Hollywood, CA/ USA - July 26, 2018: Oscar golden award in a souvenir store on Hollywood Boulevard. Success and victory concept
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Every Best Picture Oscar Winner, Ranked by Critics

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Hollywood, CA/ USA - July 26, 2018: Oscar golden award in a souvenir store on Hollywood Boulevard. Success and victory concept
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Hollywood Hype

The biggest win and most anticipated award of Oscar night is best picture. It's meant to highlight the best that Hollywood has to offer that year, and while many masterpieces have taken home the award at the end of the night, there have also been some stinkers in the Academy Awards' 93-year history. Themes and plotlines that may have wowed people when a movie was filmed don't always translate well to the modern world. Which ones are still beloved by critics and viewers alike? Here is every best picture winner, ranked from worst to best by its score on review site Rotten Tomatoes


Related: 22 Controversial Oscar Wins — and Who Should Have Won Instead

‘The Broadway Melody’ (1929)
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‘The Broadway Melody’ (1929)

Critic Rating: 38%

The winner of the big prize at the second Academy Awards, this movie had original audiences wowed with characters who could dance and sing in this talkie. It was the first sound film to win the best picture Oscar, and one of the first musicals to feature a Technicolor sequence, but those dated technological advancements don't exactly wow anyone today.


Related: 29 Small-Budget Films That Went on to Win Oscars

‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ (1952)
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‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ (1952)

Critic Rating: 50%

Charlton Heston is about the only good thing in this melodramatic, behind-the-scenes circus drama that somehow beat out "High Noon" for best picture. It was the highest grossing film of 1952 and Paramount's most successful film at the time.

‘Cimarron’ (1931)
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‘Cimarron’ (1931)

Critic Rating: 52%

The lead actress, Maria Schell (sister of Oscar-winner Maximilian) gives a great performance, but this almost-century-old Western is riddled with racist stereotypes and condescension. It was beloved by both critics and the public when it came out, but it's usually considered one of the most undeserving best picture winners now.

‘Out of Africa’ (1985)
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‘Out of Africa’ (1985)

Critic Rating: 62%

Though Meryl Streep and Robert Redford gave Oscar-winning performances and the cinematography was gorgeous, "Out of Africa" suffered from incredibly slow pacing that made it feel like nothing was happening, and indeed, most people forget it even exists.

‘Cavalcade’ (1933)
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‘Cavalcade’ (1933)

Critic Rating: 64%

Though it centered around emotional life events like losing a son in war, "Cavalcade" was too sentimental, snobby, and incoherent to be considered great. Though it was a commercial success, it was reported to be Hitler's favorite film, which is never a good sign.

‘The Great Ziegfeld’ (1936)
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‘The Great Ziegfeld’ (1936)

Critic Rating: 71%

A stylish musical biopic of theater producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., this winner is excessively long — at just over three hours, it was the longest film made at the time — dull, and full of cliches. To viewers today, it relies too heavily on dated extravagance. 

‘Around the World in 80 Days’ (1956)
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‘Around the World in 80 Days’ (1956)

Critic Rating: 69%

It's charming and light-hearted but shallow, so it's likely that well-known actors David Niven and Shirley MacClaine — plus guest spots by Red Skelton and Frank Sinatra — played a part in this best picture win. None of them got an acting nomination though, making this one of the few best picture winners without at least one.

‘Forrest Gump’ (1994)
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‘Forrest Gump’ (1994)

Critic Rating: 70%

Despite being overly sentimental and sweet, "Forrest Gump" is still a favorite film thanks to its innovative-at-the-time use of CGI to turn the main character into a witness of history. Critic Roger Ebert commended the film, though many people find it hokey.

Crash (2005)
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‘Crash’ (2005)

Critic Rating: 74%

Starring Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle, "Crash" followed the lives of interconnected Los Angeles residents over two days to examine urban disconnect and xenophobia. Some critics named it the best film of the year, but others found it shallow and unthinking. Most agree that best picture contender "Brokeback Mountain" should have won instead.

‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2001)
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‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2001)

Critic Rating: 74%

A biopic of Nobel Prize-winning economist John Nash, this is a moving love story as well as an insight into mental illness and schizophrenia. Ron Howard also won the best director statue and Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars.

‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ (1947)
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‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ (1947)

Critic Rating: 76%

This film is not usually considered great so much as it's considered important based on its plot of exposing anti-Semitism in New York by an undercover journalist. The political nature of the film was controversial in its day, though critics recognized its importance.

‘Gladiator’ (2000)
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‘Gladiator’ (2000)

Critic Rating: 77%

Political intrigue drives the action in this Ridley Scott drama starring Russell Crowe as a Roman war general forced into slavery and gladiatorial combat, but despite its win, it didn't win over every critic.

‘Green Book’ (2018)
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‘Green Book’ (2018)

Critic Rating: 77%

Mahershala Ali's performance of Dr. Don Shirley, a renowned Black jazz pianist, adds necessary depth to this story about race relations and friendship in the 1960s. But critics panned it for its white savior complex and Shirley's actual family was left out of the filmmaking process completely.

‘Terms of Endearment’ (1983)
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‘Terms of Endearment’ (1983)

Critic Rating: 78%

Both Shirley MacClaine and Jack Nicholson won Oscars for their performances in this classic tearjerker about mother-daughter relationships.


Related: 26 Best Hollywood Movies About Getting Older

‘Braveheart’ (1995)
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‘Braveheart’ (1995)

Critic Rating: 78%

Though this violent, epic Mel Gibson film that depicts Scottish hero William Wallace is enthralling, it's also been heavily criticized for being historically inaccurate. It wasn't considered a serious Oscar contender, especially against "Apollo 13."

Going My Way 1944
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‘Going My Way’ (1944)

Critic Rating: 81%

"Going My Way" was the highest grossing film of 1944, probably thanks to its charismatic lead, Bing Crosby, but it's often derided for being overly saccharine. It beat out "Double Indemnity" for best picture, a film that was groundbreaking and critically praised.

‘Gigi’ (1958)
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‘Gigi’ (1958)

Critic Rating: 82%

"Gigi" won all nine of its Oscar nominations at the 1958 Academy Awards thanks to its charming and well-acted musical comedy drama about love in turn-of-the-century Paris. But today the shallow film is more well-known for beating out Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," usually considered a masterpiece, and “Gigi”’s admittedly gross treatment of women and creepy, womanizing narrator (“Thank Heaven for Little Girls” isn’t the cute toe-tapper some believe). 


Related: 35 Best Movie Musicals of the Last 70 Years

‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989)
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‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989)

Critic Rating: 82%

Though it relies on some outdated stereotypes and had both a white, male director and writer, "Driving Miss Daisy" is a heartwarming but somewhat tepid journey exploring aging and prejudice in the South that won four Oscars, including best picture (despite director Bruce Beresford not receiving a best director nomination). Many people felt that if the Motion Picture Academy wanted to salute a film about race relations, it should have been Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

‘The Life of Emile Zola’ (1937)
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‘The Life of Emile Zola’ (1937)

Critic Rating: 82%

Based on the life of Emile Zola, a French author, this period piece was nominated for 10 Oscars and won three thanks to solid writing and acting. Critics at the time praised the film, but contemporary viewers don't feel the film goes far enough in condemning anti-Semitism and the Nazi party.

Chariots of Fire (1981) Movie Poster
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‘Chariots of Fire’ (1981)

Critic Rating: 82%

Two runners of different faiths train for the 1924 Olympics in class-obsessed Great Britain in this drama based on a true story. It beat out Warren Beatty's "Reds" for best picture, which had a dozen Oscar nominations, but has largely been forgotten except for the memorable score by Vangelis.

