Criterionforum.org's List Project: 1940s v2.0by tmdaines | created - 6 months ago | updated - 6 months ago | Public
Compiled in February 2007
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1. Late Spring (1949)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama
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.
2. Citizen Kane (1941)
PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery
Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; 'Rosebud'.
Votes: 368,840 | Gross: $1.59M
3. Day of Wrath (1943)
Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History
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.
4. 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.
Votes: 147,388 | Gross: $0.45M
5. Notorious (1946)
Not Rated | 102 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?
Votes: 86,183 | Gross: $10.46M
6. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)
Not Rated | 95 min | Biography, Drama, History
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.
449 [Ivan Groznyy & Ivan Groznyy. Skaz vtoroy: Boyarskiy zagovor]
7. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Romance
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.
8. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Not Rated | 89 min | Drama
In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.
Votes: 130,602 | Gross: $0.33M
9. Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.
Votes: 22,601 | Gross: $0.30M
10. Out of the Past (1947)
Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
11. The Lady Eve (1941)
Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Romance
A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.
12. His Girl Friday (1940)
Passed | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.
Votes: 49,193 | Gross: $0.30M
13. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Not Rated | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about life, which gives him a rude awakening.
14. The Red Shoes (1948)
Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.
Votes: 25,110 | Gross: $10.90M
15. My Darling Clementine (1946)
Not Rated | 97 min | Biography, Drama, Western
The Earps battle the Clantons at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.
16. 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.
17. Double Indemnity (1944)
Passed | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
Votes: 130,730 | Gross: $5.72M
18. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
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.
Votes: 24,795 | Gross: $0.20M
19. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Not Rated | 14 min | Short, Fantasy, Mystery
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
20. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.
Votes: 23,895 | Gross: $0.01M
21. Children of Paradise (1945)
Not Rated | 189 min | Drama, Romance
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.
22. Casablanca (1942)
PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War
A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.
Votes: 483,825 | Gross: $1.02M
23. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Not Rated | 163 min | Drama, Romance, War
From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.
24. A Canterbury Tale (1944)
Not Rated | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.
25. Brief Encounter (1945)
Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance
Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.
26. Black Narcissus (1947)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama
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.
27. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Romance
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.
28. 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.
29. 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.
Votes: 74,400 | Gross: $6.54M
30. To Have and Have Not (1944)
Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Comedy, Film-Noir
During World War II, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer.
31. Cat People (1942)
Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
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.
Votes: 17,719 | Gross: $4.00M
32. Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Passed | 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.
Votes: 14,374 | Gross: $0.33M
33. Fantasia (1940)
G | 125 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.
Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton, Walt Disney
Votes: 82,767 | Gross: $76.41M
34. Laura (1944)
Passed | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.
Votes: 39,059 | Gross: $4.36M
35. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Passed | 88 min | Comedy, Romance
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.
Votes: 9,912 | Gross: $0.44M
36. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
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.
37. To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Passed | 99 min | Comedy, War
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
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.
Votes: 105,076 | Gross: $5.01M
39. Scarlet Street (1945)
Approved | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
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.
40. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.
Votes: 53,892 | Gross: $23.65M
41. Thieves' Highway (1949)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.
42. Stray Dog (1949)
Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.
43. Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Drama
Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous man. When he knew Jenny is making eyes at Brignon, an old businessman, in ... See full summary »
Votes: 4,395 | Gross: $0.03M
44. 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.
45. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)
Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance
A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.
46. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
Approved | 69 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
A Canadian nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island.
47. Force of Evil (1948)
Not Rated | 79 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.
48. There Was a Father (1942)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama
Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.
49. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)
Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance