best movies in 40'sby joan_vet | created - 10 months ago | updated - 10 months ago | Public
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1. 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: 492,599 | Gross: $1.02M
2. 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: 87,370 | Gross: $10.46M
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Ball of Fire (1941)
Approved | 111 min | Comedy, Romance
A group of professors working on a new encyclopedia encounter a mouthy nightclub singer who is wanted by the police to help bring down her mob boss lover.
6. 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: 114,512 | Gross: $4.36M
7. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Not Rated | 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.
9. Key Largo (1948)
Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.
13. 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.
14. The Killers (1946)
Passed | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.
15. The Passionate Friends (1949)
Approved | 95 min | Drama
The Passionate Friends were in love when young, but separated, and she married an older man. Then Mary Justin (Ann Todd) meets Steven Stratton (Trevor Howard) again and they have one last ... See full summary »
16. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
Votes: 143,519 | Gross: $2.11M
17. The Major and the Minor (1942)
Passed | 100 min | Comedy, Romance
A woman disguises herself as a child to save on a train fare and is taken in charge by an army man who doesn't notice the truth.
Votes: 5,717 | Gross: $6.38M
21. In This Our Life (1942)
Approved | 97 min | Drama
The day before her wedding, a pampered young woman absconds with her sister's husband; in retaliation, her sister begins seeing the woman's former fiancé.
22. Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Music, Romance
While conducting a symphony orchestra, Sir Alfred De Carter imagines three different ways of dealing with his wife's suspected infidelity, then tries acting out his fantasies, but things do... See full summary »
23. 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: 150,065 | Gross: $0.45M
24. Gaslight (1944)
Not Rated | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.
26. The Woman in the Window (1944)
Approved | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
When a conservative middle-aged professor engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale, he is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder.
29. 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: 40,588 | Gross: $7.00M
30. Double Indemnity (1944)
Passed | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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.
Votes: 133,506 | Gross: $5.72M
31. Deception (1946)
Approved | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.
32. Mildred Pierce (1945)
Passed | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.
34. Adam's Rib (1949)
Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.
36. 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 »
37. The Fallen Idol (1948)
Approved | 95 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.
Votes: 7,264 | Gross: $0.34M
38. 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: 25,622 | Gross: $0.20M
40. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Boxer Joe Pendleton dies 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake, and is given a new life as a millionaire playboy.