Entertainment

The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s  

Ranker Film
1.2k votes 257 voters 12.5k views 48 items

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
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
3
Rebecca is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
4
Notorious is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
5
I'll Be Seeing You is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
ForLuvOfAnimals added 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
6
Now, Voyager is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
7
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
Laura is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
9
The Clock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
10
To Have and Have Not is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan
To Have and Have Not is a 1944 American romance-adventure film directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan and Lauren Bacall in her film debut. Although it is ...more
11
Gilda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
12
Brief Encounter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
13
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
14
Out of the Past is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
15
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
16
Meet Me in St. Louis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
17
Ranker Video
Lucy Hall added Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Sara Allgood
That Hamilton Woman, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama, produced and directed by Alexander Korda for his American company during his exile in the United States. Set during the ...more
18
Letter from an Unknown Woman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
19
The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
20
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
21
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
The Farmer's Daughter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
23
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
24
The Palm Beach Story is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
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
25
A Matter of Life and Death is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s
David Niven, Richard Attenborough, Raymond Massey
This film 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 WWII. It stars David Niven, ...more