My Top Tens: 1940s

My top ten films for each year of the 1940s. These are always up for revision as I watch more films, revisit ones I’ve seen before, and think about them over time. The films as listed in the “Best of Year” section are held fast at the end of the year (and include a listing of all films I saw that year as well as films released that year).

Oh, and I don’t really believe in top “ten” lists, despite using the common nomenclature for the title of this page. This is going to be the top several films of each year, down to whatever point I think the films stop being worthy of inclusion. Might be eight one year, might be twenty-three another.

1949

  1. On the Town
  2. The Third Man
  3. Little Rural Riding Hood
  4. White Heat
  5. Adam’s Rib
  6. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  7. Criss Cross
  8. The Stratton Story

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

1948

  1. The Red Shoes
  2. Bicycle Thieves
  3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  4. Unfaithfully Yours
  5. Red River
  6. Key Largo
  7. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  8. Fort Apache
  9. The Fallen Idol
  10. Hamlet
  11. The Pirate
  12. Rope
  13. Sorry Wrong Number
  14. Raw Deal
  15. The Paleface
  16. Easter Parade
  17. The Naked City
  18. 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

  1. Black Narcissus
  2. Monsieur Verdoux
  3. I Know Where I’m Going
  4. Miracle on 34th Street
  5. Possessed
  6. Out of the Past
  7. Dark Passage
  8. Crossfire
  9. Nightmare Alley
  10. 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

  1. The Big Sleep
  2. Notorious
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life
  5. My Darling Clementine
  6. The Killers
  7. Hair-Raising Hare
  8. Gilda
  9. The Stranger
  10. The Best Years of Our Lives
  11. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
  12. Anna and the King of Siam
  13. Nobody Lives Forever

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

1945

  1. Mildred Pierce
  2. Children of Paradise
  3. Detour
  4. The Clock
  5. National Velvet
  6. They Were Expendable
  7. Dead of Night
  8. Brief Encounter
  9. Open City
  10. The Lost Weekend
  11. Spellbound
  12. Scarlet Street
  13. Anchors Aweigh
  14. 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

  1. Double Indemnity
  2. Laura
  3. Arsenic and Old Lace
  4. Gaslight
  5. To Have and Have Not
  6. Meet Me in St. Louis
  7. Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
  8. The Woman in the Window
  9. Hail the Conquering Hero
  10. The Uninvited
  11. 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

  1. Casablanca
  2. Shadow of a Doubt
  3. Lassie Come Home
  4. I Walked With a Zombie
  5. The Ox-Bow Incident
  6. Red Hot Riding Hood
  7. Girl Crazy
  8. Meshes of the Afternoon
  9. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
  10. The Constant Nymph
  11. Cabin in the Sky
  12. 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

  1. To Be or Not to Be
  2. Bambi
  3. The Palm Beach Story
  4. Mrs. Miniver
  5. Cat People
  6. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  7. Now, Voyager
  8. The Major and the Minor
  9. The Dover Boys
  10. The Magnificent Ambersons
  11. 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

  1. The Lady Eve
  2. Citizen Kane
  3. The Maltese Falcon
  4. Sullivan’s Travels
  5. Ball of Fire
  6. They Died With Their Boots On
  7. Dumbo
  8. The Little Foxes
  9. High Sierra
  10. Suspicion
  11. How Green Was My Valley
  12. 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

  1. His Girl Friday
  2. The Philadelphia Story
  3. The Grapes of Wrath
  4. The Great Dictator
  5. Pinocchio
  6. Fantasia
  7. Night Train to Munich
  8. My Favorite Wife
  9. The Letter
  10. Foreign Correspondent
  11. Rebecca

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