‘Oliver!’ (1986)
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‘Oliver!’ (1986)

Critic Rating: 83%

"Oliver!" is a musical take on the Charles Dickens classic "Oliver Twist" and while it feels a little awkward now, its songs and performances are inspired and critics at the time were enthusiastic about it.

Tom Jones (1963) Movie Poster
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‘Tom Jones’ (1963)

Critic Rating: 83%

An irreverent adaptation of the novel, the actors in this British adventure comedy occasionally break the fourth wall, something that feels dated now but was innovative at the time. It won three Oscars besides best picture, including best director, adapted screenplay, and original score.

‘Dances With Wolves (1990)
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‘Dances with Wolves’ (1990)

Critic Rating: 83%

"Dances with Wolves" was Kevin Costner's directorial debut, and along with best picture for the epic Civil War-era Western in which a soldier befriends Lakota Native Americans, he won the best director award. Today, some see the main character as having a "white savior" complex, and are critical of the lack of authenticity in the Lakota language used.

The Sound of Music
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‘The Sound of Music’ (1965)

Critic Rating: 83%

Based on the real life Von Trapp Family singers and starring Julie Andrews in an iconic role, it's hard to imagine not knowing snippets of its catchy songs even if you haven't seen the film. Critical reviews were mixed at first, but the public loved it and it soon became one of the most successful films of all time, even if it's depiction of the family isn't exactly historically accurate.

‘A Man for All Seasons’ (1966)
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‘A Man for All Seasons’ (1966)

Critic Rating: 84%

Though the pace is plodding, this biopic of Sir Thomas More, who was sentenced to death by King Henry the VIII for opposing his divorce, included Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey.

‘The English Patient’ (1996)
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‘The English Patient’ (1996)

Critic Rating: 85%

An epic and moving war drama and romance set in the Sahara, "The English Patient" was nominated for a dozen Oscars and ended up winning nine of them. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars and it was a box office success, but it just doesn't have the weight of many best picture winners.


Related: The Highest-Grossing Movie the Year You Were Born

‘Gandhi’ (1982)
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‘Gandhi’ (1982)

Critic Rating: 85%

Ben Kingsley won the best actor Academy Award for his magnetic portrayal of the title character in the sweeping "Gandhi" about the life of India's independence leader.

Grand Hotel (1932) Movie Poster
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‘Grand Hotel’ (1932)

Critic Rating: 86%

Greta Garbo gives a memorable performance as a distraught, aging ballerina in this drama where she uttered the famous line, "I want to be alone." It's the only film in Academy Award history to win best picture without being nominated in any other category.

Ben-Hur
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‘Ben-Hur’ (1959)

Critic Rating: 86%

This famous biblical film won 11 Academy Awards for its epic grandeur and scope, not to mention a classic performance by Charleton Heston as a Palestinian Jew. It was acclaimed by most critics when it was released, though some thought it was entirely too long to sit through.

Chicago (2002)
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‘Chicago’ (2002)

Critic Rating: 86%

A rousing adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, it had been 34 years since a musical had won the best picture Oscar — the aforementioned "Oliver!".

‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ (1979)
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‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ (1979)

Critic Rating: 87%

Meryl Streep won her first Oscar for "Kramer vs. Kramer", a thoughtful film about a woman who asks for a divorce from her powerful husband, though the divorce isn't as shocking nowadays.

‘American Beauty’ (1999)
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‘American Beauty’ (1999)

Critic Rating: 87%

Provocative "American Beauty" was a high point of ‘90s Hollywood, a film centered around the main character's midlife crisis and how it affects his marriage, daughter, and most disturbingly, his relationship with his daughter's friend. Ironically, he's played by Kevin Spacey, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct many times — yikes.

Platoon (1986) Movie Poster
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‘Platoon’ (1986)

Critic Rating: 87%

Based on director Olive Stone's own experiences serving in the Vietnam War, "Platoon" has become a classic war movie bolstered by harrowing performances by Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe. 

Midnight Cowboy
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‘Midnight Cowboy’ (1969)

Critic Rating: 87%

"Midnight Cowboy" is the only X-rated film to win the best picture Academy Award, bolstered heavily by the memorable performances of Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight who play the two main characters in this seedy urban buddy story.


Related: 21 Groundbreaking Movies Boomers Love

‘Titanic’ (1997)
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‘Titanic’ (1997)

Critic Rating: 89%

James Cameron's epic "Titanic" is a film that people love to hate now, but it won 11 Oscars, tied for the most in history. One could say it's still king of the world — but risk being the butt of many a joke for doing so.

‘Ordinary People’ (1980)
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‘Ordinary People’ (1980)

Critic Rating: 89%

"Ordinary People" was Robert Redford's directorial debut, and he won the best director Oscar for the emotional film about a family coping with the death of a teenage son. While the unexpected performance of Mary Tyler Moore (nominated for a Best Actress Oscar) and the topic of suicide was a taboo of the time, today’s audiences aren’t as shocked.

‘The Last Emperor’ (1987)
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‘The Last Emperor’ (1987)

Critic Rating: 89%

A film about Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, this beautiful epic was the first to be granted permission to film inside the Forbidden City so it's featured heavily.

Rain Man
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‘Rain Man’ (1988)

Critic Rating: 89%

Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of an autistic savant in "Rain Man" is considered one of the best of his career and earned him a best actor Oscar, along with three others for the film.

‘How Green Was My Valley’ (1941)
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‘How Green Was My Valley’ (1941)

Critic Rating: 89%

Based on a best selling novel, this working class drama set in a 19th-century Welsh mining town beat out "Citizen Kane" for best picture. It's considered a win for William Randolph Hearst, the man who Charles Foster Kane was based on, since he banned any mention of "Citizen Kane" in his newspapers.

‘Million Dollar Baby’ (2004)
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‘Million Dollar Baby’ (2004)

Critic Rating: 90%

Hollywood loves boxing movies, and "Million Dollar Baby" was no exception. Besides best picture, both Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman won for their roles in the heartfelt drama.

‘From Here to Eternity’ (1953)
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‘From Here to Eternity’ (1953)

Critic Rating: 90%

Set in Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, "From Here to Eternity" is a well-acted romance flick that's best known now for its sexy beach scene.

‘The Departed’ (2006)
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‘The Departed’ (2006)

Critic Rating: 90%

It's hard to believe that it took Martin Scorcese seven nominations to win a best director Oscar, but he finally did it on his seventh for "The Departed", a gangster drama with a stacked cast including Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio. But to some, the symbolism was so heavy handed it resulted in a Kickstarter campaign to change the ending.

'Gone with the Wind'
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‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939)

Critic Rating: 90%

"Gone with the Wind" might be an iconic encapsulation of old Hollywood grandeur, but it also romanticizes the Confederacy and racial inequality. Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar, but she was segregated at the awards ceremony from white attendees.

‘Rocky’ (1976)
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‘Rocky’ (1976)

Critic Rating: 91%

It's hard to resist a feel good sports hero story, especially when it's acted so well by Sylvester Stallone. The fact that you can hear the main theme in your head right now doesn't hurt, either. Its win was a huge upset, though, since it beat out masterpieces "All The President's Men" and "Taxi Driver".

‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978)
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‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978)

Critic Rating: 91%

The lives of three friends from Pennsylvania are changed dramatically after being forced to play Russian roulette by their captors in the Vietnam War, a controversial choice that some call unrealistic. 

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Movie Poster
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‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2008)

Critic Rating: 91%

A little bit of Bollywood crossed into Hollywood with "Slumdog Millionaire," a film about an orphaned Indian boy who wins a gameshow and gets the girl. 

Birdman (2014) Movie Poster
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‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ (2014)

Critic Rating: 91%

Filmed in a way that makes it look like one continuous shot, "Birdman" follows a washed up superhero actor as he tries to open a new comeback play and navigate a relationship with his estranged daughter. It won against "Boyhood" and "Selma", surprisingly.

‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1999)
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‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998)

Critic Rating: 92%

A young William Shakespeare falls for a woman in this romance that's witty and beautiful and gains Gweneth Paltrow an Oscar for her performance. It beat out the groundbreaking Spielberg epic war film "Saving Private Ryan" for best picture, a film that almost everyone agrees is superior.

‘The Shape of Water’ (2017)
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‘The Shape of Water’ (2017)

Critic Rating: 92%

Though the plot sounds a little weird — a mute woman falls for a captured humanoid amphibian creature in a top secret government lab — this fantasy is gorgeous and won four Oscars.

‘Wings’ (1928)
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‘Wings’ (1928)

Critic Rating: 93%

This silent World War I film starring Clara Bow won the first ever Academy Award for best picture and consequently inspired war films for decades after.

West Side Story (1961)
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West Side Story (1961)

Critic Rating: 93%

"West Side Story" won 10 Academy Awards, the most ever for a musical, for its classic portrayal of a modern Romeo and Juliet with a Leonard Bernstein score.

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)
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‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)

Critic Rating: 93%

Third time's the charm for the breathtaking and action-filled Lord of the Rings series. "The Return of the King" is only the second sequel to win a best picture Oscar.


Related: The 25 Biggest Movie Franchises in America

‘Amadeus’ (1984)
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‘Amadeus’ (1984)

Critic Rating: 93%

Both F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce were nominated for Oscars in this Mozart biopic, but in a small dose of serendipity, only Abraham, who played second fiddle to Mozart as Salieri in the film, won. 

‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ (1935)
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‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ (1935)

Critic Rating: 93%

There are some glaring historical inaccuracies in this early high seas adventure film, but it stood the test of time thanks to a performance by legend Clark Gable.

‘The Apartment’ (1960)
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‘The Apartment’ (1960)

Critic Rating: 93%

A classic cast of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine lends credence to this film about a man who lends his apartment to his company's bosses for illicit affairs, something that was scandalous at the time.

‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007)
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‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007)

Critic Rating: 93%

This Western thriller from the Coen brothers was adapted from a darkly comedic Cormac McCarthy novel and features powerful performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem. 

‘Nomadland’ (2020)
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‘Nomadland’ (2020)

Critic Rating: 93%

Director Chloe Zhao and lead Frances McDormand both won Oscars for this character study of a woman who loses everything in the Great Recession and wanders the West in a van. Unfortunately, this little-seen film (thanks to its release occurring during the pandemic of the time) made more of an impact with critics.


Related: 22 Most Iconic RVs From Movies and TV Shows

George C. Scott, ‘Patton’ (1970)
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‘Patton’ (1970)

Critic Rating: 94%

George C. Scott's portrayal of the title character in this biopic earned him a best actor Oscar, but he disliked acting competitions so much that he refused the award. 

The Sting DVD
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‘The Sting’ (1973)

Critic Rating: 94%

Julia Phillips produced this Paul Newman and Robert Redford caper and became the first female producer to be nominated for and win a best picture Academy Award.

‘My Fair Lady’ (1964)
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‘My Fair Lady’ (1964)

Critic Rating: 94%

Audrey Hepburn elevates this musical adaptation of the stage play about a pompous phonetics professor who teaches a girl how to be a proper lady. Today, it just seems like that teacher is a classist jerk.

‘You Can’t Take It with You’ (1938)
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‘You Can’t Take It with You’ (1938)

Critic Rating: 94%

Iconic director Frank Capra made this Jimmy Stewart-starred uplifting comedy about a couple with different backgrounds making the relationship work.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Movie Poster
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‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (1975)

Critic Rating: 94%

Jack Nicholson won his first Oscar for best actor portraying McMurphy in this film about a convict in a mental institution standing up against antagonist Nurse Ratched.

