1939 in film

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List of years in film
In television
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942

The year 1939 in film is widely considered the greatest year in film history. The ten Best Picture-nominated films that year include classics in multiple genres. [1]

Top-grossing films (U.S.)[edit]

The top ten 1939 released films by box office gross in North America are as follows:

Highest-grossing films of 1939
Rank Title Studio Box office gross rental
1 Gone with the Wind Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Selznick International Pictures $18,000,000[2]
2 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Columbia Pictures $3,500,000[3]
3 Jesse James 20th Century Fox $2,335,000[4]
4 Babes in Arms Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $2,311,000[5]
5 The Wizard of Oz $2,048,000[5]
6 Gunga Din RKO Radio Pictures $1,888,000[6]
7 Goodbye, Mr. Chips Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1,777,000[5]
8 Dodge City Warner Bros. $1,668,000[7]
9 The Rains Came 20th Century Fox $1,656,000[4]
10 The Women Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1,610,000[5]

Events[edit]

Film historians often rate 1939 as "the greatest year in the history of Hollywood".[8][9] Hollywood films produced in Southern California were at the height of their Golden Age (in spite of many cheaply made or undistinguished films also being produced, something to be expected with any year in commercial cinema), and during 1939 there are the premieres of an outstandingly large number of exceptional motion pictures, many of which become honored as all-time classic films.

Nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Director[edit]

The year 1939 was one in which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated ten films for Best Picture:

These films came from a wide variety of film genres and sources for their stories and settings, including: historical fiction (Gone with the Wind), contemporary affairs (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Of Mice and Men), love stories, classic novels (Wuthering Heights), fantasies/musicals, (The Wizard of Oz), tragic plays (Dark Victory), westerns (Stagecoach), and comedies (Ninotchka).

Each of the five nominees for Best Director of 1939 were or went on to become a legendary film director with multiple acclaimed films to his credit: Frank Capra (previous winner of the award), Victor Fleming, John Ford (who won a record four Best Director awards), Sam Wood, and William Wyler (who leads all directors in nominations with 11 while having three wins).[citation needed]

Academy Awards[edit]

Gone with the Wind receives in all ten Academy Awards (eight competitive, two honorary) from thirteen nominations.

1939 film releases[edit]

United States

January–March[edit]

April–June[edit]

July–September[edit]

October–December[edit]

Notable films released in 1939[edit]

United States unless stated

A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

J[edit]

K[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

N[edit]

O[edit]

P[edit]

Q[edit]

R[edit]

S[edit]

T[edit]

U[edit]

V[edit]

W[edit]

Y[edit]

Z[edit]

Serials[edit]

Comedy film series[edit]

Animated short film series[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Debuts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giltz, Michael (February 15, 2008). "Michael Giltz: DVDs: 1939 – The Best Year For Movies...Ever!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "York's 4,000,000". Variety. December 31, 1941. p. 20. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Eyman, Scott (1993). Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise. ISBN 0-8018-6558-1. Ninotchka's financial returns were less than those of the year's biggest hit, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which made $3.5 million, but considerably more than other hits like The Old Maid ($1.4 million), Only Angels Have Wings ($1.1 million), or The Rains Came ($1.65 million).
  4. ^ a b "All-time Film Rental Champs". Variety. October 15, 1990. p. M162 to 166.
  5. ^ a b c d The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  6. ^ Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931–1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
  7. ^ Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 20 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  8. ^ Fristoe, Roger. "Introduction to 1939, Hollywood's Greatest Year". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  9. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (October 2, 2009). "1939: Film's finest year". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "Ian McKellen". BFI. Retrieved January 8, 2022.