Best Movies Of The 1940s
Film Genres

Top 10 Best Movies Of The 1940s

Although the 1940s produced the black-and-white movies, these movies might be more progressive than you would assume. A lot of directors, writers and actors worked together to make the best movies in their studios.

So what are the best movies of this Golden Age of filmmaking? Let’s discover them through our list below

Find out the best movies of the 1940s

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

This is a romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch in America. The movie is in the list of Time’s All-Time 100 Movies.

The Shop Around the Corner

Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) is a clerk at Budapest gift-shop. Then Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) comes to work as a shopkeeper. They dislike each other at first sight. After that, they become anonymous pen pals without realizing that they start falling in love with each other.

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

John Ford directed this film in 1941. They developed the film based on the novel of the same name written in 1939 by Richard Llewellyn.

The film tells about the Morgans, a hard-working mining family living in the South Wales Valleys’ center in the 19th century. The mother is a kind and gentlewoman. The father, on the contrary, is hard and strict.. They bring up their sons and hope their youngest child will have a better future.

The Wolf Man (1941)

This film was directed by George Waggner. There are some actors in this horror film you may know: Evelyn Anker, Warren William, Bela Lugosi, and Maria Ouspenskaya.

This movie has greatly influenced Hollywood’s depiction of werewolves. It’s heavy on the spooky old-fashioned context like many Universal horror films from the monster classic era. There are foggy graveyards, dark woods, and gothic houses, etc.

Rome, Open City (1945)

This film’s title is connected with one historical event. In 1943, after 14 August, Rome was stated officially to be an open city. The film portrays wartime sufferings while most war movies simply don’t.

Rome, Open City

Rome, Open City was the most prestigious Grand Prix in Cannes. It was nominated in the 19th Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et Le Bête) (1946)

You may find the name very familiar, right? There have been many versions. We won’t remind the plot summary. This film conjures up subtle imagination, sexual urges, and complete fantasy indulgence with fascinating music.

Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et Le Bête)

The subjects discussed here are the classical factors of fairy-tale literature: innocence and greediness, , fear of the unknown, and miracles.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

This is one of the best films ever made about the return of soldiers. Three servicemen of the Second World War return home and realize that their lives have changed dramatically. They find it difficult to come back to normal life.

This is an incredibly moving movie that every American should know. It not only won critical success but also became a great commercial profit after its publication.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

This is one of the greatest movies ever. It’s a good choice for Christmas time. In this film, there is a sympathetic but extremely discouraged businessman. Luckily, an angel appeared to help him realize what it would have been like if he never lived.

Red River (1948)

This is an American film which was produced by Howard Hawks in 1948. The story tells about the first cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail to Kansas from Texas to Kansas.

An angry and bitter argument between Wayne and his adopted adult son (Clift) over a long time brings up the dramatic tension. They have an increasing dispute over the drive’s management.

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Letter from an Unknown Woman is a romantic movie in America. Max Ophüls was its director. The content was developed from the novel of the same name by Stefan Zweig.

The story is a series of complicated flashbacks of Lisa Berndl (Fontaine), who has been in love with Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan), a concert pianist for years.

This is a sad story of doomed love that will tug at your heartstrings.

Late Spring (1949)

This is a Japanese movie which was directed by Yasujirō Ozu in 1949. Its producer was the Shochiku studio. It is developed from the novella called Father and Daughter by Kazuo Hirotsu, who is not only a novelist and but also a critic in the 20th century.

This movie is a chronicle of professor Shukichi Somiya (Chishu Ryu) who is a widower. He lives with his only daughter who is 27. She is Noriko (Setsuko Hara).

He has a fear that she’ll never get married. Therefore, he pretends he’s considering a new marriage himself. He wants to urge her to take the suitors into consideration seriously.

In conclusion

After all, we think it is difficult to define the “best” movies for everyone. Each one has his point of view. You may be a fan of a romantic film or a horror one.

However, we hope that the list mentioned will be helpful for you. It can be a good suggestion to choose a few fine films for your movie night.

Leave a comment to let us know which movies of the 1940s are the best for you. Please share our list if you enjoy it. Thanks for reading.

I’m Manuel Veach, the author at in movie reviews and movie news section. I mainly focus on old film footage synthesizing and evaluating them so their values don't fade away. Then maybe I will make a separate section for modern cinema.

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