Best and Worst Best Pictures

Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a golden statue to the film representing cinema’s best.

And every year, Rotten Tomatoes revisits every Best Picture winner of Oscars past — from the classics (Casablanca) to the dubious selections (The Greatest Show on Earth) — sorting them by the strict and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science. How does this year’s winner, Moonlight, stack up against the competition? How many of the Best Picture winners have you seen? Where do your favorites rank?
 

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 37.777%
Critics Consensus: The Broadway Melody is interesting as an example of an early Hollywood musical, but otherwise, it's essentially bereft of appeal for modern audiences.
Synopsis: This landmark MGM backstage musical of the early sound era about broken dreams on the Great White Way features a... [More]
Directed By: Harry Beaumont

#89
Adjusted Score: 48.709%
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Show on Earth is melodramatic, short on plot, excessively lengthy and bogged down with clichés, but not without a certain innocent charm.
Synopsis: Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth is a lavish tribute to circuses, featuring three intertwining plotlines concerning romance... [More]
Directed By: Cecil B. DeMille

#88

Cimarron (1931)
53%

#88
Adjusted Score: 54.71%
Critics Consensus: Cimarron is supported by a strong performance from Irene Dunne, but uneven in basically every other regard, and riddled with potentially offensive stereotypes.
Synopsis: Cimarron was the first Western to win the Oscar for Best Picture--and, until Dances with Wolves in 1990, the only... [More]
Directed By: Wesley Ruggles

#87

Out of Africa (1985)
56%

#87
Adjusted Score: 59.043%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#86

Cavalcade (1933)
59%

#86
Adjusted Score: 62.451%
Critics Consensus: Though solidly acted and pleasant to look at, Cavalcade lacks cohesion, and sacrifices true emotion for mawkishness.
Synopsis: Winner of Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and "Interior Design," this is a period piece with excellent ambiance. Tracing... [More]
Directed By: Frank Lloyd

#85
#85
Adjusted Score: 69.177%
Critics Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.
Synopsis: In this biopic, William Powell stars as the titular theatrical impresario, whose show business empire begins when he stage manages... [More]
Directed By: Robert Z. Leonard

#84

Forrest Gump (1994)
72%

#84
Adjusted Score: 77.666%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: "Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance) as he discusses his... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#83
Adjusted Score: 77.872%
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably shallow, but its cheerful lack of pretense -- as well as its grand scale and star-stuffed cast -- help make Around the World in 80 Days charmingly light-hearted entertainment.
Synopsis: Razzle-dazzle showman Michael Todd hocked everything he had to make this spectacular presentation of Jules Verne's 1872 novel Around the... [More]
Directed By: Michael Anderson

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 79.924%
Critics Consensus: Well-written, well-meaning and solidly acted, The Life of Emile Zola film may ultimately be more earnest than dramatically engaging.
Synopsis: This biographical film opens with French novelist Emile Zola starving in a Parisian garret. Each time Zola attempts to write... [More]

#81

Gigi (1958)
77%

#81
Adjusted Score: 80.734%
Critics Consensus: It may not be one of Vincente Minnelli's best, but the charming and flawlessly acted Gigi still offers enough visual and musical treats to satisfy.
Synopsis: Leslie Caron plays Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be... [More]
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli

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  • Lucas Lima Batista Lima

    76% for Gladiator is inadimissible

    • You Got Caged

      Yep, cuz it deserved something less than 30%.

      • HurricaneJedi

        Seriously? It is a great film with Ridley Scott as his finest. Your comment is invalid as well because you didn’t even take the time to write “because”. I know we are on the Internet and all but please try.

        • You Got Caged

          Simple because it’s the most generic, uncompelling, and weak movie I’ve watched. Everyone with its own opinion though.

          • HurricaneJedi

            I really do love that, how we can all have such differing opinions. What is great is that neither of us is wrong because it is subjective. I just re read my comment and it was quite a dickish comment, sorry about that. I must have been in a bad mood because trying to correct someone’s grammar does not make their argument wrong. What is your favourite Tarintino film?

