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Every Best Picture Oscar Winner Ranked Best To Worst

by The Playlist Staff
February 25, 2014 3:48 PM
  • |
Every Best Picture Oscar Winner Ranked Worst To Best: Part 2

This weekend, after months of frantic build-up, prognostication and guesswork, the 86th Academy Awards will take place. Of course, the main event will be awarding Best Picture (or, as the category was referred to back in the day, Outstanding Picture), and no matter who takes the prize, the winner joins a roster of films that veer from solid-gold classics to what-on-earth-were-the-Academy-thinking, and everything in between.

With Sunday's Oscars fast approaching, we're ranking every one of the 85 Academy Award Best/Outstanding Picture winners to date, from the very worst to the very best. It's been an involved, highly unscientific procedure mostly involving a lot of shouting and throwing objects in the Playlist office, but we've arrived at a ranking that we think is something close to definitive. Today, you can check out the first part, from number 85 to number 41, and check back tomorrow for the rest. The .01% of our readership who thinks we’ve got this absolutely right, and the 99.99% who’ll inevitably think we’re insanely wrong on every possible level, are welcome to chime in in the comments section below.

85. "The Greatest Show On Earth" (1952)
A spectacular (not least when it comes to the impressive train crash sequence) but inert and insubstantial three-hour Cecil B. DeMille circus drama. Soapier than an all-day "Days Of Our Lives" marathon, and not all that much better acted, with the possible exception of Jimmy Stewart's tragic clown.

84. “The Broadway Melody” (1929)
The first talkie to win Best Picture, and the first musical, has its place in the history books, but even the most determined Oscar completist will find it hard to power through the creaky acting, dull staging and toxic sexual politics being passed off as frothy fun here. Much less spectacular than the other MGM musicals that followed. (Trivia: there was also a version that was Technicolor in parts that has apparently been lost.)

83. "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)
The first film since 1932 to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination, this mild-mannered drama about the friendship between an elderly Jewish lady and her black chauffeur is well-acted and well-meaning, but rightly became a byword for the Academy picking the bland over the brilliant. It beat "Born On The Fourth Of July," "My Left Foot," "Field Of Dreams" and "Dead Poets Society" that year.

82. "Going My Way" (1944)
The the story of a pioneering young priest being billeted to a troubled parish and the first film to feature Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley character (the other being the superior “The Bells of Saint Mary’s”), your liking for this picture will depend on your tolerance for sentimentality channeled through a Catholic prism and sprinkled with crooning. To add insult, it beat out “Double Indemnity” to the Oscar.

81. "Crash" (2005)
In which Paul Haggis, creator of mountie-out-of-water drama "Due South," explains that Racism Is Bad, but We're All Just People Deep Down Inside. Sentimental, crude, and stuffed with coincidence, it rightly took a lot of heat for beating favorite "Brokeback Mountain," but it would belong in the Hall Of Shame in any year.

80. "Cimarron" (1931)
Irene Dunne
’s debut performance is typically endearing, but most everything else falls flat now, in what was the first Western to take Best Picture (and would remain so for almost 60 years until “Dances With Wolves”). Remade with just as much a lack of luster in 1960, the 1931 version is blighted by leaden scripting and lead Richard Dix’s overacting. The opening Oklahoma land rush scene is still exciting, though.

79. "Out Of Africa" (1985)
A turgid colonial romance, this misfire from Sydney Pollack somehow proved to be an Oscar behemoth. It's hard to work out which is worse: Meryl Streep's mangled vowels, or that it's a movie about Africa that couldn't remotely care about Africans.

78. "Around The World In 80 Days' (1956)
David Niven
stars as Phileas Fogg in this lavish boondoggle of a Jules Verne adaptation which has arguably more interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes than anything that actually made it onto the screen, especially involving impresario producer Michael Todd’s wheeling and dealing to get location approval and the involvement of a massive cast of cameo stars including Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, Frank Sinatra and Edward R. Murrow.

77. "Forrest Gump" (1994)
Tom Hanks
' dim-witted would-be-Zelig takes a sanitized, fairly reactionary tour of the second half of the 20th century in Robert Zemeckis' Capra-aping blockbuster epic. It's occasionally technically inventive, and Hanks is winning, but the film's mostly glib and patronizing.

