40s The Best '40s Romance Movies  

Ranker Film
935 votes 190 voters 7.6k 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
51 10
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
31 7
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
35 11
Rebecca is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
28 8
Notorious is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
20 6
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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
20 6
Meet Me in St. Louis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
17 4
I'll Be Seeing You is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

8
22 9
Now, Voyager is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

9
19 7
The Clock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
21 10
Brief Encounter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

11
22 11
Gilda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
26 15
To Have and Have Not is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

13
16 7
Out of the Past is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
13 6
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

15
15 8
Laura is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

16
16 9
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

17
18 11
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

18
22 15
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

19
13 7
The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

20
12 7
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

21
13 8
The Lady from Shanghai is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

22
15 10
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

23
9 6
A Matter of Life and Death is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

24
9 6
The Palm Beach Story is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

25
10 8
The More the Merrier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

26
8 6
Letter from an Unknown Woman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
4 2
Duel in the Sun is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Orson Welles, Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones Duel in the Sun is a Technicolor 1946 Western film directed by King Vidor, produced and written by David O. Selznick, which tells the story of a Mestiza girl who goes to live with her caucasian ...more

28
4 2
Ranker Video
Lucy Hall added Tyrone Power

An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.

The Razor's Edge is the first film version of W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel. It was released in 1946 and stars Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, Herbert ...more

29
3 1
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

30
9 8
Waterloo Bridge is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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
7 6
The Farmer's Daughter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

32
5 4
This Above All is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Joan Fontaine, Tyrone Power, Thomas Mitchell This Above All is a 1942 American romance film set in World War II adapted from the Eric Knight novel of the same name, directed by Anatole Litvak, and starring Tyrone Power and Joan Fontaine as ...more

33
2 1
Till the End of Time is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Robert Mitchum, Dorothy McGuire, Guy Madison Till the End of Time is a 1946 drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Dorothy McGuire, Guy Madison, Robert Mitchum, and Bill Williams. Released the same year as but preceding the ...more

34
7 7
The Strawberry Blonde is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

35
6 6
The Mortal Storm is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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.

36
6 6
Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

37
2 2
The Little Foxes is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Bette Davis, Teresa Wright, Dan Duryea The Little Foxes is an American drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Lillian Hellman is based on her 1939 play of the same name. Hellman's ex-husband Arthur Kober, Dorothy ...more

38
2 2
Two Faced Woman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Two Faced Woman Greta Garbo

After a ski instructor catches her husband flirting with an old flame, she decides to pose as her (fictitious) twin sister in an attempt to keep him faithful.

39
2 2
Saratoga Trunk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Flora Robson Saratoga Trunk is a 1945 American romantic drama film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, and Flora Robson. Written by Casey Robinson, and based on the novel Saratoga ...more

40
1 1
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Yvonne De Carlo For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1943 American film produced and directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia. Written by Dudley Nichols and based ...more

41
6 7
Cat People is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

42
4 5
Sullivan's Travels is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

43
8 10
Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

44
4 6
Arise, My Love is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

45
4 6
Remember the Day is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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.

46
6 10
On the Town is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '40s Romance 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

47
5 9
The Red Shoes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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

48
5 11
Boom Town is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '40s Romance Movies
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