The following is an overview of 1933 in film, including significant events, a list of films released, and notable births and deaths.
Top-grossing films (U.S.)
The top ten 1933 released films by box office gross in North America are as follows:
Highest-grossing films of 1933
||Box office gross rental
||United Artists/Samuel Goldwyn Productions
||I'm No Angel
||Gold Diggers of 1933
||She Done Him Wrong
||Dinner at Eight
||RKO Radio Pictures
The Film Daily Yearbook listed the following as the ten leading news events of the year in North America.
Other notable events include:
- January 11 – Radio City Music Hall in New York City starts showing films.
- January 20 – The film Ecstasy premieres in Czechoslovakia film; its foreign distribution presents difficulties as 18-year-old actress Hedy Lamarr is seen naked in it.
- March – Director Fritz Lang is informed by Joseph Goebbels that release of Lang's crime-thriller The Testament of Dr. Mabuse in Germany will not be permitted by the newly-formed Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The German-language premiere takes place on April 21 in Budapest (Hungary). On April 20, Lang divorces his wife, the film's writer Thea von Harbou, and on July 31 leaves Germany permanently, initially settling in Paris.
- March 2 – King Kong premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City; opening weekend takings are estimated at US$90,000.
- March 9 – Punyal na Ginto (The Golden Dagger), the first Filipino-language film made in the Philippines, is released.
- March 11 – 42nd Street sparks a comeback for musical film.
- June 6 – The drive-in theater is patented in Camden, New Jersey.
- September 6 – Daily Variety, a trade newspaper, is published for the first time in Hollywood.
- October 10 – John Wayne appears as Singin' Sandy Saunders in Riders of Destiny.
- December 29 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appear on screen together for the first time in Flying Down to Rio.
- Ang Aswang, the first sound film made in the Philippines, is released.
- Makata At Paraluman (The Poet and the Maiden), the first talking film in vernacular made in the Philippines, is released.
- British Film Institute founded.
- GPO Film Unit established in the United Kingdom under John Grierson, taking over responsibility for documentary film making from the Empire Marketing Board.
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) once again expresses interest in The Wizard of Oz books for a series of animated shorts, but once again fail to make a deal with the estate of creator L. Frank Baum.
- The Private Life of Henry VIII becomes the first British film to win an American Academy Award. Featured actor Charles Laughton wins the 1933 Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. The film is the first British production to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
- The book Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox is published, detailing what William Fox considers to be the conspiracy that forced him from control of Fox Film in 1930.
The 6th Academy Awards were held on March 16, 1934, at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. They were hosted by Will Rogers and Rogers also presented all of the awards. This was the last time that the Oscars' eligibility period was spread over two different calendar years, creating the longest time frame for which films could be nominated: the seventeen months from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933.
Most nominations: Cavalcade (Fox Film); A Farewell to Arms (Paramount Pictures) and Lady for a Day (Columbia Pictures) – 4
Most Awards: Cavalcade – 3 (Outstanding Production; Best Director; Best Art Direction)
Notable films released in 1933
United States unless stated
- Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent
- Beauty for Sale, starring Madge Evans and Alice Brady
- Bed of Roses, starring Constance Bennett and Joel McCrea
- A Bedtime Story, starring Maurice Chevalier
- Berkeley Square, starring Leslie Howard
- Bitter Sweet, starring Anna Neagle – (GB)
- The Bitter Tea of General Yen, starring Barbara Stanwyck
- Blood Money, starring George Bancroft
- Bombshell, starring Jean Harlow
- The Bowery, starring Wallace Beery and George Raft
- Bureau of Missing Persons, starring Bette Davis and Pat O'Brien
- By Candlelight, directed by James Whale
- Cash, directed by Zoltan Korda, starring Robert Donat – (GB)
- Cavalcade, starring Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor and Herbert Mundin
- Counsellor at Law, starring John Barrymore and Bebe Daniels
- Convention City, starring Joan Blondell, Adolphe Menjou, Dick Powell and Mary Astor
- Dancing Lady, starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable
- Daybreak (Tiānmíng) – (China)
- Deluge, starring Sidney Blackmer
- The Deserter – (U.S.S.R.)
