The Best 40 films of the 40's.by John Jacoby | created - 08 Sep 2011 | updated - 09 Mar 2013 | Public
The fabulous 40's featured some truly wonderful classic film releases. Even with the world being consumed with global war the first half of the decade, Hollywood managed to produce Citizen Kane, Casablanca and Double Indemnity. It was a movie golden age at it's zenith. Here are 40 of the best of the 40's.
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1. 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: 92,457 | Gross: $5.01M
2. 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: 114,791 | Gross: $5.72M
3. 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: 324,115 | Gross: $7.27M
5. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Not Rated | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.
Votes: 48,001 | Gross: $23.65M
7. 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.
11. White Heat (1949)
Not Rated | 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.
12. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Passed | 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.
14. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Romance
A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.
16. 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: 36,654 | Gross: $7.00M
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Not Rated | 112 min | Comedy, Romance
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.
22. The Jolson Story (1946)
Approved | 128 min | Biography, Drama, Music
This movie shows the idealized career of the singer Al Jolson, a little Jewish boy who goes against the will of his father in order to be in showbiz. He becomes a star, falls in love with a... See full summary »
24. Kiss of Death (1947)
Approved | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
With his law-breaking lifestyle in the past, an ex-con, along with his family, attempt to start a new life, knowing a betrayed someone from the past is bound to see otherwise.
28. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Not Rated | 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.
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: 80,471 | Gross: $10.46M
32. Rope (1948)
PG | 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.
33. All My Sons (1948)
Approved | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir
During WW2, industrialist Joe Keller commits a crime and frames his business partner Herbert Deever but years later his sin comes back to haunt him when Joe's son plans to marry Deever's daughter.
35. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Not Rated | 94 min | Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Boxer Joe Pendleton dies 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake, and is given a new life as a millionaire playboy.
36. The Long Voyage Home (1940)
Approved | 105 min | Drama, War
In 1940, the motley crew of the British tramp steamer SS Glencairn prepares the ship for its perilous voyage from the West Indies to Baltimore and then to England.
38. House of Strangers (1949)
Approved | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
After years in prison, Max promises revenge on his brothers for their betrayal. His lover Irene and memories of his past yield him a broader perspective.
39. 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: 34,421 | Gross: $2.65M
40. A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
Approved | 103 min | Drama, Romance
A letter is addressed to three wives from their "best friend" Addie Ross, announcing that she is running away with one of their husbands...but she does not say which one.