Year by year: 1940

by cafg-0 | created - 16 Dec 2017 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

The top 40 films of 1940

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1. 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: 81,895 | Gross: $0.06M

2. 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: 184,633

3. 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: 59,251

4. 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: 49,205 | Gross: $0.30M

5. 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: 112,569 | Gross: $4.36M

6. 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.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut

Votes: 24,799 | Gross: $0.20M

7. Fantasia (1940)

G | 125 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

96 Metascore

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: 82,778 | Gross: $76.41M

8. Pinocchio (1940)

G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

99 Metascore

A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.

Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc, Billy Bletcher

Votes: 118,845 | Gross: $84.25M

9. The Letter (1940)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort

Votes: 10,519

10. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Passed | 120 min | Action, Romance, Thriller

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders

Votes: 16,768 | Gross: $3.48M

11. The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated | 106 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

After being tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar, King Ahmad joins forces with a thief named Abu to reclaim his throne, the city, and the Princess he loves.

Directors: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Alexander Korda, Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Sabu, June Duprez, John Justin

Votes: 10,935 | Gross: $0.27M

12. The Sea Hawk (1940)

Approved | 127 min | Action, Adventure, History

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains, Donald Crisp

Votes: 8,458

13. You're Missing the Point (1940)

G | 112 min | Comedy

The boyfriend (Cantinflas) of the servant of a rich industrial man, gets into the house in order to kill a mad dog. Suddenly this man appears so the servant tells him that Cantinflas is his... See full summary »

Director: Juan Bustillo Oro | Stars: Cantinflas, Joaquín Pardavé, Sara García, Sofía Álvarez

Votes: 943

14. The Great McGinty (1940)

Passed | 82 min | Comedy

Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics, but he endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff, Allyn Joslyn

Votes: 3,098

15. The Long Voyage Home (1940)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, War

In 1940, the motley crew of the British tramp steamer SS Glencairn prepares the ship for its perilous voyage from the West Indies to Baltimore and then to England.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Ward Bond

Votes: 3,488

16. The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Approved | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

A young Spanish aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard

Votes: 8,792 | Gross: $4.36M

17. Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 6,935

18. Arise, My Love (1940)

Passed | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A dashing pilot and a vivacious reporter have romantic and dramatic adventures in Europe as World War II begins.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Dennis O'Keefe, Walter Abel

Votes: 645

19. 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: 8,517

20. Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Passed | 108 min | Drama, Romance, War

During World War I, believing her fiance to be dead, a young ballerina loses her job and is forced to turn to prostitution.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, Lucile Watson, Virginia Field

Votes: 8,228

21. The Westerner (1940)

Approved | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western

78 Metascore

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Fred Stone

Votes: 4,589

22. Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

Approved | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History

Humble Abraham Lincoln gains the respect of his Illinois neighbors, growing in stature and respect until he is elected President in 1860 and departs for Washington.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon, Mary Howard

Votes: 1,559

23. Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)

Approved | 103 min | Biography, Drama

True story of the doctor who considered it was not immoral to search for a drug that would cure syphillis.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Ruth Gordon, Otto Kruger, Donald Crisp

Votes: 1,318

24. Boom Town (1940)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr

Votes: 2,860 | Gross: $9.17M

25. Our Town (1940)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: William Holden, Martha Scott, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi

Votes: 2,119

26. The House of the Seven Gables (1940)

Approved | 89 min | Drama, Thriller

Fighting over an inheritance, one Pyncheon brother frames the other for murder.

Director: Joe May | Stars: George Sanders, Margaret Lindsay, Vincent Price, Dick Foran

Votes: 853

27. The Stationmaster (1940)

92 min | Drama

When two russian captains of cavalry came to a German post station one of them recalls what happened long time ago. He begins to tell the story: Ten years ago a comrade of them made a ... See full summary »

Director: Gustav Ucicky | Stars: Heinrich George, Hilde Krahl, Siegfried Breuer, Hans Holt

Votes: 141

28. All This, and Heaven Too (1940)

Approved | 141 min | Drama, Romance

A duchess' irrational behavior toward the governess of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 3,989

29. The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

A best-selling author of women's issues and a medical academic find it is to their mutual advantage to falsely claim that they are married.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, Gail Patrick

Votes: 733

30. Angels Over Broadway (1940)

Passed | 79 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

A cuckolded embezzler on the verge of suicide is helped by a tout, an alcoholic playwright, and a pick-up girl to reimburse the money with a gambling sting.

Directors: Ben Hecht, Lee Garmes | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Rita Hayworth, Thomas Mitchell, John Qualen

Votes: 821

31. The Howards of Virginia (1940)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, History, War

Just prior to the American War of Independence, aristocratic Virginian Jane Peyton marries unsophisticated rustic farmer and surveyor Matt Howard who takes her to his Shenandoah Valley plantation and later goes to war.

Director: Frank Lloyd | Stars: Cary Grant, Martha Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Marshal

Votes: 967

32. Edison, the Man (1940)

Passed | 107 min | Biography, Drama

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman, Charles Coburn

Votes: 1,424

33. Northwest Passage (1940)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

Directors: King Vidor, Jack Conway, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey

Votes: 3,049

34. Dark Command (1940)

Approved | 94 min | Drama, Romance, Western

In Kansas, during the Civil War opposing pro-Union and pro-Confederate camps clash and visiting Texan Bob Seton runs afoul of William Cantrell's Raiders.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Walter Pidgeon, Roy Rogers

Votes: 2,166

35. They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Approved | 96 min | Drama, Romance

While courting a young woman by mail, a rich farmer sends a photograph of his foreman instead of his own, which leads to complications when she accepts his marriage proposal.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, William Gargan, Harry Carey

Votes: 332

36. The Return of Frank James (1940)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, History, Western

Frank James continues to avoid arrest in order to take revenge on the Ford brothers for their murder of his brother Jesse.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Jackie Cooper, Henry Hull

Votes: 2,610

37. Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)

Approved | 63 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

An escaped convicted murderer hides out at a New York wax museum where he hopes to get plastic surgery, which will help him revenge himself on Charlie Chan.

Director: Lynn Shores | Stars: Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Yung, C. Henry Gordon, Marc Lawrence

Votes: 1,364

38. Blackout (1940)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Hay Petrie, Joss Ambler

Votes: 938

39. Primrose Path (1940)

Approved | 93 min | Drama, Romance

A young woman from a family of prostitutes falls in love with a hard-working man, but when he finds out the truth about her background, their romance becomes jeopardized.

Director: Gregory La Cava | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Marjorie Rambeau, Henry Travers

Votes: 1,169

40. Comrade X (1940)

Passed | 104 min | Comedy, Romance

An American reporter smuggling news out of Soviet Moscow is blackmailed into helping a beautiful Communist leave the country.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, Oskar Homolka, Felix Bressart

Votes: 1,208



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