IMDb's 1940s Top 50

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The early years of the 40s decade were not promising for the American film industry, however, Hollywood film production rebounded and reached its profitable peak of efficiency during the years 1943 to 1946. Advances in film technology (sound recording, lighting, special effects, cinematography and use of color) meant that films were more watchable and 'modern'. The films themselves took on a more realistic rather than escapist tone, as they had done during the Depression years of the 30s. The 40s also were the decade that saw the birth of a new genre in film noir ("black film") pared with the revival of gangster films.

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  1. 1 -

    It's a Wonderful Life

    1946, in 32 top lists Check
  2. 2 -

    Casablanca

    1942, in 37 top lists Check
  3. 3 -

    The Great Dictator

    1940, in 24 top lists Check
  4. 4 -

    Citizen Kane

    1941, in 37 top lists Check
  5. 5 -

    Double Indemnity

    1944, in 36 top lists Check
  6. 6 -

    Ladri di biciclette

    1948 — a.k.a. Bicycle Thieves, in 34 top lists Check
  7. 7 -

    Les enfants du paradis

    1945 — a.k.a. Children of Paradise, in 20 top lists Check
  8. 8 -

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    1948, in 24 top lists Check
  9. 9 -

    To Be or Not to Be

    1942, in 23 top lists Check
  10. 10 -

    Banshun

    1949 — a.k.a. Late Spring, in 15 top lists Check
  11. 11 +1

    Rebecca

    1940, in 23 top lists Check
  12. 12 -1

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    1946, in 29 top lists Check
  13. 13 -

    The Third Man

    1949, in 34 top lists Check
  14. 14 -

    The Grapes of Wrath

    1940, in 22 top lists Check
  15. 15 -

    The Red Shoes

    1948, in 25 top lists Check
  16. 16 -

    White Heat

    1949, in 15 top lists Check
  17. 17 -

    The Shop Around the Corner

    1940, in 14 top lists Check
  18. 18 -

    The Heiress

    1949, in 9 top lists Check
  19. 19 -

    Vredens dag

    1943 — a.k.a. Day of Wrath, in 13 top lists Check
  20. 20 -

    The Maltese Falcon

    1941, in 26 top lists Check
  21. 21 -

    Out of the Past

    1947, in 15 top lists Check
  22. 22 +4

    Kind Hearts and Coronets

    1949, in 19 top lists Check
  23. 23 -1

    Mildred Pierce

    1945, in 15 top lists Check
  24. 24 -1

    Brief Encounter

    1945, in 21 top lists Check
  25. 25 -1

    A Matter of Life and Death

    1946, in 20 top lists Check
  26. 26 +2

    Roma città aperta

    1945 — a.k.a. Rome, Open City, in 22 top lists Check
  27. 27 -2

    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    1943, in 15 top lists Check
  28. 28 -1

    The Ox-Bow Incident

    1942, in 12 top lists Check
  29. 29 -

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    1945, in 6 top lists Check
  30. 30 -

    Sciuscià

    1946 — a.k.a. Shoeshine, in 9 top lists Check
  31. 31 +5

    The Philadelphia Story

    1940, in 20 top lists Check
  32. 32 -1

    The Big Sleep

    1946, in 21 top lists Check
  33. 33 +1

    Notorious

    1946, in 23 top lists Check
  34. 34 -1

    Rope

    1948, in 9 top lists Check
  35. 35 +5

    Miracle on 34th Street

    1947, in 7 top lists Check
  36. 36 -4

    Now, Voyager

    1942, in 12 top lists Check
  37. 37 -

    Laura

    1944, in 19 top lists Check
  38. 38 +1

    The Lost Weekend

    1945, in 16 top lists Check
  39. 39 -1

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    1942, in 7 top lists Check
  40. 40 -5

    The Little Foxes

    1941, in 6 top lists Check
  41. 41 +3

    La belle et la bête

    1946 — a.k.a. Beauty and the Beast, in 25 top lists Check
  42. 42 +1

    Sullivan's Travels

    1941, in 23 top lists Check
  43. 43 -2

    Random Harvest

    1942, in 7 top lists Check
  44. 44 +2

    Letter from an Unknown Woman

    1948, in 14 top lists Check
  45. 45 -

    I Remember Mama

    1948, in 2 top lists Check
  46. 46 -4

    Le corbeau

    1943 — a.k.a. Le Corbeau, in 9 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    Monsieur Verdoux

    1947, in 11 top lists Check
  48. 48 -

    Gaslight

    1944, in 10 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    Red River

    1948, in 16 top lists Check
  50. 50 -3

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

    1947, in 8 top lists Check
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Last updated on Jun 30, 2022; source