40s The Best Movies of 1940  

Ranker Film
Originally by
2.9k votes 129 voters 4.9k views 255 items

List of the best movies of 1940, with movie trailers when available. These top movies of 1940 are listed by popularity, so the movies with the most votes are at the top. This list consists of all different movie genres - from the dramatic adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath to romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner - but each film was released in 1940. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1940 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1940 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

Movies on this list include Fantasia and The Philadelphia Story.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1940?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1940?"

1940 was a great year for movies, since a lot of classic films were released in 1940. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1940 aren't just one persons opinion.

list ordered by

1
32 9
Ranker Video
Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally ...more

2
39 17
Ranker Video
Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it was his first American project, and his first film produced under contract with David O. Selznick. ...more

3
30 11
Ranker Video
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart 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

4
28 10
Ranker Video
Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy 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

5
21 3
Ranker Video
Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott My Favorite Wife is a 1940 screwball comedy produced and co-written by Leo McCarey and directed by Garson Kanin. The picture stars Irene Dunne as a woman who returns to her husband and children ...more

6
20 3
Ranker Video
Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Maureen O'Sullivan 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

7
20 7
Ranker Video
Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards, Frankie Darro Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It was the ...more

8
29 15
Ranker Video
Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert The Great Dictator is a 1940 American satirical political comedy-drama film starring, written, produced, scored, and directed by Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other ...more

9
18 3
Ranker Video
Alfred Hitchcock, George Sanders, Joel McCrea Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of an American reporter who tries to expose enemy spies in Britain, a series of events ...more

10
24 11
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Margaret Sullavan 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

11
18 4
Ranker Video
Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell The Mark of Zorro is a 1940 American adventure film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck for 20th Century Fox. The action movie stars Tyrone Power as Don Diego Vega, ...more

12
20 9
Ranker Video
Walt Disney, Corey Burton, Leopold Stokowski Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben ...more

13
19 6
Ranker Video
Bette Davis, Gale Sondergaard, Herbert Marshall The Letter is a 1940 American film noir directed by William Wyler, and starring Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall and James Stephenson. The screenplay by Howard E. Koch is based on the 1927 play of ...more

14
14 3
Ranker Video
Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Sterling Holloway 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

15
16 3
Ranker Video
Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Gilbert Roland The Sea Hawk is a 1940 American Warner Bros. feature film starring Errol Flynn as an English privateer who defends his nation's interests on the eve of the Spanish Armada. The film was the tenth ...more

16
17 5
Ranker Video
Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino They Drive by Night is a 1940 black-and-white film noir starring George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart, and directed by Raoul Walsh. The picture involves a pair of embattled ...more

17
13 2
Ranker Video
Myrna Loy, William Powell, Carl Switzer I Love You Again is a comedy film released in 1940. It was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starred William Powell and Myrna Loy; all three were prominently involved in the The Thin Man series. The ...more

18
16 7
Waterloo Bridge is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies of 1940
Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, C. Aubrey Smith Waterloo Bridge is a 1940 remake of the 1931 American drama film also called Waterloo Bridge, adapted from the 1930 play Waterloo Bridge. In an extended flashback narration, it recounts the ...more

19
6 0
Ranker Video
James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, George Reeves Torrid Zone is a 1940 adventure film starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien.

20
13 3
Ranker Video
Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Alla Nazimova Escape is a 1940 drama film about an American in pre-World War II Nazi Germany who discovers his mother is in a concentration camp and tries desperately to free her. It starred Norma Shearer, ...more

21
14 4
Ranker Video
Conrad Veidt, Sabu Dastagir, June Duprez The Thief of Bagdad is a 1940 British Technicolor Arabian fantasy film produced by Alexander Korda, and directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan, with contributions by Korda's ...more

22
14 4
Ranker Video
Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook, Jr. Stranger on the Third Floor is a 1940 film noir, starring Peter Lorre and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film was directed by Boris Ingster and co-written by Nathaniel West. Stranger on the ...more

23
15 5
Ranker Video
Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid, Margaret Lockwood Night Train to Munich is a 1940 British thriller film directed by Carol Reed and starring Margaret Lockwood and Rex Harrison. Written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, based on the novel ...more

24
12 3
Ranker Video
Ronald Reagan, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 American western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan. Written by Robert Buckner, the film is ...more

25
12 3
Ranker Video
Dick Powell, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn Christmas in July is a 1940 comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges based on his 1931 play A Cup of Coffee. It was Sturges' second film as writer-director, after The Great McGinty, ...more

26
13 4
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Walter Pidgeon Dark Command is a 1940 Western film starring Claire Trevor, John Wayne and Walter Pidgeon loosely based on Quantrill's Raiders during the American Civil War. Directed by Raoul Walsh from the ...more

27
13 4
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond The Long Voyage Home is a 1940 American drama film directed by John Ford. It features John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Barry Fitzgerald, Wilfrid Lawson, John Qualen, Mildred Natwick, and ...more

28
9 2
Ranker Video
W. C. Fields, Shemp Howard, Una Merkel The Bank Dick is a 1940 comedy film. Set in Lompoc, California, W. C. Fields plays a character named Egbert Sousé who trips a bank robber and ends up a security guard as a result. The ...more

29
9 2
Ranker Video
Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Paul Whiteman Strike Up the Band is a 1940 American black and white musical film. It is directed by Busby Berkeley and stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. A very famous, memorable quote from the film is ...more

30
13 6
Ranker Video
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Dana Andrews The Westerner is a 1940 American film directed by William Wyler and starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, and Doris Davenport. Written by Niven Busch, Stuart N. Lake, and Jo Swerling, the film ...more

31
15 6
Ranker Video
Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, Spencer Tracy Boom Town is a 1940 American adventure film starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr, and directed by Jack Conway. The supporting cast features Frank Morgan, ...more

32
10 2
Ranker Video
Carole Landis, Lon Chaney, Jr. One Million B.C. is a 1940 American fantasy film produced by Hal Roach Studios and released by United Artists. It is also known by the titles Cave Man, Man and His Mate, and Tumak. The film ...more

33
11 3
Ranker Video
Merle Oberon, Geraldine Fitzgerald, George Brent 'Til We Meet Again is a 1940 romance film starring Merle Oberon and George Brent as two doomed, star-crossed lovers. It is a remake of the 1932 film One Way Passage and itself was remade into ...more

34
11 3
Ranker Video
James Cagney, Anthony Quinn, Ann Sheridan City for Conquest is a 1940 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak, starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, and Arthur Kennedy. The picture is based on the novel of the same name by Aben

35
12 4
Ranker Video
Vincent Price, Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell Brigham Young is a 1940 American biographical romantic drama film that describes Young's succession to the presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after founder Joseph ...more

36
13 5
Ranker Video
Jean Rogers, Lionel Atwill, Chrispin Martin Charlie Chan in Panama is a 1940 mystery film starring Sidney Toler. It is an unaccredited remake of Jacques Deval's novel "Marie Galante", produced by Fox Film Corporation in 1934, ...more

37
16 8
Ranker Video
James Cagney, George Reeves, Joseph Crehan The Fighting 69th is an American war film starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, and George Brent. The plot is based upon the actual exploits of New York City's 69th Infantry Regiment during World ...more

38
14 8
Ranker Video
Ginger Rogers, Gladys Cooper, Eduardo Ciannelli Kitty Foyle, subtitled The Natural History of a Woman, is a 1940 film starring Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan and James Craig, which is based on Christopher Morley's 1939 bestseller also titled ...more

39
11 4
Ranker Video
Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott Virginia City is a 1940 American Western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Randolph Scott, and a mustachioed Humphrey Bogart in the role of the real-life ...more

40
9 4
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Robert Young, Robert Stack The Mortal Storm is a drama film from MGM directed by Frank Borzage and starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart.

41
5 0
Ranker Video
Dimos Dicoudis added Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas This Thing Called Love is a 1940 comedy film directed by Alexander Hall.

42
9 3
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Stanley Ridges Black Friday is a 1940 American science fiction film starring Boris Karloff. Béla Lugosi, although second-billed, has only a small part in the film and does not appear with Karloff. ...more

43
9 3
Ranker Video
Carole Landis, Mary Astor, Adolphe Menjou Turnabout is a 1940 comedy film directed by Hal Roach and starring Adolphe Menjou, Carole Landis and John Hubbard. Based on the 1931 novel of the same name by Thorne Smith, the screenplay was ...more

44
8 2
Ranker Video
Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Leslie Banks 21 Days is a 1940 British drama film based on the short play The First and the Last by John Galsworthy. It was directed by Basil Dean and stars Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Leslie Banks. ...more

45
10 4
Ranker Video
Boris Karloff, Selmer Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan The Ape is a 1940 American horror film made for Monogram Pictures, co-written by Curt Siodmak and starring Boris Karloff.

46
9 3
Ranker Video
Anne Baxter, Wallace Beery, Noah Beery 20 Mule Team is a 1940 American Western film about Death Valley, and Daggett, California borax miners starring Wallace Beery and Anne Baxter, and remains an extremely rare opportunity to watch ...more

47
8 2
Ranker Video
William Holden, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter Our Town is a 1940 film adaptation of a play of the same name by Thornton Wilder starring Martha Scott as Emily Webb, and William Holden as George Gibbs. The cast also included Fay Bainter, ...more

48
7 1
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich Seven Sinners is a 1940 American adventure film starring Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne in the first of three films they made together. The film was produced by Universal Pictures in black and

49
9 3
Ranker Video
Cesar Romero, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes Lucky Cisco Kid is a 1940 western film directed by H. Bruce Humberstone and starring Cesar Romero, Mary Beth Hughes and Dana Andrews.

50
10 4
Ranker Video
Spencer Tracy, Walter Brennan, Robert Young Northwest Passage is a 1940 film in Technicolor, starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey, and others. The picture is based on a novel by Kenneth Roberts titled ...more