76. "Cavalcade" (1933)
Based on the Noel Coward play, a large pinch of the salt of historical context is needed to appreciate this dated soap opera now. Detailing three decades of the lives, loves and tragedies of an upper-class London family and their servants, it’s all so terribly terrible, and occasionally unintentionally funny, such as when a central pair are discovered to have been chatting about their future aboard the Titanic.

75. "A Beautiful Mind" (2001)
Takes the remarkable true story of paranoid schizophrenic Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, and sands all the edges off until it feels like so much movie bullshit. Worth watching for Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, but Russell Crowe feels fatally miscast.

74. "The Life Of Emile Zola" (1937)
An early pioneer of the Oscar biopic, the film takes fascinating subject matter (French writer Emile Zola, and his involvement in the Dreyfus affair) and makes the dullest possible version of that story. It's hampered by the studio's refusal to engage with anti-Semitism—the word 'Jew' is never used—though Paul Muni is very good in title role.

73. "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936)
A lavish musical biopic of theatrical impresario Flo Ziegfeld (of the Ziegfeld Follies), this wows in the spectacular song-and-dance sequences, but drags every time the music stops. At three hours long, that leaves about two that are entirely disposable, except for a terrific turn by Best Actress winner Luise Rainer in the first half.

72. "American Beauty" (1999)
A victim, perhaps, of its own overhyping, Sam Mendes’ film is by no means bad, it’s just hard to remember now quite what—aside from Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening’s caustically toxic performances and a terrific, often overlooked Chris Cooper—we all collectively lost our shit over.

71. "Hamlet" (1948)
A handsomely shot but unimaginatively stagy Shakespeare adaptation (the only one to win Best Picture to date), hurt by severe cuts to bring it down to two-and-a-half hours. Director/star Laurence Olivier is a wonder, but few of his co-stars command the screen in the same way.

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  • Rahul Anand | August 1, 2014 8:10 AMReply

    Shit list! You guys really sick.. Such an absurd list! A beautiful mind, that far? Really? Russell Crowe didn't.suit? He was terrific. Godfather deserves to be at the top, along with The Silence Of the Lambs in the top 5!

  • Ellsworth | July 21, 2014 1:24 AMReply

    I love how 'My Fair Lady' is 29 on this list - such a bad film. I guess everyone has an opinion but I would have thought a 'critical list' would have been more, well, informed and insightful

  • Kristina | June 1, 2014 2:39 AMReply

    Gone With the Wind is the longest best picture winner...not Ben-Hur...just saying

  • Dr. Obvious | May 30, 2014 9:28 AMReply

    Overall, a solid job with the list. But to put Grand Hotel as #67 is such a miss, its like ranking Michael Jordan the 67th best basketball player ever.
    Plus, personally Lawrence of Arabia has great scenery / camera work, but the movie is too long and boring for the development of the plot. Shouldn't be in the top 20.

  • aloha | March 17, 2014 7:44 PMReply

    I don't agree with a lot of this, but that is the point. Lists can be a conversational version of a drinking game, and should be taken no more seriously.
    The only real piece of ignorance I found was having Bridge Over the River Kwai described as a "...near-definitive look at Japanese POW camps." Maybe it is for PC reasons, or economic ones (big Japanese market), but there has never been a movie that has come close to depicting the inhumanity and degradation faced by Japanese POW's. This movie is the Holocaust as musical.

  • unfazed. | March 13, 2014 5:38 PMReply

    Whoa, that was a lot of white men.

  • Vince | March 13, 2014 11:01 AMReply

    Forgot to mention that that awful Soap Opera CAVALCADE (Winner for 1933) was chosen over ... the original KING KONG, folks !!!!

  • Ralph | March 12, 2014 7:43 PMReply

    For the love of humanity, it's a list....all of this is subjective geeze!! I could see if FF Coppola or Woody read this and were "outraged" about their place....all you other over emoting trolls chill the F out and/or make your own F'in list.

  • Paulina | March 12, 2014 9:47 AMReply

    All these "lists" suck big time. I just skipped to the last page to see the first five. Let me guess... Playlist staff all dudes who loved the Godfather movies, boy was I right. Now let's make another list: Stupid articles that want to drive internet traffic, ranked worst to the best...

  • clickaway | March 8, 2014 12:04 AMReply

    Let's be honest here, folks. This has zero to do with discussing movies. This is all about driving traffic to the website and getting people to click away. Godfather II as the second greatest movie? Seriously? The "staff" offers no criteria for ranking their picks. It's just "let's make up a list and see what kind of comments we can get going because we need more advertising." Final point: Schindler's LIst is woefully overrated at No. 6. Spielberg sanitized that story so dramatically--the shower scene with the women was unconscionable. Billy Wilder tried to make the movie, but Spielberg wouldn't give up the rights. Sad.

