All 92 Best Picture Winners, Ranked
Every year, after the fracas of awards season and studio campaigning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out the ultimate prize in cinema, the explicit recommendation that if you’re only going to watch one movie, make it the one we picked. We’re talking the Oscar for Best Picture. Less than 100 of these have been handed out through the centuries. But ever wonder how the movies of this exclusive golden club would fare against each other?
Welcome to our countdown of every Best Picture winner ever, from the Certified Fresh (Casablanca, Schindler’s List, Argo, Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King…most of them, fortunately), the kinda Fresh (Out of Africa, Forrest Gump), to the ‘HUH? HOW?’ Rottens (The Broadway Melody, Cimarron). We took ’em all and then ranked by Adjusted Tomatometer, which takes into account factors like year of release and number of reviews.
And now, as we open the red envelope, the award for most awesomely convenient Oscars movie guide goes to…Rotten Tomatoes, for All 92 Best Picture Winners, Ranked! Thank you, thank you, too kind, and yes, we do have an acceptance speech ready.
Adjusted Score: 37.685%
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.
This landmark MGM backstage musical of the early sound era about broken dreams on the Great White Way features a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50.036%
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.
Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth is a lavish tribute to circuses, featuring three intertwining plotlines concerning romance... [More]
Adjusted Score: 55.137%
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.
Cimarron was the first Western to win the Oscar for Best Picture--and, until Dances with Wolves in 1990, the only... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63.374%
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.
Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62.31%
Critics Consensus: Though solidly acted and pleasant to look at, Cavalcade lacks cohesion, and sacrifices true emotion for mawkishness.
Winner of Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and "Interior Design," this is a period piece with excellent ambiance. Tracing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68.754%
Critics Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.
In this biopic, William Powell stars as the titular theatrical impresario, whose show business empire begins when he stage manages... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.341%
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.
Razzle-dazzle showman Michael Todd hocked everything he had to make this spectacular presentation of Jules Verne's 1872 novel Around the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78.305%
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.
"Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance) as he discusses his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.627%
Critics Consensus: A raw and unsettling morality piece on modern angst and urban disconnect, Crash examines the dangers of bigotry and xenophobia in the lives of interconnected Angelenos.
Issues of race and gender cause a group of strangers in Los Angeles to physically and emotionally collide in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81.025%
Critics Consensus: Well-written, well-meaning and solidly acted, The Life of Emile Zola film may ultimately be more earnest than dramatically engaging.
This biographical film opens with French novelist Emile Zola starving in a Parisian garret. Each time Zola attempts to write... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81.873%
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Mel Gibson, long-time heartthrob of the silver screen, came into his own as a director with Braveheart, an account of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82.072%
Critics Consensus: Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald are eminently likable, and film is pleasantly sentimental, but Going My Way suffers from a surplus of sweetness.
It took some doing to persuade the staunchly Catholic Bing Crosby to play a happy-go-lucky priest in Going My Way;... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81.106%
Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.
From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experiences it all. A mathematical genius,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.074%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.464%
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.
Leslie Caron plays Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.431%
Critics Consensus: It occasionally fails to live up to its subject matter -- and is perhaps an 'important' film more than a 'great' one -- but the performances from Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire are superb.
Adapted by Moss Hart from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson, this film stars Gregory Peck as recently widowed journalist... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85.043%
Critics Consensus: It has aged somewhat awkwardly, but the performances are inspired, the songs are memorable, and the film is undeniably influential.
Inspired by Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, this film version of the musical hit does a masterful job of telling... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.585%
Critics Consensus: Solid cinematography and enjoyable performances from Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw add a spark to this deliberately paced adaptation of the Robert Bolt play.
Adapted by Robert Bolt and Constance Willis from Bolt's hit stage play, A Man for All Seasons stars Paul Scofield,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.548%
Critics Consensus: Warm and smartly paced, and boasting impeccable performances from Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry, Driving Miss Daisy affectionately covers the 25-year relationship between a wealthy,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87.217%
Critics Consensus: A grand, sweeping epic with inarguably noble intentions and arresting cinematography, but one whose center, arguably, is not as weighty as it should be.
A historical drama about the relationship between a Civil War soldier and a band of Sioux Indians, Kevin Costner's directorial... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.361%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire is the internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning drama of two very different men who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.47%
Critics Consensus: A frantic, irreverent adaptation of the novel, bolstered by Albert Finney's courageous performance and arresting visuals.
