As I have seen all the films nominated during the 1940's, first I will rank the ten best pictures and a later post will rank all seventy films nominated during that decade.
10. All The King's Men (1949) - The last of the muckraking films of the decade to win. Loosely based on the life of Huey Long former governor of Louisiana, it shows a hard working man becoming a corrupt politician. A good film but if this happened today he would end up getting a reality show.
9. Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - Another great muckraking film of the time, rather dated today. Gregory Peck takes on anti-semitism by changing his last name and tries to get into hotels and other places where Jewish people were not allowed. Dean Stockwell is his son who gets beaten up at school because the kids think he's Jewish. In the late 1940's this was a big issue, not so much today.
8. Rebecca (1940) - A Hitchcock classic, the only one to win best picture, but not may favorite Hitchcock movie. Laurence Olivier is great in this film, as he is in any film, but it seems rather mild compared to other mysteries. Rare occurrence for a director to have two of their films nominated in one year, the only other person that comes to mind is Francis Ford Coppola in 1974.
7. The Lost Weekend (1945) - And another muckraking film this time showing the evils of alcohol. Ray Milland's only Oscar, and it was a better acting role than the one having his head sewn onto Rosey Greer. Very close I may add. Should of ranked lower but the giant bat that attacks Ray Milland bumped it up one spot.
6. Hamlet (1948) - Laurence Olivier's version of the Shakespeare play is probably the most accurate. You feel like you are in Denmark. Rather long, and can be a bit stuffy, but the best version of this play and probably the best Shakespeare movie adaption.
5. Going My Way (1944) - The happy go lucky film that is just a nice film. Made during WWII it was the type of film to make people feel better. Good songs, decent acting, just a nice film, good enough to be in the middle of the pack.
4. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - A very powerful drama about life after WWII. Great acting helps this film, but it was a product of it's time. One of the best movies about people dealing with the war and how soldiers had to adapt coming back to normal society.
3. Mrs. Miniver(1942) - One of the finest films made about life during WWII and a bit of a propaganda movie. This is common for films made during the war as opposed those made after. Great acting, intense drama and a strong political message make it one of the best films of the decade.
2. How Green Was My Valley (1941) - The film that beat out Citizen Kane. Even though historically it is one of the most disappointing upsets, this is clearly the second best film of the year and it is a very good movie. The only reason why it gets criticized is because of Citizen Kane.
1. Casablanca (1943) - And the best best picture of the decade, the classic Casablanca, one of the top of all time of those that won.