Below is a list of my favorite movies released during the 1940s:
FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE 1940s
1. "Casablanca" (1942) - This Academy Award winning film is considered to be one of the best Hollywood films of all time and it is easy to see why. It features some of the best dialogue and one of the most romantic love stories ever put on film. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the movie starred Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Heinreid and Claude Rains.
2. "The Sea Hawk" (1940) - Errol Flynn starred in this loose, yet superb adaptation of Rafael Sabatini's novel about an English privateer during the reign of Elizabeth I. Directed by Michael Curtiz (again), the film co-starred Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains, Alan Hale, Henry Daniell and Flora Robson as Elizabeth I.
3. "The Letter" (1940) - William Wyler directed this superb adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1927 play about the adulterous wife of a rubber plantation administrator, who shoots her lover to death and claims it was self-defense. Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Victor Sen Young and Gale Sondergaard starred.
4. "Notorious" (1946) - Alfred Hitchcock directed this thriller about two people - an American intelligence agent and the daughter of a convicted Nazi spy - whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation in South America to infiltrate a group of Germans who have relocated to Brazil after World War II. The movie starred Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains.
5. "Double Indemnity" (1944) - Billy Wilder directed this classic adaptation of James Cain’s pulp novel about a murder plot hatched by an insurance salesman and a femme fatale to kill her husband. It is filled with the usual snappy dialogue, sex, violence and backstabbing. A real gem. Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson starred.
6. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) - This adaptation of MacKinlay Kantor's novel about three returning World War II servicemen and their tribulations won Oscar gold for director William Wyler and producer Samuel Goldwyn.
7. "The Palm Beach Story" (1942) - Preston Sturges wrote and directed this funny tale about an inventor who needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire. Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee and Mary Astor co-star in this comedy classic.
8. "The Mark of Zorro" (1940) - Tyrone Power starred in this adaptation of Johnston McCulley's novel about a Robin Hood-style masked avenger in Old California. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, the movie co-starred Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, J. Edward Bromberg, Eugene Pallette and Gale Sondergaard.
9. "The Harvey Girls" (1946) - George Sidney directed this colorful, musical adaptation of Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel about a group of new waitresses for the Fred Harvey chain of restaurants in the post-Civil War West. Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Angela Landsbury, Ray Bolger, Virginia O'Brien, Cyd Charisse and Preston Foster starred. The film also featured the Oscar winning song written by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren called "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe".
10. "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) - Humphrey Bogart starred as Sam Spade in this third adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel about the search for a valuable jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon. Directed by John Huston, the film co-starred Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre.