The Prestigious Academy Award for Best Picture

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The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the most prestigious honors given out annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Commonly known as the “Oscars”, the awards aim to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements. Being awarded Best Picture represents the highest achievement in filmmaking. At least according to Hollywood logic.

Brief History and Overview

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The Academy Award for Best Picture has been given out at the annual Academy Awards ceremonies since 1929.

Inception of the Award

  • The award goes to the credited producers of the winning film.
  • Originally until 1950, the award was given to a representative of the production company instead of the producers directly.
  • The award is highly coveted as it represents peer recognition – Academy members vote for the nominees and winners.
  • It is traditionally presented as the final award of the Oscar ceremony night.

Changes Over the Years

  • In 2009, the number of Best Picture nominees was increased from 5 films to 10 films, to allow for more diversity.
  • In 2011, the number became variable between 5 to 10 nominees, based on percentage of first place votes.
  • In 2021, it reverted back to a fixed 10 nominees.
  • The voting system also changed from first-past-the-post to instant runoff preferential voting in 2009.
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Records and Notable Facts

Individual Records

  • Steven Spielberg has received the most nominations at 13 times, winning once.
  • Kathleen Kennedy holds the record for most nominations without a win at 8 times.

Production Company Records

  • Saul Zaentz and Sam Spiegel tie for most Best Picture wins by an individual producer at 3 each.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) holds the record for most wins of 5 and most nominations of 14, back when the award was given to production companies.

Best Director Connection

  • Historically, the Best Director winner often also directs the Best Picture winner.
  • However, there have also been 6 films that won Best Picture without even getting a Best Director nomination.

The Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director have a closely intertwined history. Out of the 95 films that have won Best Picture, 68 have also been honored with the Best Director award. Only six films have clinched Best Picture without a Best Director nomination: Wings directed by William A. Wellman (1927/28), Grand Hotel directed by Edmund Goulding (1931/32), Driving Miss Daisy directed by Bruce Beresford (1989), Argo directed by Ben Affleck (2012), Green Book directed by Peter Farrelly (2018), and CODA directed by Sian Heder (2021). The only two Best Director winners for films that did not receive a Best Picture nomination were during the early years of the awards: Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights (1927/28), and Frank Lloyd for The Divine Lady (1928/29).

Milestones and Firsts for Genres

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Animation

  • Only 3 animated films have been nominated – Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010).

Horror

  • The Silence of the Lambbs (1991) is the only horror movie to win Best Picture.

Science Fiction

  • No science fiction film won Best Picture until Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022).
  • A number of sci-fi films have been nominated over the years like Avatar (2009), Inception (2010), Gravity (2013), The Martian (2015).

International Best Picture Winners

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  • Only 10 foreign films have managed to win Best Picture, mostly co-productions with partial financing from the UK – 8 out of 10.
  • The most recent winners being Parasite (2019) and Drive My Car (2021) from South Korea and Japan respectively.

Lost Films and Envelope Mixup

Lost Films

  • No Best Picture winner has been completely lost.
  • However some like All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) only survive in altered form from their original release edition.

Notorious Envelope Mixup

  • In 2017, presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty infamously announced La La Land as Best Picture by mistake, instead of the actual winner Moonlight.
  • This resulted from a mix up with the envelopes provided to the presenters.
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Best Picture and Box Office Success

Conflicting Interests

  • Films earn nominations and wins by impressing Academy voters.
  • However box office earnings are determined by mass pop culture appeal.
  • So critical acclaim does not always correlate with commercial success.

The intersection of critical acclaim and commercial success in the film industry often leads to conflicting interests, particularly when it comes to the coveted “Best Picture” award and box office performance. The dynamics at play are complex, as films earn nominations and wins by impressing Academy voters, who typically prioritize artistic and technical merit. On the other hand, box office earnings are determined by mass pop culture appeal, reflecting the moviegoers’ preferences and tastes.

This dichotomy often creates a tension where critical acclaim does not always correlate with commercial success. Some films that receive widespread recognition for their artistic achievements may not necessarily attract large audiences or generate substantial box office revenue. Conversely, certain commercially successful films may not always receive the same level of critical praise or recognition from prestigious award ceremonies.

The disparity between critical acclaim and commercial success underscores the diverse interests within the film industry. Filmmakers and studios strive to create works that resonate with both critics and audiences, aiming to achieve a delicate balance between artistic integrity and financial viability. This pursuit often involves navigating the complexities of marketing, distribution, and audience engagement to ensure that a film’s quality is recognized while also appealing to the broader public.

Positive Effects on Revenue

  • Nonetheless, Best Picture winners and nominees typically see a significant boost in box office revenue.
  • This comes from increased publicity, credibility and moviegoer interest after being endorsed by Academy voter approval.
  • DVD sales and rentals also enjoy a marked increase.

Winning or being nominated for the Best Picture at the Academy Awards can have a substantial impact on a film’s revenue. The recognition and endorsement from the Academy often lead to a surge in box office earnings, as well as DVD sales and rentals. Here’s a detailed explanation of the positive effects on revenue:

Films that win or are nominated for the Best Picture category at the Oscars typically experience a significant boost in box office revenue. This increase is primarily attributed to heightened publicity and increased interest from moviegoers. The prestigious endorsement by the Academy serves as a powerful marketing tool, attracting more viewers to theaters to experience the acclaimed film. Additionally, the “Oscar buzz” generated by nominations and wins creates a sense of urgency among audiences, driving them to see the film before or after the awards ceremony. As a result, ticket sales often see a notable uptick, contributing to the overall success of the film at the box office.

The recognition from the Academy Awards elevates a film’s profile, leading to enhanced publicity and credibility within the industry. Winning or being nominated for the Best Picture category generates widespread media coverage, including news articles, interviews, and promotional appearances. This heightened exposure not only attracts more viewers to theaters but also solidifies the film’s reputation as a must-see cinematic achievement. Moviegoers are more inclined to trust the quality and artistic merit of a film endorsed by the Academy, which ultimately translates into increased ticket sales and sustained box office success.

In addition to bolstering box office revenue, the impact of Academy recognition extends to home entertainment platforms. Following nominations or wins, films often experience a marked increase in DVD sales and rentals. Movie enthusiasts who may have missed the theatrical run or wish to revisit the award-winning or nominated film seek out DVDs and digital rentals, contributing to a surge in post-theatrical revenue. The accolades and prestige associated with the Oscars prompt consumers to engage with the film beyond its initial theatrical release, resulting in a tangible boost to the film’s overall revenue through home entertainment channels.

Notable High Earners

  • Titantic (1997): All time highest grossing Best Picture winner at $2.2 billion.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Highest grossing fantasy film and Best Picture winner at $1.1 billion.

