Special Report

Best of the Best: Oscar Winners for Best Picture Ranked

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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.

56. Out of Africa (1985)
> Director: Sydney Pollack
> Cast: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
> RT Tomatometer: 62%
> IMDb rating 7.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $87 million

Sydney Pollack’s drama “Out of Africa” follows a wealthy woman and plantation owner who has an affair with a free-spirited hunter. The movie won Pollack’s only Oscar for Best Director in his career.

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55. Chariots of Fire (1981)
> Director: Hugh Hudson
> Cast: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
> RT Tomatometer: 82%
> IMDb rating 7.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $59 million

“Chariots of Fire” is a biopic about two British track athletes in the religiously divided U.K. competing in the 1924 Olympics. One is Jewish and the other a devout Christian. The film “manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus.

54. Terms of Endearment (1983)
> Director: James L. Brooks
> Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
> RT Tomatometer: 78%
> IMDb rating 7.4 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $108 million

Tracing the loving but ill-fated relationship between a mother and daughter over the years, this classic tear-jerker moves from Houston to Des Moines to New York City. Along the way there are family conflicts, infidelities, and love stories that culminate in the daughter’s death from cancer.

53. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
> Director: Bruce Beresford
> Cast: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
> RT Tomatometer: 82%
> IMDb rating 7.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $107 million

“Driving Miss Daisy” tells the story of how an old Jewish woman (Jessica Tandy) who lives alone and her African-American chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) in the South become friends over the course of several years.

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52. The Shape of Water (2017)
> Director: Guillermo del Toro
> Cast: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating 7.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $64 million

Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi drama about the relationship between a janitor and an aquatic creature won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Forty-five movies grossed more than it did in 2017. These include “Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi,” which took in nearly ten times as much at the domestic box office.

51. Titanic (1997)
> Director: James Cameron
> Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
> RT Tomatometer: 89%
> IMDb rating 7.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $659 million

James Cameron’s “Titanic” was a cultural landmark, winning 11 Academy Awards and becoming one of the highest grossing movies of all time, worldwide. The film was also highly successful at evoking tears from the audience’s eyes, with both the tragic demise of the Titanic itself and the doomed romance between the film’s main characters, Jack and Rose.

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50. Oliver! (1968)
> Director: Carol Reed
> Cast: Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis
> RT Tomatometer: 82%
> IMDb rating 7.4 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $17 million

“Oliver!” follows one of literature’s most famous characters — Charles Dickens’ young orphan Oliver Twist. The film tells the story of him hanging out with a group of pickpockets and later trying to hide from them. The movie “has aged somewhat awkwardly, but the performances are inspired, the songs are memorable, and the film is undeniably influential,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus.

49. Crash (2004)
> Director: Paul Haggis
> Cast: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
> RT Tomatometer: 74%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $55 million

Director Paul Haggis’ Los Angeles-based drama “Crash” grossed just over $55 million at the domestic box office in 2005 — $70.9 million when adjusted for inflation — making it the 49th biggest movie of that year. Among the movies that “Crash” beat for Best Picture is “Brokeback Mountain,” which grossed $83 million unadjusted.

48. Chicago (2002)
> Director: Rob Marshall
> Cast: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
> RT Tomatometer: 86%
> IMDb rating 7.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $171 million

“Chicago” is a feature film adaptation of the famous musical of the same name. The film follows two women in jail for murder being defended by the same selazy laywer, who turns their trial into a tabloid sensation. The film won Catherine Zeta-Jones her only Oscar so far — for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

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47. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
> Director: John Madden
> Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating 7.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $100 million

“Shakespeare in Love” centers on arguably the world’s greatest playwright ever when he was young and in love with a woman who inspired him to write some of his most famous plays. The film won a total of seven Oscars, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Judie Dench).

46. The English Patient (1996)
> Director: Anthony Minghella
> Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe
> RT Tomatometer: 85%
> IMDb rating 7.4 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $79 million

A French-Canadian nurse at the end of World War II in Italy tends a badly burned, semi-amnesiac patient. Flashbacks reveal details of his affair with a married woman and her lonely death, and the fact that he was forced into collaborating with the Germans before enduring the plane crash that left him badly injured. The nurse, whose fiancé has died in the war, finds love with a British-Indian officer, and the burned man — who is revealed to be Hungarian, not English — succumbs.

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45. Rocky (1976)
> Director: John G. Avildsen
> Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
> RT Tomatometer: 94%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $117 million

Written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” is the film that put the action star on the map. The film is a boxing film about the ultimate underdog. The movie won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It would be a prelude to the film’s showing at the Academy Awards, where it won three Oscars.

44. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
> Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
> Cast: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
> RT Tomatometer: 91%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $42 million

Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s movie about a former superhero actor trying to reinvent himself won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing — Original Screenplay. The movie was only the 77th top grossing movie released in 2014, however. The year’s best-performer at the domestic box office was fellow Best Picture-nominee “American Sniper,” which brought in more than $350 million.

43. A Man for All Seasons (1966)
> Director: Fred Zinnemann
> Cast: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw
> RT Tomatometer: 83%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $28 million

Six Oscars went to “A Man for All Seasons,” which tells the story of Sir Thomas More, who chose his conscience over his king, King Henry VIII — the king demanded a divorce over the objection of the Catholic Church. Fred Zinneman would win the second of his two Oscars for Best Director. Paul Scofield would triumph as Best Actor in the lead role.

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42. Braveheart (1995)
> Director: Mel Gibson
> Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan
> RT Tomatometer: 78%
> IMDb rating 8.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $76 million

“Braveheart” stands out as Mel Gibson’s great one-man show. He plays Scot William Wallace who has convinced himself he can free his people from the British. Gibson produced and directed the film, which ends badly for Wallace in the finishing frames. The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

41. Moonlight (2016)
> Director: Barry Jenkins
> Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 7.4 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $28 million

“Moonlight” follows the life of a young African-American named Chiron as he struggles to reconcile himself with his sexual identity, beginning in childhood and leading up through his adult years. Chiron is relentlessly bullied, helped by a Puerto Rican drug dealer who watches out for him, he comes to terms with who he is, and reconciles with his drug addict mother and the school friend who had once beaten him up.

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40. Dances with Wolves (1990)
> Director: Kevin Costner
> Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
> RT Tomatometer: 83%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $184 million

Kevin Costner directed and starred in this story about an American soldier who makes peace with wolves and Native Americans in the west and becomes an outcast among his peers. Costner won one of the film’s three Golden Globes for Best Director – Motion Picture, a feat he would equal at the Academy Awards, where “Dances with Wolves” took home seven Oscars.

39. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
> Director: Ron Howard
> Cast: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
> RT Tomatometer: 74%
> IMDb rating 8.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $171 million

“A Beautiful Mind” stars Russell Crowe as John Nash, a brilliant mathematician tortured by mental illness who eventually triumphs over his affliction to win the Nobel Prize. Crowe won one of four Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, and Jennifer Connelly took home a Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Nash’s tormented wife.

38. Gladiator (2000)
> Director: Ridley Scott
> Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
> RT Tomatometer: 77%
> IMDb rating 8.5 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $188 million

Ridley Scott directed this epic about a former Roman general out for vengeance against the corrupt emperor who killed his family and forced him into slavery. The movie is known for its startling reimagining of ancient Rome as well as the intense gladiatorial combat scenes. The film won five Oscars, including Best Picture and a Best Actor statue for Russell Crowe.

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37. Green Book (2018)
> Director: Peter Farrelly
> Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
> RT Tomatometer: 78%
> IMDb rating 8.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $85 million

Despite winning Best Picture at the 2019 Academy Awards, “Green Book” was outgrossed by 35 other films at the domestic box office in 2018. Among the films that performed better than the Oscar-winner about a white driver accompanying a black musician in the South during the 1960s are fellow 2018 Best Picture nominees “Black Panther,” “A Star is Born,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

35. The Last Emperor (1987)
> Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
> Cast: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O’Toole
> RT Tomatometer: 89%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $44 million

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci rose to prominence in the 1970s directing movies including “The Conformist” (1970) and “Last Tango in Paris” (1972). His film “The Last Emperor” — about the last Emperor of China, Pu Yi — won Best Picture, along with eight other Oscars, in 1988.

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35. Ordinary People (1980)
> Director: Robert Redford
> Cast: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch
> RT Tomatometer: 89%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $55 million

The first film directed by Robert Redford, this is the story of a dysfunctional Chicago area family trying to deal with the accidental death of one son and the attempted suicide of another. A friend of the surviving son successfully kills herself, and the mother of the family leaves them.

34. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
> Director: John Schlesinger
> Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
> RT Tomatometer: 88%
> IMDb rating 7.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $45 million

“Midnight Cowboy,” about an unlikely friendship between two hustlers in New York City, is the only X-rated film to ever win Best Picture. It also won director John Schlesinger his sole Oscar. He would be nominated for Best Director one more time in 1971 for “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

33. The Sound of Music (1965)
> Director: Robert Wise
> Cast: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
> RT Tomatometer: 83%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $163 million

One of the most beloved and watched films of all time tells the story of the Von Trapp Family from Austria and their tutor Maria as the Nazis rise to power just before the start of WWII. The movie is remembered for the star turn of Julie Andrews and memorable songs composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II such as “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

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32. The Hurt Locker (2008)
> Director: Kathryn Bigelow
> Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
> RT Tomatometer: 97%
> IMDb rating 7.5 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $17 million

Kathryn Bigelow made history at the Oscars in 2010. Her low-budget, apolitical Iraq war film “The Hurt Locker” won a total of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bigelow is the first woman — and so far the only one — to win the Best Director award at the Oscars. The movie follows three American soldiers, members of a bomb-disposal unit in Baghdad, who are at the end of their tours.

31. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
> Director: Robert Benton
> Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
> RT Tomatometer: 88%
> IMDb rating 7.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $106 million

A wife walks out on her husband and young son. When she returns 15 months later, a brutal custody battle ensues. The court rules in the woman’s favor, but on the day she is to pick up the boy, she has a change of heart and tells her ex that their son belongs with him.

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30. Forrest Gump (1994)
> Director: Robert Zemeckis
> Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
> RT Tomatometer: 71%
> IMDb rating 8.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $330 million

Clocking in at nearly two and a half hours, “Forrest Gump” has everything from comedy to romance. Yet the film leaves viewers on a rather low note, related to protagonist Forrest losing the love of his life. The ending didn’t dissuade audiences from flocking to the movie, which grossed over $675 million worldwide.

29. Gandhi (1982)
> Director: Richard Attenborough
> Cast: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Rohini Hattangadi
> RT Tomatometer: 85%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $53 million

This historical epic recounts the life of the famed Indian leader as he fights against British rule. The movie won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Richard Attenborough and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley.

28. Rain Man (1988)
> Director: Barry Levinson
> Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
> RT Tomatometer: 89%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $179 million

This is the story of a selfish young hustler (Cruise) who discovers that he has an autistic savant brother, played by Dustin Hoffman, and ends up caring for him in spite of himself.

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27. No Country for Old Men (2007)
> Director: Ethan Coen
> Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
> RT Tomatometer: 93%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $74 million

The blood flows freely in Ethan and Joel Coen’s tale of a hunter (Josh Brolin) who finds dead drug dealers and $2 million and decides to keep the money. Javier Bardem won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as the nut-job killer who goes after the money and Brolin, leaving dead bodies along the way. The Coen brothers also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.

26. The Artist (2011)
> Director: Michel Hazanavicius
> Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating 7.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $45 million

Michel Hazanavicius directed and wrote this homage to silent movies about the tumbling fortunes of a silent screen actor and the rising to stardom of a young actress at the dawn of talking movies who develop a relationship. “The Artist” was only the second silent film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. (“Wings” was the first silent film to win Best Picture.)

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25. The French Connection (1971)
> Director: William Friedkin
> Cast: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $16 million

The legendary car chase in this cops-and-drug-smugglers movie has been called the best in cinematic history. Members of the Motion Picture Academy liked “The French Connection” well enough to award it Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Gene Hackman). Hackman played detective Popeye Doyle, a fictionalized stand-in for real-life cop Eddie Egan.

24. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
> Director: Danny Boyle
> Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla
> RT Tomatometer: 91%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $141 million

Danny Boyle directed this entertaining tale of an orphan in Mumbai played by Dev Patel who dazzles television audiences with his knowledge on the Indian version of the television quiz show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and is wrongly accused of cheating. Eight Oscars went to the film, including one to Boyle and two others to A.R. Rahman for Original Score and Original Song.

23. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
> Director: Clint Eastwood
> Cast: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman
> RT Tomatometer: 90%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $100 million

An impoverished, cantankerous 31-year-old waitress is determined to become a boxer, and she finds a boxing gym owner to take her on and train her. The two develop a surrogate father-daughter relationship as she hones her pugilistic skills. She’s finally ready for a championship fight against the middleweight women’s champion. Her opponent fights dirty, and finally blindsides her, knocking her into a corner stool and leaving her permanently paralyzed. Bedridden and with a leg amputated for gangrenous bed sores, she simply wants to end her life. Her trainer grants her wish.

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22. Platoon (1986)
> Director: Oliver Stone
> Cast: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
> RT Tomatometer: 87%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $139 million

“Platoon” is about a young recruit in Vietnam who gets caught in the middle of in-fighting between two sergeants. Director Oliver Stone used some of his own experience in the war to guide the movie. The film won a total of four Oscars. Stone won for Best Director.

21. Argo (2012)
> Director: Ben Affleck
> Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
> RT Tomatometer: 96%
> IMDb rating 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $136 million

Ben Affleck’s 2012 film about a CIA operation to rescue American hostages from Iran in 1979 won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Part of the movie’s success is due to its realism. The filmmakers were able to shoot in the actual CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

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20. My Fair Lady (1964)
> Director: George Cukor
> Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating 7.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $72 million

George Cukor’s long and distinguished film career was rewarded in 1965 when he won the Best Director Oscar for “My Fair Lady,” the movie adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion.” “My Fair Lady” won eight Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Rex Harrison.

19. American Beauty (1999)
> Director: Sam Mendes
> Cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
> RT Tomatometer: 87%
> IMDb rating 8.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $130 million

Sam Mendes, nominated for Best Director in 2020 for “1917,” won his first Academy Award for the comedic drama about disillusionment in suburban America. Kevin Spacey won the Best Actor Oscar, one of five Academy Awards won by the film.

18. The Deer Hunter (1978)
> Director: Michael Cimino
> Cast: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $49 million

Michael Cimino won his single Best Director Oscar for the searing film “The Deer Hunter,” about the emotional and psychological damage suffered by Vietnam War veterans who are from a small town in Pennsylvania. “The Deer Hunter” received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken.

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17. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
> Director: Norman Jewison
> Cast: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating 7.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $24 million

Norman Jewison’s boiling racial drama about an African American detective investigating a murder in the American South won three Golden Globes, including for Rod Steiger for Best Actor – Drama. Steiger would win the same award at the Oscars, one of five Academy Awards the film won.

16. Patton (1970)
> Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
> Cast: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
> RT Tomatometer: 94%
> IMDb rating 7.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $62 million

On its critics’ consensus, Rotten Tomatoes called George C. Scott’s portrayal of one of America’s most famous generals in this military epic “as definitive as any performance in the history of American biopics.” Scott won Best Actor, and the film won Best Picture at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. “Patton” won five additional Oscars as well.

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15. The King’s Speech (2010)
> Director: Tom Hooper
> Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
> RT Tomatometer: 94%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $139 million

This historical drama about King George VI of England and the speech therapist who helped him overcome his stammer won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth as the titular king), Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

14. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
> Director: Steve McQueen
> Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $57 million

Based on an 1853 memoir by a free black man from Saratoga, New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, this film convincingly evokes the cruelty of plantation life, but it also pays tribute to the resilience of the enslaved. Though the story ends with the hero returning to his home and family, he has lost 12 years of his life and missed seeing his children grow into adults.

13. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
> Director: Peter Jackson
> Cast: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen
> RT Tomatometer: 93%
> IMDb rating 8.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $378 million

The final film in Peter Jackson’s exceedingly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay. The 201-minute epic is among the top-grossing movies of all time at the domestic box office when not adjusting for inflation, having grossed more than $378 million.

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12. Annie Hall (1977)
> Director: Woody Allen
> Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 8.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $39 million

Perhaps the most acclaimed of Woody Allen’s movies, “Annie Hall” was at one point titled “Anhedonia,” a term that refers to a person’s inability to experience pleasure. Allen’s film won four Academy Awards in 1978, including Best Director for Allen, who did not attend the Oscars because he was playing with his jazz group in Manhattan.

11. The Departed (2006)
> Director: Martin Scorsese
> Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
> RT Tomatometer: 90%
> IMDb rating 8.5 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $132 million

“The Departed” is director Martin Scorsese’s immersive look at Irish gangster life in Boston. The film took home four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film packs the star power of actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Martin Sheen, but it is Jack Nicholson’s menacing portrayal of the mob boss that dominates the movie. “The Departed” has a 90% Freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 94% of audiences liked the movie.

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10. Spotlight (2015)
> Director: Tom McCarthy
> Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
> RT Tomatometer: 97%
> IMDb rating 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $45 million

Child molestation and cover-ups by the Catholic Church in Boston, as exposed by the Boston Globe, form the theme of this unsettling film, which is described by the Sydney Morning Herald as possibly “the best newspaper film since All the President’s Men.”

9. Unforgiven (1992)
> Director: Clint Eastwood
> Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
> RT Tomatometer: 96%
> IMDb rating 8.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $101 million

Clint Eastwood’s western “Unforgiven” scored four Oscar wins in 1992 including best director and best picture. He both directed and starred in the film, appearing as William Munny, a pig farmer-turned-bounty hunter. The film opened as a number one box office smash and was one of Eastwood’s biggest financial successes.

8. Amadeus (1984)
> Director: Milos Forman
> Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge
> RT Tomatometer: 93%
> IMDb rating 8.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $52 million

Based on Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play of the same name, this account of the life and successes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — told through the eyes of his rival, Antonio Salieri — dominated the 1985 Oscars. “Amadeus” won eight Academy Awards, including those for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

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7. The Sting (1973)
> Director: George Roy Hill
> Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
> RT Tomatometer: 94%
> IMDb rating 8.3 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $160 million

The 1973 heist film “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, was both a commercial and critical success. The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won seven, including Best Picture.

6. Parasite (2019)
> Director: Bong Joon Ho
> Cast: Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun-kyun, Yeo-jeong Cho
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 8.6 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $53 million

South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” surprised many by winning Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards despite being among the lesser-seen nominees. Reception of the film has been near universally positive, however, especially among critics, who have given it a 98% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film tells the story of a lower-class family that dupes a wealthier family into employing them with unexpected results.

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5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
> Director: Jonathan Demme
> Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
> RT Tomatometer: 96%
> IMDb rating 8.6 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $131 million

Jonathan Demme’s psychological thriller “The Silence of the Lambs” made a huge cultural impact upon its release in 1991, thanks in large part to its lead actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The two won Academy Awards for their work on the film, which also won best picture.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
> Director: Miloš Forman
> Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
> RT Tomatometer: 94%
> IMDb rating 8.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $112 million

The Miloš Forman-directed drama about a criminal who encourages rebellion against an oppressive nurse in a mental hospital did exceptionally well at the 1976 Academy Awards, winning the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Seventeen years later, the movie was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and added to the National Film Registry.

3. Schindler’s List (1993)
> Director: Steven Spielberg
> Cast: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
> RT Tomatometer: 97%
> IMDb rating 8.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $97 million

One of the greatest retellings of one of the worst chapters in human history. Liam Neeson plays Oskar Schindler, a Catholic businessman who uses his position to save hundreds of Jews from extermination. Steven Spielberg does not spare the viewer from the horrors of the Holocaust, yet the film provides viewers messages of hope and redemption. “Schindler’s List” was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven.

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2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
> Director: Francis Ford Coppola
> Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 9.0 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $57 million

Critics awarded “The Godfather: Part II” a 98% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics consensus on the site hailed this all-star saga for setting “new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.” Critics generally found it deeper and more powerful than the first “Godfather,” and the Chicago Tribune called it “a landmark work from one of Hollywood’s top cinema eras.” Not surprisingly, it won six Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, and best actor in a supporting role (Robert De Niro).

1. The Godfather (1972)
> Director: Francis Ford Coppola
> Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan
> RT Tomatometer: 98%
> IMDb rating 9.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $135 million

Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster epic “The Godfather” breathed new life into the American film industry upon its release in 1972. The film currently has 98% positive ratings from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics Consensus on the site describes the film as “one of Hollywood’s greatest critical and commercial successes” and credits it for establishing “new benchmarks for American cinema.”

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