Comedy The Best '40s Romantic Comedies  

Ranker Film
240 votes 107 voters 3.1k 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.

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His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
His Girl Friday 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

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The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Philadelphia Story 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

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The Shop Around the Corner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Shop Around the Corner 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

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The Lady Eve is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Lady Eve 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

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Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Pride and Prejudice 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

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Holiday Inn is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Holiday Inn 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

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The More the Merrier is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The More the Merrier 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

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Adam's Rib is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Adam's Rib 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

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The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek 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

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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House 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

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Woman of the Year is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Woman of the Year 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

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The Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer 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

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Mr. & Mrs. Smith 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

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Remember the Night is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Remember the Night 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

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A Yank in the R.A.F. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Blanche2 added A Yank in the R.A.F. 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

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I Married a Witch is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
I Married a Witch 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

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Blithe Spirit is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Blithe Spirit 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

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Somewhere I'll Find You is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Somewhere I'll Find You Somewhere I'll Find You is a film starring Clark Gable and Lana Turner, directed by Wesley Ruggles, and released by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer in 1942. The film took almost two years to complete and ...more

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Here Comes Mr. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Here Comes Mr. Jordan 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

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The Major and the Minor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Major and the Minor 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

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A Thousand and One Nights is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
A Thousand and One Nights 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

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Mr. Lucky is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Mr. Lucky 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

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The Luck of the Irish is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Blanche2 added The Luck of the Irish The Luck of the Irish is a 1948 film with Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter, Lee J. Cobb, Cecil Kellaway, and Jayne Meadows.

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That Wonderful Urge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Blanche2 added That Wonderful Urge 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

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Cover Girl is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Cover Girl 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

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A Foreign Affair is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
A Foreign Affair A Foreign Affair is a 1948 American romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, and John Lund. The screenplay by Wilder, Charles Brackett, and ...more

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The Devil and Miss Jones is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Devil and Miss Jones The Devil and Miss Jones is a 1941 comedy film starring Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. Directed by Sam Wood and scripted by Norman Krasna, the film was the product of an independent ...more

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Moon Over Miami is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Moon Over Miami Moon Over Miami is a 1941 Technicolor musical film directed by Walter Lang, with Betty Grable and Don Ameche in leading roles and co-starring Robert Cummings, Carole Landis, Jack Haley, and ...more

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You Were Never Lovelier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
You Were Never Lovelier You Were Never Lovelier is a 1942 Hollywood musical romantic comedy film set in Buenos Aires. It stars Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth and features Adolphe Menjou and Xavier Cugat, with music by ...more

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitt... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 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

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The Bride Came C.O.D. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
The Bride Came C.O.D. 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

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Angel on My Shoulder is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
Angel on My Shoulder Angel on My Shoulder is a 1946 American fantasy film about a deal between the Devil and a dead man. The film was an independent production, produced by Charles R. Rogers and David W. Siegel, ...more

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On an Island with You is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '40s Romantic Comedies
On an Island with You On an Island with You is a 1948 film directed by Richard Thorpe.