40s The Best Movies of 1940  

Ranker Film
Originally by
3.4k votes 174 voters 6.7k views 254 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
47 24
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
2
36 17
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
3
32 13
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
4
34 15
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
37 18
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
6
34 15
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
7
29 11
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
8
24 7
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
9
24 8
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
10
34 22
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
11
21 4
Citizen Kane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies of 1940
Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The picture was Welles's first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy ...more
12
22 7
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
13
24 9
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
23 11
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
15
17 6
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
16
19 7
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
17
16 5
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
15 5
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
19
17 7
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
20
19 9
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
21
15 6
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
22
16 9
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
23
17 10
Waterloo Bridge is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
11 3
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
25
13 5
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