Comedies The Best '40s Comedy Movies  

Ranker Film
1k votes 294 voters 8.1k views 59 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite film comedies that were released in the 1940s.

The comedy films of the 1940s are a diverse group of films, running the gamut from social commentary, slapstick comedy, comedies of manners, and everything in between. While comedy stalwarts like Charlie Chaplin continued doing significant work in the ‘40s, new faces emerged and old ones reemerged.


The 1940 film
The Philadelphia Story might top your list of the best ‘40s comedy movies. Starring Katherine Hepburn in her first role after a series of disastrous box office flops, the film was a massive hit, receiving six Oscar nominations. Jimmy Stewart won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator is another significant ‘40s comedy movie. A satirical takedown of Adolph Hitler, the film helped turn the tide of public opinion in the United States, and it remains one of Chaplin’s most iconic roles.


Also on this list of the greatest ‘40s comedy movies, you’ll find other classic titles like
His Girl Friday and Arsenic and Old Lace. Vote up the best 1940s comedies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

1
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Arsenic and Old Lace is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Arsenic and Old Lace Cary Grant, Peter Lorre, Raymond Massey Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 American dark comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Cary Grant, and based on Joseph Kesselring's play Arsenic and Old Lace. The script adaptation was by ...more

2
37 10
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Philadelphia Story Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart and featuring Ruth Hussey. Based on the ...more

3
33 9
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
His Girl Friday Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, from an adaptation by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur of the play The Front Page by Hecht and ...more

4
28 9
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Shop Around the Corner James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Margaret Sullavan The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, and Frank Morgan. The screenplay was ...more

5
25 7
Abbott and Costello Meet Frank... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Lou Costello Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein —although the film is usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein—is a 1948 ...more

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22 8
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Great Dictator Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert The Great Dictator is a 1940 American satirical political comedy-drama film starring, written, produced, scored, and directed by Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other ...more

7
20 8
Road to Morocco is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Road to Morocco Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Anthony Quinn Road to Morocco is a 1942 American comedy film starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, and featuring Anthony Quinn and Dona Drake. The film, which was written by Frank Butler and Don ...more

8
18 8
Hold That Ghost is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Hold That Ghost Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Shemp Howard Hold That Ghost is a 1941 comedy horror film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello and featuring Joan Davis, Evelyn Ankers, and Richard Carlson. On August 1, 1941, Abbott and Costello ...more

9
15 6
Ball of Fire is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Ball of Fire Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Dana Andrews Ball of Fire is a 1941 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. This Samuel Goldwyn Productions film concerns a group of professors ...more

10
16 7
Sullivan's Travels is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Sullivan's Travels Veronica Lake, Preston Sturges, Elsa Lanchester Sullivan's Travels is a 1942 American comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It is a satire about a movie director, played by Joel McCrea, who longs to make a socially relevant ...more

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The Palm Beach Story is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Palm Beach Story Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor, Joel McCrea The Palm Beach Story is a 1942 romantic screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, and starring Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée. Victor ...more

12
17 8
Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Adam's Rib Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Holliday Adam's Rib is a 1949 American film written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin and directed by George Cukor. It stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married lawyers who come to oppose each ...more

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19 10
To Be or Not to Be is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
To Be or Not to Be Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying ...more

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Abbott and Costello Meet the K... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Boris Karloff, Lou Costello, Bud Abbott Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff is a 1949 comedy horror film starring Abbott and Costello and Boris Karloff. The full onscreen title is Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the ...more

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The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Lady Eve Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Coburn The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges which stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. The film is based on a story by Monckton Hoffe about a ...more

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The Egg and I is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
RobLein added The Egg and I Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Richard Long The Egg and I is a 1947 American romantic comedy film directed by Chester Erskine, who co-wrote the screenplay with Fred F. Finklehoffe, based on the book of the same name by Betty MacDonald and ...more

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Anchors Aweigh is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Anchors Aweigh Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell Anchors Aweigh is a 1945 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, in which two sailors go on a four-day ...more

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A Night in Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
A Night in Casablanca Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Leonard Marx A Night in Casablanca is the twelfth Marx Brothers movie, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. The picture was directed by Archie Mayo and written by Joseph Fields and Roland ...more

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11 6
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, Myrna Loy The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a 1947 American comedy, directed by Irving Reis and written by Sidney Sheldon. The film stars Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple in a story about a ...more

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10 5
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Here Comes Mr. Jordan Claude Rains, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Montgomery Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a romantic comedy-fantasy film in which a boxer, mistakenly taken to Heaven before his time, is given a second chance back on Earth. It stars Robert Montgomery, Claude ...more

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The Major and the Minor is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Major and the Minor Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Robert Benchley The Major and the Minor is a 1942 American comedy film starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. It was the first American film directed by Billy Wilder, and launched his "incomparable" ...more

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The Bank Dick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Bank Dick W. C. Fields, Shemp Howard, Una Merkel The Bank Dick is a 1940 comedy film. Set in Lompoc, California, W. C. Fields plays a character named Egbert Sousé who trips a bank robber and ends up a security guard as a result. The ...more

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The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Bishop's Wife Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young The Bishop's Wife, also known as Cary and the Bishop's Wife, is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film from 1947, starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven in a story about an ...more

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10 5
Shadow of the Thin Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Shadow of the Thin Man Ava Gardner, Myrna Loy, Donna Reed Shadow of the Thin Man is the fourth of the six The Thin Man films. It was released in 1941 and was directed by W. S. Van Dyke. It stars William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. ...more

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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is an American comedy film directed by H. C. Potter and starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The film was written and produced by the team of Melvin Frank and ...more

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On the Town is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
On the Town Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the ...more

27
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Christmas in Connecticut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Christmas in Connecticut Barbara Stanwyck, Sydney Greenstreet, Dick Elliott Christmas in Connecticut is a 1945 American Christmas film and romantic comedy directed by Peter Godfrey, and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sydney Greenstreet.

