1940 Movies

Updated
1940 Movies

For 1940 Movies, there are so many movies reporting on this idea. We found 17 of our favorites.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
Rated PG

It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic directed by Frank Capra in 1946. The film follows George Bailey, a small-town man whose dreams of escaping his mundane life have been shattered due to the economic downturn of his hometown, Bedford Falls. On Christmas Eve, George is driven to the brink of suicide when his Uncle Billy accidentally misplaces an $8,000 deposit to the local Savings & Loan. At the last moment, an angel named Clarence appears to show George what life would have been like had he never been born. Through a series of flashbacks and interactions with people from Bedford Falls, George realizes that his life has been full of purpose and impact, and that he has been a blessing to his community. Ultimately, the film ends with George accepting his life and the love of his family and friends.

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Rated PG

Casablanca is a timeless classic from 1942, directed by Michael Curtiz. Set in the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca in December 1941, it tells the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American expatriate who runs a nightclub in the city. When his former lover, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), and her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), arrive in Casablanca seeking exit visas to escape to America, Rick is forced to choose between his love for Ilsa and the greater good of helping the desperate refugees. The movie features a great supporting cast and a Hollywood-famous soundtrack. Its themes of love, loss, and moral dilemmas remain timeless and relevant to this day.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Orson Welles, starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead
Rated PG

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film directed, co-written, produced and starring Orson Welles. The film follows the life and eventual death of Charles Foster Kane, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, whose career in publishing, politics, and personal life was the basis for the film. The film utilizes innovative and experimental narrative and cinematographic techniques, including flashbacks, flash-forwards, deep-focus cinematography, and overlapping dialogue. The film tells the story of Kane, a powerful newspaper magnate who is a controversial figure in his hometown of Xanadu, enjoying a lavish lifestyle of wealth and power which ultimately leads to his downfall and death. Kane's life is explored through flashbacks told in the form of a newsreel that is narrated by a reporter. Throughout the film, Kane is haunted by memories of a childhood event that left him emotionally scarred and unable to love. The film has been praised by critics for its innovative narrative techniques, cinematography, and Welles's performance, and is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Citizen Kane won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles, and

Children of Paradise (1945)

Children of Paradise
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Marcel Carné, starring Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir
Rated Not Rated

Children of Paradise is a 1945 French film directed by Marcel Carné. Set in Paris during the mid-19th century, the film focuses on the love story between a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and four different suitors. As their stories unfold, the film reveals a complex portrait of Parisian life and culture, from the theatrical world of the Boulevard du Crime to the wealthy bourgeoisie of the city. Garance's journey takes her through various experiences and relationships as she grapples with love and self-discovery. Along the way, the film offers an insightful look into love, loss, and life during the romantic era. Ultimately, Children of Paradise is a timeless classic that captures the beauty of human relationships and the bond between people in the face of adversity.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Double Indemnity
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Billy Wilder, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Byron Barr
Rated Passed

Double Indemnity is a classic film noir from 1944, directed by Billy Wilder. The story follows insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) as he is seduced by the femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck). The two of them concoct a plan to murder her husband and collect the life insurance payout. Walter falls in love with Phyllis and they attempt to get away with their crime, but their plans soon start to unravel. The film is a moral tale, in which the protagonists get their comeuppance. It is a gripping mystery, with twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the end.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett
Rated Passed

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre is a 1948 adventure-drama film directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart. The story follows three American prospectors in Mexico during the 1920s as they search for gold in the mountains of the Sierra Madre. Things quickly go downhill as fear, paranoia and greed take hold of the men and put their friendship to the test. The film highlights the corrupting influence of money and the importance of friendship and loyalty.

To Be or Not to Be (1942)

To Be or Not to Be
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Ernst Lubitsch, starring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart
Rated Passed

To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 comedy-drama film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jack Benny, Carole Lombard and Robert Stack. Set in Nazi-occupied Poland, the film follows the story of an acting troupe whose members become involved in an espionage mission against the Nazis. When the company's leading lady, Anna Bronski (Carole Lombard), learns of her husband Joseph's (Jack Benny) involvement in the mission, she joins forces with him in order to help free their homeland. Along the way, the couple must use their acting skills to survive the dangers of the war and outwit the Nazis. The film offers a unique view of the war and its absurdity, using dark humor to highlight the absurdity of the situation.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From John Ford, starring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin
Rated Passed

The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 American drama film directed by John Ford and based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name. The film tells the story of the Joad family, Oklahoma farmers who, after losing their land during the Great Depression, travel west to California in search of a better life. Along the way, the Joads face hardship, poverty, and exploitation by those in power, but ultimately they remain determined to work together and build a better future. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning seven Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From William Wyler, starring Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright
Rated Approved

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is a classic American drama directed by William Wyler. It follows the lives of three World War II veterans – Al Stephenson (Fredric March), Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) – as they make their way back home to Boone City following their service in the war. Along the way, each of them struggles to adjust to civilian life and find their place in the world. With dreams of starting anew, the veterans face harsh realities, from unemployment to the effects of PTSD on their relationships with their loved ones. Through it all, they maintain a deep bond of friendship that helps them to never lose sight of hope.

The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Carol Reed, starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard
Rated Approved

The Third Man is a classic 1949 British film noir directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. The story follows American Martins (Cotten) as he travels to post-war Vienna only to find his childhood friend Harry Lime (Welles) dead. As Martins investigates the circumstances of Lime's death, he finds himself drawn into a seedy underworld of crime and corruption. As Lime's past catches up with him, it becomes clear that he was not the man Martins thought he knew. With a compelling script by Graham Greene, dark cinematography, and a haunting score by Anton Karas, The Third Man is a thrilling and timeless classic.

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson
Rated Approved

Rebecca is a 1940 psychological drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. The story follows a young woman who, after marrying a rich widower, discovers that his deceased wife, Rebecca, still has a powerful presence in the house and her life. The film stars Laurence Olivier as Max de Winter and Joan Fontaine as the second Mrs. de Winter. The film follows the newly married couple as they move into the de Winter estate, Manderley, and how the memories of Rebecca, who had died mysteriously at sea, haunt her husband and the new Mrs. de Winter. Max reveals the truth of Rebecca's death to the new Mrs. de Winter and she helps him to clear his name. In the end, the estate is set on fire and the couple is free to start a new life together.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The Maltese Falcon
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre
Rated Passed

The Maltese Falcon (1941) is a classic film noir directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart in one of his most iconic roles as the hard-boiled detective, Sam Spade. The film follows Spade as he is hired by a beautiful woman named Brigid O'Shaughnessy to locate a valuable, jewel-encrusted statue known as the Maltese Falcon. As Spade investigates, he uncovers a complex web of lies and deception, brought to life by an array of shady characters - all vying for the priceless statue. Spade must battle the cunning nature of the criminals and the deceptive motives of Brigid in order to uncover the truth and ultimately track down the Maltese Falcon.

Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Jacques Tourneur, starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming
Rated Not Rated

Out of the Past is a 1947 noir film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, and Rhonda Fleming. The film follows Jeff Bailey (Mitchum), a former private investigator forced to return to his old job when his past catches up with him. Jeff is hired by Whit Sterling (Douglas) to track down a former lover (Greer) who has run off with a large sum of his money. Jeff follows her trail to a small town in California, where he falls in love with her again, but must ultimately confront his past and choose between his job and his love. The film is widely considered a masterpiece of film noir, praised for its complex and interesting characters, and its dark, moody atmosphere.

Brief Encounter (1945)

Brief Encounter
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From David Lean, starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey
Rated Not Rated

Brief Encounter is a 1945 British romantic drama film directed by David Lean, based on the 1936 play Still Life by Noël Coward. It tells the story of Laura (Celia Johnson), a married woman whose chance meeting with an affectionate doctor (Trevor Howard) at a railway station leads to a passionate but ultimately doomed relationship. As the two continue to meet and become more and more drawn to one another, both of their lives are drastically changed. In the end, Laura must choose between her comfortable family life and the passionate but forbidden relationship she has developed with the doctor.

Rope (1948)

Rope
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan
Rated Approved

Rope (1948) is a psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film follows two wealthy young men, Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan, as they carry out a thrill-seeking murder. The two men strangle their friend, David Kentley, and hide his body in a trunk in their New York City apartment. They then invite a group of their friends and acquaintances to a dinner party, in which they serve food cooked on the trunk concealing the body. An unsuspecting former schoolteacher of both men, Rupert Cadell, is among the guests at the dinner and begins to suspect that something is amiss. As the party goes on, Rupert becomes increasingly suspicious and eventually discovers the truth. His confrontation with the two men forces them to confront their own morality, and Rupert ultimately forces them to confess their crime. The film ends with a tense stand-off between Rupert and the two men, and a suggestion that Rupert will turn them in.

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey
Rated Not Rated

The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 romantic comedy classic directed by George Cukor. It stars Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. The story is about a socialite, Tracy Lord, who is about to be married for the second time. On the eve of her wedding, her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven, shows up and throws her plans into chaos. Tracy is also visited by a team of journalists, assigned to cover the wedding for a magazine. As the wedding day approaches and the two former lovers spend more time together, Tracy realizes that she may still have feelings for Dexter. Ultimately, Tracy must decide between her two suitors and choose between true love and the safety of a more comfortable life. Along the way, she learns about love, commitment, and the importance of family.

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

How Green Was My Valley
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From John Ford, starring Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp
Rated Passed

"How Green Was My Valley" is a 1941 drama directed by John Ford that tells the story of the Morgan family, a close-knit Welsh mining family living in a valley in South Wales. The film follows the family's struggles to cope with the modernization of the coal mines, which brings an end to their traditional way of life. The family's eldest son Huw (Roddy McDowall) narrates the story, as he looks back on his childhood and the events that shaped his life. The film is both a coming-of-age story and a tragedy, as the family's fortunes are forever changed by the industrialization of their beloved valley. The film earned five Academy Award wins, including Best Director for John Ford, and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1989.

 



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