Ten Best Films of the 1940's (With Pictures and More)

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  1. Citizen Kane (1941)
  2. Written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
  3. Directed by Orson Welles
  4. Rosebud.
  5. Country: USA
  6. IMDb: 8.6/10
  7. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  8. What the Critics Are Saying:
  9. Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly - A
  10. "Watch the film again while listening to a chatty, knowledgeable commentary by critic Roger Ebert that supplies neato insights (in the opening approach to Xanadu, the lit window is in the exact same spot in shot after shot), interesting gossip (the scene where Kane trashes Susan's room was inspired by a tantrum during which Welles threw a coffeemaker at producer John Houseman), and long-view thoughts (ultimately, Ebert feels, the film 'remains out of reach, just as Citizen Kane does')."
  11. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  12. "Citizen Kane is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound, just as Birth of a Nation assembled everything learned at the summit of the silent era, and 2001 pointed the way beyond narrative. These peaks stand above all the others."
  13. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  14. "This picture is an enjoyable experience for first-time viewers, as well as for those who have seen it ten times."
  15. Rebecca (1940)
  16. Written by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison, based on an adapation by Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan and the novel by Daphne Du Maurier
  17. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  18. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
  19. Country: USA
  20. IMDb: 8.4/10
  21. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  22. What the Critics Are Saying:
  23. Mike Flaherty, Entertainment Weekly - A
  24. "Similarly, Rebecca is a hybrid of Hitchcockian tension and Selznickian sumptuousness -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful black-and-white film. So who does it belong to? Who cares?"
  25. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  26. "The popular Daphne du Maurier novel was transferred to the screen without losing any of its gothic blend of romance and mystery."
  27. Casablanca (1942)
  28. Written by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison
  29. Directed by Michael Curtiz
  30. We'll always have Paris.
  31. Country: USA
  32. IMDb: 8.8/10
  33. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
  34. What the Critics Are Saying:
  35. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  36. "Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it. The black-and-white cinematography has not aged as color would. The dialogue is so spare and cynical it has not grown old-fashioned."
  37. Entertainment Weekly - A+
  38. "Hollywood's inability to find suitable political struggles (after 1950, most rebels were funded by Communists-what kind of heroes would they make?) helped to kill the genre, while ensuring the enshrinement of Casablanca as an eternal romance, a dream to be shared by misty-eyed movie lovers, but utterly beyond the ken of modern filmmakers."
  39. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  40. "A kiss may be just a kiss and a sigh just a sigh, but there is only one Casablanca."
  41. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  42. Written by Robert E. Sherwood, based on the novel by MacKinlay Kantor
  43. Directed by William Wyler
  44. I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I've had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it's really true. Am I really home?
  45. Country: USA
  46. IMDb: 8.2/10
  47. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
  48. What the Critics Are Saying:
  49. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  50. "Seen more than six decades later, it feels surprisingly modern: lean, direct, honest about issues that Hollywood then studiously avoided. After the war years of patriotism and heroism in the movies, this was a sobering look at the problems veterans faced when they returned home."
  51. David Everitt, Entertainment Weekly - A
  52. "The film remains a vibrant portrayal of three ordinary men reconstructing their civilian lives."
  53. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  54. "William Wyler takes his time and guides a superb group of players through a tangle of postwar emotional conflicts."
  55. The Third Man (1949)
  56. Written by Graham Greene, based on his story
  57. Directed by Carol Reed
  58. Like the fellow says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love...they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
  59. Country: UK
  60. IMDb: 8.5/10
  61. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  62. What the Critics Are Saying:
  63. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  64. "Of all the movies I have seen, this one most completely embodies the romance of going to the movies. I saw it first on a rainy day in a tiny, smoke-filled cinema on the Left Bank in Paris. It told a story of existential loss and betrayal. It was weary and knowing, and its glorious style was an act of defiance against the corrupt world it pictured."
  65. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  66. "Considered by many to be the greatest suspense film of all time, this classic inevitably turns up on every best-film list. It rivals any Hitchcock thriller as being the ultimate masterpiece of film suspense."