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The Man Who Came to Dinner is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Man Who Came to Dinner Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Mary Wickes The Man Who Came to Dinner is a 1942 American comedy film directed by William Keighley, and starring Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley as the title character. The screenplay by Julius ...more

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9 5
I Married a Witch is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
I Married a Witch Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward, Fredric March I Married a Witch is a 1942 fantasy romantic comedy film, directed by René Clair, and starring Veronica Lake as a witch whose plan for revenge goes comically awry, with Fredric March as ...more

30
14 11
Easter Parade is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Easter Parade Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire Easter Parade is a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, featuring music by Irving Berlin, including some of Astaire and Garland's best-known songs, such as ...more

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The Paleface is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Paleface Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Stanley Andrews The Paleface is a 1948 Technicolor comedy Western directed by Norman Z. McLeod, starring Bob Hope as "Painless Potter" and Jane Russell as Calamity Jane. In the film, Hope sings the ...more

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The Talk of the Town is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Talk of the Town Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Lloyd Bridges The Talk of the Town is a 1942 American comedy/drama film directed by George Stevens, starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman, with a supporting cast featuring Edgar Buchanan and ...more

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A Yank in the R.A.F. is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
PietraChandlerRadcliff added A Yank in the R.A.F. Betty Grable, Tyrone Power, Fortunio Bonanova A Yank in the R.A.F. is a 1941 American black-and-white war film directed by Henry King, and is considered a typical early-World War II film. Originally titled The Eagle Squadron, it is based on ...more

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Road to Utopia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
RobLein added Road to Utopia Bob Hope, Jim Thorpe, Bing Crosby Road to Utopia is a 1946 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Filmed in 1943 but not released until 1946, Road to Utopia is the ...more

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7 5
The Thin Man Goes Home is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Thin Man Goes Home Myrna Loy, William Powell, Anne Revere The Thin Man Goes Home is a 1945 motion picture directed by Richard Thorpe. It is the fifth of the six Thin Man films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Dashiell Hammett's dapper ...more

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The Ghost Breakers is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added The Ghost Breakers Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Paulette Goddard The Ghost Breakers 1940 is a comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. The film was adapted by Walter DeLeon from the play The Ghost Breaker by Paul ...more

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Unfaithfully Yours is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Unfaithfully Yours Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Rudy Vallée Unfaithfully Yours is a 1948 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges and starring Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Rudy Vallee and Barbara Lawrence. The film is a ...more

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Holiday Inn is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Holiday Inn Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. With music by Irving Berlin, the film has twelve songs written expressly for the ...more

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Go West is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Go West Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Leonard Marx Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Go West is the 10th Marx Brothers comedy film, in which brothers Groucho, Chico, and Harpo head to the American West and attempt to unite a couple by ensuring that an evil railroad baron is ...more

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7 6
Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Woman of the Year Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, William Bendix Woman of the Year is an American romantic comedy-drama film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, written by Ring Lardner, Jr., Michael Kanin and John Lee Mahin, directed by George ...more

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7 6
Hail the Conquering Hero is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Hail the Conquering Hero William Demarest, Freddie Steele, Mildred Harris Hail the Conquering Hero is a satirical comedy/drama written and directed by Preston Sturges, starring Eddie Bracken, Ella Raines and William Demarest, and featuring Raymond Walburn, Franklin ...more

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A Wild Hare is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
A Wild Hare Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan A Wild Hare is a 1940 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies animated short film. It was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, directed by Tex Avery, and written by Rich Hogan. It was originally ...more

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Ma and Pa Kettle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Ma and Pa Kettle Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride Ma and Pa Kettle is a 1949 American comedy film directed by Charles Lamont. It is the sequel to the 1947 film version of Betty MacDonald's semi-fictional memoir The Egg and I and the first ...more

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The Boogie Man Will Get You is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added The Boogie Man Will Get You Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes The Boogie Man Will Get You is a 1942 comedy horror film, directed by Lew Landers and starring Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. It was the final film Karloff made under his contract with Columbia ...more

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Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the F... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm Richard Long, Ray Collins, Marjorie Main Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm is a 1951 American comedy film directed by Edward Sedgwick. It is the third installment of Universal-International's Ma and Pa Kettle franchise starring ...more

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1 0
The Noose Hangs High is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added The Noose Hangs High Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Mike Mazurki The Noose Hangs High is a 1948 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The film is a remake of the Universal Pictures film For Love or Money.

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1 0
Africa Screams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Africa Screams Lou Costello, Shemp Howard, Hillary Brooke Africa Screams is a 1949 American adventure comedy film starring Abbott and Costello and directed by Charles Barton that parodied the safari genre. The title is a play on the title of the 1930 ...more

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Mr. & Mrs. Smith Alfred Hitchcock, Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by Norman Krasna, and starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery. It also features Gene Raymond, ...more

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6 6
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek Betty Hutton, William Demarest, Brian Donlevy The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is a 1944 screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, starring Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton, and featuring Diana Lynn, William Demarest and ...more

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1 1
Hit the Ice is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Hit the Ice Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Elyse Knox Hit the Ice is a 1943 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello and directed by Charles Lamont, who took over after the original director, Erle C. Kenton, was fired.