Analysis of Best Picture Trends Over the Years

The Early Years (1927-1950s)

  • The early years were dominated by large Hollywood studio productions.
  • Prestigious epics and literary adaptations like Gone With The Wind (1939) and Ben Hur (1959) performed very well.

The 1960s and 1970s

  • The 1960s and 1970s marked the rise of films with darker, psychologically complex themes.
  • Social issue dramas and films representing counterculture became prominent like The French Connection (1971) and The Godfather (1972).

The Blockbuster Years (1980s-2000s)

  • Big budget blockbuster films came to dominate the Best Picture nominations list.
  • Genre films became mainstream like science fiction film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
  • Visual effects driven spectacles also got recognition like Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

Streaming Era (>2010s)

  • Recently, films produced by streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon have gained prominence.
  • Smaller independent films focusing on diversity like Moonlight (2016) and Nomadland (2020) have managed to break through.

Winners and nominees

The list shows each year’s winner, followed by the other nominees.

1929

Wings, directed by William A. Wellman

Wings is a 1927 American silent film directed by William A. Wellman. This epic war drama is renowned for being the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The story revolves around two young men, Jack Powell (Charles “Buddy” Rogers) and David Armstrong (Richard Arlen), who enlist in the United States Army Air Service during World War I. The film follows their journey from training to combat as they become fighter pilots.

The Racket, directed by Lewis Milestone

Seventh Heaven, directed by Frank Borzage

1930 (April)

The Broadway Melody, directed by Harry Beaumont

“The Broadway Melody,” directed by Harry Beaumont, stands as a groundbreaking achievement in the annals of musical cinema. Released in 1929, this landmark film captured the essence of the vibrant Broadway theater scene and catapulted the genre of musicals into the mainstream consciousness.

Alibi, directed by Roland West

The Hollywood Revue of 1929, directed by Charles Reisner

In Old Arizona, directed by Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh

The Patriot, directed by Ernst Lubitsch

1930 (November)

All Quiet on the Western Front, directed by Lewis Milestone

“All Quiet on the Western Front” is a 1930 American epic pre-Code anti-war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. Directed by Lewis Milestone, the film is a powerful portrayal of the harrowing experiences of German soldiers during World War I. It follows a group of young idealistic men who eagerly enlist in the army after being inspired by their teacher’s impassioned speech about duty and honor.

The Big House, directed by George W. Hill

Disraeli, directed by Alfred E. Green

The Divorcee, directed by Robert Z. Leonard

The Love Parade, directed by Ernst Lubitsch

1931

Cimarron, directed by Wesley Ruggles

“Cimarron” is a significant film directed by Wesley Ruggles, released in 1931. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Edna Ferber and stands as one of the early epic Western films. The movie is set against the backdrop of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 and follows the life of Yancey Cravat, a pioneering newspaper editor and his wife Sabra, as they navigate through the challenges and opportunities of the American frontier.

The Front Page, directed by Lewis Milestone

East Lynne, directed by Frank Lloyd

Skippy, directed by Norman Taurog

Trader Horn, directed by W. S. Van Dyke

1932

Grand Hotel, directed by Edmund Goulding

“Grand Hotel,” directed by Edmund Goulding, is a classic 1932 American pre-code drama film that stands as a testament to the golden age of Hollywood. Based on Vicki Baum’s novel and play, the film is set in Berlin and revolves around the lives of various guests and staff at the luxurious Grand Hotel. The movie is renowned for its stellar ensemble cast, including Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore.

The Smiling Lieutenant, directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Bad Girl, directed by Frank Borzage

The Champ, directed by King Vidor

Five Star Final, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

One Hour with You, directed by George Cukor and Ernst Lubitsch

Arrowsmith, directed by John Ford

Shanghai Express, directed by Josef von Sternberg

1934

Cavalcade, directed by Frank Lloyd

“Cavalcade” is a historical drama film directed by Frank Lloyd. Released in 1933, the film is based on the play of the same name by Noël Coward. Set against the backdrop of significant events spanning from the late 19th century to the end of World War I, “Cavalcade” follows the lives of the Marryot family and their experiences amidst the rapidly changing social and political landscape of England.

A Farewell to Arms, directed by Frank Borzage

Smilin’ Through, directed by Sidney Franklin

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

She Done Him Wrong, directed by Lowell Sherman

State Fair, directed by Henry King

Little Women, directed by George Cukor

42nd Street, directed by Lloyd Bacon

The Private Life of Henry VIII, directed by Alexander Korda

Lady for a Day, directed by Frank Capra

1935

It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra

“It Happened One Night” is a classic romantic comedy directed by Frank Capra, released in 1934. The film is renowned for its witty dialogue, charismatic performances, and enduring influence on the romantic comedy genre. It stars Clark Gable as Peter Warne, a roguish newspaper reporter, and Claudette Colbert as Ellie Andrews, a spirited heiress. The story follows their unlikely journey together as they navigate various obstacles and gradually fall in love.

The White Parade, directed by Irving Cummings

The House of Rothschild, directed by Alfred L. Werker

The Gay Divorcee, directed by Mark Sandrich

Cleopatra, directed by Cecil B. DeMille

The Barretts of Wimpole Street, directed by Sidney Franklin

Here Comes the Navy, directed by Lloyd Bacon

One Night of Love, directed by Victor Schertzinger

Flirtation Walk, directed by Frank Borzage

Imitation of Life, directed by John M. Stahl

The Thin Man, directed by W. S. Van Dyke

Viva Villa!, directed by Jack Conway

1936

Mutiny on the Bounty, directed by Frank Lloyd

“Mutiny on the Bounty,” directed by Frank Lloyd, is a classic film released in 1935, based on the true story of the mutiny aboard the British ship HMS Bounty. The movie is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, which itself was based on the historical events that took place in 1789.

Captain Blood, directed by Michael Curtiz

Top Hat, directed by Mark Sandrich

David Copperfield, directed by George Cukor

Broadway Melody of 1936, directed by Roy Del Ruth

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, directed by Henry Hathaway

Ruggles of Red Gap, directed by Leo McCarey

Alice Adams, directed by George Stevens

Les miserables, directed by Richard Boleslawski

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt

Naughty Marietta, directed by W. S. Van Dyke

The Informer, directed by John Ford

1937

The Great Ziegfeld, directed by Robert Z. Leonard

“The Great Ziegfeld” is a classic Hollywood biographical musical film directed by Robert Z. Leonard. Released in 1936, the movie is a lavish and grand portrayal of the life and career of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., a renowned Broadway impresario known for his extravagant theatrical productions and the creation of the Ziegfeld Follies.

Anthony Adverse, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Libeled Lady, directed by Jack Conway

A Tale of Two Cities, directed by Jack Conway

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, directed by Frank Capra

Romeo and Juliet, directed by George Cukor

Dodsworth, directed by William Wyler

San Francisco, directed by W. S. Van Dyke

Three Smart Girls, directed by Henry Koster

The Story of Louis Pasteur, directed by William Dieterle

1938

The Life of Emile Zola, directed by William Dieterle

“The Life of Emile Zola” is a biographical film directed by William Dieterle, released in 1937. The movie chronicles the life and career of the renowned French writer Emile Zola, known for his influential works such as “J’accuse” and “Germinal.” The film delves into Zola’s evolution from a struggling writer to a prominent figure in the literary and political landscape of 19th century France.

The Good Earth, directed by Sidney Franklin

Captains Courageous, directed by Victor Fleming

One Hundred Men and a Girl, directed by Henry Koster

A Star Is Born, directed by William A. Wellman

In Old Chicago, directed by Henry King

Lost Horizon, directed by Frank Capra

The Awful Truth, directed by Leo McCarey

Stage Door, directed by Gregory La Cava

Dead End, directed by William Wyler

1939

You Can’t Take It with You, directed by Frank Capra

“You Can’t Take It with You” is a classic comedy film directed by Frank Capra, released in 1938. The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. Set during the Great Depression, the story revolves around the eccentric Sycamore family and their unconventional way of life.

Test Pilot, directed by Victor Fleming

Boys Town, directed by Norman Taurog

The Citadel, directed by King Vidor

Jezebel, directed by William Wyler

Grand Illusion, directed by Jean Renoir

Alexander’s Ragtime Band, directed by Henry King

Pygmalion, directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard

Four Daughters, directed by Michael Curtiz

The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz

1940

Gone with the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming

“Gone with the Wind” is a classic American film directed by Victor Fleming, released in 1939. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, the movie is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. The story follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara, a headstrong and determined Southern belle, played by Vivien Leigh, as she navigates love, loss, and the changing social and economic landscape of the South.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips, directed by Sam Wood

Love Affair, directed by Leo McCarey

The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, directed by Frank Capra

Ninotchka, directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Stagecoach, directed by John Ford

Dark Victory, directed by Edmund Goulding

Of Mice and Men, directed by Lewis Milestone

Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler

1941

Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

“Rebecca” is a classic film directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, released in 1940. Based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, the movie is a captivating blend of romance, mystery, and psychological thriller. The story follows a young woman who marries a wealthy widower, only to find herself haunted by the memory of his deceased first wife, Rebecca.

The Grapes of Wrath, directed by John Ford

The Great Dictator, directed by Charles Chaplin

Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood

Our Town, directed by Sam Wood

The Letter, directed by William Wyler

All This, and Heaven Too, directed by Anatole Litvak

Foreign Correspondent, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

The Philadelphia Story, directed by George Cukor

The Long Voyage Home, directed by John Ford

1942

How Green Was My Valley, directed by John Ford

“How Green Was My Valley” is a 1941 film directed by John Ford, based on the 1939 novel of the same name by Richard Llewellyn. The movie is a poignant and beautifully crafted portrayal of a Welsh mining community and the Morgan family’s experiences during a time of great social and industrial change.

Blossoms in the Dust, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Here Comes Mr. Jordan, directed by Alexander Hall

The Maltese Falcon, directed by John Huston

The Little Foxes, directed by William Wyler

One Foot in Heaven, directed by Irving Rapper

Hold Back the Dawn, directed by Mitchell Leisen

Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles

Sergeant York, directed by Howard Hawks

Suspicion, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1943

Mrs. Miniver, directed by William Wyler

“Mrs. Miniver,” directed by William Wyler, is a classic 1942 film that beautifully captures the resilience and strength of the British people during World War II. The film follows the life of Mrs. Kay Miniver, played by Greer Garson, and her family as they navigate the challenges and heartaches brought about by the war.

Kings Row, directed by Sam Wood

The Talk of the Town, directed by George Stevens

The Pride of the Yankees, directed by Sam Wood

The Invaders, directed by Michael Powell

Wake Island, directed by John Farrow

The Magnificent Ambersons, directed by Orson Welles

The Pied Piper, directed by Irving Pichel

Random Harvest, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Yankee Doodle Dandy, directed by Michael Curtiz

1944

Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz

“Casablanca,” directed by Michael Curtiz, is a classic 1942 American romantic drama film set during World War II. The film is renowned for its captivating storytelling, memorable characters, and timeless quotes. Set in the exotic Moroccan city of Casablanca, which was then under Vichy French control, the movie follows the story of Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, a cynical expatriate who runs a nightclub.

The Ox-Bow Incident, directed by William A. Wellman

Watch on the Rhine, directed by Herman Shumlin

For Whom the Bell Tolls, directed by Sam Wood

Heaven Can Wait, directed by Ernst Lubitsch

1945

Going My Way, directed by Leo McCarey

“Going My Way” is a classic American film directed by Leo McCarey, released in 1944. The movie stars Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O’Malley, a young and unconventional priest who is sent to help an older, more traditional priest, Father Fitzgibbon, played by Barry Fitzgerald, manage his struggling parish.

Double Indemnity, directed by Billy Wilder

Since You Went Away, directed by John Cromwell

Wilson, directed by Henry King

Gaslight, directed by George Cukor

1946

The Lost Weekend, directed by Billy Wilder

“The Lost Weekend,” directed by Billy Wilder, is a landmark film that delves into the harrowing struggles of an alcoholic writer over the course of a five-day binge. Released in 1945, the film is a poignant exploration of addiction, self-destruction, and the impact of alcoholism on both the individual and those around them.

Anchors Aweigh, directed by George Sidney

The Bells of St. Mary’s, directed by Leo McCarey

Mildred Pierce, directed by Michael Curtiz

Spellbound, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1947

The Best Years of Our Lives, directed by William Wyler

“The Best Years of Our Lives” is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler. Set in the aftermath of World War II, the movie follows the lives of three veterans returning home to a small fictional town of Boone City, USA. The film delves into the challenges and adjustments faced by the veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life after the war.

Henry V, directed by Laurence Olivier

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra

The Yearling, directed by Clarence Brown

1948

Gentleman’s Agreement, directed by Elia Kazan

“Gentleman’s Agreement” is a thought-provoking film directed by Elia Kazan, released in 1947. The movie delves into the complex and sensitive issue of anti-Semitism in post-World War II America. The story revolves around a journalist named Philip Schuyler Green, played by Gregory Peck, who takes on the assignment of writing an article about anti-Semitism. In order to fully understand the depth of prejudice, he decides to pose as a Jew and experience firsthand the discrimination and bigotry that Jewish people face.

The Bishop’s Wife, directed by Henry Koster

Great Expectations, directed by David Lean

Miracle on 34th Street, directed by George Seaton

1949

Hamlet, directed by Laurence Olivier

“Hamlet,” directed by Laurence Olivier, is a landmark film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s renowned play. Released in 1948, this cinematic masterpiece remains a timeless and influential portrayal of one of the most celebrated works in English literature.

