My 10 Favorite Movies From the 1940s

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The 1940s is one of my favorite eras to write about. My new novel, Alice’s Notions, is set in 1946, and I loved inserting pop culture and movies into the story. Some of the best movies ever made were made in the 1940s. It was hard to narrow down my favorites but here they are: my top 10 favorite movies from the 1940s.

10. I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Director: Howard Hawks

Starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan

In this comedy, Cary Grant plays a French navel officer married to a WAC American officer. He has to qualify as a “war bride” to get permission to sail to America with his new wife.

9. The Three Godfathers (1948)

Director: John Ford

Starring John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr.

In my opinion, this is the best John Wayne western ever made. Three outlaws rob a bank, but as their trying to escape from the law through a harsh desert, they come upon a woman and her newborn child. They have to decide how much they’re willing to risk to save the baby.

8. Double Indemnity (1944)

Director: Billy Wilder

Starring Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, and Barbara Stanwick

In this movie, Fred MacMurray plays an insurance agent who lets himself be talked into murder by a beautiful woman he’s attracted to. MacMurray and Robinson’s friendship adds the element to this movie that makes it truly great.

7. The Clock (1945)

Directors: Vincente Minnelli, Fred Zinnemann

Starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker

This movie which came out on the tail end of the war, puts wartime romance into perspective with the times. Everything has to be sped up as a GI on leave and a girl fall in love. In two days, he will return to the war.

6. Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Director: George Sidney

Starring Gene Kelley and Frank Sinatra

Two sailors on leave have romances and dance and sing through New York City. The dancing is awesome. Gene Kelley dances with Mickey Mouse in the first live scene with animation.

5. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Director: Tay Garnett

Starring Lana Turner and John Garfield

A couple having an affair try to get away with murder when they kill her husband, but then they have to live with the consequences of their actions.

4. Key Largo (1948)

Director: John Huston

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, and Lionel Barrymore

In this post WW2 movie, during a hurricane, gangsters invade a hotel. Bogart has to decide if he wants to get involved. This movie shows the heroism and conflicted emotions of World War 2 vets after the war.

3. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Director Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey

In this Alfred Hitchcock thriller, everyone is excited when Uncle Charlie comes homes, but his niece finds out he might not be the wonderful man everyone thinks he is. This is one of the better early Hitchcock movies.

9. Casablanca (1942)

Director: Micheal Curtiz

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

No 1940s movie list would be complete without this classic. As America is forced into the war, this movie comes out about a reluctant American barkeeper in Casablanca who resists getting involved in the resistance movement as the Nazis take over. As he says, “I don’t stick my neck out for nobody.”

10. To Have and Have Not (1944)

Director: Howard Hawks

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

As their real life romance is beginning, Bogart and Bacall are electrifying on screen in this WW2 movie about a sailor deciding if he should get involved in the French Resistance. You just can’t take your eyes off of them.

Miracle of 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Holiday Affair would definitely be on the list if I were including Christmas movies. The 1940s was a banner decade for classic Christmas movies.

So how about you? Are there any favorites on your list I didn’t include?

Alice’s Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.

One reviewer said, “AMAZING! What started out as a young war widow returning to her small hometown from New York City to open a fabric shop turned into a very suspense filled, thrill ride! I couldn’t read fast enough! It is a book that once you start, you won’t be able to put it down.
Amazing writing by Tamera Lynn Kraft! I can’t wait to read what she writes next!”



Top 10 Movies for Easter

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Sunday is Palm Sunday and starts Holy Week. It’s a good time to pull out your Easter movies.

10. The Robe


Director: Henry Koster

Starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons

This movie takes some liberties with the story, like the Romans crucifying Jesus without the Jews having anything to do with it and the disciples rescuing another Christian and having a good old fashion sword fight. Sometimes the discrepancies are laughable. That being said, it’s a great movie to watch and doesn’t change the essence of the Gospel. It’s also a touching love story. The line I remember most was when Richard Burton with his wide eyes glaring said. “Were you there?” It gave me the creeps.

9. Ben Hur


Director: William Wyler Starring Charlton Heston

Who can forget Charlton Heston in the chariot race?

8. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

2003 Director Phillip Saville

Starring Christopher Plummer and Henry Ian Cusick

It follows the words in the Bible. Good, but not as good as Matthew.

7. The Greatest Story Ever Told


Director: George Stevens Starring Max Von Sydow

Great movie about Christ’s life if you can get past the music every time Jesus appears.

6. Jesus of Nazareth

1977 Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Starring Robert Powell

This miniseries on the life of Jesus impacted me greatly even though Jesus looked a bit too Heavenly and his eyes were the wrong color.

5. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew


Director: Regardt Von Den Bergh

Starring Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, and Gerrit Schoonhoven

This is my all time favorite portrayal of the person of Jesus.

4. Risen


Director: Kevin Reynolds

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth

This is a unique telling of the story of the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier who is an unbeliever and sent to find Christ’s body.

3. Son of God

2014 Director: Christopher Spencer

Starring Dioga Morgada, Amber Rose Ravah, Sebastian Knapp

Read my review of this movie at this link.

2. Ben Hur


Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

This is an awesome movie. I was surprised that it was so much better than the original even without Charlton Heston My favorite kind of Easter story is one where Jesus is not the main character, but the main character is forever changed because of His encounter with Jesus. This checks all those boxes.

1. The Passion of the Christ


Director: Mel Gibson

Starring James Caviezel

When I watch this movie, I feel like I’m watching the real event. It chokes me up every time. From the first moment of the film, I felt the anointing.

Top 10 Christmas Movies of All Time

Christmas movies and holiday classic cinema and TV flicks with a red clapperboard and a Santa Clause hat white fur trim as an entertainment symbol of the winter film industry cinematic releases on a white background.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

These are 10 classic must watch every year Christmas movies. Since everyone has their favorite version of A Christmas Carol, I didn’t include those movies. To see my favorite 10 renditions of A Christmas Carol, check next Wednesday’s blog.

10. Remember the Night

Released 1940

Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwick

A prosecuting attorney asks for a pretty thief to be let out on bail for Christmas. When the thief is placed in his custody, interesting things occur.

9. The Homecoming: A Christmas Story

Released 1971

Directed by Fielder Cook

Starring Patricia Neil and Richard Thomas

This movie became the pilot of the TV series, The Waltons, and tells of a family during the depression.

8. Santa Claus, The Movie

Released 1985

Director: Jeannot Szwork

Starring David Huddleston and Dudley Moore

The best film that tells the story of Santa Claus.

7. 3 Godfathers

Released 1948

Director: John Ford

Starring John Wayne

A Christmas western where three outlaws must get a baby safely to the cow town of Bethlehem while running from a posse. This is my personal favorite John Wayne movie.

6. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Released 1992

Director: Chris Columbus

Starring Macauley Culkin

Best of many movies about a boy accidentally left home alone at Christmas time. Our president-elect and the twin towers make appearances in this movie.

5. White Christmas

Released 1954

Director: Micheal Curtiz

Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye

Best Christmas musical ever made with great singing and dancing features the song, “White Christmas”.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Released 1965

Created by Charles M. Shultz


This animated classic helps Charlie Brown learn the true meaning of Christmas. The best part is where Linus tells the Christmas story word for word from the Bible and ends with “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

3. Miracle on 34th Street

Released 1947

Directed by George Seaton

Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gween, and a very young Natalie Wood

This is the best movie made about believing in Santa Clause. It also featured the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

2. A Holiday Affair

Released 1949

Directed by Don Hartman

Starring Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum

This is the best Christmas love story ever filmed. It’s sad more people don’t know about it.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

Released 1946

Directed by Frank Capra

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed

This touching story of an ordinary man who sacrifices his own ambitions for others is my all time favorite Christmas movie.

Christmas Carol Adaptations are not included on this list. Check back next Wednesday for them.

Honorable Mentions: Elf, A Christmas Story

10 Best Classic Thanksgiving Movies

10. Mouse On The Mayflower

(1968) Animated

Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Starring Voices: Tennessee Ernie Ford, John Gary, and Eddie Albert

This classic children’s cartoon movie about a mouse traveling on the Mayflower is a must if your children have never watched it.

9. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

(1973) Animated

Directed by Bill Melendez, Phil Roman

Written by Charles Schultz

The best part of this movie is Linus’ Thanksgiving prayer reminding us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

8. Holiday Inn


Directed by Mark Sandrich

Starring: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire

This prequel to White Christmas cover all of the holidays including Thanksgiving featuring Bing Crosby singing I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For.

7. Plymouth Adventure


Starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, and Van Johnson

Any movie starring these three giants of acting is worth watching. This movie tells the story of the voyage of the Mayflower.

6. Mayflower: The Pilgrim’s Adventure


Directed by Clarence Brown

Starring Jenny Aqutter and Tim Barrett. Anthony Quinn and Richard Crenna also have roles in this movie.

Another great telling of the crossing of the Mayflower.

5. A Man Called Peter


Directed by Henry Coster

Starring Richard Todd and Jean Peters

This story has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it does tell a story of the spiritual heritage of our nation. Peter Marshall feels the call to be a preacher. He leaves Scotland and comes to America and eventually becomes the pastor of “The Church of Presidents” and the chaplain of the US Senate without ever becoming politically correct or compromising his faith.

4. The Wizard of Oz


Directed by Victor Fleming

Starring Judy Garland

This movie used to be showed on TV every Thanksgiving and reminds us we can be thankful for what we have. There’s no place like home.

3. Miracle On 34th Street


Directed by George Seaton

Starring Edwin Gween, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood

Although technically this is a Christmas movie, who can forget that it starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

2. It’s A Wonderful Life


Directed by Frank Capra

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed

This movie that used to be shown every Thanksgiving reminds us that sometimes what we consider hardship may be the very thing we can be thankful for because our lives matter to other people.

1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Directed by John Hughes

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy

In my opinion, this comedy is the best Thanksgiving movie reminding us to be thankful for what we have and sharing our blessings with those who might have lost everything. I get a lump in my throat at the end every time I watch it. If you can get the TV version instead of the movie DVD, it takes out the bad language. I believe there’s a DVD that takes out the language also.

Top 10 Classic Movies about Politics

old film projector and movie objectsby Tamera Lynn Kraft

What better way to get away from the new coverage about the election than to curl up in front of the TV and watch these movies about politics and presidents. Although this election cycle, truth is stranger than fiction.

10. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

9. The Best Man (1964)

Starring: Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson

The two front runners for their party’s Presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the ex-President’s endorsement.

8. The Last Hurrah (1958)

Starring: Spencer Tracey, Jefferey Hunter

Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as mayor of a U.S. town for the last time.

7. All the President’s Men (1976)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Ward

This movie is about the two reporters who brought down corruption in the White House during Watergate. It’s sad that reporters aren’t this honorable now.

6. Dave (1993)

Starring Kevin Kline

When the president has a stroke a goes into a coma, a regular guy is hired to impersonate him without anyone’s knowledge. The guy, Dave, becomes a better president than the real president because he puts the country ahead of himself.

5. A Man Called Peter (1955)

Starring Richard Todd and Jean Peters

True Story of Peter Marshall who became pastor of  “the church of presidents” and Chaplin of the US Senate. Let’s just say he wasn’t politically correct.

4. 1776 (1772)

Starring William Daniels

A musical about the founding of our nation. The main characters are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, and the politics involved in declaring Independence. Most of it is funny, but be prepared to have a lump in your throat at the end.

3. The President’s Analyst (1967)

Starring James Coburn

This movie is hilarious in the 1960s campy style.

2. Lincoln (2012)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

This movie isn’t a classic yet, but I included it because it will be. This is the story of the politics involved in passing the 13th Amendment to make slavery forever illegal in America.

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Starring: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains

When it comes to political movies, this one is far above the rest. One lone senator being bullied and slander by political bosses stands against corruption and graft even if it costs him everything. A must see.

Here’s one of the most poignant scenes from the movie.

