100 of the Best Films in the 1940sby dziwnytenswiat | created - 31 Jul 2011 | updated - 01 May 2013 | Public
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1. 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: 128,295 | Gross: $0.45M
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Gaslight (1944)
Not Rated | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
8. 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: 111,659 | Gross: $5.72M
11. Shoeshine (1946)
Not Rated | 90 min | Drama
Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
12. Nagaya shinshiroku (1947)
72 min | Drama
A young boy follows Tashiro home to his tenement housing complex on the outskirts of Tokyo, the boy who was separated from his carpenter father somehow and somewhere in Kudan. All Tashiro ... See full summary »
13. 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.
20. Scarlet Street (1945)
Approved | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. The Sea Wolf (1941)
Approved | 100 min | Drama, Adventure
After being fished out of the sea by a sealer, three fugitives find themselves prisoners of the ship's brutal skipper who refuses to put them ashore and they hatch an escape plan during a crew mutiny.
24. 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.
28. 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: 89,601 | Gross: $5.01M
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. 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.
32. Adam's Rib (1949)
Not Rated | 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.
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. 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.
36. Rome, Open City (1945)
Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Thriller, War
During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.
37. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Romance
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.
38. 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.
39. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance
Encouraged by her idealistic if luckless father, a bright and imaginative young woman comes of age in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.
40. Scott of the Antarctic (1948)
PG | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
The story of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott's 1912 expedition and his quest to be the first to reach the South Pole in Antarctica.
41. 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: 15,484 | Gross: $8.33M
42. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.
Votes: 21,391 | Gross: $0.01M
43. 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: 36,333 | Gross: $7.00M
44. Murderers Among Us (1946)
85 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
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.
45. Manpower (1941)
Approved | 104 min | Drama
Two friends, who are members of a road crew employed by a Los Angeles power company, battle the elements to restore electrical power and trade punches over the same woman.
46. 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.
48. Die Feuerzangenbowle (1944)
97 min | Comedy
A successful writer, home-schooled in his youth, masquerades as a student at a secondary school to experience all the fun and pranks he missed out on.
49. Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
Not Rated | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor, and eventually leads to tragedy.
51. Easter Parade (1948)
Approved | 107 min | Musical, Romance
A nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star.
Votes: 7,105 | Gross: $6.80M
52. On the Town (1949)
Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up.
54. Jour de Fête (1949)
Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy
Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the... See full summary »
55. 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: 433,317 | Gross: $1.02M
56. 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.
57. 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: 318,340 | Gross: $7.27M
58. 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: 79,963 | Gross: $10.46M
59. Woman of the Year (1942)
Not Rated | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rival reporters Sam and Tess fall in love and get married, only to find their relationship strained when Sam comes to resent Tess' hectic lifestyle.
61. 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.
62. 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.
63. Red River (1948)
Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.
64. 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.
67. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Not Rated | 106 min | Comedy, Crime
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.
68. High Sierra (1941)
Not Rated | 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.
69. Too Late for Tears (1949)
Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Through a fluke circumstance a ruthless woman stumbles across a suitcase filled with $60,000, and she is determined to hold onto it even it if means murder.
74. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.
Votes: 16,745 | Gross: $7.57M
75. 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.
77. The Sea Hawk (1940)
Approved | 127 min | Action, Adventure, History
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.
79. Song of the South (1946)
Approved | 94 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
The kindly story-teller Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear.
Votes: 9,409 | Gross: $63.72M
81. 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.
83. Duel in the Sun (1946)
Unrated | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Western
Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.
Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, William Dieterle, Sidney Franklin, William Cameron Menzies, David O. Selznick, Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore
Votes: 6,881 | Gross: $20.40M
85. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Approved | 92 min | Biography, Comedy, Romance
A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.
87. Saboteur (1942)
PG | 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.
91. Song of Love (1947)
119 min | Drama, Music, Romance
Composer Robert Schumann struggles to compose his symphonies while his loving wife Clara offers her support. Also helping the Schumanns is their lifelong friend, composer Johannes Brahms.
94. 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.
95. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller
A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.
96. Pursued (1947)
Approved | 101 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
97. 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: 12,908 | Gross: $0.33M
100. 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: 6,984 | Gross: $17.80M