Watchworthy

The Best Movies of 1940 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated March 11, 2020 4k votes 245 voters 8.6k views 205 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies of 1940
Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more

More Casablanca 

#29 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #121 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Ranker Video
Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen

Released: 1940

Directed by: John Ford

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

More The Grapes of Wrath 

#88 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #759 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Ranker Video
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

Released: 1940

Directed by: George Cukor

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

More The Philadelphia Story 

#329 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #266 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Ranker Video
Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards, Frankie Darro

Released: 1940

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, T. Hee, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, + more

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

More Pinocchio 

#66 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #59 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remadelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Ranker Video
James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Margaret Sullavan

Released: 1940

Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch

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
6
Ranker Video
Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

Released: 1940

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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

More Rebecca 

#90 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #290 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Ranker Video
Walt Disney, Corey Burton, Leopold Stokowski

Released: 1940

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, T. Hee, Ford Beebe, + more

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

More Fantasia 

#49 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #52 of 199 The Best Movies About Music #31 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

8
Ranker Video
Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Released: 1940

Directed by: Howard Hawks

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

More His Girl Friday 

#171 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #384 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #9 of 51 Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

9
Ranker Video
Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

Released: 1940

Directed by: Charlie Chaplin

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

More The Great Dictator 

#127 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #148 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #250 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

10
Ranker Video
Alfred Hitchcock, George Sanders, Joel McCrea

Released: 1940

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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
11
Ranker Video
Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott

Released: 1940

Directed by: Garson Kanin

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
12
Ranker Video
Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell

Released: 1940

Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

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
13
Ranker Video
Bette Davis, Gale Sondergaard, Herbert Marshall

Released: 1940

Directed by: William Wyler

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
Ranker Video
Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Maureen O'Sullivan

Released: 1940

Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

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

More Pride and Prejudice 

#286 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #789 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Walter Pidgeon

Released: 1940

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

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

More Dark Command 

#165 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #28 of 47 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made #29 of 49 The Best 1940s Western Movies

16
Ranker Video
Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Gilbert Roland

Released: 1940

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

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
Ranker Video
Ronald Reagan, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn

Released: 1940

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

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

More Santa Fe Trail 

#196 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #42 of 51 Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain #32 of 47 The Best US Civil War Movies Ever Made

18
Ranker Video
John Wayne, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond

Released: 1940

Directed by: John Ford

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

More The Long Voyage Home 

#61 of 70 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s #61 of 98 The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked

19
Ranker Video
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Dana Andrews

Released: 1940

Directed by: William Wyler

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

More The Westerner 

#107 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,408 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Ranker Video
Myrna Loy, William Powell, Carl Switzer

Released: 1940

Directed by: W. S. Van Dyke

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
21
Ranker Video
Anton Walbrook, Robert Newton, Diana Wynyard

Released: 1940

Directed by: Thorold Dickinson

Gaslight is a 1940 British film directed by Thorold Dickinson which stars Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard, and features Frank Pettingell. The film adheres more closely to the original play upon ...more
22
Ranker Video
Conrad Veidt, Sabu Dastagir, June Duprez

Released: 1940

Directed by: Alexander Korda, William Cameron Menzies, Zoltan Korda, Tim Whelan, Ludwig Berger, + more

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

More The Thief of Bagdad 

#119 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #101 of 384 The Greatest Movie Themeslisted on List of Silent Movies

23
Ranker Video
Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino

Released: 1940

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

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
24
Ranker Video
Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Sterling Holloway

Released: 1940

Directed by: Mitchell Leisen

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
25
Ranker Video
Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Paul Whiteman

Released: 1940

Directed by: Busby Berkeley

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