Jump to a year: 1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945  1946  1947  1948  1949

[Films are listed according to release date. Best Picture Winners are listed first each year]


Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

All This, And Heaven Too (1940)

The Bank Dick (1940)

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

fantasiaFantasia (1940)
Release Date: November 13, 1940
Directors: Various
Studio: Disney
Fantasia is an experimental cartoon-re-imagining of classical music told in eight different segments, each directed by Leopold Stokowski, the English-Polish conductor who became a famous Hollywood composer. Remarkably, Fantasia is only Disney’s third feature animated film. It was the first film released with stereophonic sound (a.k.a. “fantasound” for which it received a special Academy Award in 1941).

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Great Dictator (1940)

The Great McGinty (1940)

La Fille du puisatier (“The Well Diggers Daughter” 1940)

His Girl Friday (1940)

The Letter (1940)

The Long Voyage Home (1940)

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

The Mortal Storm (1940)

Our Town (1940)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Pinocchio (1940)

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Rebecca (1939 poster).jpegOutstanding Production (1940): Rebecca (1940)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s brilliant Oscar-winning film was based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same name. Rebecca is filmed as a hazy, atmospheric, and ominous mystery story about a traumatized young woman (Joan Fontaine), and the psychological ghosts that haunt her new life as she marries a wealthy aristocratic widower, Mr. Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), and moves to his coastal English estate only to find that the memory of his late wife, Rebecca, still haunts his life.

Santa Fe Trail (1940)

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

The Thief of Baghdad (1940)

The Waterloo Story (1940)

The Westerner (1940)


Image result for citizen kaneCitizen Kane (1941)
Director: Orson Welles. Popularly considered the greatest film ever made (and with good reason), the prodigy Orson Welles co-wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane as the lead, Charles Foster Kane. The film opens with the death of Kane in his massive castle as he utters a mysterious word: “rosebud.” The rest of the film uniquely depicts the life of Kane in a series of flashbacks as a journalist seeks to uncover the meaning of Kane’s last word. Amazingly, the story behind the film, and its endless controversies (particularly with William Randolph Hearst and his media empire) are just as fascinating as the movie, itself. Of course, Citizen Kane is an essential film.

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

Dumbo (1941)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

High Sierra (1941)

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

how greenOutstanding Motion Picture (1941): How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Director: John Ford. Based on the popular 1939 novel of the same name, How Green Was My Valley is the beautiful and nostalgic story of the Morgans, a hardworking and humble Welsh family in a coal mining town during the late 19th century. The story is episodic and takes us through the innocent early days of the town, until changes at the coal mine force a decline in the town as well as the Morgan family. How Green Was My Valley rather infamously beat out Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon for Best Picture in 1941.

The Lady Eve (1941)

The Little Foxes (1941)

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Meet John Doe (1941)

Sergeant York (1941)

The Wolf Man (1941)

Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Suspicion (1941)

The Hamilton Woman (1941)

The Wolf Man (1941)


Bambi (1942)

Gentleman Jim (1942)

In Which We Serve (1942)

Kings Row (1942)

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Director: Orson Welles. Based on Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel of the same name published in 1918, The Magnificent Ambersons is a wonderful film that tells the story of the rise and fall of a once great Midwestern family, as their town changes with the advent of electricity and the automobile. Despite controversies surrounding the film, and the studio’s unfortunate decision to hack and revise Welles’s original picture, The Magnificent Ambersons is still one of the greatest films of all time. Of particular significance to me is the opening scene in which Welles narrates the changing fashion and times of this little Indiana town.

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

Cat People (1942)

mrs miniver 1942Outstanding Motion Picture (1942): Mrs. Minivar (1942)
Release Date: June 4, 1942
Director: William Wyler
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Mrs. Miniver is often remembered as a remarkable Allied propaganda movie released during World War II (in fact, Goebbels once praised its propagandist appeal in the ways it incites hatred toward Germany). Mrs. Miniver was a critical success, and it has had a particularly lasting legacy in England. It won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Mrs. Miniver is a domestic, upper middle-class English drama that follows the trials of one family during the advent of World War II.

Now, Voyager (1942)

The Palm Beach Story (1942)

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Random Harvest (1942)

The Talk of the Town (1942)

Gun For Hire (1942)

To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Woman of the Year (1942)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Outstanding Motion Picture (1943): Casablanca (1942)
Director: Michael Curtiz. Casablanca is one of the greatest films of all time, and it has sometimes been called one of the great American propaganda films of the 20th century. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and others, Casablanca depicts the impossibility of neutrality during the Second World War as bar owner, Rick Blaine, acquires transit papers when suddenly his long-lost love, Ilsa Lund, arrives in his bar one night requesting the papers from Rick for she and her husband. Casablanca is incredible film about love, war, and heroism.