  • Dr. Jane Foxx, PhD. | March 6, 2014 7:03 AMReply

    I recently purchased your 2014 Movie Guide, and have the following comments to make:
    Of the first twenty films I searched for, half of them were nowhere to be found, and the others were dismissed by your "expert" editors as being too long.
    Obviously, what is needed are some women on your staff in order to get some fair and just opinions. I paid eleven dollars for this diarrhea of stilted words from all those constipated male minds. Needless to say, I am grossly disappointed.

    Kindly return the cost of this overrated illegitimacy to Dr. Jane Foxx, PhD. 416 Alberta Drive,
    Commercial Point, OH 43116.

    Thank you, JF

  • MS | March 16, 2014 2:05 AM

    Anyone who tells the world they are a not worth listening to. People confident in their opinions and possessing the proper amount of self-esteem don't need to advertise their credentials. Your annoying feminism speaks volumes about how out of touch you are. Go back to the basement of your women's studies building and keep working on living as an eternal victim.

  • star jonestown | March 10, 2014 6:41 PM

    Re what Dr. Jane said:


    If it is, it's my favorite comment of the year, anywhere. It combines so many reactionary, hot-button sentiments into one old-fashioned, indignant demand for a refund.

    Also, this list was lame: the comments regarding the movies were glib, made by folks who effectively have no qualifications (it's just a bunch of opinions thrown up in the air), and there is no reason to pay attention to it.

  • ParcaMortem | March 5, 2014 6:28 PMReply

    What's the point of making a list of harsh subjective ratings? For any film, there's soneone who loves them, someone who hates them, and opinions by posers. A better list would be of categories of general public perception, e.g. "forgotten", "controversial", "average Oscar bait", "love/hate", "generally enjoyed", "influential", and "classics". That tells a better story.

  • Scotty R | March 5, 2014 4:09 AMReply

    I'm sure glad you guys at The Playlist watch films and don't make em.

  • ian | March 5, 2014 12:56 AMReply

    I'm here for the rants. #blessed

  • Joe Dealey | March 4, 2014 2:06 PMReply

    Ah yes, the Rulers Of All Highness have imparted definitive wisdom regarding MMMOOOOOVIEEESSS, the singular business endeavor where they have absolutely no legitimate input.

    God Bless America.

  • Mark Pope | March 4, 2014 12:25 AMReply

    Correction. The first year of the Academy Awards there was no best picture award category. According to IMDB Wings won for Best Production for its special effects. Sunrise by Murneau won three Oscars including Unique and Artistic Picture and Best Cinematography. Murneau was gay and so unliked that the only person from Hollywood that attended his funeral in 1931 was Greta Garbo, so the fact that some straight men decided a year after the awards to claim Wings actually won best picture and for you to go along with that is ignorant and or revisionist. Sunrise is a masterpiece, and Murneau was the mentor to many of the greatest filmmakers that came after him including Borzage, John Ford, Alan Dwan and Raoul Walsh.

  • Andre Rosa | June 4, 2014 7:30 PM

    Umm, Wings did win best picture, but the award was referred to as Outstanding picture when the Academy was first created. Just saying.

  • Robert | March 3, 2014 8:39 PMReply

    I thought Woody Allen was the comedian, the I found you ranked 'Annie Hall' number 5.
    Now that's funny!

  • Mike O | March 2, 2014 12:45 AMReply

    Thanks for putting American Beauty, one of the finest films ever made, so low on your list. You saved me the trouble of having to finish reading it and the trouble of having to take it seriously AT ALL. I still very much remember why I "lost my shit" over it. Its one of the most richly drawn, bittersweet and life affirming movies ever made!

  • Riley | February 28, 2014 4:22 PMReply

    I'm sorry but there is just no way Titanic is a better movie than the Departed. Titanic IMO is up there as one of the most overrated best picture winners of all time. I will say it is a truly awful movie. Let the hate towards me begin :)

  • Dave from Chicago | February 28, 2014 3:25 PMReply

    I disagree with your assessment that "American Beauty" is "by no means bad". It's beyond bad, it's infuriatingly awful. It's a sneering movie that revels in the most facile stereotypes. It makes the most sophomoric points possible with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. It's beyond pretentious, it's patronizing. It's the kind of eyerollingly awful movie an annoying, privileged undergraduate would make in their first term at Bard while Mommy and Daddy back at home in Winnetka are footing the bills.

