Best American Films By Year, Part Two

John Wayne in The Searchers

In this posting, I continue my list of “The Best American Films By Year” covering the period 1915 to 1977. What I am going from is a list produced by my friend Lee Sanders, with whom I am in substantial agreement. When there are two films for a particular year and the second one is in red, the second one is because I disagree with Lee’s choice (which you will find is not too often). Below is the continuation of the list from 1941 to 1960:

1941 – How Green Was My Valley (John Ford)
1942 – The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles); Casablanca (Michael Curtiz) – Lee actually had both films tied; I prefer the second
1943 – Air Force (Howard Hawks)
1944 – Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli)
1945 – They Were Expendable (John Ford)
1946 – My Darling Clementine (John Ford); The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks) – Lee had both films tied, a decision with which I agree.
1947 – Pursued (Raoul Walsh); Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur)
1948 – Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls)
1949 – Caught (Max Ophuls); She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (John Ford)
1950 – Rio Grande (John Ford)

1951 – On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray); Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock)
1952 – The Quiet Man (John Ford)
1953 – The Bandwagon (Vincente Minnelli)
1954 – The Sun Shines Bright (John Ford)
1955 – Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray)
1956 – The Searchers (John Ford)
1957 – Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk)
1958 – Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock)
1959 – Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks)
1960 – Home from the Hill (Vincente Minnelli); Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)

When I conclude this list, we will look at American films of the 1960s and 1970s (up to 1977, and I will bring the list up to 1980 with my own choices).