I thought it would be fun to choose 10 films from each decade and show you my favorite. For the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s I chose one movie per year, but the previous decades made that harder for me when some years I liked several movies and some years I didn’t like any. See my 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s picks here.
Baby Take a Bow (1934) – I feel like I got to watch all of the Shirley Temple movies on this list growing up visiting my grandparents. I always thought she was adorable and so talented – she was a large reason of why I used to enjoy dance class as a young child.
Heidi (1937) – My favorite Shirley Temple movie!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – I think the dwarves are adorable and I also loved how fair skinned Snow White was as such a fair skinned girl myself!
A Christmas Carol (1938) – I remember watching this on the last day of English class in 6th grade before Christmas break. It has been adapted so many times, but this version takes me back to the excitement in middle school for Christmas and time to hang out with your friends who were on other teams at school, so you didn’t see as often as we had been used to.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – We watched this my first day working on Capitol Hill. I had seen it before plenty, but I love that the Congressman’s staff in the office I was working for, did a potluck and movie for us that first evening to celebrate our coming to D.C. and to bond our team together.
The Little Princess (1939) – I prefer the 90s adaptation, but this was my first exposure to the story of an incredibly resilient girl named Sarah who believed all girls were princesses.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Another movie where I actually prefer the stage adaptation, but I love the movie too. In sixth grade, I was in a production of The Wizard of Oz with the Pied Piper Children’s Theater in Northern Virginia. That year I also read the book by L. Frank Baum for a project in English class. The combination of the two reinvigorated my love for the movie and the characters Dorothy meets in Oz. There is also something still so magical about the transition from black & white to technicolor in the film!
Gone With the Wind (1939) – I much prefer the book to the film, but Clark Gable as Rhett Butler is such perfect casting to how I pictured Rhett when reading the book. This was a movie that we would watch during dead week every fall semester in college as we sat and revised papers and notes to prepare for finals.