mightysparks's Favourite Films of the 1940s

by DaveHedgehog | created - 22 Jan 2013 | updated - 08 Jun 2014 | Public
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1. The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

Votes: 151,237 | Gross: $0.45M

2. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Passed | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

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.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 378,316

3. Children of Paradise (1945)

Not Rated | 189 min | Drama, Romance

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir

Votes: 17,380

4. Le Corbeau (1943)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson

Votes: 8,304 | Gross: $0.03M

5. The Fallen Idol (1948)

Approved | 95 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

88 Metascore

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.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, Bobby Henrey

Votes: 7,344 | Gross: $0.34M

6. Douce (1943)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

In Paris in 1887, Irène works as a governess to Douce, the grand-daughter of the dowager Countess de Bonafé. Douce believes she is in love with Fabien, the handsome manager of the estate. ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Autant-Lara | Stars: Odette Joyeux, Madeleine Robinson, Marguerite Moreno, Jean Debucourt

Votes: 265

7. Rope (1948)

Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

73 Metascore

Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan

Votes: 121,151

8. 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: 24,636

9. 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.

Director: Max Ophüls | Stars: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet

Votes: 10,410

10. Under the Bridges (1946)

99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Two barge skippers fall in love with the same woman.

Director: Helmut Käutner | Stars: Hannelore Schroth, Carl Raddatz, Gustav Knuth, Margarete Haagen

Votes: 626

11. Four Steps in the Clouds (1942)

88 min | Comedy, Drama

A family man travelling for work, Paolo Bianchi, meets on a train a lonely girl, Maria. He sees her again on a bus and she reveals him that she's in troubles: she's pregnant, her baby's ... See full summary »

Director: Alessandro Blasetti | Stars: Gino Cervi, Adriana Benetti, Giuditta Rissone, Carlo Romano

Votes: 333

12. 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: 496,799 | Gross: $1.02M

13. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

Not Rated | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted and forms a unique relationship with the ghost.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best

Votes: 14,812

14. Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Passed | 124 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis

Votes: 14,803 | Gross: $0.33M

15. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 55,098 | Gross: $23.65M

16. Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance

Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey

Votes: 33,325

17. 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.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders

Votes: 24,641 | Gross: $0.01M

18. Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

Approved | 96 min | Thriller, War

During World War II, an undercover British soldier tries get word to the Allies that the Germans have tons of supplies buried in five excavations across Egypt.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff, Erich von Stroheim

Votes: 4,703

19. 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.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson, Robert Benchley

Votes: 5,812 | Gross: $6.38M

20. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | 108 min | Thriller

94 Metascore

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers

Votes: 56,195

21. 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: 28,105 | Gross: $10.90M

22. Rebecca (1940)

Approved | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

86 Metascore

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: 115,636 | Gross: $4.36M

23. Lifeboat (1944)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, William Bendix

Votes: 25,201

24. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 13,056

25. Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

A writer falls in love with a young socialite and they're soon married. But her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of them both, and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price

Votes: 10,148

26. Anjô-ke no butôkai (1947)

89 min | Drama

After Japan's loss in the war, the wealthy, cultured, liberal Anjo family have to give up their mansion and their way of life. They hold one last ball at the house before leaving. The ... See full summary »

Director: Kôzaburô Yoshimura | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Yumeko Aizome, Osamu Takizawa, Masayuki Mori

Votes: 276

27. Le Silence de la Mer (1949)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Romance, War

1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Howard Vernon, Nicole Stéphane, Jean-Marie Robain, Ami Aaröe

Votes: 3,749

28. The Little Foxes (1941)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, Romance

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson

Votes: 9,700

29. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 18,617 | Gross: $4.00M

30. And Then There Were None (1945)

Approved | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered on an isolated island by an absent host and someone begins killing them off one by one. They work together to determine who the killer is. Could it be one of them?

Director: René Clair | Stars: Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Roland Young

Votes: 11,858



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