MRS. MINIVER (1942)
What is it? The story of an ordinary English housewife (Greer Garson) who moves from careless self-absorption to selfless patriotism through the outbreak of World War II, the Blitz and the evacuation of Dunkirk, seeing off a downed German pilot en route.
Why did it win? With the War effort in full swing and Hollywood (and everyone else) trying to convince America's John Q. Public that it was a War worth fighting, a film showing the plucky spirit of the embattled British was always going to play well, and supporting it would be seen as politically right-on by Hollywood's patriotic elite.
Did it deserve to win? Winston Churchill famously said that Mrs Miniver did the War effort more good than a flotilla of destroyers, and as propaganda goes it's masterful stuff. That said, the deserved winner this year was once again Orson Welles, this time with The Magnificent Ambersons. Some dudes have no luck.
Worth a look? Yes, but watch The Magnificent Ambersons first.