  67. Stephen Witty, Entertainment Weekly - A
  68. "Yet his sleuthing leads him to resurrect his poor dead friend, then betray him; his efforts to salvage something from this tragedy only turn him into that blackest villain of the McCarthy era, the informer."
  69. The Great Dictator (1940)
  70. Written by Charles Chaplin
  71. Directed by Charles Chaplin
  72. I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
  73. Country: USA
  74. IMDb: 8.4/10
  75. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  76. What the Critics Are Saying:
  77. Steve Daly, Entertainment Weekly - A-
  78. "What drove Chaplin to wrap up his burlesque of Nazi Germany with a deadly serious, six-minute, into-the-camera speech imploring mankind to disarm? Misguided passion, that's what-and with this meticulously researched laser package, you can explore how his antifascist fervor nearly inspired him to film a far more maudlin, self-important finale."
  79. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - 3.5/4
  80. "The film itself is filled with sad, pathetic little jokes; this is Chaplin's most serious, most tragic, most human work. He did not find Hitler at all funny, needless to say, and so although he uses his own comic genius to inspire the movie, the comedy is never neutral. It is jugular, as he creates a Hynkel who is a vain, strutting buffoon, given to egomaniacal rages and ridiculous posturing."
  81. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  82. "Charlie Chaplin stars in and directs this devastating lampoon of the Third Reich."
  83. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  84. Written by Donald Ogden Stewart, based on the play by Philip Barry
  85. Directed by George Cukor
  86. I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy.
  87. Country: USA
  88. IMDb: 8.1/10
  89. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  90. What the Critics Are Saying:
  91. Entertainment Weekly - B+
  92. "Not every nuptial movie caught the sense of The Philadelphia Story's carefully distant if amused attitude toward its sterling-silver subjects; the very-'80s remake of Father of the Bride, obsessed with specifying the costs of every froufrou frill, became a tribute to wretched excess."
  93. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  94. "This is one of the best comedies to come out of Hollywood."
  95. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  96. Written by Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by John Steinbeck
  97. Directed by John Ford
  98. I'll be all around in the dark...I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look...wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build...I'll be there, too.
  99. Country: USA
  100. IMDb: 8.2/10
  101. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  102. What the Critics Are Saying:
  103. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  104. "John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath is a left-wing parable, directed by a right-wing American director, about how a sharecropper's son, a barroom brawler, is converted into a union organizer. The message is boldly displayed, but told with characters of such sympathy and images of such beauty that audiences leave the theater feeling more pity than anger or resolve. It's a message movie, but not a recruiting poster."
  105. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 5/5
  106. "It's a compelling drama beautifully acted by the director's stock company."
  107. Tim Purtell, Entertainment Weekly - A
  108. "The close-ups of desperate, haunted men and women have a stark eloquence. Interior scenes, some shot in a simulation of flickery candlelight, pulse with a chiaroscuro sadness. The subjective shot of the Joads arriving at a squalid camp is eerily dreamlike. It's gorgeous, jaw-dropping work, rivaling Toland's deep-focus artistry in Citizen Kane."
  109. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  110. Written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra, with additional scenes by Jo Swerling, and based on a story by Philip Van Doren Stern
  111. Directed by Frank Capra
  112. Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends.
  113. Country: USA
  114. IMDb: 8.6/10
  115. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
  116. What the Critics Are Saying:
  117. Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly - A
  118. "It's Capra's way of saying Why We Fought, and it's a measure of how enervated the country felt in 1946 that he had to call on God to back him up."
  119. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times - Great Movie
  120. "Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they've surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity. It's a Wonderful Life falls in the second category."
  121. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 4.5/5
  122. "Have you ever wished you'd never been born? What if that wish were granted? That's the premise of Frank Capra's heartbreaking, humorous, and ultimately heartwarming It's a Wonderful Life."
  123. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
  124. Written by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein, based on the play by Joseph Kesselring
  125. Directed by Frank Capra
  126. Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.
  127. Country: USA
  128. IMDb: 8.0/10
  129. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
  130. What the Critics Are Saying:
  131. Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide - 4.5/5
  132. "This delightful comedy is crammed with sparkling performances."