The Snake Pit, directed by Anatole Litvak

Johnny Belinda, directed by Jean Negulesco

The Red Shoes, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, directed by John Huston

1950

All the King’s Men, directed by Robert Rossen

“All the King’s Men” is a 1949 film directed by Robert Rossen, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren. The story is a political drama that delves into the rise and fall of a charismatic and morally ambiguous politician, Willie Stark, played by Broderick Crawford. The film follows Stark’s transformation from an idealistic, small-town lawyer to a powerful and corrupt governor.

Battleground, directed by William A. Wellman

The Heiress, directed by William Wyler

A Letter to Three Wives, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Twelve O’Clock High, directed by Henry King

1951

All About Eve, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

“All About Eve” is a classic 1950 drama film directed and written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The movie is renowned for its sharp dialogue, strong performances, and incisive portrayal of the complexities of ambition, fame, and the theater world. The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, an aging Broadway star, and Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington, a seemingly innocent fan who insinuates herself into Margo’s life with ulterior motives.

Born Yesterday, directed by George Cukor

Father of the Bride, directed by Vincente Minnelli

King Solomon’s Mines, directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder

1952

An American in Paris, directed by Vincente Minnelli

“An American in Paris” is a classic 1951 musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli. The movie stars Gene Kelly as Jerry Mulligan, an American ex-GI who decides to stay in Paris after World War II to pursue his passion for painting. The film also features Leslie Caron as Lise Bouvier, a young French woman caught in a romantic entanglement with three different men.

Decision Before Dawn, directed by Anatole Litvak

A Place in the Sun, directed by George Stevens

Quo Vadis, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan

1953

The Greatest Show on Earth, directed by Cecil B. DeMille

“The Greatest Show on Earth” is a 1952 American drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, which provides an enthralling and immersive look into the world of the circus. The film follows the story of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus, showcasing the behind-the-scenes drama, personal struggles, and triumphs of the performers and crew as they strive to put on the greatest show on earth.

High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann

Ivanhoe, directed by Richard Thorpe

Moulin Rouge, directed by John Huston

The Quiet Man, directed by John Ford

1954

From Here to Eternity, directed by Fred Zinnemann

“From Here to Eternity,” directed by Fred Zinnemann, is a classic American film released in 1953. Based on the novel by James Jones, the movie is set in Hawaii just before the attack on Pearl Harbor and follows the lives of several U.S. Army soldiers stationed there. The film is known for its powerful storytelling, compelling characters, and its unflinching portrayal of military life and personal struggles.

Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The Robe, directed by Henry Koster

Roman Holiday, directed by William Wyler

Shane, directed by George Stevens

1955

On the Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan

“On the Waterfront” is a classic film directed by Elia Kazan, released in 1954. The movie is set in the gritty and corrupt world of the New York waterfront, where organized crime and labor unions hold sway over the longshoremen working at the docks. The story revolves around Terry Malloy, played by Marlon Brando, a former boxer turned longshoreman who becomes embroiled in the corruption and violence that pervades the docks.

The Caine Mutiny, directed by Edward Dmytryk

The Country Girl, directed by George Seaton

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, directed by Stanley Donen

Three Coins in the Fountain, directed by Jean Negulesco

1956

Marty, directed by Delbert Mann

“Marty” is a heartfelt and poignant film directed by Delbert Mann, released in 1955. The movie is based on Paddy Chayefsky’s teleplay of the same name and stars Ernest Borgnine as the titular character, Marty Piletti. Set in the Bronx, New York, the story revolves around Marty, a kind-hearted and unassuming butcher who is struggling with loneliness and societal pressures to find love and get married.

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, directed by Henry King

Mister Roberts, directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy

Picnic, directed by Joshua Logan

The Rose Tattoo, directed by Daniel Mann

1957

Around the World in 80 Days, directed by Michael Anderson

“Around the World in 80 Days” is a classic adventure film directed by Michael Anderson, released in 1956. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Jules Verne and follows the story of Phileas Fogg, a wealthy Englishman who takes on a bet that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. The film stars David Niven as Phileas Fogg, Cantinflas as Passepartout, and Shirley MacLaine as Princess Aouda.

Friendly Persuasion, directed by William Wyler

Giant, directed by George Stevens

The King and I, directed by Walter Lang

The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille

1958

The Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean

“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is a 1957 British-American epic war film directed by David Lean. Set during World War II, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Pierre Boulle. The story revolves around a group of British prisoners of war who are forced to build a railway bridge for their Japanese captors in Burma.

Peyton Place, directed by Mark Robson

Sayonara, directed by Joshua Logan

12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet

Witness for the Prosecution, directed by Billy Wilder

1959

Gigi, directed by Vincente Minnelli

“Gigi” is a classic musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli, released in 1958. The movie is based on the novella of the same name by Colette and features a screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner. Set in turn-of-the-century Paris, “Gigi” tells the story of a young girl being groomed for a career as a courtesan, but who ultimately finds love and chooses her own path.

Auntie Mame, directed by Morton DaCosta

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Richard Brooks

The Defiant Ones, directed by Stanley Kramer

Separate Tables, directed by Delbert Mann

1960

Ben-Hur, directed by William Wyler

“Ben-Hur” is a classic epic film directed by William Wyler, released in 1959. The movie is based on the 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” by Lew Wallace and has since become one of the most iconic films in cinematic history. It is renowned for its grand scale, compelling storytelling, and groundbreaking action sequences.

Anatomy of a Murder, directed by Otto Preminger

The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by George Stevens

The Nun’s Story, directed by Fred Zinnemann

Room at the Top, directed by Jack Clayton

1961

The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder

“The Apartment” is a classic film directed by Billy Wilder, released in 1960. The movie follows the life of C.C. “Bud” Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon, an ambitious but mild-mannered insurance clerk who lends out his apartment to his superiors for their extramarital affairs in hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. However, his plans take an unexpected turn when he discovers that one of the women using his apartment is Fran Kubelik, played by Shirley MacLaine, an elevator operator at his office with whom he’s infatuated.

Elmer Gantry, directed by Richard Brooks

Sons and Lovers, directed by Jack Cardiff

The Sundowners, directed by Fred Zinnemann

Inherit the Wind, directed by Stanley Kramer

1962

West Side Story, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise

“West Side Story” is a timeless musical film directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise. Released in 1961, the film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet.” Set in the Upper West Side of New York City, the story revolves around the rivalry between two teenage street gangs: the Jets, consisting mainly of white working-class teenagers, and the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang.

