Best 1940s Films

The 40s saw the growth and development of the film industry into something truly unique. With classics like Casablanca and It’s a Wonderful Life, we can’t wait to dive into these best movies of the 1940s.

What’s on the Best 1940s Films Timeline?

This timeline assembles all of the best movies from the 1940s. These include all the winners of the Best Picture Oscar, as well as others noted for their critical reception, financial success, and lasting status.

The 1940s progressed the film business in a big way. Color film was beginning to take permanent hold, though many were still released in black and white. Stars like Humphrey Bogart were in their prime, and directors like Alfred Hitchcock were beginning to become household names.

We hope you enjoy this dive into film history. Film historians should enjoy this compilation of influential, popular, and critically acclaimed films. Enjoy!

As always, if you see something you think we should add or change, give us a shout out in the comment section below.

And if you liked this timeline, you might like to move on to the next one, the Best 1950s Films.

#AmazonNameMediaDirectorDateSeriesNotes
1BuyThe Grapes of WrathFilmJohn Ford1940-01-241940s
2BuyPinocchioFilmBen Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske1940-02-071940s
3BuyDr. CyclopsFilmErnest B. Schoedsack1940-04-121940s
4BuyRebeccaFilmAlfred Hitchcock1940-04-121940s
5BuyForeign CorrespondentFilmAlfred Hitchcock1940-08-161940s
6BuyThe Great DictatorFilmCharlie Chaplin1940-10-151940s
7BuyFantasiaFilmSamuel Armstrong, James Algar, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, David D. Hand, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson1940-11-131940s
8BuyThe Philadelphia StoryFilmGeorge Cukor1940-12-261940s
9BuyDead of NightFilmAlberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden1941-05-241940s
10BuySergeant YorkFilmHoward Hawks1941-07-021940s
11BuyHere Comes Mr. JordanFilmAlexander Hall1941-08-071940s
12BuyCitizen KaneFilmOrson Welles1941-09-051940s
13BuyThe Maltese FaconFilmJohn Huston1941-10-181940s
14BuyHow Green Was My ValleyFilmJohn Ford1941-10-281940s
15BuyDumboFilmBen Sharpsteen1941-10-311940s
16BuySuspicionFilmAlfred Hitchcock1941-11-141940s
17Buy49th ParallelFilmMichael Powell1941-11-241940s
18BuyThe Wolf ManFilmGeorge Waggner1941-12-121940s
19BuyThe Man Who Came to DinnerFilmWilliam Keighley1942-01-011940s
20BuyWoman of the YearFilmGeorge Stevens1942-02-191940s
21BuySaboteurFilmAlfred Hitchcock1942-04-221940s
22BuyMrs. MiniverFilmWilliam Wyler1942-06-041940s
23BuyThe Pride of the YankeesFilmSam Wood1942-07-141940s
24BuyBambiFilmDavid Hand1942-08-211940s
25BuyCat PeopleFilmJacques Tourneur1942-12-061940s
26BuyShadow of a DoubtFilmAlfred Hitchcock1943-01-121940s
27BuyCasablancaFilmMichael Curtiz1943-01-231940s
28BuyFor Whom the Bell TollsFilmSam Wood1943-07-141940s
29BuyHeaven Can WaitFilmErnst Lubitsch1943-08-111940s
30BuySaharaFilmZoltán Korda1943-11-111940s
31BuyDay of WrathFilmCarl Theodor Dreyer1943-11-131940s
32BuyLifeboatFilmAlfred Hitchcock1944-01-111940s
33BuyGoing My WayFilmLeo McCarey1944-05-031940s
34BuyGaslightFilmGeorge Cukor1944-05-041940s
35BuyDouble IndemnityFilmBilly Wilder1944-07-031940s
36BuyArsenic and Old LaceFilmFrank Capra1944-09-231940s
37BuyLauraFilmOtto Preminger1944-10-111940s
38BuyTo Have and Have NotFilmHoward Hawks1944-10-111940s
39BuyThe Children Are Watching UsFilmVittorio De Sica1944-10-271940s
40BuyHenry VFilmLaurence Olivier1944-11-221940s
41BuyMeet Me in St. LouisFilmVincente Minnelli1944-11-281940s
42BuyThe Lost WeekendFilmBilly Wilder1945-11-291940s
43BuyThe Bells of St. Mary'sFilmLeo McCarey1945-12-061940s
44BuyThe StrangerFilmOrson Welles1946-07-021940s
45BuyThe Big SleepFilmHoward Hawks1946-08-231940s
46BuyNotoriousFilmAlfred Hitchcock1946-09-061940s
47BuyDeceptionFilmIrving Rapper1946-10-181940s
48BuyThe Best Years of Our LivesFilmWilliam Wyler1946-11-211940s
49BuyIt's a Wonderful LifeFilmFrank Capra1946-12-201940s
50BuyGreat ExpectationsFilmDavid Lean1946-12-261940s
51BuyAngel and the BadmanFilmJames Edward Grant1947-02-151940s
52BuyBlack NarcissusFilmMichael Powell, Emeric Pressburger1947-05-261940s
53BuyMiracle on 34th StreetFilmGeorge Seaton1947-06-041940s
54BuyThe Bachelor and the Bobby-SoxerFilmIrving Reis1947-09-011940s
55BuyGentleman's AgreementFilmElia Kazan1947-11-111940s
56BuyThe Lady from ShanghaiFilmOrson Welles1947-12-241940s
57BuyThe Paradine CaseFilmAlfred Hitchcock1947-12-291940s
58BuyThe Treasure of the Sierra MadreFilmJohn Huston1948-01-061940s
59BuyHamletFilmLaurence Olivier1948-05-041940s
60BuyKey LargoFilmJohn Huston1948-07-161940s
61BuyRed RiverFilmHoward Hawks1948-08-261940s
62BuyRopeFilmAlfred Hitchcock1948-09-251940s
63BuyMacbethFilmOrson Welles1948-10-071940s
64BuyThe Red ShoesFilmMichael Powell, Emeric Pressburger1948-10-221940s
65BuyJoan of ArcFilmVictor Fleming1948-11-111940s
66BuyBicycle ThievesFilmVittorio De Sica1948-11-241940s
67BuyThe Third ManFilmCarol Reed1949-09-011940s
68BuyWhite HeatFilmRaoul Walsh1949-09-021940s
69BuyShe Wore a Yellow RibbonFilmJohn Ford1949-10-221940s
70BuyAll the King's MenFilmRobert Rossen1949-11-081940s
71BuyOn the TownFilmGene Kelly, Stanley Donen1949-12-081940s
72BuySands of Iwo JimaFilmAllan Dwan1949-12-141940s
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