR for some of the best-ever movies?

Asked by john65pennington (29187points) February 11th, 2010

1939 must have had pure movie magic in those twelve months. so many number one movies were filmed that year and have been number one to date. Gone With The Wind is a classic example. what made 1939 such a special year for movie classics that have endured a lifetime and never equalled?

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14 Answers

Sarcasm's avatar

I disagree. I say 1987 was the year.
Secret of my Success, Lethal Weapon, Good Morning Vietnam, The Brave Little Toaster, Evil Dead II, Full Metal Jacket, Man on Fire, Predator, The Princess Bride. These are all some greats out of 1987.

1939 brought us… Gone with the Wind, Of Mice and Men and Wizard of Oz. These are movies which I’ve heard are the great classics, but I’ve never heard anyone tell me why they’re so great. I don’t see it.

filmfann's avatar

Citizen Kane
The Maltese Falcon
Meet John Doe
The Road To Zanzibar
The Wolf Man
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dumbo
How Green Was My Valley

1941 was my favorite year for movies.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I don’t have a specific year, but I love moves from the 30s-50s in general. Nothing beats classic Hollywood.

And I don’t know any other movies to come out in 1939 specifically besides the ones mentioned.

filmfann's avatar

@Sarcasm I really think GWTW is very overrated. It’s just a very expensive romance.
The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorites. It’s amazing how they got the film to match up with Dark Side Of The Moon like that.
Other greats of 39 were Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Stagecoach.

Cruiser's avatar

They had virgin territory…kind of what it must have been like with no roads, no malls….just wide open space to create….plus no other director or screen writer to copy…had to make for long nights thinking up new scripts….

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser-Yes,those writers were up all night!lol!

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille kind of like me now?? hmmmm so many ideas so little time….

6rant6's avatar

‘39 was a terrific year. And I’d nominate 1953. I wonder how many of these icons are known to the under 30’s?

Peter Pan
From here to Eternity
Gentleman Prefer Blondes
Stalag 17
Shane
War of the Worlds (the real one)
How to Marry a Millionaire
The Wild One
Julius Ceasar
The Robe
House of Wax (the real one)
Glen or Glenda
Honda
Beat the Devil
the most terrifying movie ever made – Invaders from Mars
And who could forget… Cat-Women of the Moon

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@6rant6 I’m under 30 and I’ve seen 4 of those and know of most of the others.

knitfroggy's avatar

GWTW and The Wizard of Oz are two of my favorite movies ever. I don’t know why 1939 was such a great year in movie history, but I’m glad it was!

ucme's avatar

Great movies are great regardless of what year they’re made. I love movies but fail to see the significance of when the thing was made. Who gives a shit, just enjoy.

iphigeneia's avatar

Well, yes. But there have been numerous ‘best-ever’ films over the past decade. No one year in particular stands out to me, though if I had to pick it would be 1964!

john65pennington's avatar

sarcasm…....1987 and 1953 were excellent years, also. i guess the difference in our opinions has something to do with our ages and generation. i understand this. if i am not incorrect. i believe more Academy Awards were presented to movies of 1939. if you have not watched Gone With The Wind, you should. the movie will help you understand the Civil War in America.

