Best Movies of the 1940s

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1.
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
 
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.
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
 
4.
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
 
5.
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
 
6.
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
 
7.
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
 
8.
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
 
9.
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.)
 
10.
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Set to music, a symphony conductor envisions multiple possible scenarios for dealing with his wife's infidelity. (105 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
11.
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer who makes a compact with Satan for economic success enlists Daniel Webster to extract him from his contract. (107 mins.)
 
12.
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. (103 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
13.
The Bank Dick (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Henpecked Egbert Sousè has comic adventures as a substitute film director and unlikely bank guard. (72 mins.)
Director: Edward Cline
 
14.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving an heroic honorable discharge before returning home. (101 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
15.
The Stranger (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
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.
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.)
 
18.
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
 
19.
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
 
20.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The story of the life and career of the famed baseball player, Lou Gehrig. (128 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
21.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity. (98 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
22.
Sergeant York (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A hillbilly sharpshooter drafted in WW1 despite his claim to be a pacifist, who ends up becoming a war hero. (134 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
23.
The Big Store (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A detective is hired to protect the life of a singer, who has recently inherited a department store, from the store's crooked manager. (83 mins.)
Director: Charles Riesner
 
24.
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.)
 
25.
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
 
26.
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
 
27.
On the Town (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up. (98 mins.)
 
28.
Dark Passage (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence. (106 mins.)
Director: Delmer Daves
 
29.
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
 
30.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (96 mins.)
Director: George Seaton
 
31.
Hamlet (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king. (154 mins.)
 
32.
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.)
 
33.
Heaven Can Wait (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld. (112 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
34.
The Great McGinty (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics. But endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty... (82 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
35.
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
 
36.
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
 
37.
Sahara (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
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. (97 mins.)
Director: Zoltan Korda
 
38.
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California. (94 mins.)
 
39.
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.)
 
40.
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
 
41.
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
 
42.
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
 
43.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter. (111 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
44.
House of Frankenstein (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An evil scientist and his hunchbacked assistant escape from prison and encounter Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster. (71 mins.)
Director: Erle C. Kenton
 
45.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., her childhood companion and the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier. (116 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
46.
A Night in Casablanca (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The Marx Brothers are employed at a hotel in postwar Casablanca, where a ring of Nazis is trying to recover a cache of stolen treasure. (85 mins.)
Director: Archie L. Mayo
 
47.
It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young turn-of-the-century newspaper man finds he can get hold of the next day's paper. This brings more problems than fortune, especially as his new girlfriend is part of a phony clairvoyant act. (85 mins.)
Director: René Clair
 
48.
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.)
 
49.
Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic. (126 mins.)
Director: Lloyd Bacon