Fanny, directed by Joshua Logan

The Guns of Navarone, directed by J. Lee Thompson

The Hustler, directed by Robert Rossen

Judgment at Nuremberg, directed by Stanley Kramer

1963

Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean

“Lawrence of Arabia” is a 1962 epic historical film directed by David Lean. The movie tells the story of T.E. Lawrence, a British army officer who played a key role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The film is known for its breathtaking cinematography, compelling storytelling, and remarkable performances.

The Longest Day, directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki

The Music Man, directed by Morton DaCosta

Mutiny on the Bounty, directed by Lewis Milestone

To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Robert Mulligan

1964

Tom Jones, directed by Tony Richardson

“Tom Jones” is a 1963 British comedy film directed by Tony Richardson. The film is an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s classic novel “The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling,” and it is known for its innovative and irreverent approach to storytelling. Set in 18th century England, the movie follows the adventures of the charming and charismatic Tom Jones as he navigates through various romantic entanglements and social upheavals.

America America, directed by Elia Kazan

Cleopatra, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

How the West Was Won, directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall

Lilies of the Field, directed by Ralph Nelson

1965

My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor

My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor, is a classic musical film released in 1964. The movie is based on the stage musical of the same name, which itself was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The story revolves around Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins in order to pass as a lady in high society. 

Becket, directed by Peter Glenville

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Mary Poppins, directed by Robert Stevenson

Zorba the Greek, directed by Michael Cacoyannis

1966

The Sound of Music, directed by Robert Wise

“The Sound of Music” is a beloved musical film directed by Robert Wise, released in 1965. The movie is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the real-life story of the von Trapp family. Set in Austria on the cusp of World War II, the film follows Maria, a young woman studying to become a nun at Nonnberg Abbey. However, due to her free-spirited nature and love for music, she struggles with the discipline of convent life.

Darling, directed by John Schlesinger

Doctor Zhivago, directed by David Lean

Ship of Fools, directed by Stanley Kramer

A Thousand Clowns, directed by Fred Coe

1967

A Man for All Seasons, directed by Fred Zinnemann

“A Man for All Seasons” is a compelling historical drama directed by Fred Zinnemann, released in 1966. The film is an adaptation of the play by Robert Bolt, which tells the story of Sir Thomas More, a key figure in the court of King Henry VIII during the 16th century. The movie offers a thought-provoking exploration of morality, integrity, and the clash between personal beliefs and political power.

Alfie, directed by Lewis Gilbert

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, directed by Norman Jewison

The Sand Pebbles, directed by Robert Wise

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, directed by Mike Nichols

1968

In the Heat of the Night, directed by Norman Jewison

“In the Heat of the Night,” directed by Norman Jewison, is a classic 1967 film that remains a powerful and relevant piece of American cinema. Set in the racially charged atmosphere of Sparta, Mississippi, the movie follows Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia who becomes embroiled in a murder investigation while passing through the town. The film stars Sidney Poitier as Tibbs and Rod Steiger as Police Chief Bill Gillespie.

Bonnie and Clyde, directed by Arthur Penn

Doctor Dolittle, directed by Richard Fleischer

The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, directed by Stanley Kramer

1969

Oliver!, directed by Carol Reed

“Oliver!” is a classic musical film directed by Carol Reed, released in 1968. The movie is based on the famous novel “Oliver Twist” written by Charles Dickens in 1838. Set in Victorian England, the story follows the life of a young orphan named Oliver Twist who struggles to survive in the harsh conditions of a workhouse before finding himself on the streets of London.

Funny Girl, directed by William Wyler

The Lion in Winter, directed by Anthony Harvey

Rachel, Rachel, directed by Paul Newman

Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli

1970

Midnight Cowboy, directed by John Schlesinger

“Midnight Cowboy” is a 1969 film directed by John Schlesinger, based on the novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. The movie is a poignant and gritty portrayal of urban life and human relationships, set against the backdrop of New York City in the late 1960s.

Anne of the Thousand Days, directed by Charles Jarrott

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, directed by George Roy Hill

Hello, Dolly!, directed by Gene Kelly

Z, directed by Costa-Gavras

1971

Patton, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

“Patton” is a 1970 American biographical war film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The film focuses on the life and career of General George S. Patton, a controversial and charismatic figure who played a pivotal role in World War II. The movie stars George C. Scott in the titular role and features Karl Malden, Michael Bates, and Karl Michael Vogler in supporting roles.

Airport, directed by George Seaton

Five Easy Pieces, directed by Bob Rafelson

Love Story, directed by Arthur Hiller

M*A*S*H, directed by Robert Altman

1972

The French Connection, directed by William Friedkin

“The French Connection” is a gripping crime thriller directed by William Friedkin, released in 1971. The film is based on Robin Moore’s book of the same name, which recounts the true story of two New York City detectives, Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, who worked to uncover a massive heroin smuggling operation coming out of France.

A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Norman Jewison

The Last Picture Show, directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Nicholas and Alexandra, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

1973

The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

“The Godfather,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a cinematic masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the world of film. Released in 1972, this crime drama is based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

Cabaret, directed by Bob Fosse

Deliverance, directed by John Boorman

The Emigrants, directed by Jan Troell

Sounder, directed by Martin Ritt

1974

The Sting, directed by George Roy Hill

“The Sting” is a classic American film directed by George Roy Hill, released in 1973. Set in the 1930s, the movie follows two con men, played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, as they seek revenge for the murder of their mutual friend by pulling off an elaborate and intricate con against a notorious gangster.

American Graffiti, directed by George Lucas

Cries and Whispers, directed by Ingmar Bergman

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin

A Touch of Class, directed by Melvin Frank

1975

The Godfather Part II, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

“The Godfather Part II,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a cinematic masterpiece that continues the saga of the Corleone crime family. Released in 1974, this film is a sequel to the critically acclaimed “The Godfather” and is often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski

The Conversation, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Lenny, directed by Bob Fosse

The Towering Inferno, directed by John Guillermin and Irwin Allen

1976

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, directed by Miloš Forman

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a 1975 American drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey. The film is set in a mental institution and follows the story of Randle McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, a rebellious inmate who feigns insanity to serve his prison sentence in a more relaxed environment. Once inside, he clashes with the oppressive Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher, who embodies the authoritarian control over the patients.

Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Dog Day Afternoon, directed by Sidney Lumet

Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg

Nashville, directed by Robert Altman

1977

Rocky, directed by John G. Avildsen

“Rocky,” directed by John G. Avildsen, is a classic sports drama film that was released in 1976. The movie follows the story of Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer from Philadelphia who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. Written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, the film became an instant sensation and went on to win three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

All the President’s Men, directed by Alan J. Pakula

Bound for Glory, directed by Hal Ashby

Network, directed by Sidney Lumet

Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese

1978

Annie Hall, directed by Woody Allen

“Annie Hall,” directed by Woody Allen, is a timeless romantic comedy that delves into the complexities of love, relationships, and the human condition. Released in 1977, the film follows the tumultuous relationship between Alvy Singer (played by Woody Allen) and Annie Hall (played by Diane Keaton). The story is presented in a non-linear fashion, reflecting Alvy’s introspective and often neurotic perspective on his failed romance with Annie.

