Award Shows 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
67 16
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
60 20
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
46 13
Mildred Pierce is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
46 14
Double indemnity is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

Nominated in 1944.

5
54 22
Citizen Kane is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
43 14
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
39 13
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
37 14
The Maltese Falcon is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
38 15
How Green Was My Valley is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
36 14
The Best Years of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
33 15
The Treasure of the Sierra Mad... is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
27 11
The Bishop's Wife is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

Nominated in 1947.

13
28 12
Gaslight is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
32 16
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
25 10
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
22 8
Suspicion is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
29 16
Yankee Doodle Dandy is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
23 11
The Heiress is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
26 14
Twelve O'Clock High is listed (or ranked) 19 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 war film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the ...more

20
21 10
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
23 12
The Lost Weekend is listed (or ranked) 21 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 based on Charles R. Jackson's 1944 novel of the same title about an ...more

22
23 13
The Letter is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
23 13
Mrs. Miniver is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
23 13
The Little Foxes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Bette Davis, Teresa Wright, Dan Duryea

Nominated in 1941.

The Little Foxes is an American drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Lillian Hellman is based on her 1939 play of the same name. Hellman's ex-husband Arthur Kober, Dorothy ...more

25
25 15
Miracle on 34th Street is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
20 12
Sergeant York is listed (or ranked) 26 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 World War I. It was directed by Howard Hawks and was the highest-grossing ...more

27
18 11
The Yearling is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Forrest Tucker

Nominated in 1946.

The Yearling is a Technicolor family film drama directed by Clarence Brown, produced by Sidney Franklin, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The screenplay by Paul Osborn and John Lee Mahin was ...more

28
19 12
Johnny Belinda is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Jane Wyman, Agnes Moorehead, Lew Ayres

Nominated in 1948.

Johnny Belinda is a 1948 American drama film based on the 1940 Broadway stage hit of the same name, by Elmer Blaney Harris. The play was adapted for the screen by writers Allen Vincent and Irma ...more

29
15 9
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills

Nominated in 1947.

Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills, Bernard Miles, Finlay Currie, Jean Simmons, Martita Hunt, Alec ...more

30
17 11
Kings Row is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ronald Reagan, Claude Rains, Ann Sheridan

Nominated in 1942.

Kings Row is a 1942 film starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, and Ronald Reagan that tells a story of young people growing up in a small American town at the turn of the twentieth century, ...more

31
20 14
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Yvonne De Carlo

Nominated in 1943.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1943 American film produced and directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia. Written by Dudley Nichols and based ...more

32
18 13
Anchors Aweigh is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell

Nominated in 1945.

Anchors Aweigh is a 1945 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, in which two sailors go on a four-day ...more

33
16 11
The Song of Bernadette is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Vincent Price, Jennifer Jones, Lee J. Cobb

Nominated in 1943.

The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 drama film that tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous, who, from February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, reported eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin ...more

34
20 16
The Snake Pit is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Olivia de Havilland, Celeste Holm, Leo Genn

Nominated in 1948.

The Snake Pit is a 1948 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak and stars Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Beulah Bondi, and Lee Patrick. Based on Mary Jane ...more

35
18 14
The Magnificent Ambersons is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Orson Welles, Anne Baxter, Agnes Moorehead

Nominated in 1942.

The Magnificent Ambersons is a 1942 American period drama, the second feature film produced and directed by Orson Welles. Welles adapted Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1918 novel, ...more

36
16 12
Going My Way is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, William Smith

Won Best Picture in 1944.

Going My Way is a 1944 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Based on a story by Leo McCarey, the film is about a new young ...more

37
14 12
Heaven Can Wait is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Gene Tierney, Don Ameche, Charles Coburn

Nominated in 1943.

Heaven Can Wait is a 1943 American comedy film produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The screenplay was by Samson Raphaelson based on the play Birthday by Leslie Bush-Fekete. The music score ...more

38
13 11
The Razor's Edge is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

Nominated in 1946.

39
12 10
The Red Shoes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann, Esmond Knight

Nominated in 1948.

The Red Shoes is a British feature film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers. The movie ...more

40
18 17
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Christopher Lee, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons

Won Best Picture in 1948.

Hamlet is a 1948 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, adapted and directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Hamlet was Olivier's second film as director, and also ...more

41
17 16
The Pride of the Yankees is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Babe Ruth, Gary Cooper, Bill Dickey

Nominated in 1942.

The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan. It is a tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman ...more

42
16 15
Foreign Correspondent is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Alfred Hitchcock, George Sanders, Joel McCrea

Nominated in 1940.

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

43
14 13
A Letter to Three Wives is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Thelma Ritter

Nominated in 1949.

A Letter to Three Wives is a 1949 American romantic drama film which tells the story of a woman who mails a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with the husband of one of them. ...more

44
12 11
Random Harvest is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Greer Garson, Ronald Colman, Reginald Owen

Nominated in 1942.

Random Harvest is a 1942 film based on the 1941 James Hilton novel of the same name, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Claudine West, George Froeschel and Arthur Wimperis adapted the novel for the ...more

45
12 11
All the King's Men is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, John Derek

Won Best Picture in 1949.

All the King's Men is a 1949 drama film with noir-themed overtones set in a political setting directed by Robert Rossen and based on the Robert Penn Warren novel of the same name. The production ...more

46
11 10
The Talk of the Town is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Lloyd Bridges

Nominated in 1942.

The Talk of the Town is a 1942 American comedy/drama film directed by George Stevens, starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman, with a supporting cast featuring Edgar Buchanan and ...more

47
16 16
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

Nominated in 1940.

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

48
13 13
Crossfire is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Robert Young

Nominated in 1947.

Crossfire is a 1947 film noir drama film which deals with the theme of anti-Semitism, as did that year's Academy Award for Best Picture winner, Gentleman's Agreement. The film was directed by ...more

49
13 13
Our Town is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
William Holden, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter

Nominated in 1940.

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

50
12 12
Madame Curie is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s
Greer Garson, Margaret O'Brien, Walter Pidgeon

Nominated in 1943.

Madame Curie is a 1943 biographical film made by MGM. The film was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sidney Franklin from a screenplay by Paul Osborn, Paul H. Rameau, and Aldous Huxley, ...more