The King's Speech (2010) Movie Poster
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‘The King’s Speech’ (2010)

Critic Rating: 94%

Though the film is predictable and unexceptional — it's a period piece based on the true story of King George VI and his speech impediment— it's also relatable and likable thanks to a performance by Colin Firth. Though "The Social Network" won big at the Golden Globes, "Speech" took home best director and best picture.

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962)
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‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962)

Critic Rating: 94%

When you think of epics, this is probably the first movie that comes to mind. The nearly 4-hour film is based on the life of a British soldier who fought alongside Arab desert tribes in World War I.

Hamlet’ (1948) poster amazon
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‘Hamlet’ (1948)

Critic Rating: 95%

Sir Laurence Olivier directed and starred in this adaptation of Shakespeare's play which heavily influenced later interpretations of the bard's works. 

‘Mrs. Miniver’ (1942)
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‘Mrs. Miniver’ (1942)

Critic Rating: 95%

This World War II drama was released in the middle of the war, making it seem like sentimental propaganda, but it was carried by lead Greer Garson's powerful performance.

‘In the Heat of the Night’ (1967)
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‘In the Heat of the Night’ (1967)

Critic Rating: 95%

Based on a novel, this police drama starring Sidney Poitier is about racism and murder in small-town America and still resonates today.

‘The Artist’ (2011)
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‘The Artist’ (2011)

Critic Rating: 95%

Don't be fooled by this black and white and mostly silent film — it's from 2011. It's a tribute to the old days of silent cinema told through the story of an actor who is struggling with the transition to talkies, but it's largely forgettable. 

‘12 Years a Slave’ (2013)
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‘12 Years a Slave’ (2013)

Critic Rating: 95%

Based on the true story of a free-born Black man who was sold into slavery, this is a difficult-but-important-to-watch film about American slavery.

The Bridge on the River Kwai
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‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ (1957)

Critic Rating: 96%

Alec Guinness won the Oscar for best actor in this war epic about POWs in Burma that forces the viewer to ask hard questions with no easy answers. 

'The Silence of the Lambs' Movie Poster
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‘The Silence of the Lambs’ (1991)

Critic Rating: 96%

This endlessly quotable film walks the line between horror and disturbing character study with career defining performances by both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.


Related: This Was the Scariest Movie the Year You Were Born

‘Unforgiven’ (1992)
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‘Unforgiven’ (1992)

Critic Rating: 96%

Hollywood superstar Clint Eastwood directs, produces, and stars in this Western about an aging outlaw that examines the nature of violence. 

‘Annie Hall’ (1977)
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‘Annie Hall’ (1977)

Critic Rating: 96%

Woody Allen wrote the title role in this poignant and humorous American classic for Diane Keaton, and she ended up winning the Oscar for best actress for it.

The French Connection (1971)
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‘The French Connection’ (1971)

Critic Rating: 96%

New York detectives played by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider investigate a French drug smuggler in this realistic, fast-paced crime thriller that's based on a book.

The Godfather Part II
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‘The Godfather: Part II’ (1974)

Critic Rating: 96%

You probably assume that “The Godfather” is going to be ranked very highly on this list, but did you guess its sequel would also rank up here? It set an extremely high bar for film sequels that's rarely matched. 


Related: Movie Sequels That Were Better Than the First Films

‘Argo’ (2013)
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‘Argo’ (2012)

Critic Rating: 96%

Based on an unbelievable true story of how the CIA got 66 American hostages out of Iran, Argo stars Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, and John Goodman. Director Ben Affleck didn't even receive a best director nomination, making this the first time in 23 years that a film won best picture without a best director nod.

‘An American in Paris’ (1951)
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‘An American in Paris’ (1951)

Critic Rating: 96%

This comedy musical features a score by George Gershwin, well-known songs like "I Got Rhythm", Gene Kelly dance chops, and one of the most memorable final dance numbers of all time. It beat out frontrunner "A Place in the Sun" for best picture.

