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Greatest Film Performances of the 1940s (US/UK)

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Criteria: Film Performances of the 1940s are ranked based on initial and lasting acclaim, popular and cultural recognition, plus influence. In order to qualify for this list the performance has to come from a predominately English-language film produced or co-produced by American or British production companies.

List Begun: 2019-10-18
More:   2010s  |   2000s  |   1990s  |   1980s  |   1970s  |   1960s  |   1950s  |   1940s  |   1930s
  Actor - Film Title (Year of Release)
  1. Laurence Olivier - Hamlet (1948)
  2. Orson Welles - Citizen Kane (1941)
  3. Katharine Hepburn - The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  4. Charlie Chaplin - The Great Dictator (1940)
  5. Humphrey Bogart - Casablanca (1942)
  6. Ingrid Bergman - Gaslight (1944)
  7. Henry Fonda - The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  8. Barbara Stanwyck - Double Indemnity (1944)
  9. James Stewart - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
10. Laurence Olivier - Henry V (1944)
11. James Cagney - Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
12. Ingrid Bergman - Casablanca (1942)
13. Humphrey Bogart - The Maltese Falcon (1941)
14. Jane Wyman - Johnny Belinda (1948)
15. Ray Milland - The Lost Weekend (1945)
16. James Cagney - White Heat (1949)
17. Fredric March - The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
18. Olivia de Havilland - The Heiress (1949)
19. Joan Fontaine - Suspicion (1941)
20. Barbara Stanwyck - The Lady Eve (1941)
21. Alec Guinness - Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
22. Katharine Hepburn - Adam's Rib (1949)
23. Jennifer Jones - The Song Of Bernadette (1943)
24. Robert Mitchum - Out of the Past (1947)
25. Joan Crawford - Mildred Pierce (1945)
26. Paul Lukas - Watch on the Rhine (1943)
27. Joseph Cotten - Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
28. Cary Grant - Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)
29. Ingrid Bergman - For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
30. James Stewart - The Philadelphia Story (1940)
31. Laurence Olivier - Rebecca (1940)
32. Ingrid Bergman - Spellbound (1945)
33. Joan Fontaine - Rebecca (1940)
34. Gary Cooper - Sergeant Yorke (1941)
35. Greer Garson - Mrs. Miniver (1942)
36. Carole Lombard - To Be or Not To Be (1942)
37. Charles Boyer - Gaslight (1944)
38. Humphrey Bogart - Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Olivia de Havilland - To Each His Own (1946)
40. Ronald Colman - A Double Life (1947)
41. Charlie Chaplin - Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
42. Ingrid Bergman - Notorious (1946)
43. Olivia de Havilland - The Snake Pit (1948)
44. Montgomery Clift - Red River (1948)
45. Rosalind Russell - Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
46. Loretta Young - The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
47. Orson Welles - The Third Man (1949)
48. Claude Rains - Notorious (1946)
49. Edward G. Robinson - Key Largo (1948)
50. Joan Fontaine - Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948)
51. Humphrey Bogart - To Have and Have Not (1944)
52. Jean Arthur - The More the Merrier (1943)
53. Bette Davis - The Letter (1940)
54. Katharine Hepburn - Woman of the Year (1942)
55. Cary Grant - His Girl Friday (1940)
56. Peter Lorre - The Maltese Falcon (1941)
57. Humphrey Bogart - High Sierra (1941)
58. Agnes Moorehead - The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
59. Lauren Bacall - Key Largo (1948)
60. Donna Reed - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
61. Walter Huston - Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
62. Broderick Crawford - All the King's Men (1949)
63. Mercedes McCambridge - All the King's Men (1949)
64. Bette Davis - Now, Voyager (1942)
65. Gary Cooper - The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
66. Rosalind Russell - His Girl Friday (1940)
67. Ginger Rogers - Kitty Foyle (1940)
68. Ralph Richardson - The Heiress (1949)
69. Kirk Douglas - Champion (1949)
70. Humphrey Bogart - The Big Sleep (1946)
71. Cary Grant - Notorious (1946)
72. Spencer Tracy - Adam's Rib (1949)
73. John Wayne - Red River (1948)
74. Celia Johnson - Brief Encounter (1945)
75. Greer Garson - The Valley of Decision (1945)
76. Trevor Howard - Brief Encounter (1945)
77. Bing Crosby - Going My Way (1944)
78. Greer Garson - Madame Curie (1943)
79. Joan Fontaine - The Constant Nymph (1943)
80. Barry Fitzgerald - Going My Way (1944)
81. John Garfield - Body and Soul (1947)
82. William Powell - Life with Father (1947)
83. Lana Turner - The Postman Alaways Rings Twice (1946)
84. Gregory Peck - The Yearling (1946)
85. Bette Davis - The Little Foxes (1941)
86. Gregory Peck - Spellbound (1945)
87. Claude Rains - Casablanca (1942)
88. Monty Woolley - The Pied Piper (1942)
89. Ronald Colman - Random Harvest (1942)
90. Greer Garson - Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
91. Walter Huston - All That Money Can Buy (1941)
92. Cary Grant - The Philadelphia Story (1940)
93. Alexander Knox - Wilson (1944)
94. Cary Grant - None But The Lonely Heart (1944)
95. Elizabeth Taylor - National Velvet (1944)
96. Gene Tierney - Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
97. Richard Widmark - Kiss of Death (1947)
98. Joan Crawford - Possessed (1947)
99. Susan Hayward - Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947)
100. Deborah Kerr - Black Narcissus (1947)

