Golden Age Hollywood Adventure Pictures

by oscar-stainton | created - 4 months ago | updated - 33 minutes ago | Public

A list of adventure and fantasy films from the 1920s to very early 80s, films that invoke that feeling of a boy’s own adventure, before the modern age of blockbusters enhanced by or solely dependent on sophisticated technology.

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1. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

Not Rated | 155 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

A recalcitrant thief vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler for the hand of a beautiful princess.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Julanne Johnston, Snitz Edwards, Charles Belcher

Votes: 5,199 | Gross: $4.36M

2. The Black Pirate (1926)

PG | 88 min | Adventure, Action

Seeking revenge, an athletic young man joins the pirate band responsible for his father's death.

Director: Albert Parker | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Tempe Pigott, Donald Crisp

Votes: 1,598 | Gross: $0.68M

3. The Lost World (1925)

Passed | 106 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

Director: Harry O. Hoyt | Stars: Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lloyd Hughes, Lewis Stone

Votes: 4,361 | Gross: $1.19M

4. King Kong (1933)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 75,581 | Gross: $10.00M

5. Trader Horn (1931)

Passed | 122 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Two white traders in the darkest Africa of the 1870s find a missionary's daughter, who was captured as a child by a savage tribe and now worshiped as a goddess.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Harry Carey, Edwina Booth, Duncan Renaldo, Mutia Omoolu

Votes: 836

6. Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

Passed | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Neil Hamilton, C. Aubrey Smith, Maureen O'Sullivan

Votes: 6,640

7. Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Passed | 104 min | Action, Adventure

The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well.

Directors: Cedric Gibbons, James C. McKay, Jack Conway | Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, Paul Cavanagh

Votes: 4,553

8. Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

Passed | 82 min | Action, Adventure, Family

Tarzan finds a boy from a crashed plane and raises him with Jane in the jungle. A search party comes looking for the plane.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield, Ian Hunter

Votes: 3,038 | Gross: $2.27M

9. Elephant Boy (1937)

Approved | 80 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

This black and white movie is based on Rudyard Kipling's "Toomai, of the Elephants", in which a small native lad claims he knows the congregating place of the elephant hordes.

Directors: Robert J. Flaherty, Zoltan Korda | Stars: Sabu, W.E. Holloway, Walter Hudd, Allan Jeayes

Votes: 656

10. Captain Blood (1935)

Passed | 119 min | Action, Adventure

After being wrongly convicted as a traitor, Peter Blood, an English physician, is sent to exile in the British colonies of the Caribbean, where he becomes a pirate.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill, Basil Rathbone

Votes: 12,195

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

97 Metascore

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 44,997 | Gross: $3.98M

12. Stanley and Livingstone (1939)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Tasked by his editor, American reporter Henry M. Stanley travels to a dangerous and uncharted region of East Africa to find the missing Scottish pioneer missionary Dr. David Livingstone.

Directors: Henry King, Otto Brower | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan

Votes: 1,203

13. The Sea Hawk (1940)

Approved | 127 min | Action, Adventure, History

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains, Donald Crisp

Votes: 8,620

14. The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Approved | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

A young Spanish aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard

Votes: 8,893 | Gross: $4.36M

15. The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated | 106 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

After being tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar, King Ahmad joins forces with a thief named Abu to reclaim his throne, the city, and the Princess he loves.

Directors: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Alexander Korda, Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Sabu, June Duprez, John Justin

Votes: 11,185 | Gross: $0.27M

16. The Jungle Book (1942)

Approved | 108 min | Action, Adventure, Family

A boy raised by wolves tries to adapt to human village life.

Director: Zoltan Korda | Stars: Sabu, Joseph Calleia, John Qualen, Frank Puglia

Votes: 3,563 | Gross: $2.83M

17. Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Approved | 84 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

A young woman who has raised a giant gorilla from an infant brings him to Hollywood years later seeking her fortune in order to save her family's ranch.