‘All the King’s Men’ (1949)
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‘All the King’s Men’ (1949)

Critic Rating: 97%

A Noir film based on a novel about the career of a corrupt and ruthless politician, "All the King's Men" was nominated for seven Oscars and won three.

‘The Lost Weekend’ (1945)
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‘The Lost Weekend’ (1945)

Critic Rating: 97%

Though it may not be as jarring today, "The Lost Weekend" portrays an unflinching look at alcoholism through the eyes of a suicidal and broke writer.

The Hurt Locker (2009) Movie Poster
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‘The Hurt Locker’ (2009)

Critic Rating: 97%

Kathryn Bigelow earned an Oscar for directing this intense and realistic war epic about an American explosives disposal team in the Iraq War.

‘Spotlight’ (2015)
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‘Spotlight’ (2015)

Critic Rating: 97%

Boston Globe journalists investigate sexual assault allegations against priest and find the scope of the problem is much larger in this film based on true events.

Marlon Brando, ‘The Godfather’ (1972)
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‘The Godfather’ (1972)

Critic Rating: 97%

Often considered by critics and the public alike to be one of the greatest films ever made, "The Godfather" follows the Corleone crime family and stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.

‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ (1928)
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‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ (1928)

Critic Rating: 98%

Often considered one of the best silent films of all time, "Sunrise" features gorgeous cinematography and a love-and-betrayal-based plot that transcends the ages and makes it still feel relevant today.

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (1930)
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‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (1930)

Critic Rating: 98%

Based on the German novel of the same name, this World War I-set film was banned in Nazi Germany for its anti-war theme told through the eyes of young German war recruits. 

‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)
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‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)

Critic Rating: 98%

"Schindler's List" is a quintessential Steven Spielberg film about the abject horror of the Holocaust and one real-life man's quest to save as many Jewish refugees as possible. 

‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946)
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‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946)

Critic Rating: 98%

Though it's about World War II, the stories of the three veterans adjusting to civilian life in "The Best Years of Our Lives" resonates with all veterans and the greater American experience.

Moonlight (2016) Movie Poster
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‘Moonlight’ (2016)

Critic Rating: 98%

"Moonlight" tells the story of a young Black man who grew up dealing with bullying and poverty, but most people know it because Faye Dunaway had mistakenly said the best picture Oscar had gone to "La La Land" during the awards ceremony. 

Parasite (2020)
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‘Parasite’ (2019)

Critic Rating: 98%

Bong Joon-ho's film about the relationship between two disparate South Korean families was the first non-English language film to win the best picture Oscar, despite going up against heavy-hitter directors like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

‘Marty’ (1955)
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‘Marty’ (1955)

Critic Rating: 99%

A romantic drama starring Ernest Borgnine that follows the life of an unlucky-in-love bachelor, this is the only role for which he ever won an Academy Award.

On the Waterfront (1954)
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‘On the Waterfront’ (1954)

Critic Rating: 99%

A young Marlon Brando had an electrifying performance in this film about a dock worker whose life was upended by a mob boss, which earned him his first Oscar.

All About Eve (1950)
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All About Eve (1950)

Critic Rating: 99%

The female ensemble cast of this backstage story about an aspiring actress starring Bette Davis was nominated for four Oscars, but unfortunately none of them took the statue home in their category. 

Casablanca (1942) Movie Poster
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Casablanca (1943)

Critic Rating: 99%

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star in "Casablanca", a romance-in-wartime film that's often considered the best movie of all time — not to mention extremely quotable, even 80 years after it was made.

It Happened One Night (1934)
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It Happened One Night (1934)

Critic Rating: 99%

"It Happened One Night" is a classic romantic, screwball comedy with outstanding performances by Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. It won in each of the top five categories at the Oscars and inspired countless romantic comedies after it.

Rebecca (1940)
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Rebecca (1940)

Critic Rating: 100%

While "Rebecca" doesn't have the name recognition that other films on this list do, its director, Alfred Hitchcock, certainly does. This Gothic suspense story was his first American film, and the only one that won a best picture Academy Award.