The following is an overview of 1931 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.

Top-grossing films

Rank Title Studio Actors Worldwide Gross
1. Frankenstein Universal Boris Karloff $12,000,000
2. Cimarron RKO Richard Dix and Irene Dunne $1,383,000
3. Mata Hari MGM Greta Garbo $2,227,000
4. City Lights United Artists Charlie Chaplin $5,019,181
5. A Free Soul MGM Norma Shearer
6. Dracula Universal Bela Lugosi
7. Private Lives MGM Norma Shearer
8. No Limit Paramount Clara Bow
9. The Public Enemy Warner Bros. James Cagney and Jean Harlow
10. The Smiling Lieutenant Paramount Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins

Academy Awards

Best Picture: Cimarron - MGM Best Actor: Lionel Barrymore - A Free Soul Best Actor: Wallace Beery - The Champ Best Actor: Fredric March - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Best Actress: Marie Dressler - Min and Bill Best Actress: Helen Hayes - The Sin of Madelon Claudet

Note: Prior to 1933, awards were not based on calendar years. And there were two awards given in 1932 for 'Best Actor'. That's how there are 3 'Best Actor', 2 'Best Actress' awards for 1931 films.

Notable films released in 1931

  1. Dracula
  2. One Good Turn


Battling with Buffalo Bill Danger Island Finger Prints The Galloping Ghost, starring Harold Grange Heroes of the Flames King of the Wild The Lightning Warrior, starring Rin Tin Tin The Mystery Trooper The Phantom of the West The Sign of the Wolf The Spell of the Circus The Vanishing Legion

Short film series

Laurel and Hardy (1921–1943) Charley Chase (1924–1940) Buster Keaton (1917–1941) Our Gang (1922–1944)

Animated short film series

Aesop's Film Fables (1921–1933) Krazy Kat (1925–1940) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (1927–1938) Mickey Mouse The Birthday Party Traffic Troubles The Castaway The Moose Hunt The Delivery Boy Mickey Steps Out Blue Rhythm Fishin' Around The Barnyard Broadcast The Beach Party Mickey Cuts Up Mickey's Orphans

Silly Symphonies Birds of a Feather Mother Goose Melodies The China Plate The Busy Beavers The Cat's Out Egyptian Melodies The Clock Store The Spider and the Fly The Fox Hunt The Ugly Duckling

Screen Songs (1929–1938) Talkartoons (1929–1932) Mask a Raid (featuring Betty Boop)

Looney Tunes (1930–1969) Flip the Frog (1930–1933) Terrytoons (1930–1964) Toby the Pup (1930-1931) Merrie Melodies (1931-1969) Scrappy (1931-1941) Tom and Jerry (Van Beuren) (1931-1933)



Film debuts

Bruce Cabot - Heroes of the Flames Bette Davis - Bad Sister Lotte Lenya - The Threepenny Opera Otto Preminger director, producer - The Great Love Simone Simon - Durand contre Durand

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