          • You Got Caged

            Yep, I agree – it’s very nice. Sometimes, I read a few commentaries like “who said that the Film X is better is wrong, the Film Y is better”. I mean, really?
            But, no worries, man, I don’t think that your first commentary was that dickish.
            Btw, you have such a nice question – ask me what waa my favorite movie by him before December, and his answer is “Pulp Fiction”. Ask me what’s my favorite movie by him now, and I’ll not simply say “Movie X”, but that “The Hateful Eight” changed everything.
            Before watching H8 on the theaters, I’ve re-watched his entire body of work (only in directio). From Reservoir Dogs to Django. Well, Kill Bill: Volume 1, Reservoir Dogs, and Django Unchained were his weakest, so they’re not on my little contest.
            But…Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Inglourious Basterds, and The Hateful Eight were all absolute masterpieces of filmmaking. Basterds get out because it was the lesser Tarantino in my opinion.
            So, you’ll get four. All of them on my top 11. When I’ve first watched H8, it joined my top 10, the second time, it was ranked in the #20, and in the third, it reached his highest ranking.
            I’ll tell you, Kill Bill 2 is the one outside of my top 10, so yea.
            Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Hateful 8…
            I love all of them pretty equally. They’re all on my top 10. But, Jackie is 10. It’s awesome and all, a major Tarantino movie. But it isn’t considerable as brilliant as Pulp or H8, so you know what.
            Btw, H8 is my second FAVORITE movie of all time, behind…..John Carpenter’s The Thing!
            So, H8 is my favorite Tarantino – in my opinion, it’s just a tiny bit better than anything else. It was the only one that creeped me out. The soundtrack is pure brilliance – it really works, and in my opinion, the film couldn’t be the same without it. And acting is fine – JJ Leigh gave me nightmares, she’s brilliant! And the twist…so unexpected! Loved it. A 10/10 without a shadow of a doubt.

          • HurricaneJedi

            First off, thanks for the essay. That must have taken a lot of time and thought. I myself loved H8 eight but it isn’t my favourite. My top three Tarintino would be Pulp fiction, Reservoir dogs (I know it is one of the “weaker” ones to you which is cool. Finally Inglorious Basterds. That opening scene is incredible, the dialogue and the tension you feel. How many people could create such atmosphere with two actors and a kitchen? I love Dogs because of something similar. It has what 3 major scenes (car/diner/warehouse although I might be wrong, been a while since I have seen it)

            As you said, H8 eight had an amazing soundtrack and in its own right was another character really ( well I thought so) I loved JJ leigh as well. She was menacing and that twist was great. Have you seen ‘True Romance’ I am sure you have being a Tarintino fan (if you are luckily enough to have not seen it then you are in for a treat, he wrote it) I hear his next project is going to be in Australia doing a Bonny/Clyde type movie which could be awesome. My only problem with H8 eight was Zoe Bell’s character. being a fellow Kiwi I felt it was a bit forced. Her accent stuck out so much and if this was 1870ish then why would A. A NZer be in America when we were a frontier our selves and B. Her accent was so strong, I knew she was a stunt actress and I thought she was not a good actress. She was so boisterous and upbeat where everyone else was so grounded and miserable. Perhaps he did that on purpose for some contrast but I felt it was not needed. But anyway.

            I am currently on a bit of a Film journey at the moment. I decided that I had not seen enough classic movies and I wanted to understand more about what influenced todays film makers and just see some great movies that people recommended to me. So I bought lots of old DVD’s and I am loving it. I just watched ‘Cool Hand Luke’ which has soared into my favourite movies list. The Great Escape was another I just watched which was awesome as well. Plenty more but I won’t go through as you get the picture.

            I do dislike when I hear people say ‘Oh movies are just not as good as they once were’ I think that is bonkers. So many old movies are so dated. Which is fine, a lot of movies now will be dated in 20-30 years (or sooner) Some people are just too pretentious about it,

            I just realised I wrote War and peace, sorry. haha

            Where are you from?