  • Dave from New York | March 1, 2014 10:55 PM

    Chicago sucks.

  • Lynette | February 28, 2014 5:07 AMReply

    This list took a lot of guts so I commend you, and everyone's always going to have their own opinions...but seriously, GLADIATOR #27???! That is a travesty. It's odd, because your Top 10 are well it's unlikely you suffer from head trauma or a substance abuse problem that would lead you to make such a fumble as Gladiator's 27th ranking. So I'm stumped. :)

    When Gladiator won best picture it was also tragic --- beating out "Traffic" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." I have no words.

  • ian | March 5, 2014 12:54 AM

    were you not entertained?

  • Dave the Third | March 4, 2014 12:07 AM

    Haha, yeah it does.

  • M. | February 27, 2014 11:16 PMReply

    Good list I would say Godfather pt. 1 or Casablanca deserve the top spot. On the Waterfront should be higher, undoubtedly a Kazan masterpiece.

  • Gregory Lamberson | February 27, 2014 3:46 PMReply

    This is a particularly inane article (or list). Context is everything, and as wrong headed as some choices may seem today (and seemed then), denigrating films for "aging" poorly is ridiculous.

  • Pete | February 27, 2014 1:04 PMReply

    Chicago ahead of American Beauty? Hahahaha! One of the worst movies ever even nominated for Best Picture ahead of an instant classic that is still relevant over 14 years later!? This list is garbage. I'm going to print it out and burn it.

  • todd | February 27, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    Stopped reading after seeing Forrest Gump at 77. Eat balls.

  • james | February 27, 2014 9:33 AMReply

    anyone who says GWTW is an hour too long is not qualified to pick "best" films.

  • Harry | February 27, 2014 3:40 AMReply

    All I cared about on your list was number one and you hit it perfectly. Lawrence of Arabia was simply the best of the Best Pictures. The cinematography by Fred Young was classic, the screenplay by Robert Bolt is one the best ever and the music score by Maurice Jarre is my favorite of all-time. The technical aspects were all world-class, but the most incredible achievement was the acting, especially by Peter O'Toole--the greatest performance ever in cinema. When the reconstructed version engineered by David Lean was released in 1989, several film critics picked it as the best film of the year--19 years after its release. Steven Spielberg wanted to be a neurosurgeon, until he saw Lawrence and found his passion. Great film, great pick--thank you!

  • M. | February 27, 2014 11:21 PM

    Whoa Peter O'Toole -- the greatest performance ever in cinema? that is VERY questionable.

  • Thomas | February 26, 2014 7:50 PMReply

    "Annie Hall" may be #5 on this list but AFI still says "Star Wars" was a better movie

  • Daniel | February 26, 2014 7:42 PMReply

    How Green Was My Valley and The Best Years Of Our Lives are both amazing movies that should be higher ranked than Gladiator, Chariots Of Fire, Dances With Wolves, Gandhi, Slumdog Millionaire and all the other pieces of middle-brow mediocrity you placed between the former pair and their deserved spots in the top twenty.

  • lostjack | February 26, 2014 6:36 PMReply

    Agreed. Some of these commenters take hyperbole to new heights.

  • jonnybon | February 26, 2014 6:29 PMReply


  • Burk | February 26, 2014 5:07 PMReply

    Decent list. It's the comment section that's one of the worst ever.

  • Rich Corle | February 26, 2014 4:57 PMReply

    One of the worst rankings or list I've ever seen on any site. There is no rhyme or reason to it and the dartboard analogy is accurate. Just awful film taste happening here. Platoon is absolutely godawful btw.

  • Roberto | February 26, 2014 4:43 PMReply

    This is patetic! This list sucks and the person who wrote it also sucks! I never read so many bullshit about the oscar movies in my life.

  • Lyn Jensen | February 26, 2014 2:15 PMReply

    I'm not sure what the five best Best Movies are but here are the five worst: (1) "Terms of Endearment," a bad afternoon soap opera that wastes its stars (2) "The English Patient," two hrs. of bad soap opera and 40 min. of WWII spy clichés, (3) "Slumdog Millionaire," the overwhelming stench of poverty porn, (4) "The Godfather, Part II," so obviously just an excuse to squeeze more $ from the original, (5) "The Deer Hunter," demeaning to our Vietnam experience and offensive to lovers of truly great war movies!

