The Best War Movies Of The 1940s

List Rules
Vote up your favorite war films that were released in the 1940s.

Much of the 1940s was spent putting efforts towards WWII. Even though many men and women were stationed abroad, the "war at home" efforts made by civilians were equally important. Many of the films produced during the decade were little more than propaganda, but some classics managed to sneak through. The best '40s war movies feature a few hilarious comedies and several tragic, heartfelt stories about the European and Pacific Theaters. 

One of Charlie Chaplin’s greatest films (and his first real talkie), The Great Dictator (1940) satirizes Hitler and fascism in a way that anticipates the rest of the decade. Another top war film of the '40s is Casablanca. Created just as America was entering the war, it tells the story of a group of refugees fleeing Europe via Casablanca, as well as the romantic tale of a couple (Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman) torn apart by the war, and brought back together because of it. 

Vote up the best war movies of the '40s to let the world know what you think.

Ranked by
  • Casablanca
    Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
    107 votes
    • Released: 1942
    • Directed by: Michael Curtiz
    Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed rebel, ...more

    Available On:


  • They Were Expendable
    Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed
    81 votes
    • Released: 1945
    • Directed by: John Ford, Robert Montgomery
    After a demonstration of new PT boats, navy brass are still unconvinced of their viability in combat, leaving Lt. "Rusty" Ryan (John Wayne) frustrated. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, Ryan ...more

    Available On:

  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
    Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker
    75 votes
    • Released: 1944
    • Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy
    During World War II, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (Spencer Tracy) leads the U.S. Air Force in a bombing mission over Japan. Doolittle and his men stage a successful attack on Tokyo, but most pilots ...more

    Available On:

  • Twelve O'Clock High
    Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Gary Merrill
    70 votes
    • Released: 1949
    • Directed by: Henry King
    In 1942, an American Air Force unit stationed in England is plagued with morale problems until no-nonsense Brigadier General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) assumes command. His tough leadership is ...more

    Available On:

  • Sergeant York
    Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie
    86 votes
    • Released: 1941
    • Directed by: Howard Hawks
    Prize-winning Tennessee marksman Alvin York (Gary Cooper), a recent convert to Christianity, finds himself torn between his non-violent beliefs and his desire to serve his country when recruited to ...more

    Available On:

  • Battleground
    Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban
    65 votes
    • Released: 1949
    • Directed by: William A. Wellman
    Members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division are fighting for their country amidst the rugged terrain of Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944. Holley (Van Johnson) and his American compatriots ...more