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The Best Kids Movies of the 1940s

Updated July 8, 2019 1.8k votes 299 voters 9.6k views35 items

List RulesVote up your favorite children films that were released in the 1940s

The best 1940s kids movies are iconic, and definitely family friendly. Classic characters, such as Bambi, Dumbo, and Pinocchio, were introduced in the ‘40s, cementing their place in pop culture history. All produced by Disney, these pictures represented a golden age of Disney animation, one that wouldn’t reoccur again until the end of the 20th century.


Also on this list of the greatest 1940s kids movies, you'll find
Fantasia, the most legendary Disney animated film. Featuring numerous short sketches set to classical music, Fantasia brought Mickey Mouse, who had declined in popularity, back into the public eye. The movie won numerous awards and is regarded as one of the greatest animated films ever made.


In addition, the 1940s saw the rise of the family-friendly dog movie. Movies like
My Pal Wolf and A Boy and His Dog were immensely popular in the ‘40s. Familiar canine pals such as Lassie also had major movie careers in the ‘40s. Paired up with big stars of the day, like Elizabeth Taylor and Roddy McDowell, Lassie appeared in numerous popular children’s films in the decade.     

Vote up the best '40s kids movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
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    Bambi

    Sterling Holloway, Sam Edwards

    Released1942

    Directed byJames Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Paul Satterfield, Bill Roberts, Norman Wright

    Bambi is a 1942 American animated drama film directed by David Hand, produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by...  more

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  • 2
    63
    13

    Pinocchio

    Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards

    Released1940

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, T. Hee, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen

    Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It was the...  more

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  • 3
    70
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    Fantasia

    Walt Disney, Corey Burton

    Released1940

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, T. Hee, Ford Beebe

    Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben...  more

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  • 4
    52
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    Miracle on 34th Street

    Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1947

    Directed byGeorge Seaton

    Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. The...  more

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  • 5
    33
    18

    Fun and Fancy Free

    Walt Disney, Dinah Shore

    Released1947

    Directed byBill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan, Jack Kinney

    Fun and Fancy Free is a 1947 animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures on September 27, 1947. It was one of the "package films" the studio produced in the 1940s. It...  more

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    49
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    Peter and the Wolf

    Sterling Holloway

    Released1946

    Directed byClyde Geronimi

    Peter and the Wolf is an 1946 animated short based on the 1936 musical composition/fairy tale by Sergei Prokofiev, produced by Walt Disney and narrated by Sterling Holloway. It was originally...  more
  • 7

    Released1947

    Directed byBill Roberts, Hamilton Luske

    Disney Learning Adventures: Mickey and the Beanstalk is a segment of 1947 animated feature Fun and Fancy Free, written by Joe Rinaldi, Bill Peet and Homer Brightman, and directed by Hamilton Luske...  more
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    30
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    Make Mine Music

    Dinah Shore, Benny Goodman

    Released1946

    Directed byRobert Cormack, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Joshua Meador, Jack Kinney

    Make Mine Music is an 1946 American animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released to theatres on April 20, 1946. It is the 8th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics...  more
  • 9
    37
    27

    The Secret Garden

    Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien

    Released1949

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    The Secret Garden is a 1949 US drama film. It is the second screen adaptation of the classic 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The screenplay by Robert Ardrey was directed by Fred M. Wilcox. It...  more
  • 10
    23
    14

    The Red Pony

    Robert Mitchum, Myrna Loy

    Released1949

    Directed byLewis Milestone

    The Red Pony is a 1949 Western drama film based on one of John Steinbeck's short stories published in the 1930s under the title The Red Pony. Steinbeck also wrote the screenplay for this film....  more
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    23
    15

    Son of Lassie

    Peter Lawford, June Lockhart

    Released1945

    Directed byS. Sylvan Simon

    Son of Lassie is a 1945 Technicolor feature film produced by MGM based on characters created by Eric Knight, and starring Peter Lawford, Donald Crisp, June Lockhart and Pal. A sequel to Lassie Come...  more
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    42
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    Melody Time

    Mel Blanc, Roy Rogers

    Released1948

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

    Melody Time, a 1948 film, is the 10th theatrically released animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on May 27, 1948. Made up of several sequences set...  more

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    Thunderhead, Son of Flicka

    Roddy McDowall, James Bell

    Released1945

    Directed byLouis Eugene King, Louis King

    Thunderhead, Son of Flicka is a 1945 Technicolor family film directed by Louis King. It was adapted to screen by Dwight Cummins and Dorothy Yost from the novel by Mary O'Hara, and is based on the...  more
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    35
    35

    Lassie Come Home

    Elizabeth Taylor, Roddy McDowall

    Released1943

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    Lassie Come Home is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor feature film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his...  more
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    40
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    The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

    Bing Crosby, Basil Rathbone

    Released1949

    Directed byJames Algar, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

    The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a 1949 animated package film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film consists of two segments – the first is based...  more

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  • 16
    19
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    Hills of Home

    Janet Leigh, Edmund Gwenn

    Released1948

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    Hills of Home is a 1948 Technicolor drama film, the fourth in a series of seven MGM Lassie films. It starred Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, and Tom Drake....  more
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    17
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    My Pal Wolf

    George Cleveland, Una O'Connor

    Released1944

    Directed byAlfred L. Werker

    My Pal Wolf is a 1944 family film based on the story by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, written by Lillie Hayward, John Paxton and Leonard Praskins and directed by Alfred L. Weker....  more
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    33
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    Jungle Book

    John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir

    Released1942

    Directed byZoltan Korda

    Jungle Book is a 1942 independent Indian/American Technicolor action-adventure film by the Hungarian Korda brothers, based on a screenplay adaptation by Laurence Stallings of the Rudyard Kipling...  more

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    29
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    Courage of Lassie

    Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan

    Released1946

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    Courage of Lassie is a 1946 Technicolor MGM feature film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan, and dog actor Pal in a story about a collie named Bill and his young companion, Kathie Merrick. When...  more
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    18
    19

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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    40

    Song of the South

    John Lee Hooker, Hattie McDaniel

    Released1946

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Harve Foster

    Song of the South is a 1946 American live-action/animated musical film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures, based on the Uncle Remus stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris....  more

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  • 22
    11
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    A Boy and His Dog

    Harry Davenport

    Released1946

    Directed byLeRoy Prinz

    A Boy and His Dog is a 1946 American short drama film directed by LeRoy Prinz. It won an Academy Award at the 19th Academy Awards in 1947 for Best Short Subject. The decades-deceased short-story...  more
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    12
    16

    Benjamin Franklin, Jr.

    Benjamin Franklin Jr. is a 1943 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Herbert Glazer. It was the 211th Our Gang short that was released....  more
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    12
    16

    My Dog Rusty

    Dwayne Hickman, John Litel

    Released1948

    Directed byLew Landers

    My Dog Rusty is a 1948 drama and family film written by Brenda Weisberg, William Sackheim, and Al Martin and directed by Lew Landers....
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    10
    14

    Family Honeymoon

    Claudette Colbert, Hattie McDaniel

    Released1949

    Directed byClaude Binyon

    Family Honeymoon is a 1949 domestic comedy film made by Universal International, directed by Claude Binyon, and written by Dane Lussier, based on novel by Homer Croy. It was shot in Grand Canyon...  more