The Goodbye Girl, directed by Herbert Ross

Julia, directed by Fred Zinnemann

Star Wars, directed by George Lucas

The Turning Point, directed by Herbert Ross

1979

The Deer Hunter, directed by Michael Cimino

“The Deer Hunter,” directed by Michael Cimino, is a powerful and haunting film that delves into the lives of three steelworker friends from Pennsylvania who are profoundly affected by their experiences in the Vietnam War. Released in 1978, the film is an epic exploration of friendship, the human spirit, and the psychological impact of war.

Coming Home, directed by Hal Ashby

Heaven Can Wait, directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry

Midnight Express, directed by Alan Parker

An Unmarried Woman, directed by Paul Mazursky

1980

Kramer vs. Kramer, directed by Robert Benton

“Kramer vs. Kramer” is a 1979 American drama film directed by Robert Benton, based on the novel of the same name by Avery Corman. The film stars Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer, Meryl Streep as Joanna Kramer, and Justin Henry as Billy Kramer. It tells the story of a couple going through a divorce and the impact it has on their young son.

All That Jazz, directed by Bob Fosse

Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Breaking Away, directed by Peter Yates

Norma Rae, directed by Martin Ritt

1981

Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford

“Ordinary People” is a 1980 American drama film directed by Robert Redford. The movie is based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Judith Guest and tells the story of the Jarrett family as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of a tragic boating accident that claimed the life of their older son, Buck.

Coal Miner’s Daughter, directed by Michael Apted

The Elephant Man, directed by David Lynch

Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese

Tess, directed by Roman Polanski

1982

Chariots of Fire, directed by Hugh Hudson

“Chariots of Fire,” directed by Hugh Hudson, is a British historical drama film that was released in 1981. The film is set in the early 1920s and is based on the true story of two athletes, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, who competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Atlantic City, directed by Louis Malle

On Golden Pond, directed by Mark Rydell

Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg

Reds, directed by Warren Beatty

1983

Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough

“Gandhi” is a biographical film directed by Richard Attenborough, released in 1982. The movie chronicles the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi, from his early years in South Africa to his pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Steven Spielberg

Missing, directed by Costa-Gavras

Tootsie, directed by Sydney Pollack

The Verdict, directed by Sidney Lumet

1984

Terms of Endearment, directed by James L. Brooks

“Terms of Endearment,” directed by James L. Brooks, is a poignant and emotionally resonant film that delves into the complexities of love, family, and the enduring bonds between a mother and daughter. Released in 1983, this iconic movie is based on the novel by Larry McMurtry and features an all-star cast including Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson.

The Big Chill, directed by Lawrence Kasdan

The Dresser, directed by Peter Yates

The Right Stuff, directed by Philip Kaufman

Tender Mercies, directed by Bruce Beresford

1985

Amadeus, directed by Miloš Forman

“Amadeus,” directed by Miloš Forman, is a cinematic masterpiece that delves into the life and genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Released in 1984, the film is an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s stage play of the same name. Set in the 18th century, the story is narrated by Antonio Salieri, a mediocre composer who finds himself consumed by jealousy and admiration for the prodigious talent of Mozart.

The Killing Fields, directed by Roland Joffé

A Passage to India, directed by David Lean

Places in the Heart, directed by Robert Benton

A Soldier’s Story, directed by Norman Jewison

1986

Out of Africa, directed by Sydney Pollack

“Out of Africa” is a 1985 epic romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack. The movie is based on the memoir of the same name by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, who wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen. The story revolves around her experiences in British East Africa (now Kenya) during the early 20th century.

The Color Purple, directed by Steven Spielberg

Kiss of the Spider Woman, directed by Héctor Babenco

Prizzi’s Honor, directed by John Huston

Witness, directed by Peter Weir

1987

Platoon, directed by Oliver Stone

“Platoon,” directed by Oliver Stone, is a powerful and harrowing depiction of the Vietnam War. Released in 1986, the film is widely regarded as one of the most realistic portrayals of the conflict and its impact on the soldiers involved. Set in 1967, “Platoon” follows a young soldier named Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, as he arrives in Vietnam and is assigned to a platoon in the midst of the war.

Children of a Lesser God, directed by Randa Haines

Hannah and Her Sisters, directed by Woody Allen

The Mission, directed by Roland Joffé

A Room with a View, directed by James Ivory

1988

The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

“The Last Emperor” is a visually stunning biographical film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Released in 1987, the movie tells the captivating story of Pu Yi, the last monarch of China. The film unfolds as a sweeping historical epic, chronicling the life of Pu Yi from his early childhood to his days as the emperor of China and finally to his re-education and life as an ordinary citizen in Communist China.

Broadcast News, directed by James L. Brooks

Fatal Attraction, directed by Adrian Lyne

Hope and Glory, directed by John Boorman

Moonstruck, directed by Norman Jewison

1989

Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson

“Rain Man,” directed by Barry Levinson, is a 1988 American film that tells the story of two brothers, Charlie Babbitt and Raymond Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, respectively. The film is a powerful exploration of family dynamics, the complexities of human relationships, and the impact of autism on individuals and their loved ones.

The Accidental Tourist, directed by Lawrence Kasdan

Dangerous Liaisons, directed by Stephen Frears

Mississippi Burning, directed by Alan Parker

Working Girl, directed by Mike Nichols

1990

Driving Miss Daisy, directed by Bruce Beresford

“Driving Miss Daisy” is a 1989 film directed by Bruce Beresford, based on the play of the same name by Alfred Uhry. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, the story revolves around the evolving relationship between an elderly Jewish widow, Daisy Werthan, and her African American chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, against the backdrop of the civil rights movement.

Born on the Fourth of July, directed by Oliver Stone

Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir

Field of Dreams, directed by Phil Alden Robinson

My Left Foot, directed by Jim Sheridan

1991

Dances with Wolves, directed by Kevin Costner

“Dances with Wolves” is a 1990 epic Western film directed by Kevin Costner, who also stars as the main character, Lieutenant John J. Dunbar. The movie is based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Michael Blake. Set during the American Civil War, it tells the story of Dunbar, a Union Army officer, who is sent to a remote outpost on the western frontier. As he arrives at the desolate Fort Sedgwick, he finds it abandoned and soon realizes that he is completely alone.

