The Best Movies of the 1940's

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1.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. (104 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
 
2.
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
3.
Gilda (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A small-time gambler hired to work in a Buenos Aires casino learns that his ex-lover is married to his employer. (110 mins.)
Director: Charles Vidor
 
4.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family. (118 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
5.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
6.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains. (126 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
7.
Key Largo (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
8.
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II. (134 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
9.
White Heat (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn. (114 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
10.
La Terra Trema (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently. (160 mins.)
 
11.
The Letter (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing. (95 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
12.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
13.
Sergeant York (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A marksman is drafted in World War I and ends up becoming one of the most celebrated war heroes. (134 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
14.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter. (111 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
15.
Phantom Lady (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A beautiful secretary risks her life to try to find the elusive woman who may prove her boss didn't murder his selfish wife. (87 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
 
16.
The Spiral Staircase (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced. (83 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
 
17.
The Scarlet Claw (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. But Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer. (74 mins.)
 
18.
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it. (89 mins.)
Director: Anatole Litvak
 
19.
Laura (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
20.
Ossessione (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Gino, a drifter, begins an affair with inn-owner Giovanna as they plan to get rid of her older husband. (140 mins.)
 
21.
Germany Year Zero (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin. (78 mins.)
 
22.
The Great Dictator (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime. (125 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
 
23.
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy. (99 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
24.
Murderers Among Us (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After returning from a concentration camp, Susanne finds an ex-soldier living in her apartment. Together the two try to move past their experiences during WWII. (85 mins.)
 
25.
Love' 47 (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
(118 mins.)
 
26.
The Stranger (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
27.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
28.
The Woman in the Window (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a conservative middle-aged professor engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale, he is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder. (107 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
29.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession. (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Hamer
 
30.
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A pianist about to flee from a duel receives a letter from a woman he cannot remember, who may hold the key to his downfall. (87 mins.)
Director: Max Opuls
 
31.
Out of the Past (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames. (97 mins.)
 
32.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London. (120 mins.)
 
33.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be. (108 mins.)
 
34.
Dark Passage (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence. (106 mins.)
Director: Delmer Daves
 
35.
Saboteur (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend. (109 mins.)
 
36.
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
37.
Notorious (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? (101 mins.)
 
38.
Gaslight (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane. (114 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
39.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout. (101 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
40.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan. (126 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
41.
His Girl Friday (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (92 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
42.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal. (99 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
43.
To Have and Have Not (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
During World War II, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer. (100 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
44.
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot. (87 mins.)
 
45.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men. (75 mins.)
 
46.
And Then There Were None (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Ten people are invited to an isolated island, only to find that an unseen person is killing them one by one. Could one of them be the killer? (97 mins.)
Director: Rene Clair
 
47.
Stairway to Heaven (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court. (104 mins.)
 
48.
The Heiress (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter. (115 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
49.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself. (112 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
50.
The Sea Hawk (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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. (127 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
51.
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks