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The Best Thriller Movies Of The 1940s

Updated August 26, 2021 1.8k votes 368 voters 16.7k views41 items

List RulesVote up your favorite suspense films that were released in the 1940s

The best '40s thriller films have it all, detectives, femme fatales, dangerous men, and nail-biting plot twists. With roots in German expressionist films, these '40s thriller movies were typically featured in black and white, although a select few were filmed in color. Many of these stylish, Hollywood crime dramas and often portrayed the cynical attitude of the post-Great Depression era. 

One man is so closely associated with the thriller genre, his name may as well be synonymous with suspense: Alfred Hitchcock. The legendary British director has many entries on this list of the top ‘40s thriller movies, including the haunting Rebecca, and the political thriller Notorious, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman at the top of their games. Other notable directors on this list include Frank Capra, John Huston, and Billy Wilder.

Also on this list of the greatest ‘40s thriller movies, you’ll find the Orson Welles picture The Lady from Shanghai, starring his estranged wife Rita Hayworth. Although it wasn't a massive hit upon its initial release, the film developed a solid reputation in later years. Vote up the best thriller movies from the 1940s.