A Reno divorce provided the storyline and-or setting for many Hollywood movies. When the script called for a wife or husband to declare to their spouse, “I’m going to Reno!” it meant only one thing: a Reno “quickie” divorce.
Hollywood movies often portrayed divorce as glamorous, lighthearted or fun — particularly movies made during Hollywood’s pre-code era from the late 1920s to 1934.
“Oh, we’ll have a wonderful divorce!”
–Alice Brady to Edward Everett Horton in
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
The following list of Reno divorce movies were produced from 1910 to 1961. Today, sadly many of these films are not available for viewing on videotape or DVD. However, the movies I have viewed are in red and coded with asterisks as to how I viewed them:
If you have a Reno divorce movie to add to this list, please send it to me in a comment!
-Sandra McGee, Divorce Nevada Style
SILENTS (1910 – 1928)
A Message from Reno (1917 silent)
A Reno Divorce (1927 silent)
A Reno Romance (1910 silent))
All Aboard for Reno (1911 silent)
Half Way to Reno (1913 silent)
Lightnin’ (1925 silent)
On the Road to Reno (1915 silent)
On to Reno (1928 silent)
One on Reno (1911 silent)
Ready for Reno (1915 silent)
Reconciled in Reno (1912 silent)
Reno (1923 silent)
Reno or Bust (1924 silent)
Reno: All Change! (1919 silent)
The Divorce Cure (1912 silent)
To Reno and Back (1913 silent)
1929 – 1961
Affair in Reno (1957)
Born to Kill (1947) ***
Location shooting on Virginia Street, Reno
Charlie Chan in Reno (1939) * & **
“Charlie Chan Volume 4”, the recently released box set of four DVDs from 20th Century Fox, includes this film plus special featurettes on the Reno divorce era.
Crashing Reno (1931)
Girl Crazy (1934) *
Location shooting at South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Tavern in Tahoe City, and Reno
Maisie Goes to Reno (1944) ***
Merry Wives of Reno (1934) *, ***
Great opening shots of divorce seekers getting off the train in Reno; breezy divorce dialogue; lawyer signs; women talking to their attorneys; and location shots of Reno.
Good line: “So this is Reno!”
Next Time I Marry (1938)
Night Life in Reno (1931) *
Peach-o-Reno (1931) *
Phffft (1954) **
Lawyer to Nina Tracey (Judy Holliday): “Miss Tracey, m’am, As your lawyer, I ask you… wasn’t that a beautiful, beautiful divorce? A really lovely ceremony?”
Nina Tracey (Judy Holliday) to lawyer: “You mean it’s really all over… that’s all there is to it? It was so quick… are you absolutely sure it’s legal?”
Private Detective (1939) ***
Not set in Reno, but good dialogue about a Reno divorce.
A print of this film survives in the Library of Congress.
Reno (1939) ***
Opening montage shot on Virginia Street and in Reno.
Good line: “You know, Jessie, I’ve run across a very queer law here… Just a little while to establish a residence. Politicans cooked it up a long time ago to get the vote from the immigrant miners.”
Reno or Bust (1930)
Reno or Bust (1934)
Reunion in Reno (1951)
Rolling Down to Reno (1947)
She Asked for It (1937)
Smarty (1934) *
The Misfits (1961) **, ***
The Opposite Sex (1956) **, ***
A musical re-make of the 1939 film, “The Women”.
The Road to Reno (1931)
The Road to Reno (1938)
The Women (1939) **, ***
Vacation in Reno (1946)