Special Report

Best of the Best: Oscar Winners for Best Picture Ranked

If the last year of being cooped up in our homes has taught us anything, it’s that few activities are better than watching a movie to take us to a place that’s far, far away from the real, pandemic one. With the Oscars coming up in just over a week, many people will be watching the currently nominated movies for Best Picture.

But how do they compare to previous winners? And how do previous winners compare to each other? In honor of the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards on April 25, we set out to find out.

To determine the best of the best and rank all the Best Picture winners since 1964, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on several measures from the IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Movies that won the Oscar for Best Picture before 1964 were excluded because of missing data.

The list has it all — silent classics, noir, musicals, biopics and everything in between. Some of the movies that have been judged as the best in the year they were released have not stood the test of time and have been all but forgotten. Some even have low current ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. 

There are also those that are among Hollywood’s greatest both in commercial and critical successes. They have transcended expectations and established new standards for cinema. 

Some of the most celebrated films never won an Oscar — after all, there can be only one winner — but they made it to the top of other prestigious lists. Awards or not, here are the 55 best movies ever made.

Click here to see the best of the best: Oscar winners for Best Picture ranked

To determine the best Best Pictures since 1964, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. Movies that won the Oscar for Best Picture before 1964 were excluded because of missing data. 

The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, 10 Tomatometer critics reviews, and that have won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1964 or a later year were considered. Data was collected mid-March 2021. 

Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site the Numbers.