Top Movies of the 1940's

by hiddenagenda1 | created - 26 Feb 2011 | updated - 13 Nov 2013 | Public
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1. 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.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico

Votes: 18,863

10/10

2. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Approved | 64 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself.

Director: Boris Ingster | Stars: Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Charles Waldron

Votes: 2,914

10/10

3. Above Suspicion (1943)

Passed | 90 min | Drama, Thriller

Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, Conrad Veidt, Basil Rathbone

Votes: 1,465

10/10

4. 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.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner

Votes: 165,812

10/10

5. They Drive by Night (1940)

Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Two brothers struggle as wildcat truck drivers; one comes to harm, the other is accused of his friend's murder.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino

Votes: 5,959

10/10

6. The Window (1949)

Approved | 73 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9-year-old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, but no one will believe him.

Director: Ted Tetzlaff | Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart

Votes: 2,809

10/10

7. Double Indemnity (1944)

Passed | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

95 Metascore

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Byron Barr

Votes: 117,012 | Gross: $5.72M

10/10

8. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Not Rated | 120 min | Action, Romance, Thriller

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders

Votes: 15,380 | Gross: $3.48M

10/10

9. Call Northside 777 (1948)

Approved | 112 min | Drama, Film-Noir

Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a ten year old murder case.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: James Stewart, Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb, Helen Walker

Votes: 6,888

10/10

10. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Romance

A couple who have been married for three years are horrified to learn that their marriage is not legally valid.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson

Votes: 8,032

10/10

11. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery

96 Metascore

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre

Votes: 131,897

10/10

12. 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.

Director: Robert Hamer | Stars: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood

Votes: 30,449

10/10

13. The Letter (1940)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort

Votes: 9,616

10/10

14. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | 108 min | Thriller

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers

Votes: 50,638

10/10

15. 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.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers

Votes: 70,299

10/10

16. 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.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | Stars: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller

Votes: 13,591

10/10

17. The Canterville Ghost (1944)

Passed | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy

The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.

Directors: Jules Dassin, Norman Z. McLeod | Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Young, Margaret O'Brien, William Gargan

Votes: 2,042

10/10

18. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

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.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 327,153 | Gross: $7.27M

10/10

19. A Stolen Life (1946)

Approved | 109 min | Drama

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt | Stars: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark, Walter Brennan

Votes: 2,448

10/10

20. L'amore (1948)

69 min | Drama

In the first episode, a heartbroken woman talks to her ex-lover on the phone. In the second, a pregnant woman believes she is carrying the child of Saint Joseph.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, Peparuolo, Amelia Robert

Votes: 1,074

10/10

21. The Mummy's Hand (1940)

Approved | 67 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

An ancient mummy is revived to destroy the invaders of the 3,000 year-old tomb of an Egyptian princess.

Director: Christy Cabanne | Stars: Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford, Eduardo Ciannelli

Votes: 2,556

10/10

22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

99 Metascore

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.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 94,401 | Gross: $5.01M

10/10

23. Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Approved | 89 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey

Votes: 8,185

10/10

24. Suspicion (1941)

Not Rated | 99 min | Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 26,961 | Gross: $4.50M

10/10

25. 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.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis

Votes: 13,143 | Gross: $0.33M

10/10

26. 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?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern

Votes: 80,845 | Gross: $10.46M

10/10

27. Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Approved | 86 min | Drama, Romance, Fantasy

A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Gish

Votes: 5,243

10/10

28. 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.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, May Whitty

Votes: 19,389

10/10

29. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 444,028 | Gross: $1.02M

10/10

30. Germany Year Zero (1948)

Not Rated | 78 min | Drama, War

A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau, Ingetraud Hinze, Franz-Otto Krüger

Votes: 8,076

10/10

31. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Not Rated | 129 min | Drama, History

95 Metascore

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin

Votes: 75,625

10/10

32. 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.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas

Votes: 6,535

9/10

33. 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.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson

Votes: 58,996

9/10

34. Bluebeard (1944)

Passed | 72 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

In Paris, an artist hires portrait models, and after he finishes their portraits, he strangles them.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: John Carradine, Jean Parker, Nils Asther, Ludwig Stössel

Votes: 1,382

9/10

35. Dead of Night (1945)

Approved | 77 min | Horror

An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer | Stars: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall

Votes: 8,853

9/10

36. Fingers at the Window (1942)

Passed | 80 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

The City of Chicago is gripped by an Axe Murderer. The streets are empty at night as there have been six murders and six people have been caught, but they are lunatics. Only one person has ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Lederer | Stars: Lew Ayres, Laraine Day, Basil Rathbone, Walter Kingsford

Votes: 569

8 or 9/10

37. Paisan (1946)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama, War

The language barrier has tragic consequences in a series of unrelated stories set during the Italian Campaign of WWII.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Carmela Sazio, Joseph Garland Moore Jr., William Tubbs, Robert Van Loon

Votes: 5,779

8 or 9/10

38. 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.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

Votes: 133,700 | Gross: $0.45M

8/10

39. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 340,464 | Gross: $1.59M

8/10

40. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 103,400

8/10

41. 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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan

Votes: 107,976

7 or 8/10

42. Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Music

A disfigured violinist haunts the Paris Opera House.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains, Edgar Barrier

Votes: 5,158

7 or 8/10

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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll

Votes: 36,901 | Gross: $7.00M

7/10

44. The Ghost Train (1941)

Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy, Horror

High jinks and chills ensue when a group of people become stranded at an isolated station and a legendary phantom train approaches.

Director: Walter Forde | Stars: Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kathleen Harrison, Peter Murray-Hill

Votes: 1,060

6 or 7/10

45. The Spanish Main (1945)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

After being wronged by the Caribbean authorities, a Dutch captain turns pirate to wage war.

Director: Frank Borzage | Stars: Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak, Binnie Barnes

Votes: 1,227

6/10