The Beginnings: 1930-1938 (Tony's Addendum)
As usual Michael is spot on with his movie selections. However, I think in this case he made one significant omission. No list of essential movies of the 30's is complete without the incomparable "The Thin Man" (1934). The movie stars William Powell and Myrna Loy as charming and witty husband and wife sleuths. How many TV shows have been built on this concept (Hart to Hart, Moonlighting, Castle?) The movie was so popular it spawned 4 sequels.
The other omissions are not as grievous, but more personal for me. No listing of 30's movies is complete without mentioning the advent of the Universal Studios horror films. Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein (my personal favorite), Dracula, The Mummy and The Invisible Man all debuted in this decade. They set a standard for horror movies that still resonates today. When I was a kid, no all night Halloween movie marathon was complete without a few of these classics included.
One added note, I see that Michael stopped his list before 1939, which is arguably the greatest year for film ever. He could make an entire list of "essentials" from 1939 alone. I will be anxiously waiting to see what he chooses.