Forever And A Day (1943)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

The Human Comedy (1943)

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Jane Eyre (1943)

Madame Curie (1943)

The Man in Grey (1943)

The More the Merrier (1943)

Obsession (1943)

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

The Song of a Bernadette (1943)

Watch on the Rhine (1943)


Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Gaslight (1944)
Director: George Cukor (1944). stars a young Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotton. The film tells the story of Gregory and Paula Anton. She inherits priceless jewelry from a relative in London, and then she and Gregory elope, as Gregory begins playing psychological tricks (i.e. “gaslighting”) Paula so he can control her and steal her jewelry.

Best Motion Picture (1944): Going My Way (1944)

Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

King Henry V (1944)

Ivan the Terrible Part I (1944)

Laura (1944)

Lifeboat (1944)

Meet me in St Louis (1944)

The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

National Velvet (1944)

None But the Lonely Heart (1944)

Since You Went Away (1944)

To Have and Have Not (1944)

The Uninvited (1944)


Anchors Aweigh (1945)

And Then There Were None (1945)

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)

Rome, Open City (1945)

Detour (1945)

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Best Motion Picture (1945): The Lost Weekend (1945)

Mildred Pierce (1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Scarlet Street (1945)

The Seventh Veil (1945)

The Southerner (1945)

Spellbound (1945)

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

They Were Expendable (1945)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

A Walk in the Sun (1945)


La Belle et la Bete (1946)

Best Motion Picture (1946): The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946)

Brief Encounter (1946)

Duel in the Sun (1946)

Gilda (1946)

Great Expectations (1946)

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

The Killers (1946)

My Darling Clementine (1946)

NotoriousNotorious (1946)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. In some ways, Notorious, is a natural introduction to Hitchcock’s later classic spy thriller, North By Northwest. Starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains the film is about the “notorious” reputation of the daughter of a former Nazi spy. She is persuaded by a US government agent to travel to Brazil to help infiltrate a former Nazi ring. Along the way, they fall in love but she must be pushed into the hands of another man to complete the mission, however, her new suitor soon discovers her secret. It is a brilliant film of sabotage, intrigue, and double crossing.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

The Razor’s Edge (1946)

The Stranger (1946)

To Each His Own (1946)

The Yearling (1946)


Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Director: Orson Welles. This Welles film noir, starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, is a psychological thriller about a staged killing, which turns into a covert framing of an innocent man. Before he can be arrested and imprisoned, he must uncover the truth about the killing. A funhouse shootout scene at the end of the film is of particularly note, as the main character walks off into the distance saying “Maybe I’d forget her. Maybe I’d die trying.”

The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

Black Narcissus (1947)

Body and Soul (1947)

Boomerang (1947)

Crossfire (1947)

Dark Passage (1947)

A Double Life (1947)

The Farmer’s Daughter (1947)

Best Motion Picture (1947): Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Odd Man Out (1947)

Out of the Past (1947)

The Paradine Case (1947)

Pursued (1947)

Secret Beyond the Door (1947)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

They Won’t Believe Me (1947)


An Act of Murder (1948)

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Easter Parade (1948)

Force of Evil (1948)

Best Motion Picture (1948): Hamlet (1948)

I Remember Mama (1948)

Johnny Belinda (1948)

Key Largo (1948)

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Louisiana Story (1948)

The Naked City (1948)

Oliver Twist (1948)

The Paleface (1948)

Red River (1948)

The Red Shoes (1948)

Rope (1948)

The Snake Pit (1948)

Sorry Wrong Number (1948)

Spring in a Small Town (1948)

State of the Union (1948)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Unfaithfully Yours (1948)


The Accused (1949)

Adam’s Rib (1949)

Best Motion Picture (1949): All the King’s Men (1949)

Battleground (1949)

3 Godfathers (1949)
Director: John Ford. 3 Godfathers tells the story of three cattle ranchers, led by Robert “Bob” Hightower (John Wayne), who rob a bank in Welcome, Arizona. As they flee the town, the youngest is shot in the arm and they escape on horseback into the desert with limited water. They discover an abandoned pregnant woman and help her deliver a baby, just as she names them the baby’s godfathers.

Beyond the Forest (1949)

Champion (1949)

The Heiress (1949)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Knock on any Door (1949)

On the Town (1949)

Orpheus (1949)

The Reckless Moment (1949)

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

The Third Man (1949)

Jour de fête (1949)

La Belle Meunière (“The Pretty Miller Girl” 1949)

Twelve O’Clock High (1949)

Whiskey Galore (1949)

White Heat (1949)

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