Awakenings, directed by Penny Marshall

Ghost, directed by Jerry Zucker

The Godfather Part III, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese

1992

The Silence of the Lambs, directed by Jonathan Demme

“The Silence of the Lambs,” directed by Jonathan Demme, is a psychological thriller released in 1991. The film is based on Thomas Harris’s novel of the same name and follows the story of Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, who seeks the help of the incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to catch another serial killer known as Buffalo Bill.

Beauty and the Beast, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise

Bugsy, directed by Barry Levinson

JFK, directed by Oliver Stone

The Prince of Tides, directed by Barbra Streisand

1993

Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood

“Unforgiven,” directed by Clint Eastwood, is a landmark film in the Western genre that offers a profound exploration of morality, violence, and the consequences of one’s actions. Released in 1992, the film stands out for its gritty realism and deconstruction of traditional Western tropes, earning critical acclaim and multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The Crying Game, directed by Neil Jordan

A Few Good Men, directed by Rob Reiner

Howards End, directed by James Ivory

Scent of a Woman, directed by Martin Brest

1994

Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg

“Schindler’s List,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is a powerful and poignant film that tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Released in 1993, the film is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

The Fugitive, directed by Andrew Davis

In the Name of the Father, directed by Jim Sheridan

The Piano, directed by Jane Campion

The Remains of the Day, directed by James Ivory

1995

Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis

“Forrest Gump,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a critically acclaimed film that beautifully captures the essence of life, love, and the human spirit. Released in 1994, this iconic movie stars Tom Hanks as the titular character, Forrest Gump, and is based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom.

Four Weddings and a Funeral, directed by Mike Newell

Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino

Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford

The Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont

1996

Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson

“Braveheart” is a historical epic film directed by Mel Gibson, released in 1995. The movie is set in 13th-century Scotland and follows the story of William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. The film depicts Wallace’s journey from a humble farmer to becoming a symbol of hope and freedom for the Scottish people.

Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard

Babe, directed by Chris Noonan

The Postman (Il Postino), directed by Michael Radford

Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee

1997

The English Patient, directed by Anthony Minghella

“The English Patient” is a 1996 film directed by Anthony Minghella, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje. Set during World War II, the film follows the story of a critically burned man, known as the English patient (played by Ralph Fiennes), who is being cared for by a young nurse, Hana (played by Juliette Binoche), in an abandoned Italian monastery.

Fargo, directed by Joel Coen

Jerry Maguire, directed by Cameron Crowe

Secrets Lies, directed by Mike Leigh

Shine, directed by Scott Hicks

1998

Titanic, directed by James Cameron

“Titanic,” directed by James Cameron, is a monumental film that was released in 1997. The movie is a blend of historical drama, romance, and disaster, and it remains one of the most iconic and successful films in cinematic history.

As Good as It Gets, directed by James L. Brooks

The Full Monty, directed by Peter Cattaneo

Good Will Hunting, directed by Gus Van Sant

L.A. Confidential, directed by Curtis Hanson

1999

Shakespeare in Love, directed by John Madden

“Shakespeare in Love,” directed by John Madden, is a captivating romantic comedy-drama that offers a fictionalized account of the life of William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes. Set in London during the 1590s, the film follows the young playwright as he struggles with writer’s block and seeks inspiration for his next play, which eventually becomes “Romeo and Juliet.”

Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur

Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella), directed by Roberto Benigni

Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg

The Thin Red Line, directed by Terrence Malick

2000

American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes

“American Beauty,” directed by Sam Mendes, is a thought-provoking and visually stunning film that delves into the complexities of suburban life, the pursuit of happiness, and the hidden struggles within seemingly perfect families. Released in 1999, the film garnered widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including five Academy Awards.

The Cider House Rules, directed by Lasse Hallström

The Green Mile, directed by Frank Darabont

The Insider, directed by Michael Mann

The Sixth Sense, directed by M. Night Shyamalan

2001

Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott

“Gladiator,” directed by Ridley Scott, is a cinematic masterpiece that seamlessly blends historical drama, action, and epic storytelling. Released in 2000, the film stars Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a loyal general who is betrayed by the corrupt heir to the Roman Empire, Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The movie takes viewers on an emotional and thrilling journey through ancient Rome, showcasing the grandeur of the Roman Empire while delving into the personal struggles of its characters.

Chocolat, directed by Lasse Hallström

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee

Erin Brockovich, directed by Steven Soderbergh

Traffic, directed by Steven Soderbergh

2002

A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard

“A Beautiful Mind” is a biographical drama film directed by Ron Howard, released in 2001. The movie is based on the life of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who made groundbreaking contributions to game theory and later struggled with paranoid schizophrenia. The film stars Russell Crowe as John Nash, along with Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Paul Bettany in supporting roles.

Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman

In the Bedroom, directed by Todd Field

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by Peter Jackson

Moulin Rouge!, directed by Baz Luhrmann

2003

Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall

“Chicago,” directed by Rob Marshall, is a dazzling and critically acclaimed film adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical of the same name. Released in 2002, the movie is set in the roaring 1920s and follows the story of two murderesses, Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger), who are both on death row in Chicago’s Cook County Jail. The film also stars Richard Gere as the charismatic and shrewd lawyer, Billy Flynn.

Gangs of New York, directed by Martin Scorsese

The Hours, directed by Stephen Daldry

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, directed by Peter Jackson

The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski

2004

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is an epic film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the novel of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is the third and final chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, directed by Peter Weir

Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood

Seabiscuit, directed by Gary Ross

2005

Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood

“Million Dollar Baby” is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood. The film is based on a collection of short stories from the book “Rope Burns: Stories From the Corner” by F.X. Toole. It stars Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald, a determined young woman who aspires to become a professional boxer, and Clint Eastwood as Frankie Dunn, an experienced but reluctant boxing trainer who eventually becomes her mentor.

The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese

Finding Neverland, directed by Marc Forster

Ray, directed by Taylor Hackford

Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne

2006

Crash, directed by Paul Haggis

“Crash,” directed by Paul Haggis, is a thought-provoking and intense film that delves into the complexities of race, prejudice, and human interaction in contemporary Los Angeles. Released in 2004, this multi-layered drama weaves together multiple storylines, each exploring the collision of individuals from different racial and social backgrounds.

Brokeback Mountain, directed by Ang Lee

Capote, directed by Bennett Miller

Good Night, and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney

Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg

2007

The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese

“The Departed,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is a gripping crime thriller that delves into the gritty underworld of organized crime and police corruption in Boston. Released in 2006, the film boasts an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen.

Babel, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Letters from Iwo Jima, directed by Clint Eastwood

Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears

2008

No Country for Old Men, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

“No Country for Old Men” is a 2007 neo-Western thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel of the same name. The story is set in West Texas in the early 1980s and follows the intertwining lives of three main characters: Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell.

