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The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

Updated June 14, 2019 3.7k votes 267 voters 9.9k views70 items

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.

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  • It's a Wonderful Life1
    116
    33

    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed

    Released1946

    Directed byFrank Capra

    Nominated in 1946.

    It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Casablanca2
    103
    31

    Casablanca

    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Won Best Picture in 1943.

    Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on... more on Wikipedia
  • Citizen Kane3
    91
    32

    Citizen Kane

    Orson Welles, Alan Ladd

    Released1941

    Directed byOrson Welles

    Nominated in 1941.

    Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and... more on Wikipedia
  • The Maltese Falcon4
    61
    18

    The Maltese Falcon

    Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

    Released1941

    Directed byJohn Huston

    Nominated in 1941.

    The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by... more on Wikipedia
  • Rebecca5
    63
    23

    Rebecca

    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1940

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Won Best Picture in 1940.

    Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it... more on Wikipedia
  • The Best Years of Our Lives6
    57
    21

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright

    Released1946

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Won Best Picture in 1946.

    The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler and... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre7
    53
    18

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston

    Released1948

    Directed byJohn Huston

    Nominated in 1948.

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is an American dramatic adventurous neo-western written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • How Green Was My Valley8
    54
    19

    How Green Was My Valley

    Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowall

    Released1941

    Directed byJohn Ford

    Won Best Picture in 1941.

    How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 drama film directed by John Ford. The film, based on the... more on Wikipedia
  • Miracle on 34th Street9
    52
    19

    Miracle on 34th Street

    Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1947

    Directed byGeorge Seaton

    Nominated in 1947.

    Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written and directed by George Seaton and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Mildred Pierce10
    58
    25

    Mildred Pierce

    Joan Crawford, Eve Arden

    Released1945

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    Nominated in 1945.

    Mildred Pierce is a 1945 American drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Joan... more on Wikipedia
  • The Philadelphia Story11
    51
    25

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

    Released1940

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    Nominated in 1940.

    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,... more on Wikipedia
  • Double Indemnity12
    72
    49

    Double Indemnity

    Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck

    Released1944

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Nominated in 1944.

    Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by... more on Wikipedia
  • Twelve O'Clock High13
    41
    18

    Twelve O'Clock High

    Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger

    Released1949

    Directed byHenry King

    Nominated in 1949.

    Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth... more on Wikipedia
  • The Bells of St. Mary's14
    38
    15

    The Bells of St. Mary's

    Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby

    Released1945

    Directed byLeo McCarey

    Nominated in 1945.

    The Bells of St. Mary's is a 1945 American drama film produced and directed by Leo McCarey and... more on Wikipedia
  • Mrs. Miniver15
    37
    14

    Mrs. Miniver

    Greer Garson, Teresa Wright

    Released1942

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Won Best Picture in 1942.

    Mrs. Miniver is a 1942 American romantic war drama film directed by William Wyler, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Bishop's Wife16
    42
    19

    The Bishop's Wife

    Nominated in 1947.

  • The Razor's Edge17
    36
    14

    The Razor's Edge

    Nominated in 1946.

  • Suspicion18
    36
    14

    Suspicion

    Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1941

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Nominated in 1941.

    Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary... more on Wikipedia

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  • Kitty Foyle19
    39
    19

    Kitty Foyle

    Ginger Rogers, Gladys Cooper

    Released1940

    Directed bySam Wood

    Nominated in 1940.

    Kitty Foyle, subtitled The Natural History of a Woman, is a 1940 film starring Ginger Rogers,... more on Wikipedia
  • The Grapes of Wrath20
    58
    40

    The Grapes of Wrath

    Henry Fonda, John Carradine

    Released1940

    Directed byJohn Ford

    Nominated in 1940.

    The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John... more on Wikipedia

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  • Gaslight21
    38
    19

    Gaslight

    Ingrid Bergman, Angela Lansbury

    Released1944

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    Nominated in 1944.

    Gaslight is an American 1944 mystery-thriller film adapted from Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Lost Weekend22
    33
    14

    The Lost Weekend

    Jane Wyman, Ray Milland

    Released1945

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Won Best Picture in 1945.

    The Lost Weekend is a 1945 American drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray... more on Wikipedia
  • Crossfire23
    35
    17

    Crossfire

    Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan

    Released1947

    Directed byEdward Dmytryk

    Nominated in 1947.

    Crossfire is a 1947 film noir drama film which deals with the theme of anti-Semitism, as did... more on Wikipedia
  • Sergeant York24
    48
    33

    Sergeant York

    Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

    Released1941

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    Nominated in 1941.

    Sergeant York is a 1941 biographical film about the life of Alvin York, one of the... more on Wikipedia
  • The Pride of the Yankees25
    35
    20

    The Pride of the Yankees

    Babe Ruth, Gary Cooper

    Released1942

    Directed bySam Wood

    Nominated in 1942.

    The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary... more on Wikipedia