Awards The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s  

Ranker Film
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Picking the very best decade in Hollywood filmmaking is no easy task. But many film buffs will agree that the 1940s marked an era of unparalleled excellence on the silver screen. The winners and nominees of the Academy Award for Best Picture during this time reflect the decade's finest films. Oscar winners of the 1940s include movies by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and other legends. Some are side-splitting comedies, some tear-jerking dramas, but all are considered some of the greatest films ever made.

What films will you find on this list of 1940s Oscar-winning movies? The 1941 drama Citizen Kane is often cited as the best film of all time by critics and fans alike. Though the Orson Welles masterpiece has received many accolades, it lost the Best Picture Oscar to the film How Green Was My Valley. Casablanca, which won Best Picture in 1943, is another great movie from the 1940s. Holiday movies aren't often nominated for Oscars, but It's a Wonderful Life was up for Best Picture in 1946. Other good films featured on this list of Oscar-nominated 1940s films include Great Expectations, Double Indemnity, and The Pride of the Yankees.

Which 1940s Oscar-nominated film do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your personal picks a thumbs up to move them towards number one.

list ordered by
1
89 20
It's a Wonderful Life is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Nominated in 1946.

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren ...more
2
78 23
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

Won Best Picture in 1943.

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
3
68 26
Citizen Kane is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead

Nominated in 1941.

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
4
49 16
The Maltese Falcon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor

Nominated in 1941.

The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam ...more
5
54 20
Double Indemnity is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

Nominated in 1944.

Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on James M. Cain's 1943 novella of the same name, which originally ...more
6
50 18
Rebecca is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

Won Best Picture in 1940.

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
7
51 20
Mildred Pierce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Joan Crawford, Eve Arden, Butterfly McQueen

Nominated in 1945.

Mildred Pierce is a 1945 American drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Joan Crawford, Jack Carson and Zachary Scott and featuring Eve Arden, Ann Blyth and Bruce Bennett, in a film ...more
8
45 17
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen

Nominated in 1940.

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
9
44 17
The Treasure of the Sierra Mad... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Barton MacLane

Nominated in 1948.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is an American dramatic adventurous neo-western written and directed by John Huston. It is a feature film adaptation of B. Traven's 1927 novel of the same name, ...more
10
43 17
How Green Was My Valley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowall, Walter Pidgeon

Won Best Picture in 1941.

How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 drama film directed by John Ford. The film, based on the 1939 Richard Llewellyn novel, was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and scripted by Philip Dunne. The film ...more
11
44 18
The Best Years of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Fredric March

Won Best Picture in 1946.

The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, and Harold Russell. The ...more
12
35 13
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
The Bishop's Wife

Nominated in 1947.

13
37 17
Miracle on 34th Street is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, Thelma Ritter

Nominated in 1947.

Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund ...more
14
40 20
Yankee Doodle Dandy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston

Nominated in 1942.

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway". It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and ...more
15
31 13
The Bells of St. Mary's is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby, Una O'Connor

Nominated in 1945.

The Bells of St. Mary's is a 1945 American drama film produced and directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Written by Dudley Nichols based on a story by Leo McCarey, ...more
16
33 15
Gaslight is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ingrid Bergman, Angela Lansbury, Charles Boyer

Nominated in 1944.

Gaslight is an American 1944 mystery-thriller film adapted from Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play Gas Light. It was the second version to be filmed, following the British film Gaslight, directed by ...more
17
27 10
Suspicion is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

Nominated in 1941.

Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame ...more
18
29 12
The Lost Weekend is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Jane Wyman, Ray Milland, Howard Da Silva

Won Best Picture in 1945.

The Lost Weekend is a 1945 American drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four: Best Picture, Best ...more
19
38 20
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

Nominated in 1940.

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
20
29 14
Sergeant York is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie

Nominated in 1941.

Sergeant York is a 1941 biographical film about the life of Alvin York, one of the most-decorated American soldiers of WWI. It was directed by Howard Hawks and was the highest-grossing film of ...more
21
26 13
The Heiress is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson

Nominated in 1949.

The Heiress is a 1949 American drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Olivia de Havilland as Catherine Sloper, Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend, and Ralph Richardson as Dr. Sloper. ...more
22
27 14
Mrs. Miniver is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Greer Garson, Teresa Wright, Walter Pidgeon

Won Best Picture in 1942.

Mrs. Miniver is a 1942 American romantic war drama film directed by William Wyler, and starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. Based on the 1940 novel Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther, the film ...more
23
30 17
Twelve O'Clock High is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger, Richard Anderson

Nominated in 1949.

Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days ...more
24
26 16
The Letter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Bette Davis, Gale Sondergaard, Herbert Marshall

Nominated in 1940.

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
25
23 14
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Alfred Hitchcock

Nominated in 1945.

Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The ...more