Favorite Movies of the 1940's

by panos_k | created - 03 Mar 2018 | updated - 03 Mar 2018 | Public
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1. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; 'Rosebud'.

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

Votes: 368,743 | Gross: $1.59M

2. 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: 86,166 | Gross: $10.46M

3. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

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

Votes: 112,516 | Gross: $4.36M

4. The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

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: 147,353 | Gross: $0.45M

5. 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.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Thorkild Roose, Lisbeth Movin, Sigrid Neiiendam, Kirsten Andreasen

Votes: 8,345

6. 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: 363,088

7. 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: 20,824

8. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote, Kathleen Byron

Votes: 17,486

9. Ossessione (1943)

TV-14 | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Gino, a drifter, begins an affair with inn-owner Giovanna as they plan to get rid of her older husband.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Dhia Cristiani, Elio Marcuzzo

Votes: 6,181

10. 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.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri

Votes: 130,549 | Gross: $0.33M

11. 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.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 19,502

12. La Terra Trema (1948)

Not Rated | 160 min | Drama

In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Antonio Arcidiacono, Giuseppe Arcidiacono

Votes: 3,877

13. 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.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders

Votes: 23,885 | Gross: $0.01M

14. Children of Paradise (1945)

Not Rated | 189 min | Drama, Romance

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir

Votes: 16,963

15. 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.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart

Votes: 49,170 | Gross: $0.30M

16. The Great Dictator (1940)

Passed | 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: 184,535

17. Spellbound (1945)

Approved | 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: 39,865 | Gross: $7.00M

18. 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.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein | Stars: Nikolay Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov

Votes: 8,298

19. 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.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook, James McKechnie

Votes: 11,940

20. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Passed | 104 min | Western

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson

Votes: 14,467

21. Red River (1948)

Passed | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson | Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan

Votes: 25,848

22. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance

A society lady engineers a marriage between her lover and a cabaret dancer who is essentially a prostitute.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Paul Bernard, María Casares, Elina Labourdette, Lucienne Bogaert

Votes: 3,500

23. 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: 105,040 | Gross: $5.01M

24. Great Expectations (1946)

Not Rated | 118 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Director: David Lean | Stars: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager, Jean Simmons

Votes: 20,546

25. Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated | 154 min | Drama

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie, Esmond Knight

Votes: 14,059

26. 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: 130,684 | Gross: $5.72M

27. 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.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey

Votes: 32,367

28. 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.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 17,527

29. 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.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer, Jean Short

Votes: 25,056 | Gross: $10.90M

30. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Passed | 129 min | Drama, History

96 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: 81,868 | Gross: $0.06M

31. 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: 39,047 | Gross: $4.36M

32. 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.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest

Votes: 22,042

33. Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

92 Metascore

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément | Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon

Votes: 22,593 | Gross: $0.30M

34. Jour de Fête (1949)

Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy

Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Tati | Stars: Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, Paul Frankeur, Santa Relli

Votes: 6,855

35. 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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, Eiko Miyoshi

Votes: 13,478

36. 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: 32,287

37. 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.

Director: Max Ophüls | Stars: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet

Votes: 10,127

38. Random Harvest (1942)

Passed | 126 min | Drama, Romance

An amnesiac World War I veteran falls in love with a music hall star, only to suffer an accident which restores his original memories but erases his post-war life.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Philip Dorn, Susan Peters

Votes: 6,437 | Gross: $10.14M

39. Night Train to Munich (1940)

Not Rated | 90 min | Thriller, War

When Germany invades Czechoslovakia, the German and the British intelligence services try to capture Czech scientist Dr. Axel Bomasch (James Harcourt), inventor of a new type of armor-plating.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid, Basil Radford

Votes: 4,105



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