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The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s

Updated July 8, 2019 972 votes 200 voters 8.3k views33 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.
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  • 1
    His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    58
    14

    His Girl Friday

    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell

    Released1940

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, from an... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    56
    13

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    50
    12

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 4
    The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    33
    9

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    33
    12

    Adam's Rib

    Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy

    Released1949

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    Adam's Rib is a 1949 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor. Domestic and... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    30
    11

    Released1948

    Directed byH. C. Potter

    Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is an American comedy film directed by H. C. Potter and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Holiday Inn is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    27
    12

    Holiday Inn

    Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire

    Released1942

    Directed byMark Sandrich

    Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Bing Crosby... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    30
    17

    Pride and Prejudice

    Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson

    Released1940

    Directed byRobert Z. Leonard

    Pride and Prejudice is a 1940 American film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Pride and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    26
    14

    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

    Cary Grant, Shirley Temple

    Released1947

    Directed byIrving Reis

    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a 1947 American comedy, directed by Irving Reis and... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    22
    10

    Woman of the Year

    Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy

    Released1942

    Directed byGeorge Stevens

    Woman of the Year is an American romantic comedy-drama film starring Spencer Tracy and... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    The More the Merrier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    21
    11

    The More the Merrier

    Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea

    Released1943

    Directed byGeorge Stevens

    The More the Merrier is a 1943 American comedy film made by Columbia Pictures which makes fun... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    I Married a Witch is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    20
    12

    I Married a Witch

    Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward

    Released1942

    Directed byRené Clair

    I Married a Witch is a 1942 fantasy romantic comedy film, directed by René Clair, and starring... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitt is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    13
    7

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Boris Karloff, Danny Kaye

    Released1947

    Directed byNorman Z. McLeod

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a 1947 Technicolor comedy film, loosely based on the short... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    17
    15

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    Alfred Hitchcock, Carole Lombard

    Released1941

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Remember the Night is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    17
    16

    Remember the Night

    Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray

    Released1940

    Directed byMitchell Leisen

    Remember the Night is a 1940 American romantic comedy/drama Christmas film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Cover Girl is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    12
    10

    Cover Girl

    Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly

    Released1944

    Directed byCharles Vidor

    Cover Girl is a 1944 American Technicolor musical film starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly.... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    The Major and the Minor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    11
    11

    The Major and the Minor

    Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland

    Released1942

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    The Major and the Minor is a 1942 American comedy film starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    You Were Never Lovelier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    9
    10

    You Were Never Lovelier

    Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire

    Released1942

    Directed byWilliam A. Seiter

    You Were Never Lovelier is a 1942 Hollywood musical romantic comedy film set in Buenos Aires.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    That Wonderful Urge is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    8
    9

    That Wonderful Urge

    Gene Tierney, Tyrone Power

    Released1948

    Directed byRobert B. Sinclair

    That Wonderful Urge is a 1948 20th Century Fox screwball comedy film, directed by Robert... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    A Yank in the R.A.F. is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    10
    13

    A Yank in the R.A.F.

    Betty Grable, Tyrone Power

    Released1941

    Directed byHenry King

    A Yank in the R.A.F. is a 1941 American black-and-white war film directed by Henry King, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Bride Came C.O.D. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    8
    10

    The Bride Came C.O.D.

    Bette Davis, James Cagney

    Released1941

    Directed byWilliam Keighley

    The Bride Came C.O.D. is a 1941 Warner Bros. screwball romantic comedy starring James Cagney... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    9
    13

    The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

    Betty Hutton, William Demarest

    Released1944

    Directed byPreston Sturges

    The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is a 1944 screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Blithe Spirit is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    8
    13

    Blithe Spirit

    Rex Harrison, Noël Coward

    Released1945

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Blithe Spirit is a 1945 English fantasy-comedy film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    The Devil and Miss Jones is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    5
    8

    The Devil and Miss Jones

    Jean Arthur, Charles Coburn

    Released1941

    Directed bySam Wood

    The Devil and Miss Jones is a 1941 comedy film starring Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn.... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Here Comes Mr. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s
    7
    11

    Here Comes Mr. Jordan

    Claude Rains, Lloyd Bridges

    Released1941

    Directed byAlexander Hall

    Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a romantic comedy-fantasy film in which a boxer, mistakenly taken to... more on Wikipedia
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