This is when things really started to get good. Some of the best and most classic films originated from the forties and there are dozens which could make my list. The forties were a time of war for much of the world and the film industry reflected this turmoil by creating a number of films focused on the struggles of war and of the people affected by it.
The forties also marked the birth of a new generation of cinema, focused on dialogue-driven films which developed quality characters and old stories that transcended action-adventure flicks. The realistic nature of these films has helped them endure for generations and created techniques that filmmakers today still use.
There are a number of truly amazing filmmakers who made their mark on the film industry during this time, including Frank Capra, William Wyler, and John Ford. Their filmmaking prowess created some phenomenal masterpieces that demonstrate different their talents in dozens of truly great films. The forties were a turning point for cinema and created some wonderful movies.
My picks for each year are as follows:
- 1940 – The Philadelphia Story; The Great Dictator; Rebecca
- 1941 – Citizen Kane; The Maltese Falcon; The Wolf Man
- 1942 – Casablanca
- 1943 – The Ox-Bow Incident; For Whom the Bell Tolls
- 1944 – Arsenic and Old Lace
- 1945 – Brief Encounter; The Lost Weekend
- 1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life; The Big Sleep
- 1947 – Monsieur Verdoux
- 1948 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; The Red Shoes; Red River
- 1949 – The Third Man; Kind Hearts and Coronets; All the King’s Men