  • No, THis is what *I* THINK | February 26, 2014 2:00 PMReply

    Far and away the best feature about movies ever written on the Internet, ever, ever, ever. Every pick 100% correct.

  • Xian | February 26, 2014 12:55 PMReply

    Considering the excellent "No Country For Old Men" was up against the equally excellent "There Will Be Blood" (one of the great American films about America, ever), and in a year when Fincher's "Zodiac" was (gasp!) not nominated over more trite fare, is saying a LOT about the Coen's (arguable) masterpiece. It's only going to grow in stature over time.

  • jonnybon | February 26, 2014 6:31 PM

    But Not Country for Old Men is the greater film.

  • pat | February 26, 2014 2:01 PM

    Or it might suffer the fate of "How Green was my Valley", a good film forever criticized for winning over a 'greater' film.

  • cyberczar | February 26, 2014 12:35 PMReply

    Any list that doesn't have "How Green Was My Valley" as #85 and "An American In Paris" as #84 can't be taken seriously. Also, punishing Forrest Gump for beating Shawshank is cathartic, but #77, really? It wasn't the best movie the year it won, but it's not THAT bad.

  • JOHNC | February 26, 2014 3:53 PM

    Have you seen all the winning movies? If you think these two are at the bottom of the barrel, I don't know what. And I would have thought "Pulp Fiction" losing to "Forrest Gump" was the bigger calamity, but then I've never understood the "Shawshank" love.

  • Daveylow | February 26, 2014 12:19 PMReply

    Can't agree with the placement of several of the movies at all. My Fair Lady is placed much too high. Though I did agree Crash belongs at the bottom of the heap.

  • marcelo deugarte | February 26, 2014 10:44 AMReply

    I liked the Top Ten immensely--very glad West Side Story made the cut. My only change would be All About Eve being included in the Ten as well, and maaaaybe The Apartment being left off.

  • Kokolo | February 26, 2014 8:54 AMReply

    Quite possibly the worst movie related list I have ever seen. And trust me, I have seen countless. LOL the opinion of the playlist staff will not hold much credit with me. I mean An American in Paris over ... well anything really, and the rest: hahahahaha

  • hahaha | February 26, 2014 5:35 AMReply

    Schindler's List is #6? LMAO. So it' sbetter than On the Warrforont and Full Metal Jacket? HAHAHAHAHA.

  • Sean C. | February 26, 2014 10:48 AM

    "Full Metal Jacket" didn't win Best Picture.

  • James Wright | February 25, 2014 8:24 PMReply

    Possibly the WORST -Worst to Best Best Picture List I'ver ever seen! Whoever wrote this article knows nothing about Oscar Winners. Any and all Oscar voters would disown this critic..LOL :)

  • Jerry | February 25, 2014 8:02 PMReply

    This list sucks. Seriously. Titanic better than The Departed? Is that a joke? Slumdog Millionaire better than The Sting? Gladiator better than Patton? What in gods name, who is the idiot who devised this? My 12 year old cousin, wasn't it?

    Also, it seems like the only reason you put Hurt Locker at #25 is because Kathryn was the first woman to win. That is beyond stupid. That movie is extremely forgettable, bland, and cliche, and to rank it better than Unforgiven is... wait for it.... unforgivable.

    I'm here all day, thank you.

  • MishuPishu | February 26, 2014 12:13 AM

    Totally agree with you on "Hurt Locker". That movie was about 100 minutes too long. It was basically the same intense scene over and over again with some filler in between showing generic male damaged/bonding sequences. Beyond the bomb disposal scenes, there was nothing notable about that film.

  • Mass | February 25, 2014 7:50 PMReply

    Wow, how is Network not in the top 5? Are you crazy??

    OHHHH!! Yeah. I forgot, Network didn't win best picture. It somehow lost to the completely inferior film that is ROCKY! Dope! Of course. Silly me.

  • Dr. Obvious | May 30, 2014 9:33 AM

    Network is a top 5 all-time movie but too mentally advanced for many people. At least Rocky was a solid movie and not a piece of garbage like some other winners.

  • D'Artagnan | February 25, 2014 6:47 PMReply

    I disagree with a lot on that list, but I so agree with your number 1 pick.

