UC Berkeley Library

Films Set in the 1930's

A Handful of Dust (UK, 1988)

Director, Charles Sturridge. Cast: James Wilby, Kristin Scott Thomas, Rupert Graves, Anjelica Huston, Judi Dench, Alec Guinness. In 1930s England, Tony and Brenda Last and their son, John Andrew, live an idyllic life in the huge Victorian country house that is the symbol of Tony's family pride. The chance arrival of a penniless scrounger irrevocably shatters the gentle balance of their lives as Brenda's search for excitement and Tony's determination to hold on to what is his eventually lead in the direction of divorce and send Tony to South America. Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh.

Annie (1981)

Directed by John Huston. Cast: Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Geoffrey Holder, Edward Herrmann, Aileen Quinn. Charles Strouse, music: Martin Charnin, lyrics. A lavish musical production of the story of the comic strip character Little Orphan Annie, who is chosen to stay for one week with the famous billionaire "Daddy" Warbucks. One week turns into many, and the only person standing in the way of Annie's fun is Miss Hannigan, the gin-soaked ruler of the orphanage.

Atonement (UK / France, 2007)

Directed by Joe Wright. Cast: Tim Bevan; Eric Fellner; Paul Webster; Christopher Hampton; Joe Wright; Saoirse Ronan; Brenda Blethyn; Vanessa Redgrave; Julia West; In 1935, thirteen-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony's vivid imagination. Robbie Turner, the educated son of the family's housekeeper, carries a torch for Briony's headstrong older sister Cecilia.

Baby Face Nelson (1995)

Directed by Scott Levy. Cast: Scott Levy. In this dramatization of the life of George "Baby Face" Nelson, the gangster becomes intoxicated on the publicity of his crimes, but with allies like John Dillinger and enemies like J. Edgar Hoover, the joy ride of his crime spree can't last forever. 81 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Before the Rains (2007)

Directed by Santosh Sivan.. Cast: Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Jennifer Ehle, Linus Roache. Set in 1930s southern India against the backdrop of a growing nationalist movement. When a British spice planter falls in love with his alluring servant, the idealistic young man finds himself torn between his ambitions and his family, his village, and his past. Loyalties are tested and destinies decided as two worlds collide. 97 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Directed by Arthur Penn. Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard. A likeable young couple embark on a series of increasingly violent crimes during the darkest days of the Depression. 112 min. Online Access through LFLFC ; also on Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Awards & Honors
National Film Registry Selection

Bound for Glory (1976)

Directed by Hal Ashby. Cast: David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, Randy Quaid. Set against the grim backdrop of depression America, this film joyously celebrates the life of Woody Guthrie, America's great folk balladeer and poet. As he traveled across America his buoyant spirit and soul-rousing music surrounded him with a quiet strength enabling him to do battle with the social injustice which surrounded him. 149 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
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Boxcar Bertha (1972)

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Cast: Barbara Hershey, David Carradine, Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, John Carradine. Based on characters in the book Sister of the road, which is the autobiography of Bertha Thompson. Set in the 1930's, a homeless woman (Bertha) and an union organizer team up on a crime spree to get revenge from a railroad company. 88 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Bright Young Things (UK, 2003)

Directed by Stephen Fry. Cast: Emily Mortimer, Stephen Campbell Moore, James McAvoy, Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Fenella Woolgar, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, Jim Carter, Stockard Channing, Richard E. Grant, Peter O'Toole. During the 1930's, the world of the British uppercrust society is one of nightclubs, dancing, jazz and speed. Their lives revolve around an endless series of parties and pleasure seeking, including motorcars, jazz bands, gossip journalism, drugs, and gramophones.

Cabaret (1972)

Directed by Bob Fosse. Cast: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey. The story of an egocentric American girl who dreams of becoming a star while working in a third-rate Berlin cabaret. But as starry-eyed Sally and an impish emcee sound the call to decadent fun, in the streets of Berlin an ominous political party grows in brutal force. Based on the musical play by Joe Masteroff, the play I am a camera by John Van Druten and Christopher Isherwood's Berlin stories.

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