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The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s

Updated July 8, 2019 1.8k votes 311 voters 17.1k views48 items

List RulesVote 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.
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  • Casablanca1
    86
    28

    Casablanca

    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on...  more

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  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir2
    63
    15

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

    Natalie Wood, Gene Tierney

    Released1947

    Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a romantic fantasy film starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. It...  more
  • Rebecca3
    53
    21

    Rebecca

    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1940

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it...  more

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  • Now, Voyager4
    39
    13

    Now, Voyager

    Bette Davis, Claude Rains

    Released1942

    Directed byIrving Rapper

    Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude...  more

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  • Notorious5
    44
    19

    Notorious

    Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant

    Released1946

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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  • The Shop Around the Corner6
    33
    10

    The Shop Around the Corner

    James Stewart, Frank Morgan

    Released1940

    Directed byErnst Lubitsch

    The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by...  more

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  • Brief Encounter7
    39
    17

    Brief Encounter

    Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson

    Released1945

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Brief Encounter is a 1945 British film directed by David Lean about British suburban life,...  more

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  • That Hamilton Woman8
    25
    3

    That Hamilton Woman

    Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier

    Released1941

    Directed byAlexander Korda

    That Hamilton Woman, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama, produced and directed by...  more
  • Great Expectations9
    31
    13

    Great Expectations

    Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons

    Released1946

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by...  more
  • I'll Be Seeing You10
    31
    13

    I'll Be Seeing You

    Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple

    Released1944

    Directed byWilliam Dieterle, George Cukor

    I'll Be Seeing You is a 1944 drama film made by Selznick International Pictures, Dore Schary...  more

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  • Gilda11
    33
    16

    Gilda

    Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford

    Released1946

    Directed byCharles Vidor

    Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita...  more
  • To Have and Have Not12
    38
    22

    To Have and Have Not

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1944

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    To Have and Have Not is a 1944 American romance-adventure film directed by Howard Hawks, and...  more

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  • Letter from an Unknown Woman13
    27
    11

    Letter from an Unknown Woman

    Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan

    Released1948

    Directed byMax Ophüls

    Letter from an Unknown Woman is a 1948 film directed by Max Ophüls. It was based on the...  more
  • The Philadelphia Story14
    34
    19

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

    Released1940

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,...  more

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  • The Clock15
    29
    14

    The Clock

    Judy Garland, Keenan Wynn

    Released1945

    Directed byVincente Minnelli

    The Clock is a 1945 American romantic drama film starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker and...  more
  • Laura16
    37
    25

    Laura

    Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb

    Released1944

    Directed byOtto Preminger

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    Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene...  more
  • The Lady Eve17
    23
    14

    The Lady Eve

    Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck

    Released1941

    Directed byPreston Sturges

    The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges...  more

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  • Sullivan's Travels18
    19
    9

    Sullivan's Travels

    Veronica Lake, Preston Sturges

    Released1941

    Directed byPreston Sturges

    Sullivan's Travels is a 1942 American comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It...  more

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  • Spellbound19
    22
    14

    Spellbound

    Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck

    Released1945

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred...  more

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  • Waterloo Bridge20
    20
    12

    Waterloo Bridge

    Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor

    Released1940

    Directed byMervyn LeRoy

    Waterloo Bridge is a 1940 remake of the 1931 American drama film also called Waterloo Bridge,...  more

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  • The Bishop's Wife21
    24
    16

    The Bishop's Wife

    Cary Grant, David Niven

    Released1947

    Directed byHenry Koster

    The Bishop's Wife, also known as Cary and the Bishop's Wife, is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic...  more

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  • Out of the Past22
    19
    11

    Out of the Past

    Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum

    Released1947

    Directed byJacques Tourneur

    Out of the Past is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum,...  more
  • His Girl Friday23
    36
    33

    His Girl Friday

    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell

    Released1940

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, from an...  more

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  • The Farmer's Daughter24
    17
    9

    The Farmer's Daughter

    James Arness, Loretta Young

    Released1947

    Directed byH. C. Potter

    The Farmer's Daughter is a 1947 movie that tells the story of a farmgirl who ends up working...  more
  • Meet Me in St. Louis25
    22
    19

    Meet Me in St. Louis

    Judy Garland, Mary Astor

    Released1944

    Directed byVincente Minnelli

    Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which tells the story of...  more