Favorite Films of the 1940s

by gromit82 | created - 3 months ago | updated - 3 months ago | Public

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1. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 492,581 | Gross: $1.02M

2. 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: 375,624 | Gross: $1.59M

3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

98 Metascore

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: 107,227 | Gross: $5.01M

4. They Live by Night (1948)

Passed | 95 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Romance

An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen

Votes: 6,325

5. State of the Union (1948)

Approved | 124 min | Comedy, Drama

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 3,278

6. The Ox-Bow Incident (1942)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Western

When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn

Votes: 19,674 | Gross: $1.64M

7. Stormy Weather (1943)

Approved | 78 min | Musical

The relationship between an aspiring dancer and a popular songstress provides a retrospective of the great African American entertainers of the early 1900s.

Director: Andrew L. Stone | Stars: Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, Katherine Dunham and Her Troupe

Votes: 1,820

8. Bambi (1942)

G | 70 min | Animation, Drama, Family

91 Metascore

The story of a young deer growing up in the forest.

Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright, Arthur Davis, Clyde Geronimi | Stars: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey, Peter Behn

Votes: 123,556 | Gross: $102.80M

9. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed | 99 min | Comedy, War

86 Metascore

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart

Votes: 24,308

10. Der Fuehrer's Face (1942)

Approved | 8 min | Family, Short, War

Donald Duck has a nightmare that he lives in Germany slaving under the Nazi regime.

Director: Jack Kinney | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Clarence Nash

Votes: 3,764

11. Spies (1943)

Unrated | 4 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Private Snafu has a secret: his ship leaves for Africa at 4:30. He's determined to keep it, but bit by bit it slips out, and eventually, the details end up right on Hitler's desk and the ship is engaged.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 520

12. Tortoise Wins by a Hare (1943)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Bugs challenges Cecil Turtle to race, only this time he's wearing an aerodynamic suit like Cecil's. Unfortunately, the gambling ring has bet everything on the rabbit, and Bugs now looks like a tortoise.

Directors: Robert Clampett, Tex Avery | Stars: Mel Blanc, Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce

Votes: 1,241

13. London Can Take It! (1940)

Approved | 9 min | Documentary, War, Short

A tribute to the courage and resiliency of Britons during the darkest days of the London Blitz.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Harry Watt | Stars: Quentin Reynolds, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Votes: 540

14. 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: 188,940

15. Quicker'n a Wink (1940)

Approved | 10 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

In this Pete Smith Specialty, Dr. Harold E. Edgerton demonstrates stroboscopic photography, which he helped develop. This process allows us to see in slow motion what happens during events ... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Harold E. Edgerton, Clarence Curtis, Tex Harris, Charles Lacey

Votes: 280

16. You Ought to Be in Pictures (1940)

Approved | 10 min | Animation, Family, Comedy

Daffy Duck convinces Porky Pig to quit the cartoon biz and try his luck in the features. Porky's adventures begin when he tries to enter the studio.

Director: Friz Freleng | Stars: Mel Blanc, Leon Schlesinger, Henry Binder, Gerry Chiniquy

Votes: 1,376

17. A Wild Hare (1940)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Family, Short

Elmer is a dimwitted hunter who's "wooking for wabbits." Bugs proceeds to confuse, bamboozle, and otherwise humiliate the poor simp.

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 1,288

18. 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: 134,050 | Gross: $0.33M

19. 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: 26,324

20. Force of Evil (1948)

Passed | 79 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

89 Metascore

An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.

Director: Abraham Polonsky | Stars: John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor, Howland Chamberlain

Votes: 5,422

21. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Romance

93 Metascore

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, Robert Wise | Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter

Votes: 20,927

22. 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: 14,324

23. 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: 84,094 | Gross: $76.41M

24. 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: 82,813 | Gross: $0.06M

25. Hare Do (1949)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Elmer chases Bugs out of the woods, into the city, into a theatre.

Director: Friz Freleng | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 683

26. High Diving Hare (1949)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Yosemite Sam tries to force Bugs Bunny to do a high-diving act when the regular act cancels; but the bullying pipsqueak is no match for our redoubtable rabbit.

Director: Friz Freleng | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 1,525

27. Book Revue (1946)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

As the literary characters come to life in a bookstore at night, Daffy Duck sings and dances before being chased by the Big Bad Wolf.