101. Lauren Bacall - To Have and Have Not (1944)
102. Roger Livesey - The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
103. Katina Paxinou - For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
104. Mickey Rooney - The Human Comedy (1943)
105. Claudette Colbert - Since You Went Away (1944)
106. Rosalind Russell - Sister Kenny (1946)
107. Gene Kelly - Anchors Aweigh (1945)
108. Jennifer Jones - A Duel in the Sun (1946)
109. Harold Peters - The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
110. Jane Wyman - The Yearling (1946)
111. Ingrid Bergman - The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
112. Bing Crosby - The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
113. Michael Redgrave - Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
114. Greer Garson - Mrs. Parkington (1944)
115. Bette Davis - Mr. Skeffington (1944)
116. Joel McCrea - The More the Merrier (1943)
117. Gary Cooper - For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
118. Charles Coburn - The More the Merrier (1943)
119. Fred MacMurray - Double Indemnity (1944)
120. Margaret O'Brien - Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
121. Joan Fontaine - Jane Eyre (1943)
122. Gregory Peck - Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
123. Richard Todd - The Hasty Heart (1949)
124. Irene Dunne - I Remember Mama (1948)
125. Barbara Stanwyck - Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
126. Montgomery Clift - The Search (1948)
127. John Wayne - Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
128. Anton Walbrook - The Red Shoes (1948)
129. Alec Guinness - Oliver Twist (1948)
130. Ingrid Bergman - Joan of Arc (1948)
131. Henry Fonda - The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
132. Martha Scott - Our Town (1940)
133. James Stewart - The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
134. Teresa Wright - Mrs. Miniver (1942)
135. Joseph Cotten - The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
136. Robert Montgomery - Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
137. Clifton Webb - Laura (1944)
138. Humphrey Bogart - Sahara (1943)
139. Raymond Massey - Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
140. Margaret Sullavan - The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
141. Barbara Stanwyck - Ball of Fire (1941)
142. Deborah Kerr - Edward, My Son (1949)
143. Gregory Peck - Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
144. Cornel Wilde - Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
145. Angela Lansbury - The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
146. Gene Kelly - On the Town (1949)
147. Jeanne Crain - Pinky (1949)
148. Lionel Barrymore - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
149. Dana Andrews - The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
150. Edmund Gwenn - Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
151. Robert Mitchum - The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
152. Olivia de Havilland - Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
153. Cary Grant - Penny Serenade (1941)
154. Gary Cooper - Ball of Fire (1941)
155. John Carradine - The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
156. Joel McCrea - Sullivan's Travels (1941)
157. Walter Brennan - The Westerner (1940)
158. W.C. Fields - The Bank Dick (1940)
159. Jean Simmons - Hamlet (1948)
160. Cornel Wilde - A Song to Remember (1945)
161. Jennifer Jones - Love Letters (1945)
162. Rita Hayworth - Gilda (1946)
163. Robert Ryan - Crossfire (1947)
164. Jane Greer - Out of the Past (1947)
165. Celeste Holm - Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
166. Henry Travers - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
167. Rita Hayworth - The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
168. James Stewart - Rope (1948)
169. Henry Fonda - My Darling Clementine (1946)
170. Burt Lancaster - The Killers (1946)
171. Walter Pidgeon - Mrs. Miniver (1942)
172. Teresa Wright - The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
173. Walter Pidgeon - Madame Curie (1943)
174. Deborah Kerr - The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
175. Susan Peters - Random Harvest (1942)
176. Jane Darwell - The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
177. James Stephenson - The Letter (1940)
178. Gene Kelly - For Me and My Gal (1942)
179. Donald Crisp - How Green Was My Valley (1941)
180. Joseph Cotten - Citizen Kane (1941)
181. Tim Holt - The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
182. Loretta Young - Come to the Stable (1949)
183. Robert Ryan - The Set-Up (1949)
184. Rex Harrison - Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
185. Cathy O'Donnell - They Live By Night (1948)
186. Richard Attenborough - Brighton Rock (1947)
187. James Mason - Odd Man Out (1947)
188. Edmond O'Brien - White Heat (1949)
189. Lon Chaney Jr. - The Wolf Man (1941)
190. Sydney Greenstreet - The Maltese Falcon (1941)
191. Akim Tamiroff - For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
192. Ida Lupino - The Hard Way (1943)
193. John Mills - In Which We Serven (1942)
194. Dean Jagger - Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
195. Ethel Barrymore - None But The Lonely Heart (1944)
196. Dick Powell - Murder, My Sweet (1944)
197. J. Carrol Naish - A Medal for Benny (1945)
198. Ann Blyth - Mildred Pierce (1945)
199. Robert Montgomery - They Were Expendable (1945)
200. James Dunn - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

scene from Hamlet with Laurence Olivier

scene from Citizen Kane

scene from The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn

scene from The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin

scene from Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart

scene from Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman








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