Best 40s Films

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1.
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 of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
2.
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.)
 
3.
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
 
4.
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
 
5.
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
 
6.
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
 
7.
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
 
8.
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
 
9.
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
10.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a posse catches up three men suspected of killing a local farmer, some of them become strongly divided on whether or not to lynch the men. (75 mins.)
 
11.
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 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
 
12.
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
 
13.
Brief Encounter (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband. (86 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
14.
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
 
15.
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
 
16.
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. (172 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
17.
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.)
 
18.
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
 
19.
Great Expectations (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. (118 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
20.
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.)
 
21.
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.)
 
22.
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
 
23.
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
 
24.
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
 
25.
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
 
26.
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
During the Spanish Civil War, an American allied with the Republicans finds romance during a desperate mission to blow up a strategically important bridge. (170 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
27.
The Outlaw (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald. (116 mins.)
Director: Howard Hughes
 
28.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two hapless freight handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. (83 mins.)
 
29.
Duel in the Sun (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
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. (129 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
30.
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building. (126 mins.)
Director: Leo McCarey