Academy Award Rankings

Ranking All The Movies Nominated At The 1st Academy Awards In 1929

The Best Movies From The 1st Academy Awards 1929 copy

“What are the best movies nominated for the first Academy Awards in 1929?” We looked at all 24 movies nominated for an Oscar in 1929 and ranked them again one another to answer that very question!

We took all 24 movies that were nominated for an Academy Award in 1929 and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. The movies are ranked on our list below, with the full chart of rankings included at the bottom of the page. We did not use Metacritic scores because of the lack of data for older movies on that site. Metacritic scores will be included when we do rankings for other years in the future.

If you want to see the rankings for additional years you can visit our Academy Award Rankings page.

Happy Viewing!



The Top 1929 Academy Award Movie Rankings



24 .) The Magic Flame

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography

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23 .) A Ship Comes In

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress

An immigrant family experiences life in the United States.

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21 (Tie) .) The Devil Dancer

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography

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21 (Tie) .) The Private Life of Helen of Troy

Nominated For:

  • Best Title Writing

Queen Helen of Troy ( María Corda ), piqued by her husband’s lack of interest in her, elopes with Paris ( Ricardo Cortez ) to Sparta.

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20 .) Sorrell and Son

Nominated For:

  • Best Director, Dramatic Picture

Stephen Sorrell, a decorated war hero, raises his son Kit alone after Kit’s mother deserts husband and child in the boy’s infancy.

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19 .) Glorious Betsy

Nominated For:

  • Best Adaptation

The real-life courtship, marriage, and forced breakup of Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, and his rich wife from the American south, Elizabeth Patterson. Napoleon did not approve of the union and fixes him up with another girl.

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18 .) The Dove

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction (Win)

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17 .) The Way of All Flesh

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor (Win)

The story takes place in Milwaukee during the early 1900s with a bank clerk named August Schiller who is happy with both his job and his family.

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15 (Tie) .) The Jazz Singer

Nominated For:

  • Best Adaptation

The movie that broke the sound barrier! Vaudeville crooner Al Jolson stars as a Jewish cantor’s son who goes against his family’s traditions to make it in show business.

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15 (Tie) .) The Noose

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor

A crook’s ex-wife marries the state’s governor, and the crook sees an opportunity to make some money by threatening to expose his wife’s past if the governor doesn’t pay him off.

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14 .) Two Arabian Knights

Nominated For:

  • Best Director, Comedy Picture (Win)

Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king’s daughter while on the lam.

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13 .) Tempest

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction (Win)

In Czarist Russia, a peasant officer, resented by the aristocrats, falls in love with a princess.

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12 .) The Patent Leather Kid

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor

A boxer has difficulty balancing his sport with a budding romance; both are further jeopardized when the United States enters the first World War.

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11 .) The Racket

Nominated For:

  • Outstanding Picture

An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges.

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10 .) Street Angel

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress (Win)

A woman on the run from the law finds her past catching up to her just as she is on the verge of true happiness.

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9 .) Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness

Nominated For:

  • Best Unique and Artistic Picture

Elephants disrupt the lives of a family deep in the jungles of Northern Siam, and an entire village.

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8 .) Sadie Thompson

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Actress

This first film version of Somerset Maugham’s classic story “Miss Thompson” featured the creative talents of Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, Raoul Walsh, art director William Cameron Menzies and cameramen George Barnes and Oliver Marsh, at the height of their careers.

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7 .) Wings

Nominated For:

  • Outstanding Picture (Win)
  • Best Engineering Effects (Win)

Wings is the story of two men who have gone to war and the girl they both leave behind. Director William A. Wellman makes one of his most humanistic statements as he explores the devastating results of war.

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6 .) Speedy

Nominated For:

  • Best Director, Comedy Picture

Speedy was the last silent feature to star Harold Lloyd (Safety Last!)—and one of his very best. The slapstick legend reprises his “Glasses Character,” this time as a good-natured but scatterbrained New Yorker who can’t keep a job. He finally finds his true calling when he becomes determined to help save the city’s last horse-drawn trolley, which is operated by his sweetheart’s crusty grandfather.

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5 .) Underworld

Nominated For:

  • Best Original Story (Win)

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed’s girlfriend.

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4 .) 7th Heaven

Nominated For:

  • Outstanding Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Director, Dramatic Picture (Win)
  • Best Adaptation (Win)
  • Best Actress (Win)

A beaten-down Paris street urchin meets and finds redemption in the arms of a bold working man, while war rages, in this romantic classic of the silent film era.

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3 .) The Crowd

Nominated For:

  • Best Unique and Artistic Picture
  • Best Director, Dramatic Picture

The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

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2 .) The Last Command

Nominated For:

  • Best Original Story
  • Best Actor (Win)

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

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1 .) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress (Win)
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Unique and Artistic Picture (Win)

A farmer (George O’Brien) intends to drown his wife (Janet Gaynor), so he can be with a seductive city woman (Margaret Livingston). But although he considers carrying out the hideous crime, the farmer is unable to go through with it. Then, as husband and wife encounter a life threatening rainstorm, their love and loyalty are put to the ultimate test. This tender story of betrayal and redemption is debated as one of the finest silent movies of all time.

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The Best 1929 Academy Award Rankings



1929 Academy Award Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 5 1 1 1 1
The Last Command 1 2 2 3 2
The Crowd 6 2 2 2 3
7th Heaven 1 6 5 6 4
Underworld 8 4 7 4 5
Speedy 11 5 7 4 6
Wings 7 7 7 6 7
Sadie Thompson 9 11 4 9 8
Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness 1 9 12 10 9
Street Angel 11 7 10 8 10
The Racket 1 9 13 13 11
The Patent Leather Kid 11 15 6 15 12
Tempest 11 14 13 10 13
Two Arabian Knights 11 12 15 12 14
The Noose 11 15 11 15 15
The Jazz Singer 10 13 15 14 15
The Way of All Flesh 11 15 15 15 17
The Dove 11 15 18 15 18
Glorious Betsy 11 15 19 15 19
Sorrell and Son 11 15 20 15 20
The Private Life of Helen of Troy 11 15 21 15 21
The Devil Dancer 11 15 21 15 21
A Ship Comes In 11 15 23 15 23
The Magic Flame 11 15 24 15 24

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