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong, Mr. Joseph Young

Votes: 4,295

18. Kim (1950)

Approved | 113 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

During the British Raj, the orphan of a British soldier poses as a Hindu and is torn between his loyalty to a Buddhist mystic and aiding the English secret service.

Director: Victor Saville | Stars: Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas, Robert Douglas

Votes: 1,646

19. King Solomon's Mines (1950)

Passed | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon.

Directors: Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger, Richard Carlson, Hugo Haas

Votes: 5,381

20. The African Queen (1951)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

91 Metascore

In WWI Africa, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull

Votes: 68,228 | Gross: $0.54M

21. Mogambo (1953)

Approved | 116 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

On a Kenyan safari, white hunter Victor Marswell has a love triangle with seductive American socialite Eloise Kelly and anthropologist Donald Nordley's cheating wife Linda.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Donald Sinden

Votes: 7,064

22. Treasure Island (1950)

PG | 96 min | Adventure, Family

89 Metascore

The treasure seeking adventures of young Jim Hawkins and pirate captain Long John Silver.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, Basil Sydney, Walter Fitzgerald

Votes: 6,369

23. The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Not Rated | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy

During the 1700s, pirate Captain Vallo seizes a British warship and gets involved in various money-making schemes involving Caribbean rebels led by El Libre, British envoy Baron Jose Gruda, and a beautiful courtesan named Consuelo.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Torin Thatcher

Votes: 5,362

24. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Approved | 80 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A ferocious dinosaur awakened by an Arctic atomic test terrorizes the North Atlantic and, ultimately, New York City.

Director: Eugène Lourié | Stars: Paul Hubschmid, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey

Votes: 6,473 | Gross: $5.00M

25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

G | 127 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

83 Metascore

A ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre

Votes: 27,077 | Gross: $28.20M

26. Secret of the Incas (1954)

Approved | 100 min | Adventure

An adventurer searchers for hidden treasure in the Peruvian jungles.

Director: Jerry Hopper | Stars: Charlton Heston, Robert Young, Nicole Maurey, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 1,135 | Gross: $1.40M

27. The Lone Ranger (1956)

Passed | 86 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Wealthy rancher Reese Kilgore aims to grab silver-rich Indian land by skilfully pitting Indians against settlers but the suspicious territorial governor sends The Lone Ranger to investigate.

Director: Stuart Heisler | Stars: Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels, Lyle Bettger, Bonita Granville

Votes: 835

28. A Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)

83 min | Adventure, Animation, Family

Youngest of four boys one day finds a fossil of trilobite. So his older friend take him on journey through prehistory, up to beginning of time, to see real live trilobites.

Director: Karel Zeman | Stars: Vladimír Bejval, Petr Herrman, Zdenek Hustak, Josef Lukás

Votes: 1,373

29. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

G | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Family

When a princess is shrunken by an evil wizard, Sinbad must undertake a quest to an island of monsters to cure her and prevent a war.

Director: Nathan Juran | Stars: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher

Votes: 10,954 | Gross: $6.98M

30. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

G | 129 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

An Edinburgh professor and assorted colleagues follow an explorer's trail down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the earth's center.

Director: Henry Levin | Stars: James Mason, Pat Boone, Arlene Dahl, Diane Baker

Votes: 14,542 | Gross: $10.00M

31. Hercules (1958)

G | 107 min | Adventure, Fantasy

The muscular Hercules performs his Labors, sails with the Argonauts, and romances the fair Iole.

Director: Pietro Francisci | Stars: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Fabrizio Mioni, Ivo Garrani

Votes: 1,676 | Gross: $10.90M

32. Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Adventure

Tarzan leads five passengers from a downed airplane out of the jungle. En route white hunter Hawkins tries to sell them to the Oparian chief. Captured by the Oparians and nearly sacrificed ... See full summary »

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone | Stars: Gordon Scott, Robert Beatty, Yolande Donlan, Betta St. John

Votes: 534 | Gross: $1.99M

33. Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959)

Approved | 88 min | Action, Adventure

Four British villains raid a settlement to obtain explosives for use in a diamond mine. In doing so they nearly destroy the settlement, so and Tarzan pursues them to their mine.