- Design for Living, starring Fredric March, Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins
- The Devil's Brother, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
- Dick Turpin, directed by Victor Hanbury, starring Victor McLaglen (GB)
- Dinner at Eight, directed by George Cukor and featuring an all-star cast
- Doctor Bull, starring Will Rogers
- Don Quixote, directed by G.W. Pabst, starring Feodor Chaliapin – (France/GB)
- Dora's Dunking Doughnuts, starring Shirley Temple
- Dragnet Girl (Hijosen no onna), starring Kinuyo Tanaka, directed by Yasujirō Ozu – (Japan)
- Duck Soup, directed by Leo McCarey, starring the Marx Brothers
- Gabriel Over the White House, directed by Gregory La Cava, starring Walter Huston, Produced by William Randolph Hearst
- Ganga Bruta, directed by Humberto Mauro, starring Durval Bellini and Déa Selva (Brazil)
- The Ghoul, starring Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke and Ernest Thesiger – (GB)
- The Ghost Camera, directed by Bernard Vorhaus, starring Ida Lupino, John Mills – (GB)
- Going Hollywood, starring Marion Davies, Bing Crosby, Patsy Kelly, Fifi D'Orsay and Sterling Holloway
- Gold Diggers of 1933, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, starring Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers and Warren William
- The Good Companions, directed by Victor Saville, starring Jessie Matthews, Edmund Gwenn and John Gielgud – (GB)
- Goodbye Again, starring Joan Blondell and Warren William
- Ladies They Talk About, starring Barbara Stanwyck
- Lady for a Day, directed by Frank Capra, starring Warren William and May Robson
- Lady Killer, starring James Cagney
- Liebelei, directed by Max Ophüls – (Germany)
- Life Is a Dog (Život je pes), directed by Martin Frič – (Czechoslovakia)
- Little Toys (Xiáo wǎnyì), directed by Sun Yu – (China)
- Little Women, directed by George Cukor, starring Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett
- Looking Forward, directed by Clarence Brown, starring Lionel Barrymore
- Lot in Sodom, starring Friedrich Haak
- I Loved a Woman (1933), starring Edward G, Robinson and Kay Francis
- Loyalties, starring Basil Rathbone – (GB)
- Man's Castle, starring Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young
- The Mayor of Hell, starring James Cagney
- Men Must Fight, starring Diana Wynyard
- Midnight Club, starring George Raft and Clive Brook
- Midnight Mary, directed by William A. Wellman, starring Loretta Young
- The Midnight Patrol, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
- Money for Speed, directed by Bernard Vorhaus, starring John Loder and Ida Lupino – (GB)
- The Monkey's Paw, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack
- Morning Glory, starring Katharine Hepburn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
- Mr. Skitch, starring Will Rogers
- Mystery of the Wax Museum, starring Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray
- Parachute Jumper, starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis and Frank McHugh
- Passing Fancy (Dekigokoro), directed by Yasujirō Ozu – (Japan)
- Peg o' My Heart, starring Marion Davies, Onslow Stevens and J. Farrell MacDonald
- Penthouse, starring Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy
- Perfect Understanding, starring Gloria Swanson and Laurence Olivier – (GB)
- Pick-Up, starring Sylvia Sidney and George Raft
- Picture Snatcher, starring James Cagney
- Pilgrimage, directed by John Ford
- The Power and the Glory, starring Spencer Tracy
- The Private Life of Henry VIII, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Charles Laughton – (GB)
- The Prizefighter and the Lady, starring Max Baer, Myrna Loy, Primo Carnera and Jack Dempsey
- Professional Sweetheart, starring Ginger Rogers
- S.O.S Iceberg (S.O.S. Eisberg), starring Leni Riefenstahl – (Germany)
- Secret of the Blue Room, starring Paul Lukas, Gloria Stuart and Lionel Atwill
- Secrets, starring Mary Pickford in her last film
- She Done Him Wrong, starring Mae West and Cary Grant in his first notable film role
- She Had to Say Yes, starring Loretta Young and Lyle Talbot, directed by Busby Berkeley and George Amy
- The Son of Kong, starring Robert Armstrong and Helen Mack
- Sons of the Desert, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
- A Southern Maid, starring Bebe Daniels and Clifford Mollison – (GB)
- Spring Silkworms (Chung Can) – (China)
- State Fair, starring Janet Gaynor, Will Rogers and Lew Ayres
- Storm at Daybreak, starring Walter Huston and Kay Francis
- The Story of Temple Drake, starring Miriam Hopkins and Jack La Rue
- The Stranger's Return, starring Miriam Hopkins and Lionel Barrymore
- A Study in Scarlet, starring Reginald Owen
- Supernatural, starring Carole Lombard, Alan Dinehart, Vivienne Osborne and Randolph Scott
- The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, directed by Fritz Lang, starring Otto Wernicke – (Germany)
- This Day and Age, Cecil B. Demille's now cult-favorite, starring Richard Cromwell and featuring then-teenager: Baby Peggy.
- This Is America, the first full-length documentary feature film ever made.
- This Week of Grace' directed by Maurice Elvey, starring Gracie Fields – (Britain)
- Three-Cornered Moon, starring Claudette Colbert and Richard Arlen
- Three Little Pigs, an animated short
- Tillie and Gus, starring Alison Skipworth and W. C. Fields
- Today We Live, starring Joan Crawford and Gary Cooper
- Tonight Is Ours, starring Fredric March and Claudette Colbert
- Topaze, starring John Barrymore and Myrna Loy
- Torch Singer, starring Claudette Colbert
- Tugboat Annie, starring Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery
- Turn Back the Clock, starring Lee Tracy and Mae Clarke