          • You Got Caged

            Hey man, no worries haha, at least it wasn’t Crime and Punishment.
            Btw, I can see what you’re meant for, about The Basterds.
            I’m was bit annoyed by reading subtitles, but it crafted perfectly by Tarantino. And then you’ll get Walken proof why he’s a good actor. Btw, I also thought that Tarantino know how to build tension – that milk scene, haha.
            The Basterds is a bit ruined by subtitles, but it worked perfectly. Pitt gives his best, as well as Roth.

            Btw, I’ve watched True Romance, but it’s definitely lesser Tarantino Imo. Still a little awesome flick though…
            Tbh, I’m not all that good on “accent” thing. But, anyways, I know what you’re meant for! I’ll be honest, and say that I have no main problem with Zoe, since her got a minor role in the film, and it’s admittedly on the weakest part of it itself. She’s was a bit really bad though, whereas everyone else is just amazing in their roles.

            Btw, did you’ve watched The Magnificent Seven, The Searchers, The Thing, Stagecoach, Seven Samurai, or the Dollars Trilogy? I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy them! Similar to The Great Escape are “Escape from Alcatraz”, “Papillon”, and “Escape from New York”. They’re classics, and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy them.

            Just in coincidence, I’m from New Zealand, haha. The good old Wellington.
            What about you?

          • HurricaneJedi

            I am from Dunedin. Seen all those. Not seen the Searches but the rest I have. Seven Samurai is one of my favourites. Escape from New York is Kurt as his finest. I don’t mind subtitles at all and I think it would be weird if the Germans spoke in English.

            Sicario was my favourite film from last year followed by Room. Have you seen them?

          • You Got Caged

            Hey man, nice city. Well, as NZ is a very little country, I’ve already been there!
            Btw, yes, that could be strange, but ya know, I’m just not all that good into reading while someone is talking hahaha.

            Yep, I’ve seen Sicario and Room. Gotta love Brolin and Larson.
            Both are on my top 10. Room is actually #2.
            It’s only behind The Hateful Eight. It was undoubtedly a fantastic movie with fantastic performances!

            What are your thoughts on RT scores?
            Imo, there are low ones (H8 – 75%, Fight Club – 79%, The Thing – 80%), and there are really high ones (The Matrix – 87%, The Avengers – 92%).

          • HurricaneJedi

            Well I think the key thing to remember with RT is it is a gauge whether critics liked the movie enough to be 6/10 at least. That is key, Fight club for example can be a bit polarizing and it isn’t everyone cup of tea. The Avengers however is a mass audience wide appeal. So Avengers having a higher score on RT does not necessarily mean it is better, just more critics gave it 6/10. The ones who did love Fight Club may have ranked it higher overall. You know what I mean?

            That all being said, I love The Avengers. I am quite a comic book enthusiast and have been collecting for years. The Matrix I also love as it came out when I was younger so I have that nostalgic attachment to it because it transports me back to that time.
            I was really gutted Deakins did not win best cinematography for Sicario. The Revenant was beautifully shot for sure, but IMO just not as good.

            The Thing is a great movie and it is a rare movie where the remake is excellent as well. Some say better, I have only seen each once so am undecided. (so far apart as well).

            Ill put my top ten list here for ya.

            1. Sicario

            2. Room

            3. Star Wars

            4. Kingsman

            5. Mad Max

            6. Dope

            7. The Hateful Eight (don’t be angry) haha

            8. Ex Machina

            9. Spotlight

            10. Creed

            Honestly, I think 2015 was one of the best years for movies in ages. I could easily put any of these movies higher on my list and there are other movies that I was so upset I had to leave off. I could easily do a top 20 if not more.