Atonement, directed by Joe Wright

Juno, directed by Jason Reitman

Michael Clayton, directed by Tony Gilroy

There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

2009

Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle

“Slumdog Millionaire,” directed by Danny Boyle, is a captivating and emotionally charged film that takes the audience on a journey through the life of Jamal Malik, a young man from the slums of Mumbai. The movie skillfully weaves together elements of drama, romance, and suspense as it tells the story of Jamal’s extraordinary life and his unexpected success on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher

Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard

Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant

The Reader, directed by Stephen Daldry

2010

The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow

“The Hurt Locker” is a gripping war film directed by Kathryn Bigelow that delves into the intense and perilous world of bomb disposal units in the Iraq War. Released in 2008, the film offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of the psychological and physical toll experienced by soldiers serving in this high-stakes and dangerous role.

Avatar, directed by James Cameron

District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp

An Education, directed by Lone Scherfig

Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino

2011

The King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper

“The King’s Speech,” directed by Tom Hooper, is a compelling historical drama that delves into the personal struggles of King George VI as he grapples with a debilitating speech impediment. The film is set against the backdrop of pre-World War II Britain and provides an intimate portrayal of the monarch’s journey to overcome his stammer with the help of an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle

Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky

The Fighter, directed by David O. Russell

Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan

2012

The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius

“The Artist” is a 2011 French romantic comedy-drama film directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932, the film pays homage to the silent film era, telling the story of a silent movie star whose career declines as the “talkies” emerge.

The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne

Extremely Loud Incredibly Close, directed by Stephen Daldry

The Help, directed by Tate Taylor

Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen

Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller

The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick

War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg

2013

Argo, directed by Ben Affleck

“Argo” is a historical thriller directed by Ben Affleck, released in 2012. The film is based on the true story of the “Canadian Caper,” which took place during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-1981. The movie skillfully combines elements of political intrigue, tension, and human drama to create a gripping narrative.

Amour, directed by Michael Haneke

Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin

Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino

Les Misérables, directed by Tom Hooper

Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee

Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg

Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell

Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow

2014

12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen

“12 Years a Slave,” directed by Steve McQueen, is a powerful and poignant film that delves into the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War United States. The film is an adaptation of Northup’s 1853 memoir of the same name and offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of the brutality and dehumanization endured by slaves in the antebellum South.

American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell

Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass

Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Her, directed by Spike Jonze

Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne

Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese

2015

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is a 2014 black comedy-drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The movie is known for its unique and innovative storytelling, as well as its exploration of the blurred lines between reality and fantasy. It stars Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor famous for portraying the iconic superhero Birdman in a series of blockbuster films.

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood

Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater

The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum

Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay

The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh

Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle

2016

Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy

“Spotlight” is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy. The movie tells the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into the widespread child sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. The film’s title refers to the investigative journalism team at the Boston Globe, known as “Spotlight,” which delves deep into the systemic cover-up of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in Boston.

The Big Short, directed by Adam McKay

Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg

Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley

Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller

The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott

The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson

2017

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins

“Moonlight” is a critically acclaimed film directed by Barry Jenkins that delves into the life of a young African American man named Chiron as he navigates his identity, sexuality, and place in the world. The movie is divided into three acts, each focusing on a different stage of Chiron’s life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve

Fences, directed by Denzel Washington

Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson

Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie

Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi

La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle

Lion, directed by Garth Davis

Manchester by the Sea, directed by Kenneth Lonergan

2018

The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro

“The Shape of Water” is a 2017 fantasy drama film directed by the renowned Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Set in the early 1960s during the Cold War era, the story revolves around Elisa Esposito, a mute woman who works as a cleaning lady at a high-security government laboratory. Played by Sally Hawkins, Elisa leads a rather isolated life, finding solace in her friendship with her co-worker Zelda, portrayed by Octavia Spencer.

Call Me by Your Name, directed by Luca Guadagnino

Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright

Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan

Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele

Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig

Phantom Thread, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, directed by Martin McDonagh

2019

Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly

“Green Book” is a 2018 film directed by Peter Farrelly that tells the story of an unlikely friendship between two men from different backgrounds during a time of racial segregation in the United States. The movie is based on the true story of African-American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and his Italian-American driver and bodyguard Tony Vallelonga, also known as Tony Lip.

BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee

Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Bryan Singer

The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

A Star Is Born, directed by Bradley Cooper

Vice, directed by Adam McKay

2020

Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho

“Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a captivating and thought-provoking film that delves into the complexities of social class, human relationships, and the inherent struggles within society. Released in 2019, this South Korean masterpiece has garnered widespread acclaim, earning numerous accolades including the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

1917, directed by Sam Mendes

Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold

The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese

Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips

Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig

Marriage Story, directed by Noah Baumbach

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, directed by Quentin Tarantino

2021
Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao

“Nomadland,” directed by Chloé Zhao, is a poignant and visually stunning film that delves into the life of modern-day nomads in America. Released in 2020, the film is based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book of the same name and stars Frances McDormand in the lead role. The movie beautifully captures the essence of the American landscape while exploring themes of loss, resilience, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing world.

The Trial of the Chicago 7, directed by Aaron Sorkin

Promising Young Woman, directed by Emerald Fennell

Judas and the Black Messiah, directed by Shaka King

Mank, directed by David Fincher

The Father, directed by Florian Zeller

Minari, directed by Lee Isaac Chung

Sound of Metal, directed by Darius Marder

2022

CODA, directed by Sian Heder

“CODA,” directed by Sian Heder, is a poignant and heartfelt coming-of-age drama that delves into the life of Ruby Rossi, a child of deaf adults (CODA). The film beautifully captures the complexities of growing up as the only hearing member in a deaf family, offering a unique perspective on the challenges and joys of navigating two different worlds.

Belfast, directed by Kenneth Branagh

Don’t Look Up, directed by Adam McKay

Drive My Car, directed by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi

Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve

The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion

Licorice Pizza, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Nightmare Alley, directed by Guillermo del Toro

King Richard, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green

West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg

2023

Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a mind-bending, genre-blending film directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels. The movie takes audiences on a wild, metaphysical journey that seamlessly weaves together elements of science fiction, action, comedy, and drama.

All Quiet on the Western Front, directed by Edward Berger

Avatar: The Way of Water, directed by James Cameron

The Banshees of Inisherin, directed by Martin McDonagh

Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann

The Fabelmans, directed by Steven Spielberg

Tár, directed by Todd Field

Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Joseph Kosinski

Triangle of Sadness, directed by Ruben Östlund

Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley

2024

American Fiction, directed by Cord Jefferson

Anatomy of a Fall, directed by Justine Triet

Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig

The Holdovers, directed by Alexander Payne

Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese

Maestro, directed by Bradley Cooper

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan

Past Lives, directed by Celine Song

Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

The Zone of Interest, directed by Jonathan Glazer

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