Popular Jean Harlow Movies

One of the most famous actresses back in the 1930s, there are a few Jean Harlow movies that are still popular today. Harlow was a fantastic, riveting actress who unfortunately died at the young age of 26. It’s always so frustrating to think about the wonderful films she never got to make. However, let’s instead focus on the joy she is still bringing to so many Old Hollywood fans to this day by analyzing her most popular films today!

Below, you’ll find the 6 most popular Jean Harlow movies that are still popular today. For Harlow diehards, trust us, we know that some of her underrated work isn’t listed here. This isn’t a list of her best movies of all time. Instead, it’s just a peek into what Harlow films have stood the test of time more so than the others.

Here are her most popular films today!

The Most Popular Jean Harlow Movies Today

The Public Enemy (1931)

The Public Enemy (1931): James Cagney, Jean Harlow

  • Genre: Crime / Drama
  • Starring: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell
  • Directed by: William A. Wellman

One of the first (and best) gangster movies ever made, The Public Enemy follows an Irish-American street punk who tries to make it big in the world of organized crime, per TCM’s brief synopsis. The Public Enemy stars a very young Harlow in one of her first big roles. Her role here helped continue to pave her way in Hollywood, and for all Harlow fans, it’s really interesting to see her work in 1931. It’s also a great movie, as just about every movie with James Cagney is amazing!

The Public Enemy was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Writing – Original Story). However, it has clearly stood the test of time, as it is the most popular Jean Harlow movie today, by far.

Dinner at Eight (1933)

Dinner At Eight (1933): Jean Harlow

  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Lee Tracy, Billie Burke
  • Directed by: George Cukor

Dinner at Eight tells the story of a high society dinner party that masks a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. It’s a lot of fun, and it has a STELLAR cast. Even today, it’s amazing to see all these wonderful actors together in one picture! This movie also happens to be possibly the most iconic Jean Harlow movie today. We’ve all seen the glamorous outfits she wears in this movie. Even if you’ve never seen a Harlow movie, chances are you’ve seen her beautiful white dress/robe if you’re an Old Hollywood fan. While Dinner at Eight isn’t as popular as The Public Enemy, it’s still one of the most popular Jean Harlow movies today, especially when compared to her other films!

Libeled Lady (1936)

Libeled Lady (1936): Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy

  • Genre: Comedy / Romance
  • Starring: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
  • Directed by: Jack Conway

While Libeled Lady is really a William Powell/Myrna Loy vehicle, Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy really do shine here. With this foursome in one movie, you’re bound to have a good time. Libeled Lady follows an editor (Tracy) who hires a reporter (Powell) to compromise an heiress (Loy) who sues his paper after inaccurate reporting. Powell charms Loy, while Tracy is Harlow’s fiance who just can’t seem to walk down the aisle without something holding him back.

This movie is loads of fun even today. Of course, anything with Loy and Powell is. Add Tracy and Harlow to the fact, and you have gold. At the time of filming this movie, Jean Harlow and William Powell were actually engaged. Seeing them together in a film — and at one point, somewhat romantic with each other — is really fun.

Libeled Lady was only nominated for one Academy Award — Best Picture. It lost out to The Great Ziegfeld.

Related: The Top 10 Best William Powell Movies of All Time

Hell’s Angels (1930)

Hell's Angels (1930): Jean Harlow

  • Genre: Drama / War
  • Starring: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow
  • Directed by: Howard Hughes

Another amazing early Harlow film, Hell’s Angels tells the story of two buddies who take on World War I flying aces… and a seductive blonde. Guess who the seductive blonde is! Directed by none other than Howard Hughes, Hell’s Angels is considered to be one of the best movies that came out of the early 1930s. And it truly is, even if it was only nominated for one Academy Award back in 1930 (Best Cinematography). It also happens to be one of the most popular Jean Harlow movies today!

Red Dust (1932)

Red Dust (1932): Clark Gable, Jean Harlow

  • Genre: Drama / Romance
  • Starring: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond, Mary Astor
  • Directed by: Victor Fleming

As every Harlow fan knows, any movie with both Clark Gable and Harlow is absolute GOLD. And Red Dust (their second movie together) is just that. The film follows a plantation overseer (Gable) in Indochina who is torn between a married woman (Mary Astor) and a lady of the evening (Harlow). Harlow was quite often cast as the “lady of the evening” type, though she would slightly get different roles later in her short career. However, Red Dust really is a great film that every Harlow fan should watch at least once! Riveting!

Also, for those interested, Red Dust was remade in 1953 and retitled Mogambo. Mogambo starred Gable in the same role he portrayed in 1932, with Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner portraying the two different women he falls in love with. While also a great film, Red Dust is maybe slightly more exciting in the pre-codeness of it all.

Related: The Top 10 Best Ava Gardner Movies of All Time

Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

Wife vs. Secretary: Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow
    • Genre: Comedy / Romance / Drama
    • Starring: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, James Stewart
    • Directed by: Clarence Brown

Yet another movie with a stellar cast, Wife vs. Secretary follows a secretary (Harlow) who becomes so valuable to her boss (Clark Gable) that it jeopardizes his marriage to his wife (Myrna Loy). The second of two films Harlow and Loy completed together in 1936, Wife vs. Secretary is also, unfortunately, one of the last movies Harlow ever made before passing. She would complete only four movies after this.

However, this movie is quite fun, so let’s be positive! While nowhere near as popular as The Public Enemy or Dinner at Eight, Wife vs. Secretary is still considered to be one of the most popular Jean Harlow movies today when compared when the rest of her filmography. It’s a fun film for any Harlow, Loy, Gable, or Old Hollywood fan to watch!

Popular Jean Harlow Movies + More Nostalgic News

Comment below what you think about this Jean Harlow movie list. Is your favorite Harlow movie here? Or do you prefer one of her more underrated films? Hit the comments below with your thoughts! I’d love to hear your favorite go-to Harlow movies!

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