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Richard Bickenbach

Votes: 1,239

28. Dough for the Do-Do (1949)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Porky ventures into Darkest Africa in search of the last Do-Do bird, and winds up in Wackyland, a surreal place where the sun comes up atop a human pyramid, the Warner Brothers shield comes... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Clampett, Friz Freleng | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 975

29. The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

After reading his favorite Dick Tracy comic, Daffy Duck has a surreal dream in which he is Duck Twacy, a private eye on the trail of an army of horrifyingly grotesque villains who stole every piggy bank in town, including his own.

Director: Robert Clampett | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 1,764

30. Tweetie Pie (1947)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Thomas the cat finds Tweety in the snow, warming himself by a cigar butt. Thomas's mistress rescues the little yellow bird before her cat can devour him, but Thomas doesn't give up.

Directors: Friz Freleng, Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet

Votes: 1,081

31. Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Comedy, Short

The characters of the traditional fairy tale demand a new approach to the story as a sexy urban comedy with Red as an adult nightclub dancer.

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Sara Berner, Daws Butler, June Foray, Frank Graham

Votes: 2,156

32. The Red Shoes (1948)

Not Rated | 135 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: 27,167 | Gross: $10.90M

33. 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: 6,543 | Gross: $10.14M

34. The Old Grey Hare (1944)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Elmer Fudd is taken far into the future (past 1990) and Bugs thinks back to when they first met as little babies.

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 904

35. Out-Foxed (1949)

Approved | 8 min | Family, Animation, Short

Droopy is an unlikely fox-hound, but the highly civilised (and resourceful) English upper-class fox makes even more unlikely prey...

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Bill Thompson, Daws Butler, William Hanna

Votes: 559

36. Swooner Crooner (1944)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Porky Pig's egg farm faces production problems when a crooning rooster distracts the hens from their jobs.

Director: Frank Tashlin | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Richard Bickenbach

Votes: 569

37. 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.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 10,190 | Gross: $0.44M

38. The House I Live In (1945)

Approved | 11 min | Short, Drama, Music

Frank Sinatra teaches a group of young boys a lesson in religious tolerance.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Teddy Infuhr, Harry McKim, Ronnie Ralph

Votes: 517

39. This Gun for Hire (1942)

Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

When assassin Philip Raven shoots a blackmailer and his beautiful female companion dead, he is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies.

Director: Frank Tuttle | Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar

Votes: 7,803

40. Little Rural Riding Hood (1949)

Approved | 6 min | Animation, Comedy, Short

The last of Tex Avery's variations on 'Red Hot Riding Hood' (1943), in which the country wolf visits his city cousin, who tries to teach him the rudiments of civilised behaviour when ... See full summary »

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Daws Butler, Colleen Collins, Pinto Colvig, Imogene Lynn

Votes: 1,022

41. A Corny Concerto (1943)

Approved | 8 min | Family, Animation, Short

Elmer Fudd introduces two pieces of classical music: "Tales of the Vienna Woods" and "The Blue Danube", and acted out by Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and a flock of ducks.

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Arthur Q. Bryan, Bea Benaderet

Votes: 1,636

42. So You Want to Be a Detective (1948)

Passed | 11 min | Comedy, Crime, Short

Joe McDoakes imagines himself as a private detective on a murder case. Throughout the film, he spars verbally with narrator Art Gilmore.

Director: Richard L. Bare | Stars: George O'Hanlon, Art Gilmore, Kit Guard, Charles Horvath

Votes: 294

43. The Three Caballeros (1944)

Approved | 71 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

85 Metascore

Donald receives his birthday gifts, which include traditional gifts and information about Brazil (hosted by Zé Carioca) and Mexico (by Panchito, a Mexican Charro Rooster).

Directors: Norman Ferguson, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Harold Young | Stars: Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina, Dora Luz, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 11,137

44. Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Approved | 73 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

Jiminy Cricket hosts two Disney animated shorts: "Bongo," about a circus bear escaping to the wild, and "Mickey and the Beanstalk," a take on the famous fairy tale.

Directors: Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan, Bill Roberts | Stars: Edgar Bergen, Dinah Shore, Luana Patten, Anita Gordon

Votes: 6,223

45. My Favorite Brunette (1947)

Approved | 87 min | Comedy, Crime, Film-Noir

Shortly before his execution on the death row in San Quentin, amateur sleuth and baby photographer Ronnie Jackson, tells reporters how he got there.

Director: Elliott Nugent | Stars: Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr.

Votes: 2,809

46. The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947)

Approved | 89 min | Comedy

6.5