Director: John Guillermin | Stars: Gordon Scott, Anthony Quayle, Sara Shane, Niall MacGinnis

Votes: 1,087 | Gross: $2.18M

34. Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)

Approved | 82 min | Action, Adventure

Tarzan must escort his prisoner Coy Banton out of the jungle to the authorities. The boat is blown up by Coy's father and brothers. In addition to Coy Tarzan must now lead five more of the ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Day | Stars: Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney, Betta St. John, John Carradine

Votes: 589

35. Mysterious Island (1961)

Not Rated | 101 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

During the Civil War a group of Union soldiers and two Confederates escape the stockade using a hot air balloon and end up on a strange Pacific island.

Director: Cy Endfield | Stars: Michael Craig, Joan Greenwood, Michael Callan, Gary Merrill

Votes: 6,017

36. Hatari! (1962)

Approved | 157 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A group of men trap wild animals in Africa and sell them to zoos before the arrival of a female wildlife photographer threatens to change their ways.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Krüger, Red Buttons

Votes: 11,096 | Gross: $14.00M

37. Born Free (1966)

PG | 95 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The story of George and Joy Adamson and the orphaned lion cub, Elsa, they adopt.

Directors: James Hill, Tom McGowan | Stars: Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Geoffrey Keen, Peter Lukoye

Votes: 5,632

38. The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Not Rated | 142 min | Adventure, Drama

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger

Votes: 18,021

39. She (I) (1965)

Unrated | 106 min | Adventure, Fantasy

An Edwardian archaeologist and two companions stumble upon a lost city in East Africa, run by a beautiful queen whose love holds the promise of immortality.

Director: Robert Day | Stars: Ursula Andress, Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, John Richardson

Votes: 2,737

40. Dinosaurus! (1960)

Unrated | 83 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

After undersea explosions near a Caribbean island, prehistoric creatures are unleashed on the unsuspecting population. Freed from his watery tomb, as well, is a very friendly Neanderthal ... See full summary »

Director: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. | Stars: Ward Ramsey, Paul Lukather, Kristina Hanson, Alan Roberts

Votes: 1,117

41. One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Not Rated | 92 min | Adventure, Fantasy

58 Metascore

Prehistoric man Tumak is banished from his savage tribe and meets pretty Loana who belongs to a gentler coastal tribe but he must fight caveman Payto to win her favors.

Director: Don Chaffey | Stars: Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert, Robert Brown

Votes: 7,247

42. The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

G | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A cowboy named Tuck Kirby seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.

Director: Jim O'Connolly | Stars: James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith

Votes: 3,770

43. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

G | 96 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Set in the ancient past when humans and dinosaurs lived together, a small tribe is struggling to survive by giving a sacrifice of a blond woman to their god, the sun, in return for ... See full summary »

Director: Val Guest | Stars: Victoria Vetri, Robin Hawdon, Patrick Allen, Drewe Henley

Votes: 2,132

44. The Land That Time Forgot (1974)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Fantasy

50 Metascore

During World War I, a German U-boat sinks a British ship and takes the survivors on board. After it takes a wrong turn, the submarine takes them to the unknown land of Caprona, where they find dinosaurs and neanderthals.

Director: Kevin Connor | Stars: Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron

Votes: 5,154

45. The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974)

PG | 108 min | Adventure, History

The Four Musketeers defend the queen and her dressmaker from Cardinal Richelieu and Milady de Winter.

Director: Richard Lester | Stars: Michael York, Raquel Welch, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain

Votes: 9,314 | Gross: $19.10M

46. The Three Musketeers (1973)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure

7.2