This bawdy, funny adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel follows Tom Jones, a country boy who becomes one of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.739%
Critics Consensus: Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving.
Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this award-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel about a doomed and tragic romance set against... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91.212%
Critics Consensus: Director Richard Attenborough is typically sympathetic and sure-handed, but it's Ben Kingsley's magnetic performance that acts as the linchpin for this sprawling, lengthy biopic.
It was Richard Attenborough's lifelong dream to bring the life story of Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91.669%
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Terms of Endearment covers three decades in the lives of widow Aurora Greenaway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.65%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less a true film than a series of star-studded vignettes, Grand Hotel still remains an entertaining look back at a bygone Hollywood era.
Based on Vicki Baum's novel and produced by Irving Thalberg, this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.429%
Critics Consensus: A rousing and energetic adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago succeeds on the level pure spectacle, but provides a surprising level of depth and humor as well.
A starry-eyed would-be star discovers just how far the notion that "there's no such thing as bad publicity" can go... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.579%
Critics Consensus: Uneven, but in terms of epic scope and grand spectacle, Ben-Hur still ranks among Hollywood's finest examples of pure entertainment.
Record-breaking winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Score, this epic masterpiece stars Charlton Heston... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.481%
Critics Consensus: Green Book takes audiences on a surprisingly smooth ride through potentially bumpy subject matter, fueled by Peter Farrelly's deft touch and a pair of well-matched leads.
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.113%
Critics Consensus: Informed by director Oliver Stone's personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.
Oliver Stone's autobiographical Vietnam War film stars Charlie Sheen as Chris Taylor, a neophyte soldier who finds himself caught in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.124%
Critics Consensus: Unapologetically sweet and maybe even a little corny, The Sound of Music will win over all but the most cynical filmgoers with its classic songs and irresistible warmth.
One of the most popular movie musicals of all time, The Sound of Music is based on the true story... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.654%
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her advertising-art-director husband Michael (Dustin Hoffman). Though he is obviously insensitive to everyone's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.782%
Critics Consensus: This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson's direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.
Self-centered, avaricious Californian Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is informed that his long-estranged father has died. Expecting at least a portion... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.961%
Critics Consensus: Though shot through with bitterness and sorrow, Robert Redford's directorial debut is absorbing and well-acted.
In this film, teenager Timothy Hutton lives under a cloud of guilt after his brother drowns while trying to rescue... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.447%
Critics Consensus: An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.
As Academy Award-winning films go, Mrs. Miniver has not weathered the years all that well. This prettified, idealized view of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.918%
Critics Consensus: A well-executed labor of love from star and director Laurence Olivier, Hamlet not only proved that Shakespeare could be successfully adapted to the big screen, it paved the way for further cinematic interpretations.
Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.39%
Critics Consensus: Subsequent war epics may have borrowed heavily from the original Best Picture winner, but they've all lacked Clara Bow's luminous screen presence and William Wellman's deft direction.
Wings, the first feature film to win an Academy Award, tends to disappoint a little when seen today. Too much... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.489%
Critics Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.
A biting, penetrating and often humorous take on contemporary life in suburban America, Lester Burnham becomes intrigued by a young... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.861%
Critics Consensus: Though it perhaps strays into overly maudlin territory, this working-class drama is saved by a solid cast and director John Ford's unmistakeable style.
Spanning 50 years, director John Ford's How Green Was My Valley revolves around the life of the Morgans, a Welsh... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.299%
Critics Consensus: It's predictably uplifting fare from Frank Capra, perhaps the most consciously uplifting of all great American directors -- but thanks to immensely appealing performances and a nimble script, You Can't Take It With You is hard not to love.
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play +You Can't Take It With You was transformed into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.334%
Critics Consensus: While decidedly imperfect, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic is still a feast for the eyes.
The Last Emperor is the true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the last ruler of the Chinese Ching Dynasty. Told... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98.071%
Critics Consensus: John Schlesinger's gritty, unrelentingly bleak look at the seedy underbelly of urban American life is undeniably disturbing, but Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's performances make it difficult to turn away.
A con man and a Texas hustler try to survive on the tough streets of New York.... [More]