My Top Tens: 1940s

My top ten films for each year of the 2010s. These are always up for revision as I watch more films, revisit ones I’ve seen before, and think about them over time. I don’t really believe in top “ten” lists, despite using the common nomenclature for the title of this page, nor do I hold fast to the order, though it’s generally from films I liked better to films I liked less well. This is going to be my top several films of each year, down to whatever point I feel is right. Might be eight one year, might be twenty-three another.

1949

  • On the Town
  • The Third Man
  • Little Rural Riding Hood
  • White Heat
  • Adam’s Rib
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets
  • Criss Cross
  • The Stratton Story

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Stray Dog
Late Spring
The Heiress
Thieves’ Highway
Sands of Iwo Jima

1948

  • The Red Shoes
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Unfaithfully Yours
  • Red River
  • Key Largo
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Fort Apache
  • The Fallen Idol
  • Hamlet
  • The Pirate
  • Rope
  • Sorry Wrong Number
  • Raw Deal
  • The Paleface
  • Easter Parade
  • The Naked City
  • The Live By Night

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Drunken Angel
Oliver Twist
Germany Year Zero
The Big Clock

1947

  • Black Narcissus
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • I Know Where I’m Going
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Possessed
  • Out of the Past
  • Dark Passage
  • Crossfire
  • Nightmare Alley
  • Gentleman’s Agreement

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Odd Man Out
Pursued
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Paradine Case
Quai des Orfevres

1946

  • The Big Sleep
  • Notorious
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • My Darling Clementine
  • The Killers
  • Hair-Raising Hare
  • Gilda
  • The Stranger
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
  • Anna and the King of Siam
  • Nobody Lives Forever

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Great Expectations
Song of the South
Shoeshine
Humoresque
The Blue Dahlia

1945

  • Mildred Pierce
  • Children of Paradise
  • Detour
  • The Clock
  • National Velvet
  • They Were Expendable
  • Dead of Night
  • Brief Encounter
  • Open City
  • The Lost Weekend
  • Spellbound
  • Scarlet Street
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • State Fair

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Spiral Staircase
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Fallen Angel
Conflict
Les Dames du Bois de Bologne

1944

  • Double Indemnity
  • Laura
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Gaslight
  • To Have and Have Not
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
  • The Woman in the Window
  • Hail the Conquering Hero
  • The Uninvited
  • Murder My Sweet

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Ivan the Terrible Part 1
Passage to Marseilles
Mr. Skeffington
The Great Moment
A Canterbury Tale

1943

  • Casablanca
  • Shadow of a Doubt
  • Lassie Come Home
  • I Walked With a Zombie
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
  • Red Hot Riding Hood
  • Girl Crazy
  • Meshes of the Afternoon
  • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
  • The Constant Nymph
  • Cabin in the Sky
  • The More the Merrier

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Le Corbeau
Five Graves to Cairo
The Outlaw
For Whom the Bell Tolls

1942

  • To Be or Not to Be
  • Bambi
  • The Palm Beach Story
  • Mrs. Miniver
  • Cat People
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Now, Voyager
  • The Major and the Minor
  • The Dover Boys
  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Saboteur

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Woman of the Year
The Glass Key
In Which We Serve
Went the Day Well
Across the Pacific

1941

  • The Lady Eve
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Sullivan’s Travels
  • Ball of Fire
  • They Died With Their Boots On
  • Dumbo
  • The Little Foxes
  • High Sierra
  • Suspicion
  • How Green Was My Valley
  • Blossoms in the Dust

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Wolf Man
Sergeant York
The Devil and Daniel Webster
The 49th Parallel
The 47 Ronin

1940

  • His Girl Friday
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Great Dictator
  • Pinocchio
  • Fantasia
  • Night Train to Munich
  • My Favorite Wife
  • The Letter
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Rebecca

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Thief of Bagdad
The Mortal Storm
The Great McGinty
All This, And Heaven Too
The Sea Hawk