The 50 best movies of 1940sby jjavatomateos | created - 27 May 2015 | updated - 1 day ago | Public
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1. 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: 368,763 | Gross: $1.59M
2. 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: 24,787 | Gross: $0.20M
4. 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: 86,168 | Gross: $10.46M
5. 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: 74,379 | Gross: $6.54M
7. 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: 147,358 | Gross: $0.45M
9. 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: 483,717 | Gross: $1.02M
10. 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.
Votes: 112,521 | Gross: $4.36M
11. 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.
12. 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.
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.
Votes: 23,887 | Gross: $0.01M
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
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.
21. At Land (1944)
15 min | Short
Silently, a woman wakes on a beach as the tides go in reverse. Her dreamscape unfolds as she tries to locate a chess piece traveling from the beach to a party to a country road and then back.
23. Shoeshine (1946)
Not Rated | 87 min | Drama
Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
25. 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.
Votes: 39,865 | Gross: $7.00M
27. Lifeboat (1944)
Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, War
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.
28. Under Capricorn (1949)
Approved | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A young gentleman goes to Australia where he reunites with his now married childhood sweetheart, only to find out she has become an alcoholic and harbors dark secrets.
30. 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: 82,750 | Gross: $76.41M
31. Macbeth (1948)
Passed | 92 min | Drama, History, War
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
33. The Great Madcap (1949)
92 min | Comedy
Buñuel's first "comeback" film since "L'Age d'Or" in 1930 (he made only a few musicals in the interim), "El Gran Calavera" concerns a family's attempts to change the patriarch's somewhat ... See full summary »
37. Witch's Cradle (1944)
12 min | Short, Fantasy, Mystery
The surrealist film shows repetitive imagery involving a string fashioned in a bizarre, almost spiderweb-like pattern over the hands of several individuals, most notably an unnamed young woman and an elderly gentleman.
42. Crisis (1946)
Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Romance
A small-town piano teacher is shocked by the arrival of her foster daughter's real mother, whose young lover soon follows and causes further disruption.
43. Bon Voyage (1944)
TV-G | 26 min | Short, War
A young Scottish R.A.F. gunner is debriefed by French officials about his escape from occupied territory, and in particular one person who may or may not have been a German Agent.
44. Port of Call (1948)
Not Rated | 100 min | Drama
A suicidal factory girl out of reformatory school, anxious to escape her overbearing mother, falls in love with a sailor who can't forgive her past.
47. Aventure malgache (1944)
Not Rated | 32 min | Short, War
While preparing backstage, an actor tells his castmates about an adventure he had during World War II in the Axis-controlled French colony of Madagascar working for the Resistance and clashing with the collaborationist local police chief.
49. Thirst (1949)
Not Rated | 83 min | Drama