Entertainment

The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s  

Ranker Film
502 votes 166 voters 6.3k views 33 items

In the 1940s, Hollywood produced stirring dramas and glittering musicals, but some of the most beloved films of that era are romantic comedies. The best 1940s romantic comedies featured witty banter and swoon-worthy scenes, all delivered by some of the greatest stars to ever grace the silver screen. Whether the plots focused on the screwball complications of love triangles or the smoldering chemistry of a will-they, won't-they relationship, the top 1940s romantic comedies still win over audiences today.

What film should win the top spot on this list of good '40s romantic comedies? The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Katharine Hepburn, is an enduring favorite. This 1940 classic took home Oscars for Best Actor (Stewart) and Best Writing (Donald Ogden Stewart). His Girl Friday, also starring Grant, is another great romantic comedy from the 1940s.

Real life couple Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy appeared in several romantic films of the '40s, including Adam's Rib and Woman of the Year. Holiday Inn, The Lady Eve, and I Married a Witch also appear on this top '40s romantic comedies list.

It's up to you to determine which movie will earn the number-one spot on this list. Give your favorite films a thumbs up and add any of the era's romantic comedies that are missing.
list ordered by
1
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies 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
2
His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
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
3
The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies 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
4
The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies 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
5
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Maureen O'Sullivan
Pride and Prejudice is a 1940 American film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. The screenplay ...more
6
Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Holliday
Adam's Rib is a 1949 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor. Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband (Spencer Tracy) and wife (Katharine Hepburn) work as opposing ...more
7
Holiday Inn is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin
Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. With music by Irving Berlin, the film has twelve songs written expressly for the ...more
8
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is an American comedy film directed by H. C. Potter and starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The film was written and produced by the team of Melvin Frank and ...more
9
I Married a Witch is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward, Fredric March
I Married a Witch is a 1942 fantasy romantic comedy film, directed by René Clair, and starring Veronica Lake as a witch whose plan for revenge goes comically awry, with Fredric March as ...more
10
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, Myrna Loy
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a 1947 American comedy, directed by Irving Reis and written by Sidney Sheldon. The film stars Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple in a story about a ...more
11
The More the Merrier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
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
12
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Alfred Hitchcock, Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by Norman Krasna, and starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery. It also features Gene Raymond, ...more
13
The Secret Life of Walter Mitt... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Boris Karloff, Danny Kaye, Ann Rutherford
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a 1947 Technicolor comedy film, loosely based on the short story of the same name by James Thurber. The film stars Danny Kaye as a young daydreaming proof ...more
14
The Major and the Minor is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Robert Benchley
The Major and the Minor is a 1942 American comedy film starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. It was the first American film directed by Billy Wilder, and launched his "incomparable" ...more
15
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Betty Hutton, William Demarest, Brian Donlevy
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is a 1944 screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges, starring Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton, and featuring Diana Lynn, William Demarest and ...more
16
Remember the Night is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Sterling Holloway
Remember the Night is a 1940 American romantic comedy/drama Christmas film directed by Mitchell Leisen, and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The film was written by Preston ...more
17
Blithe Spirit is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Rex Harrison, Noël Coward, Margaret Rutherford
Blithe Spirit is a 1945 English fantasy-comedy film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean, cinematographer Ronald Neame and associate producer Anthony Havelock-Allan is based on ...more
18
The Bride Came C.O.D. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Bette Davis, James Cagney, William Frawley
The Bride Came C.O.D. is a 1941 Warner Bros. screwball romantic comedy starring James Cagney as a pilot and Bette Davis as a runaway heiress, and directed by William Keighley. Although the film ...more
19
Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
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
20
Cover Girl is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Eve Arden
Cover Girl is a 1944 American Technicolor musical film starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. The film tells the story of a chorus girl given a chance at stardom when she is offered an ...more
21
A Yank in the R.A.F. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Blanche2 added Betty Grable, Tyrone Power, Fortunio Bonanova
A Yank in the R.A.F. is a 1941 American black-and-white war film directed by Henry King, and is considered a typical early-World War II film. Originally titled The Eagle Squadron, it is based on ...more
22
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Claude Rains, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Montgomery
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a romantic comedy-fantasy film in which a boxer, mistakenly taken to Heaven before his time, is given a second chance back on Earth. It stars Robert Montgomery, Claude ...more
23
A Thousand and One Nights is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Phil Silvers, Evelyn Keyes, Cornel Wilde
A Thousand and One Nights is a tongue-in-cheek Technicolor fantasy film set in the Baghdad of the One Thousand and One Nights, starring Cornel Wilde as Aladdin, Evelyn Keyes as the genie of the ...more
24
That Wonderful Urge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Blanche2 added Gene Tierney, Tyrone Power
That Wonderful Urge is a 1948 20th Century Fox screwball comedy film, directed by Robert Sinclair and starring Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney. It is a remake of Love Is News, which starred Power ...more
25
Mr. Lucky is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Laraine Day, Paul Stewart
Mr. Lucky is a 1943 romance film directed by H.C. Potter, starring Cary Grant and Laraine Day. It tells the story of the attraction between a shady gambler and a wealthy socialite in the early ...more