Best Comedy Movies of 1940

1.

The Great Dictator

6.9
8.5/10

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert
Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Release date: 1940-10-15
2.

The Shop Around the Corner

5.7
8.1/10

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realising that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Starring: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden
Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch
Release date: 1940-01-11
3.

The Philadelphia Story

5.6
7.9/10

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard
Directed by: George Cukor
Release date: 1940-12-05
4.

His Girl Friday

5.6
7.9/10

Hildy, the journalist former wife of newspaper editor Walter Burns, visits his office to inform him that she's engaged and will be getting remarried the next day. Walter can't let that happen and frames the fiancé, Bruce Baldwin, for one thing after another, to keep him temporarily held in prison, while trying to steer Hildy into returning to her old job as his employee.

Starring: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Helen Mack
Directed by: Howard Hawks
Release date: 1940-01-18
5.

Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum

4.1
7.3/10

A wax museum run by a demented doctor contains statues of such crime figures as Jack the Ripper and Bluebeard. In addition to making wax statues the doctor performs plastic surgery. It is here that an arch fiend takes refuge. The museum also houses a statue of Charlie. Frustrated number-two son kicks statue in rear; oops, number-two son wrong in his assumption

Starring: Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Yung, C. Henry Gordon, Marc Lawrence, Joan Valerie
Directed by: Lynn Shores
Release date: 1940-09-06
6.

Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise

4.0
7.3/10
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise
On a cruise ship from Honolulu to San Francisco, the famous Chinese detective encounters four more murders while trying to figure out the murder of a Scotland Yard friend.
Starring: Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Lionel Atwill, Victor Sen Yung, Don Beddoe
Directed by: Eugene Forde
Release date: 1940-05-02
7.

Remember the Night

4.0
7.6/10

When John, an assistant District Attorney, takes Lee, a shoplifter caught in the act, home with him for Christmas, the unexpected happens and love blossoms.

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Willard Robertson
Directed by: Mitchell Leisen
Release date: 1940-01-01
8.

You Ought to Be in Pictures

3.9
7.6/10
You Ought to Be in Pictures
Daffy Duck convinces Porky Pig to quit the cartoon biz and try his luck in the features. Porky's adventures begin when he tries to enter the studio.
Starring: Mel Blanc, Leon Schlesinger, Henry Binder, Gerry Chiniquy, Bob Clampett
Directed by: Friz Freleng
Release date: 1940-05-18
9.

A Wild Hare

3.9
7.8/10
A Wild Hare
Elmer is a dim-witted hunter who's "wooking for wabbits." Bugs proceeds to confuse, bamboozle, and otherwise humiliate the poor simp.
Starring: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan
Directed by: Tex Avery
Release date: 1940-07-27
10.

The Great McGinty

3.9
7.4/10

Told in flashback, Depression-era bum Dan McGinty is recruited by the city's political machine to help with vote fraud. His great aptitude for this brings rapid promotion from "the boss," who finally decides he'd be ideal as a new, nominally "reform" mayor; but this candidacy requires marriage. His in-name-only marriage to honest Catherine proves the beginning of the end for dishonest Dan...

Starring: Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff, Muriel Angelus, Allyn Joslyn, William Demarest
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Release date: 1940-08-23
11.

Brother Orchid

3.9
7.0/10

When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern, Humphrey Bogart, Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy
Directed by: Lloyd Bacon
Release date: 1940-06-08
12.

A Chump at Oxford

3.9
7.3/10

The boys get jobs as a butler and maid (Stan in drag) for a dinner party. When that ends in disaster, they resort to sweeping streets and accidentally capture a bank robber. The thankful bank president sends them to Oxford to get an education. Predictable results ensue.

Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Forrester Harvey, Wilfred Lucas, Forbes Murray
Directed by: Alfred J. Goulding
Release date: 1940-02-16
13.

My Favorite Wife

3.9
7.4/10

Seven years after a shipwreck in which she was presumed dead, Ellen Arden arrives home to find that her husband Nick has just remarried. The overjoyed Nick struggles to break the news to his new bride. But he gets a shock when he hears the whole story: Ellen spent those seven years alone on a desert island with another man.

Starring: Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Irene Dunne, Gail Patrick, Ann Shoemaker
Directed by: Garson Kanin
Release date: 1940-05-17
14.

Christmas in July

3.8
7.4/10

An office clerk loves entering contests in the hopes of someday winning a fortune and marrying the girl he loves. His latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. As a result, he gets a promotion, buys presents for all of his family and friends, and proposes to his girl.

Starring: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr, William Demarest
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Release date: 1940-10-18
15.

The Ghost Breakers

3.8
7.2/10

After intrepid working girl Mary Carter becomes the new owner of a reputedly haunted mansion located on Black Island near the Cuban coast, a stranger phones warning her to stay away from the castle. Undaunted, Mary sets sail for Cuba with a stowaway in her trunk—wise-cracking Larry Lawrence, a radio announcer who helps Mary get to the bottom of the voodoo magic, zombies and ghosts that supposedly curse the spooky estate.

Starring: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, Willie Best
Directed by: George Marshall
Release date: 1940-06-21
16.

Saps at Sea

3.8
7.2/10
Saps at Sea
Stan and Ollie work in a horn factory. Ollie starts having violent fits every time he hears a horn. His doctor prescribes a restful sea voyage. Mayhem ensues.
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Richard Cramer, Ben Turpin
Directed by: Gordon Douglas
Release date: 1940-05-03
17.

My Little Chickadee

3.8
6.9/10

Set in the American Old West of the 1880s, Miss Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) is on her way to visit relatives out west. While she is traveling on a stagecoach a masked bandit on horseback holds up the stage for its shipment of gold. As he makes his getaway with the gold, he takes Flower Belle with him. Flower Belle then walks into town under suspicion of being in collusion with the bandit.

Starring: W.C. Fields, Mae West, Joseph Calleia, Dick Foran, Ruth Donnelly
Directed by: Edward F. Cline
Release date: 1940-02-09
18.

The Bank Dick

3.7
7.2/10
The Bank Dick
Egbert Sousé becomes an unexpected hero when a bank robber falls over a bench he's occupying. Now considered brave, Egbert is given a job as a bank guard. Soon, he is approached by charlatan J. Frothingham Waterbury about buying shares in a mining company. Egbert persuades teller Og Oggilby to lend him bank money, to be returned when the scheme pays off. Unfortunately, bank inspector Snoopington then makes a surprise appearance.
Starring: W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Evelyn Del Rio, Jessie Ralph
Directed by: Edward F. Cline
Release date: 1940-11-29
19.

Charlie Chan in Murder over New York

3.7
7.2/10

When Charlie's old friend from Scotland Yard is murdered when they attend a police convention in New York, Chan picks up the case he was working on.

Starring: Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Robert Lowery, Ricardo Cortez, Donald MacBride
Directed by: Harry Lachman
Release date: 1940-12-13
20.

Go West

3.6
6.9/10

Embezzler, shill, all around confidence man S. Quentin Quale is heading west to find his fortune; he meets the crafty but simple brothers Joseph and Rusty Panello in a train station, where they steal all his money. They're heading west, too, because they've heard you can just pick the gold off the ground. Once there, they befriend an old miner named Dan Wilson whose property, Dead Man's Gulch, has no gold. They loan him their last ten dollars so he can go start life anew, and for collateral, he gives them the deed to the Gulch. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the son of his longtime rival, Terry Turner (who's also in love with his daughter, Eva), has contacted the railroad to arrange for them to build through the land, making the old man rich and hopefully resolving the feud. But the evil Red Baxter, owner of a saloon, tricks the boys out of the deed, and it's up to them - as well as Quale, who naturally finds his way out west anyway - to save the day.

Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, John Carroll, Diana Lewis
Directed by: Edward Buzzell
Release date: 1940-12-06

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