            So here are my honourable mentions of movies I also really liked/loved

            The Martian, Mission Impossible, Inside out, Ant Man, Mississipi grind, The Big Short,Bridge of spies, Ant man, Inside out, Jurassic World (had fun with it but would be on the lower end of the years), Avengers 2, Trainwreck, The night before, Straight outta Compton, The Revenant.

            I am sure I am forgetting a couple of others and there are a couple I have not seen yet.

            I really did love The Hateful Eight, I just found myself liking the films above more. It was hard to push Star Wars down to three, I am sure you can understand that given my username. haha

      • Lucas Lima Batista Lima

        Generic??? And the weakest movie you ever watched?
        Gladiator (2000) It is the Last true Epic that Hollywood made about the story of Rome.

        The whole film is a Masterpiece. From Development to Conclusion, From the Writing to Directing, From Directing to Acting, From the cinematography to Special Effects. Summing up From the Beginning to the End

        Is one of Ridley Scott best achievement until then, I think the best of the 2000’s decade even better than American Gangster, where a generic movie has so brilliant screenplay, indicated in that category at the Oscars.

        Most of the people not disagree, of the Gladiator (2000) having won the Oscar in the category of Best Movie.

        The Battle in the beggining of the movie is extremely well coreographed, as well as the fight in the Coliseum, and in the other arenas, and the other fights of Maximus, and the last fight between Maximus and Commodus is an excellent entertainment, and the abundance of great performances Russel Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou and Connie Nielsen.

        For all that Yep, cuz it deserved something more than 85%. But like you said is my opinion

  • schmikel

    Argo??? at number 6???? “Vivid attention to detail” According to who? Gimme a break.
    The film is rife with inaccuracies and gross negligent revisionist history.
    How is it even on this list?It should be in its own category as worst picture to ever be nominated and win best picture in the history of film.

    • rickbaurer

      I agree.

    • thiago

      I hate Argo too. Argo is just a self fellation of the cinematography industry that really think they save the world. Team America is perfect to describe Argo and Ben Affleck.

      • Jack Dee

        Zippy analysis, skippy. You and every other donkey online.

        • DJ EQUIPMENT

          thiago’s thesis that Team America perfectly describes Ben Affleck, is fun, Jack. Your little hippy-dippy-ippy rhyme wasn’t fun. it was a fun-killer. just like Argo.

      • Neil

        “cinematography industry” lol….

    • Philip Golden

      I don’t share the hatred, but it certainly isn’t better than The Godfather, Part 2 (!)

  • BITW44

    The Hurt Locker at 9 is just staring back at me. No way.

    • rickbaurer

      Agree. Should not have even won an award.

      • Axe Tron

        Couldn’t agree more, the movie had a phony reality “verite” shot like reality TV when we all know it wasn’t real. Awful. I never got why it was so highly praised and always thought obscenely over-rated! “Zero Dark Thirty” on the other hand was excellent and maybe the best of that year.

    • Alternative3

      For me, it was the best war movie ever.

    • winomaster

      Agree

  • You Got Caged

    Shakespeare in Love over Rocky???

    • Danielle Hoveland

      I would object to it being that high period, but that’s probably because I’m still bitter about the Saving Private Ryan thing.

    • Unifer

      Shakespeare in Love on the list at all???

  • thiago

    I really think that recent movies have too much high positions in this list.

    All About Eve is also my favorite best picture winner – although i also love Sunset Boulevard and i can´t say whom is better (gosh, 1950 was a great year.) But this list is so wrong in so many ways – Argo, Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave, The Hurt Locker better than ANNIE HALL, Amadeus, One Flew, The Godfather II, ON THE WATERFRONT??? The King Speech is 22 on list but is probably the WORST best picture winner (not even Around the World in 80 Days and The Greatest Show, two movies that i really hate, are so bad as the pretentious, zoom-fetish King Speech). And the most part of recent movies are in good position over a lot of great classics.

  • World’s Finest Comments

    “Crash should be a lot higher.”
    -Nobody

    • Philip Golden

      horrible film.

    • Unifer

      I disagree. It should be much higher on this list where the truly awful films are.

  • Vinnie_A_L

    Shouldn’t Tom Hanks be listed as starring in Forrest Gump?

  • Grant Sansom-Sherwill

    Loving the adjusted (Bayesian) scores being over 100%…

  • You lost me at The Artist being #15

    • Philip Golden

      Hated it. Turned it off. Nauseating treacle.

    • rickbaurer

      Another film that didn’t deserve an Oscar. Nowhere near as good as many silent films made in the silent film era.

  • Bob F

    Did anyone even see Spotlight? Not a subject matter I want to have in front of me for 2 hours.

  • winomaster

    I get so sick of having to look at political correctness in these things. And to put this years “Spotlight” at #12 is absurd. Ten years from now, this film will not be making anyone’s’ top list.

    • Axe Tron

      That’s for sure! It is a mediocre film made very simply and plainly about important content. Had a good writer/director done the same story, it could have been a devastatingly effective movie. It’s a pedestrian bore with absolutely blown emotional opportunity. So what does this say? It says critics are worthless sheep who can be counted on to champion and over-rate based purely on subject matter and intent (which is misleading to audiences, poor advisement of time and finances, and NOT the critic’s job to review based on content alone). They are complete idiots who cannot make films themselves and why they are critics. And it also says that this whole site is dumb and a bunch of nonsense as well.

  • Mark

    What was 49 again? Does dating movies, or saying their dated, really mean ‘they don’t think right’. This is not what I’d say about a movie. All About Eve is “timeless”, agreed. But, why not Midnight Cowboy? Is it too 60’s, and if so is All About Eve too 50’s?

  • Philip Golden

    Slumdog Millionaire was clearly a case of mass hypnosis. I was screaming obscenities at the screen by the end. What a crap film.

    • rickbaurer

      Yep, Slumdog Millionaire was an absolute crock of crap.

  • Feli Mejía

    This list is laughable.. Argo, The Artist, The King’s speech better than Schindler’s list?? Please!!

    • HAbingbing

      Well, I think that Donald Trump’s Rush Limbaugh is better than Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Limbaugh. Same difference.

  • Jacob Russell

    This is a great for reminding me why I can’t stand the Oscar’s.

  • dennis williams

    The article should have been titled Best Picture winners that no one gave a second thought about and had no shelf life. Crash, the Artist, Spotlight, 12 Years A Slave, Argo, Slumdog Millionaire, Birdman, Ordinary People, Million Dollar Baby.

    At least some of the older films that won that have not held up as well were huge in their day.

    Birdman had a gross of 42 million. Fairly large cast. Ask who won in 2015, no one remembers. Crash had 55 but most everyone in LA was either in it or knew someone who was. Won the award, no one watches it now.

    • HAbingbing

      “Crash” remains quite popular on NetFlix. Near the top for its period.

  • Barbara Curtis

    The Hurt Locker, Spotlight, Argo, 12 Years a Slave – there is a definite slant here towards the newer pictures. These are solid movies but will never be considered “classics” in the same way as others far down the list.

    • Axe Tron

      You’re absolutely right, this list is foolish nonsense. That’s because this site and its editors are incompetent and shouldn’t be doing this.

  • Unifer

    This entire list is just nonsense. It only highlights what a poor tool the Tomatometer is.

  • Axe Tron

    You stupid jackasses! This is completely absurd! You cannot have over 100%! You can’t even have near 100% as it is utterly faulty. All of the films received some negative reviews for one thing, and for another the most positive reviews still don’t go all the way to perfect. The dumb editors here need to get FIRED and go back and get an education instead of spewing misinformation that is so dopey it’s embarrassing. You are UNFIT to do any kind of statistical analysis dopes!

  • blackacidlizzard

    75% for Crash? That piece of shit Oprah-platitude retard-superiority-complex preachy “poor little darkies who been done wrong by society” trite crap? Cronenberg’s Crash should be nominated for picture of the millennium before this pile of dog vomit is given a single positive review.

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