100 Greatest Films from the 1940sby DanielBamberg | created - 28 Mar 2011 | updated - 30 Mar 2011 | Public
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1. Casablanca (1942)
PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.
Votes: 429,624 | Gross: $1.02M
2. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Not Rated | 129 min | Drama, History
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.
3. Black Narcissus (1947)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
4. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
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.
Votes: 312,275 | Gross: $7.27M
5. Day of Wrath (1943)
Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History
The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th century Denmark.
8. The Great Dictator (1940)
G | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, War
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.
9. Double Indemnity (1944)
Not Rated | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.
Votes: 110,707 | Gross: $5.72M
11. Le Corbeau (1943)
Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.
12. Pinocchio (1940)
G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.
Votes: 103,128 | Gross: $84.25M
13. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
14. White Heat (1949)
Approved | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
15. The Third Man (1949)
Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.
Votes: 127,338 | Gross: $0.45M
17. 49th Parallel (1941)
Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, War, Thriller
A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.
18. Bambi (1942)
G | 70 min | Animation, Drama, Family
The story of a young deer growing up in the forest.
Votes: 105,866 | Gross: $102.80M
19. To Have and Have Not (1944)
Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance
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.
21. Thieves' Highway (1949)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.
22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
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.
Votes: 88,728 | Gross: $5.01M
23. The Big Sleep (1946)
Not Rated | 114 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery
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.
24. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
Unrated | 170 min | Adventure, Drama, History
During the Spanish Civil War, an American allied with the Republicans finds romance during a desperate mission to blow up a strategically important bridge.
Votes: 6,860 | Gross: $17.80M
26. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945)
Not Rated | 95 min | Biography, Drama, History
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.
27. Dumbo (1941)
Approved | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family
Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.
Votes: 96,313 | Gross: $1.60M
28. Deception (1946)
Approved | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.
29. Notorious (1946)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance
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?
Votes: 79,524 | Gross: $10.46M
30. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Not Rated | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband. Once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions.
Votes: 15,351 | Gross: $8.33M
31. Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.
32. La belle et la bête (1946)
Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.
Votes: 20,687 | Gross: $0.30M
33. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Western
When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men.
35. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Approved | 118 min | Drama, Family
At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.
36. And Then There Were None (1945)
Approved | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered on an isolated island by an absent host and someone begins killing them off one by one. They work together to determine who is the killer?
37. The Uninvited (1944)
Not Rated | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
A composer and his sister discover that the reason they are able to purchase a beautiful gothic seacoast mansion very cheaply is the house's unsavory past.
38. The Woman in the Window (1944)
Not Rated | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
39. Green for Danger (1947)
Approved | 91 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
After the nurse who declares that a recent surgical death was a murder dies also, an enigmatic Scotland Yard inspector arrives to investigate.
42. Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Drama
Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous man. When he knew Jenny is making eyes at Brignon, an old businessman, in ... See full summary »
Votes: 3,811 | Gross: $0.15M
43. Journey Into Fear (1942)
Approved | 68 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
An American ballistics expert in Turkey finds himself targeted by Nazi agents. Safe passage home by ship is arranged for him, but he soon discovers that his pursuers are also on board.
44. A Walk in the Sun (1945)
Approved | 117 min | Drama, War
During WWII, a platoon of American soldiers trudge through the Italian countryside in search of a bridge they have been ordered to blow up, encountering danger and destruction along the way.
45. Dead of Night (1945)
Approved | 77 min | Horror
An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.
46. Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)
Approved | 123 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
At the height of the Roman Civil War, a young Cleopatra meets a middle-aged Julius Caesar, who teaches her how to rule Egypt.
47. The Quiet Duel (1949)
95 min | Drama
A surgeon gets syphilis from a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. The doctor's life is destroyed, but unlike the patient, he doesn't destroy others along with him.
48. Key Largo (1948)
Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
49. Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Not Rated | 124 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.
Votes: 12,821 | Gross: $0.33M
50. The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
Approved | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer who makes a compact with Satan for economic success enlists Daniel Webster to extract him from his contract.
51. Out of the Past (1947)
Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
52. The Fallen Idol (1948)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.
Votes: 6,201 | Gross: $0.06M
58. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Unrated | 116 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance
Once three childhood friends. Now, a ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., and a returning companion who may have been the only witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier.
60. The Wolf Man (1941)
Approved | 70 min | Horror
A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist.
61. Macbeth (1948)
Passed | 92 min | Drama, History, War
In 11th century Scotland, nobleman Macbeth and his wife plot to murder the king and usurp the throne in order to fulfill an evil prophecy made by three witches.
62. High Sierra (1941)
Passed | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.
64. Somewhere in the Night (1946)
Approved | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
George Taylor returns from WWII with amnesia. Back home in Los Angeles, while trying to track down his old identity, he stumbles onto a 3-year old murder case and a hunt for a missing $2 million.
65. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Not Rated | 163 min | Drama, Romance, War
From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.
66. The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
Not Rated | 106 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
After being tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar, King Ahmad joins forces with a thief named Abu to reclaim his throne, the city, and the Princess he loves.
67. The Seventh Victim (1943)
Approved | 71 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's random disappearance.
69. Fantasia (1940)
G | 125 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.
Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton, Walt Disney
Votes: 77,007 | Gross: $76.41M
71. Our Town (1940)
Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance
Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks... See full summary »
73. Adam's Rib (1949)
Passed | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.
76. Arabian Nights (1942)
Unrated | 86 min | Action, Adventure
The caliph of Baghdad must go into hiding with a group of traveling performers when his brother usurps the throne. Both brothers desire a beautiful dancing girl, who is torn between power and true love.
Votes: 961 | Gross: $2.00M
77. Sahara (I) (1943)
Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, War
After the fall of Tobruk in 1942, during the Allied retreat in the Libyan desert, an American tank picks-up a motley group of survivors but they face advancing Germans and a lack of water.
78. Cat People (1942)
Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.
Votes: 15,244 | Gross: $4.00M
81. Spellbound (1945)
Not Rated | 111 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance
A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.
Votes: 36,061 | Gross: $7.00M
83. The Letter (1940)
Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
84. Mildred Pierce (1945)
Not Rated | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.
85. Saboteur (1942)
Approved | 109 min | Thriller, War
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.
86. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Approved | 88 min | Drama, Romance
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.
88. Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »
89. Oliver Twist (1948)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama
An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.
91. The Seventh Cross (1944)
Passed | 112 min | Drama, War
In Nazi Germany in 1936 seven men escape from a concentration camp. The camp commander puts up seven crosses and, as the Gestapo returns each escapee he is put to death on a cross. The ... See full summary »
92. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Not Rated | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
An angel in human form enters the life of a bishop in order to help him build a new cathedral and repair his fractured marriage.
93. Dragonwyck (1946)
Approved | 103 min | Drama, Thriller, Mystery
A simple Connecticut farm girl is recruited by a distant relative, an aristocratic patroon, to be governess to his young daughter in his Hudson Valley mansion.
95. Jane Eyre (1943)
Approved | 97 min | Drama, Romance
After a harsh childhood, orphan Jane Eyre is hired by Edward Rochester, the brooding lord of a mysterious manor house, to care for his young daughter.
Votes: 6,632 | Gross: $3.82M
96. State of the Union (1948)
Approved | 124 min | Comedy, Drama
An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.
97. The Spiral Staircase (1946)
Approved | 83 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced.
98. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.
99. Rope (1948)
Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.
100. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.
Votes: 33,306 | Gross: $2.65M