Top 100 Films Of The 1940's

by mace0204 | created - 23 Mar 2011 | updated - 02 Apr 2011 | Public

My List of my favorite films from the 40's. Feel free to comment and debate.

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1. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

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

Votes: 483,769 | Gross: $1.02M

2. 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: 142,015 | Gross: $2.11M

3. Lassie Come Home (1943)

Passed | 89 min | Adventure, Family

After her destitute family is forced to sell her, a collie named Lassie escapes from her new owner and begins the long trek from Scotland to her Yorkshire home.

Director: Fred M. Wilcox | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, May Whitty, Edmund Gwenn

Votes: 4,577

4. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Not Rated | 83 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Two hapless freight handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man.

Director: Charles Barton | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi

Votes: 13,330 | Gross: $4.80M

5. The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

G | 112 min | Comedy, Romance

When acerbic critic Sheridan Whiteside slips on the front steps of a provincial Ohio businessman's home and breaks his hip, he and his entourage take over the house indefinitely.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Monty Woolley, Richard Travis

Votes: 6,134

6. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Approved | 128 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

The story of the life and career of famed baseball player Lou Gehrig.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan

Votes: 9,186

7. 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: 62,079

8. Rope (1948)

PG | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

73 Metascore

Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death.

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

Votes: 117,084

9. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 53,889 | Gross: $23.65M

10. All Through the Night (1942)

Approved | 107 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Runyonesque Broadway gamblers turn patriotic when they stumble onto a cell of Nazi saboteurs.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne, Jane Darwell

Votes: 3,432

11. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Boxer Joe Pendleton dies 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake, and is given a new life as a millionaire playboy.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains, Evelyn Keyes, Rita Johnson

Votes: 5,433

12. 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: 74,388 | Gross: $6.54M

13. Mildred Pierce (1945)

Passed | 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.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden

Votes: 20,661

14. My Darling Clementine (1946)

Not Rated | 97 min | Biography, Drama, Western

The Earps battle the Clantons at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Cathy Downs

Votes: 19,714

15. Key Largo (1948)

Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 34,483

16. Laura (1944)

Passed | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price

Votes: 39,054 | Gross: $4.36M

17. Lifeboat (1944)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Several survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship in World War II find themselves in the same lifeboat with one of the U-boat men who sunk it.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, William Bendix

Votes: 24,642

18. Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A writer falls in love with a young socialite and they're soon married. But her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of them both, and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price

Votes: 9,830

19. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Passed | 126 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf

Votes: 13,088 | Gross: $11.80M

20. Hold That Ghost (1941)

Passed | 86 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

After inheriting a fortune from a gangster, two dim-witted service station attendants find themselves stranded in a haunted house.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Richard Carlson, Joan Davis

Votes: 3,139

21. Who Done It? (1942)

Approved | 77 min | Comedy, Film-Noir, Mystery

Two dumb soda jerks dream of writing radio mysteries. When they try to pitch an idea at a radio station, they end up in the middle of a real murder when the station owner is killed during a broadcast.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Patric Knowles, William Gargan

Votes: 2,035

22. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Unrated | 126 min | Drama

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.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, William Gargan

Votes: 6,476 | Gross: $21.30M

23. Going My Way (1944)

Passed | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

Father Charles O'Mailey, a young priest at a financially failing Church in a tough neighborhood, gains support and inspires his superior.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh, James Brown

Votes: 9,424 | Gross: $16.30M

24. Kiss of Death (1947)

Approved | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark

Votes: 6,503

25. Duel in the Sun (1946)

Passed | 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: 7,526 | Gross: $20.41M

26. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Not Rated | 112 min | Comedy, Romance

96 Metascore

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.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey

Votes: 59,233

27. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

98 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: 105,058 | Gross: $5.01M

28. The Lost Weekend (1945)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Film-Noir

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard Da Silva

Votes: 30,964 | Gross: $9.46M

29. Double Indemnity (1944)

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

95 Metascore

An insurance representative lets himself be talked by a seductive housewife into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses the suspicion of an insurance investigator.

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

Votes: 130,711 | Gross: $5.72M

30. 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: 363,138

31. My Favorite Wife (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick

Votes: 8,515

32. Meet John Doe (1941)

Not Rated | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan

Votes: 11,124

33. Sergeant York (1941)

Not Rated | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

A marksman is drafted in World War I and ends up becoming one of the most celebrated war heroes.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie, George Tobias

Votes: 14,284 | Gross: $16.40M

34. A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Romance

A letter is addressed to three wives from their "best friend" Addie Ross, announcing that she is running away with one of their husbands...but she does not say which one.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas

Votes: 7,739

35. 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: 29,489 | Gross: $4.50M

36. All the King's Men (1949)

Approved | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, John Derek

Votes: 12,127

37. Notorious (1946)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

100 Metascore

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: 86,172 | Gross: $10.46M

38. Son of Lassie (1945)

G | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

Laddie (Son of Lassie !) and his master are trapped in Norway during WW2 - has he inherited his mothers famous courage ?

Director: S. Sylvan Simon | Stars: Peter Lawford, Donald Crisp, June Lockhart, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 690

39. The Killers (1946)

Passed | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker

Votes: 17,386

40. The Wolf Man (1941)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror

72 Metascore

A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist.

Director: George Waggner | Stars: Claude Rains, Warren William, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy

Votes: 21,302

41. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Approved | 74 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

After being awakened, Larry Talbot chips Frankenstein's Monster out of a block of ice. When Talbot changes to the Wolf Man, the two creatures battle each other.

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill

Votes: 7,018

42. Buck Privates (1941)

Passed | 84 min | Comedy, Musical, War

Two sidewalk salesman enlist in the army in order to avoid jail, only to find that their drill instructor is the police officer who tried having them imprisoned.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lee Bowman, Jane Frazee

Votes: 3,734 | Gross: $4.00M

43. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Approved | 84 min | Comedy, Film-Noir, Horror

Two employees of a secluded hotel investigate a murder on the premises in which the goofy bellboy is the prime suspect.

Director: Charles Barton | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, Lenore Aubert

Votes: 3,363

44. Road to Zanzibar (1941)

Passed | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Musical

Stranded in Africa, Chuck and his pal Fearless have comic versions of jungle adventures, featuring two attractive con-women.

Director: Victor Schertzinger | Stars: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Una Merkel

Votes: 2,713

45. Road to Singapore (1940)

Approved | 85 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

Two playboys try to forget previous romances in Singapore - until they meet a beautiful dancer.

Director: Victor Schertzinger | Stars: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Coburn

Votes: 3,345

46. They Drive by Night (1940)

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

When one of 2 truck driving brothers loses an arm, they both join a transport company where later, the other is falsely charged as an accessory in the murder of the owner.

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

Votes: 6,550

47. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | 108 min | Thriller

94 Metascore

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: 54,721

48. White Heat (1949)

Not Rated | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly

Votes: 24,937

49. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance