Best Movies of the 40s

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1.
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
 
2.
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
 
3.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
 
4.
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.)
 
5.
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
 
6.
Children of Paradise (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (189 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
7.
Rome, Open City (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, resistance leader Giorgio Manfredi is chased by Nazis and he seeks refuge and escape. (103 mins.)
 
8.
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
 
9.
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
 
10.
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
 
11.
The Red Shoes (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. (134 mins.)
 
12.
Late Spring (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father. (108 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
13.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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
 
14.
Fantasia (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music. (125 mins.)
 
15.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
16.
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
 
17.
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
 
18.
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
 
19.
Rebecca (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife. (130 mins.)
 
20.
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
 
21.
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
 
22.
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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. (118 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
23.
The Lady Eve (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A trio of classy card sharps targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him. (94 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
24.
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about life, which gives him a rude awakening. (90 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
25.
Cat People (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
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. (73 mins.)
 
26.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. (88 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
27.
Now, Voyager (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A frumpy spinster blossoms under therapy and becomes an elegant, independent woman. (117 mins.)
Director: Irving Rapper
 
28.
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire. (88 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
29.
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
 
30.
Day of Wrath (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (97 mins.)
 
31.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military. (163 mins.)
 
32.
A Canterbury Tale (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury. (124 mins.)
 
33.
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
 
34.
Henry V (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415. (137 mins.)
 
35.
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
 
36.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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. (113 mins.)
 
37.
Detour (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble. (68 mins.)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
 
38.
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
 
39.
Scarlet Street (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (102 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
40.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her. (96 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
41.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. (170 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
42.
My Darling Clementine (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The Earps battle the Clantons at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. (97 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
43.
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.)
 
44.
Paisan (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice... (126 mins.)
 
45.
Shoeshine (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (90 mins.)
 
46.
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.)
 
47.
Black Narcissus (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (101 mins.)
 
48.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted...and forms a unique relationship with the ghost. (104 mins.)
 
49.
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.)
 
50.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards. (124 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
 
51.
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.)
 
52.
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.)
 
53.
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
 
54.
Rope (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (80 mins.)
 
55.
Spring in a Small Town (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A lonely housewife finds her monotonous life altered when her childhood sweetheart returns to town. (98 mins.)
Director: Mu Fei
 
56.
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
 
57.
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
 
58.
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