Top 10 Movies to Watch on Independence Day

filmmaking concept scene with dramatic lighting

Here’s a great list of patriotic movies to watch on Independence Day.

10. Sergeant York

Released 1941

Directed by Howard Hawks

Starring: Gary Cooper

This is a true story about the reluctant hero of World War 1 and the part his faith played in his heroism.

9. The Patriot

Released 2000

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger

This movie gives us a taste of what people endured to fight for the independence of the United States of America.

8. National Treasure: The Book of Secret

Released 2007

Directed by John Turtelbaub

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight

This sequel is as good as the original.

7. National Treasure

Released 2004

Directed by John Turtelbaub

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight

A wonderful movie laced with historical trivia that makes the point that sometimes you have to do what others consider wrong to do what’s right.

6. Apollo 13

Released 1995

Directed by Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon

This is the true story of the Apollo 13 space mission where 3 astronauts almost didn’t make it home. This shows the true heroism and enterprise of Americans.

5. Glory

Released 1989

Directed by Edward Zwich

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes

This film that made Denzel Washington a star is the true story of the first black Union regiment in the Civil War.

4. Lincoln

Released 2012

Directed by Steven Speilberg

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn,  and Tommie Lee Jones

This movie about how Lincoln struggles during the Civil War to pass the 13th amendment to abolish slavery before the war comes to an end is inspiring and gives us a glimpse of what made this man great.

3. 1776 The Musical

Released 1972

Directed by Peter H. Hunt

Starring: William Daniels, Howard da Silva, Ken Howard

Great musical comedy about the founding fathers of America. William Daniels plays John Adams who is so passionate about independence, he ends up being a jerk.

2. Independence Day

Released 1996

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

What’s not to love about this film? Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum have the funniest lines, and Bill Pullman is the president who fights for not just the US but for the world. In this movies, the United States saves the day. I haven’t watched the new one yet, so I don’t know how it compares to this one.

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Released 1939

Directed by Frank Capra

Starring: Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Jimmy Stewart is the underdog fighting corruption in Washington D.C.

Top 10 Romantic Movies

old film projector and movie objectsHere’s my list of my 10 favorite romantic movies. I couldn’t keep the list to 10, so at the end, I have 5 honorable mentions.

10. Miracle In the Rain (1956)

Directed by Rudolf Mate

Starring: Jane Wyman, Van Johnson

This obscure film nobody’s heard of is guaranteed to put a lump in your throat.

9. Sabrina (1954)

Directed by Billy Wilder

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn

One of my many favorite Humphrey Bogart movies. This one has an ugly duckling turning into a swan theme.

8. Gigi (1958)

Directed by Vincent Minelli

Starring: Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan

Touching story of a romance of a girl whose been raised to be a mistress.

7. Notorious (1946)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman

Technically this isn’t a love story, but the passion between the two main characters explodes on the screen.

6. The African Queen (1951)

Directed by John Huston

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn

Two unlikely people fall in love during World War 1. The acting can’t get any better than this.

5. West Side Story (1961)

Directed by Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer

Make sure you have tissues handy for this modern take of Romeo and Juliet.

4. Casablanca (1942)

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman

This movie, which many rate as their number one favorite, is brilliant in its simple triangle love story in the middle of political upheaval and war.

3. To Have and Have Not (1945)

Directed by Howard Hawks

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Becall

This was the first movie Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall starred in together, and it can’t be beat. It was based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner wrote the screenplay. so considering the writers and the actors, how could it not be awesome.

2. The Sound of Music (1965)

Directed by Robert Wise

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

One of my all time favorite movies set during the Nazi regime in Austria. This movie was based on a true story.

1. An Affair To Remember (1957)

Directed by Leo McCarey

Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr

This is my all time favorite classic love story. It brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it. One thing that explodes on the scene is the chemistry between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Honorable Mentions:

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

Starring: Gene Tieny, Rex Harrison

It Happened One Night (1934)

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Test Pilot (1938)

Starring: Clark Gable, Myra Loy, Spencer Tracy

Made For Each Other (1939)

Starring: Jimmy Stewart, Carole Lombard

My Fair Lady (1964)

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison