Special Report

This Is the Greatest Best Picture Winner in Oscar History

If the past 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 Academy Awards coming up in just over a week, many people will be watching the currently nominated movies for Best Picture.

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 Internet Movie Database 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 we looked at to determine the best of the best that are among Hollywood’s greatest, both in commercial and critical success. 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.

To determine the best Best Picture since 1964, 24/7 Tempo developed an index that 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 in mid-March 2021.

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

The best of the Best Pictures is “The Godfather,” released in 1972. It ranks second on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, behind only “Citizen Kane.” It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan. Its Tomatometer rating is 98%, and its IMDb rating is 9.2 out of 10. The film’s domestic gross box office was $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.”

Click here to see all the Oscar winners for best picture ranked.