John’s 10 Best Films of the 1940’s

List created and owned by John McGinn

Like the 1920’s and 1930’s I haven’t seen a ton of films in the 1940’s, but the amount of films I have seen have gone up from a few dozen to around a hundred or so.

Out of those hundred or so films I narrowed them down to about the top 13 films. In all honesty in my opinion the 1940’s wasn’t a great decade for cinema, but it is understandable as World War II was going on. As far as this list goes, it was hard to choose a number one film as there were no truly spectacular films that stood for me like in the 1930’s in All Quiet on the Western Front, but there were a lot of really good if not great films like Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster and Red River, so here are what is in my opinion the 10 best films of the 1940’s.

10. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

9. Fort Apache

8. All the Kings Men

7. Red River

6. They Were Expendable

One of three John Wayne films on this list, and that’s funny since I think he’s an overrated actor, but even with that said I’m not denying that Wayne didn’t have his moments or wasn’t in good if not great films with They Were Expendable and Red River being two of his best.

5. The Devil and Daniel Webster

4. Twelve O’Clock High

One of the best war films ever. Twelve O’Clock High is hauntingly accurate as the writers drew from their own experiences as WWII pilots during the war, and wonderfully displays the toll the war took on these pilots many of whom never made it home. Next there was the performance of Gregory Peck who in my opinion is one of the greatest actors to grace the screen starring in such films as The Guns of Navarone, Cape Fear, The Yearling, To Kill a Mockingbird, and in my opinion the highly underrated MacArthur. In Twelve O’Clock High Gregory Peck gave a moving performance Brigadier General Frank Savage giving viewers as Savage begins to crumble under the pressure of war and the loss of some many of his men. Peck should have been given the Oscar for best Actor over Broderick Crawford.

3. Casablanca

2. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The second of two Humphrey Bogart films on this list, and in my opinion the better of the two. Sierra Madre delves into the darkness and the corrupting power of greed, and the influence it has on the characters of the film that is added by one of the best actors of the time in Bogart. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a powerful film that I recently bought on Blu-Ray and recommend to everyone.

1. Citizen Kane


Honorable Mentions: The Yearling, Hamlet, Back to Bataan, Henry V, and Sands of Iwo Jima.



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1 Response »


  1. John's 10 Best Films of the 1940's | Tinseltown Times

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