40s movies The Best '40s Romance Movies  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite love films that were released in the 1940s

With this list of 1940s romance movies ranked from best to worst, you can travel back to a bygone era of cinematic romance. Modern audiences tend to lump classic films together, but '40s romantic movies vary wildly, from the madcap holiday comedy of The Philadelphia Story to the lovesick WWII drama of Casablanca. That's right, Casablanca: the film widely cited as the greatest of all time is a romance movie from the 1940s.

Naturally, it's on this list of '40s romance movies. This heartbreaking tale of star-crossed lovers starred two of the biggest movie stars of the day, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. This list of the best 1940s romance movies also contains such films as His Girl Friday and Meet Me in St. Louis.

Though he is best known for suspense thrillers, several of Alfred Hitchcock's best movies contain classic love stories. Notorious and Spellbound both feature great suspense as well as timeless romance.

Do you have a favorite 1940s romantic movie? Make it known with your votes, which determine the order of this '40s romance movies list. Vote up the films you love the most, don't hesitate to add any that aren't already accounted for, and rerank the list if you've got the film knowledge.
list ordered by

1
43 4
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Casablanca Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more

2
26 5
Rebecca is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Rebecca Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it was his first American project, and his first film produced under contract with David O. Selznick. ...more

3
22 5
Notorious is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Notorious Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately ...more

4
18 4
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Natalie Wood, Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a romantic fantasy film starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. It is based on a 1945 novel written by Josephine Leslie under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick. In 1945, ...more

5
21 7
To Have and Have Not is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
To Have and Have Not Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan To Have and Have Not is a 1944 American romance-war-adventure film directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan and Lauren Bacall in her film debut. Although it is ...more

6
14 4
Meet Me in St. Louis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Meet Me in St. Louis Judy Garland, Mary Astor, Margaret O'Brien Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair ...more

7
13 4
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

8
14 6
Brief Encounter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Brief Encounter Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson, Stanley Holloway Brief Encounter is a 1945 British film directed by David Lean about British suburban life, centering on Laura, a married woman with children whose conventional life becomes increasingly ...more

9
15 7
Gilda is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Gilda Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale and Glenn Ford as a young thug. The ...more

10
17 9
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

11
8 1
I'll Be Seeing You is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
ForLuvOfAnimals added I'll Be Seeing You Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple, Joseph Cotten I'll Be Seeing You is a 1944 drama film made by Selznick International Pictures, Dore Schary Productions, and Vanguard Pictures, and distributed by United Artists. It was directed by William ...more

12
10 3
The Clock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Clock Judy Garland, Keenan Wynn, James Gleason The Clock is a 1945 American romantic drama film starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker and directed by Garland's future husband, Vincente Minnelli. This was Garland's first dramatic role, as ...more

The Longest Hollywood Marriages

13
11 4
Out of the Past is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Out of the Past Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Rhonda Fleming Out of the Past is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. The film was adapted by Daniel Mainwaring, with uncredited revisions by ...more

14
11 4
Laura is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Laura Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Judith Anderson Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. The screenplay by ...more

15
12 5
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Beauty and the Beast Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais, Josette Day Beauty and the Beast is a 1946 French romantic fantasy film adaptation of the traditional fairy tale of the same name, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1757 as part ...more

16
12 5
Now, Voyager is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Now, Voyager Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains, and directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Casey Robinson is based on the 1941 novel of the ...more

17
9 3
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Great Expectations Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills, Bernard Miles, Finlay Currie, Jean Simmons, Martita Hunt, Alec ...more

The Best '40s War Movies

18
10 4
The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

19
10 4
The Lady from Shanghai is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Lady from Shanghai Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Errol Flynn The Lady from Shanghai is a 1947 film noir directed by Orson Welles and starring Welles, his estranged wife Rita Hayworth and Everett Sloane. It is based on the novel If I Die Before I Wake by ...more

20
13 7
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

21
7 4
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

22
10 8
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Spellbound Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Alfred Hitchcock Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The ...more

The Best NC-17 Indie Movies

23
7 5
The More the Merrier is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The More the Merrier Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn The More the Merrier is a 1943 American comedy film made by Columbia Pictures which makes fun of the housing shortage during World War II, especially in Washington, D.C. The picture stars Jean ...more

24
7 5
Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

25
5 4
The Palm Beach Story is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

26
5 4
Letter from an Unknown Woman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Letter from an Unknown Woman Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Art Smith Letter from an Unknown Woman is a 1948 film directed by Max Ophüls. It was based on the novella of the same name by Stefan Zweig. The film stars Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady ...more

27
5 5
Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

The Finest Breasts In Entertainment

28
5 5
The Strawberry Blonde is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Strawberry Blonde Rita Hayworth, Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney Strawberry Blonde is a 1941 Warner Bros. feature film directed by Raoul Walsh, starring James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland, and featuring Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Jack Carson and George ...more

29
4 4
The Mortal Storm is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Mortal Storm James Stewart, Robert Young, Robert Stack The Mortal Storm is a drama film from MGM directed by Frank Borzage and starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart.

30
5 6
Waterloo Bridge is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Waterloo Bridge Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, C. Aubrey Smith Waterloo Bridge is a 1940 remake of the 1931 American drama film also called Waterloo Bridge, adapted from the 1930 play Waterloo Bridge. In an extended flashback narration, it recounts the ...more

31
4 5
Cat People is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Cat People Malcolm McDowell, Nastassja Kinski, Annette O'Toole Cat People is a 1982 American erotic horror film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski. Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer. While the film has all the elements of a ...more

32
4 5
A Matter of Life and Death is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
A Matter of Life and Death David Niven, Richard Attenborough, Raymond Massey A Matter of Life and Death is a romantic fantasy film created by the British writing-directing-producing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and set in England during the Second World ...more

33
3 4
Sullivan's Travels is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

34
4 6
The Farmer's Daughter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Farmer's Daughter James Arness, Loretta Young, Ethel Barrymore The Farmer's Daughter is a 1947 movie that tells the story of a farmgirl who ends up working as a maid for a Congressman and his politically powerful mother. It stars Loretta Young, Joseph ...more

35
4 6
The Red Shoes is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
The Red Shoes Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann, Esmond Knight The Red Shoes is a British feature film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers. The movie ...more

36
3 5
Arise, My Love is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Arise, My Love Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Walter Abel Arise, My Love is a 1940 American romantic comedy film made by Paramount Pictures, directed by Mitchell Leisen, written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and Jacques Théry. The film stars ...more

37
1 5
Remember the Day is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Remember the Day Claudette Colbert, Shepperd Strudwick, John Payne Remember the Day is a 1941 film released by 20th Century Fox, directed by Henry King, and starring Claudette Colbert and John Payne.

38
4 9
Boom Town is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Boom Town Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, Spencer Tracy Boom Town is a 1940 American adventure film starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr, and directed by Jack Conway. The supporting cast features Frank Morgan, ...more

39
3 8
On the Town is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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