Entertainment
216 voters

The Best Romantic Comedies of the 1940s

Updated July 8, 2019 1.0k votes 216 voters 9.1k 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.
Photo:
...more
  • His Girl Friday1
    68
    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

    More His Girl Friday 

    #8 of 51 Free Movies! The Best Films In The Public Domain#21 of 34 The Best Comedies About the Workplace

  • The Philadelphia Story2
    60
    16

    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

    More The Philadelphia Story 

    #637 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#22 of 224 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

  • The Shop Around the Corner3
    53
    13

    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

    More The Shop Around the Corner 

    #44 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way#78 of 127 The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

  • The Lady Eve4
    37
    10

    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

    More The Lady Eve 

    #52 of 75 The Greatest Classic Romance Movies#71 of 80 The Best Con Movies

  • Adam's Rib5
    36
    13

    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

    More Adam's Rib 

    #51 of 57 The Funniest Movies About Marriage#32 of 48 The Best Romance Movies of the 1940s

  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House6
    31
    13

    Released1948

    Directed byH. C. Potter

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

    More Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House 

    #315 of 933 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#627 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • Holiday Inn7
    30
    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
  • Pride and Prejudice8
    33
    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

    More Pride and Prejudice 

    #1047 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#273 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer9
    28
    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

    More The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer 

    #70 of 76 The Best Oscar-Winning Screenplays#20 of 58 The Best Shirley Temple Movies

  • The More the Merrier10
    24
    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
  • Woman of the Year11
    23
    12

    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
  • I Married a Witch12
    23
    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
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty13
    15
    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
  • Remember the Night14
    20
    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
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith15
    19
    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
  • Cover Girl16
    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
  • The Major and the Minor17
    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
  • You Were Never Lovelier18
    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
  • The Bride Came C.O.D.19
    9
    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
  • That Wonderful Urge20
    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
  • The Devil and Miss Jones21
    6
    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
  • A Yank in the R.A.F.22
    10
    14

    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
  • Blithe Spirit23
    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

    More Blithe Spirit 

    #57 of 133 The Best Movies Based on Plays#17 of 44 The Funniest Movies About Ghosts

  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan24
    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
  • The Miracle of Morgan's Creek25
    9
    15

    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