aiislander's avatar

How can there be ANY doubt?? There is simply no comparison to 1939!! Just peruse this PARTIAL list of the films that debuted in 1939 and then try to say ANY other year even remotely came close!!
Partial list of 1939 Films alphabetically:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, starring Mickey Rooney and Rex Ingram as Jim
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden
Another Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
Ask a Policeman, starring Will Hay, Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott
At the Circus, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx
Babes in Arms, Srarring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
Bad Lands, starring Robert Barrat and Douglas Walton
Bachelor Mother, starring Ginger Rogers and David Niven
Barricade starring Alice Faye and Warner Baxter
Beau Geste, directed by William Wellman, starring Gary Cooper and Ray Milland
Boys’ Reformatory, starring Frankie Darro and Grant Withers
The Cat and the Canary, starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, starring Sidney Toler
Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring Edward G. Robinson, Francis Lederer, George Sanders and Paul Lukas
Dark Victory, starring Bette Davis (favorite role), George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ronald Reagan (Academy Award Nominee)
Daughter of the Tong, starring Evelyn Brent and Grant Withers
Destry Rides Again, starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart
Dodge City, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland
Drums Along the Mohawk, directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert
Each Dawn I Die, starring James Cagney and George Raft
Everything Happens at Night, starring Sonja Henie and Ray Milland
First Love, starring Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack
Five Came Back starring Lucille Ball and Chester Morris
The Four Feathers starring John Clements and Ralph Richardson
Frontier Marshal, starring Randolph Scott, John Carradine and Lon Chaney, Jr.
Golden Boy, starring Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, and Adolphe Menjou
Gone with the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh – Academy Awards for best picture, director, actress and supporting actress
Goodbye, Mr. Chips, starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson (Academy Award Nominee)
The Gorilla, starring Jimmy Ritz, Harry Ritz and Al Ritz
Gulliver’s Travels starring Jessica Dragonette and Lanny Ross
Gunga Din, starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Sam Jaffe
The Hardys Ride High, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence, starring Glenn Ford
Hollywood Cavalcade, starring Alice Faye, Don Ameche, J. Edward Bromberg and Alan Curtis
The Hound of the Baskervilles, – the first in the Sherlock Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by William Dieterle, starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara
In Name Only, starring Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis
Idiot’s Delight, starring Clark Gable and Norma Shearer
Intermezzo, starring Ingrid Bergman and Leslie Howard
It’s a Wonderful World
Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Charles Laughton and Horace Hodges
Jesse James, starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly and Randolph Scott
Juarez
Le Jour se lève (Daybreak), directed by Marcel Carné, starring Jean Gabin and Arletty
Judge Hardy and Son starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden
Let Us Live starring Maureen O’Sullivan and Henry Fonda
The Light that Failed, starring Ronald Colman
The Little Princess, starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene
Love Affair, starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (Academy Award Nominee)
Lucky Night, starring Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor
The Man in the Iron Mask, starring Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, and Warren William
Mexicali Rose, starring Gene Autry
Midnight, starring Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche
The Mikado – the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and the first British film shot in Technicolor
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains (Academy Award Nominee)
Mr. Wong in Chinatown, starring Boris Karloff
The Mystery of Mr. Wong, starring Boris Karloff
Ninotchka, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire and Bela Lugosi (Academy Award Nominee)
The Oklahoma Kid, starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Donald Crisp
Of Mice and Men, starring Burgess Meredith, Betty Field and Lon Chaney Jr. (Academy Award Nominee)
The Old Maid, starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins
On Borrowed Time, starring Lionel Barrymore and Cedric Hardwicke
On Dress Parade, starring The Dead End Kids
On Your Toes, screenplay by the playwright Lawrence Riley et al. (film mentioned in article)
Only Angels Have Wings, starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn
Q Planes, starring Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier
Range War, a Hopalong Cassidy western starring William Boyd
The Return of Doctor X, horror film starring Humphrey Bogart
The Roaring Twenties, starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane and Humphrey Bogart
The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir
Seven Little Australians directed by Arthur Greville Collins
Son of Frankenstein, starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi
The Spy in Black, starring Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson
Stagecoach, directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Berton Churchill and John Carradine (Academy Award Nominee)
Stanley and Livingstone, starring Spencer Tracy and Sir Cedric Hardwicke
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, a Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Susannah of the Mounties, starring Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott
They Made Me a Criminal
They Shall Have Music, starring Jascha Heifetz, Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds and Walter Brennan
The Three Musketeers, starring Don Ameche and The Ritz Brothers
Three Smart Girls Grow Up, starring Deanna Durbin and Robert Cummings
Three Texas Steers, starring John Wayne, directed by George Sherman
Tower of London (1939 film), starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price
The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley (Academy Award Nominee)
The Women, starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell
Union Pacific, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea and directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler, starring Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven and Flora Robson (Academy Award Nominee)
Wyoming Outlaw, starring John Wayne, directed by George Sherman
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man
Young Mr. Lincoln, directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Alice Brady

Disagree if you dare!! LOL

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