Comedy The Best '40s Comedy Movies  

Ranker Film
1.1k votes 311 voters 9.4k views 61 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. 
list ordered by

1
44 13
Arsenic and Old Lace is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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
41 11
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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
39 11
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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
30 8
Abbott and Costello Meet Frank... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

5
30 11
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

6
26 9
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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
23 8
Hold That Ghost is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

8
20 9
Road to Morocco is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

9
17 7
Sullivan's Travels is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

10
19 9
Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

11
21 11
To Be or Not to Be is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

12
14 5
Abbott and Costello Meet the K... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

13
16 7
Ball of Fire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

14
16 7
The Major and the Minor is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

15
21 12
The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

16
13 5
The Egg and I is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
RobLein added 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

17
16 8
The Palm Beach Story is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

18
16 8
A Night in Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

19
17 9
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

20
12 5
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

21
13 6
Christmas in Connecticut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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.

22
14 7
Anchors Aweigh is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

23
15 9
On the Town is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

24
16 10
The Bank Dick is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

25
12 7
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

26
10 5
I Married a Witch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

27
11 6
Shadow of the Thin Man is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

28
15 11
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

29
15 11
Easter Parade is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

30
14 10
Holiday Inn is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

31
10 6
The Man Who Came to Dinner is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

32
4 0
The Ghost Breakers is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added 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

33
10 7
The Paleface is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

34
8 5
A Wild Hare is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

35
8 5
The Talk of the Town is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

36
8 5
The Thin Man Goes Home is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

37
3 0
Ma and Pa Kettle is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
8 6
Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

39
8 6
Road to Utopia is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
RobLein added 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

40
3 1
A Yank in the R.A.F. is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
PietraChandlerRadcliff added 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

41
2 0
A Night to Remember is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Loretta Young, Brian Aherne A Night to Remember is a mystery comedy film starring Loretta Young and Brian Aherne. It was directed by Richard Wallace, and is based on the novel The Frightened Stiff by Kelley Roos. A mystery ...more

42
2 0
Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the F... is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
2 0
Murder, He Says is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added Murder, He Says Fred MacMurray, Marjorie Main, Helen Walker Murder, He Says is a 1945 film directed by George Marshall.

44
2 0
Africa Screams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added 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

45
11 10
Unfaithfully Yours is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

46
2 1
Hit the Ice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added 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.

47
1 0
The Noose Hangs High is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
jiszmo added 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.

48
8 8
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

49
7 7
Hail the Conquering Hero is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
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

50
7 7
I Was a Male War Bride is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '40s Comedy Movies
Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Marion Marshall I Was a Male War Bride is a 1949 comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan. This film was based on I Was an Alien Spouse of Female Military Personnel Enroute ...more