  • Aksel | February 26, 2014 4:05 AM

    I would never put that movie in my top 10. Top 25 maybe, well shot, good acting, but it's completely ignoring the fact that Lawrence (the real one) was quite a controversial figure. Politically, ideologically I hate this movie :)

  • daniel | February 25, 2014 5:19 PMReply

    Unforgiven not in top five? YOU CRAZY.

  • Adam Roffman | February 25, 2014 5:03 PMReply

    I find myself agreeing with most of the assessments made in your list and I while the exact order is of course debatable, I think you nailed the top 22 films in the list. I might order them slightly differently, but I think they are the best 22 films in the list. I get kind of depressed looking at #'s 23-100 and thinking that those were called the best films of their given years.

  • James | February 25, 2014 4:41 PMReply

    Great list! However one nitpick - only the bloated Italian TV version of The Last Emperor (which was briefly marketed, incorrectly as "The Director's Cut" in the 1990s) lasts 3:45:00. The theatrical version, which is also the director's cut, per Bertolucci's comments on the Criterion DVD, lasts 2:40:00.

  • Milano | February 25, 2014 4:24 PMReply

    Well done. Nice job.

  • ihatethislistsoangryyyy | February 25, 2014 4:13 PMReply

    I'll have to rewatch Lawrence of Arabia. I remember being head over heels for the first half and then finding the second half anti-climactic. My same reaction to Dr Zhivago.

  • cory everett | February 25, 2014 3:57 PMReply

    "This list is in the wrong order!" - The Internet, Also Me.

  • Murphy | February 25, 2014 3:54 PMReply

    The idea that "Titanic" and "Terms of Endearment" are better than "The Departed" is absurd. All are good films but "The Departed" is so loaded with unseen quality and meaning that can get lost underneath the action and profanity. It's one of the most underrated Best Picture Winners. Also, "The French Connection" is way too high on this list. While it was new for the time, the 1971 film was ultimately lazy and basic, bringing no real substance with it, thus not deserving of the prize or a high place on this list. There, I'll leave now.

  • Pierre | February 25, 2014 3:01 PMReply

    Oof. Some of these make me a little bit depressed.

  • Brian | February 25, 2014 1:43 PMReply

    I was going along with most of your choices, but then you dissed THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES which is among the best Hollywood movies ever made. There goes your credibility. I'm guessing you did not re-watch it before doing this list.

  • WOW | February 25, 2014 11:32 AMReply

    LOTR def. need's to be in the top 25

  • Q_Q | February 25, 2014 12:37 PM

    Now you're overreacting, it's very good, but not THAT good.

  • JD | February 25, 2014 9:53 AMReply

    A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS should be in the top ten Best Picture winners. Get a clue.

  • PEDRO | February 25, 2014 9:21 AMReply

    I like the list, although I do not agree with a lot of things, especially the place attributed to "Out of Africa". Despite the colonial ambiance and the somewhat paternalist tone, the film is a masterpiece. Beautifully directed by Sydney Pollack, "Out of Africa" is lavishly romantic and moving. Nearly every scene is unforgettable and story never lapses into pretentiousness and sentimentality. The soundtrack is haunting; it remains in your ears for a very long time. If this is not enough, Meryl Streep gives one of her best performances; she is mesmerizing as Karen Blixen.

    I always thought of "Out of Africa" as a true and instant classic. In my opinion, "Out of Africa" is not worse than "A Beautiful Mind", "The Sound of Music", "Chicago", "Braveheart", "Kramer versus Kramer", "The King's Speech", "Chariots of Fire" (for me, the worst Oscar winner ever!), "Shakespeare in Love", "Slumdog Millionaire", "Argo" (comprehensive, intelligent and uncontroversial American propaganda with a leftish tone), "The Departed", "The Artist", "Rain Man", and "Titanic".

    P.S. Why is "Forrest Gump" so down on the list? Why are you considering of "Chariots of Fire"? Gosh, is "Gandhi", one best biopics ever made, really worse than "Argo" or, more shockingly, "Titanic" and "Rain Man"? Why is "Ben Hur" in the middle of the list?

  • j | February 25, 2014 7:03 AMReply

    Good list - entertaining read. Don't agree with all of them (personally I rate Forrest Gump - it maybe occasionally cloying but it works well on that gutpunch emotional level that cinema should always aim for) - but anyone who gets personally offended by these journalists' subjective opinions needs to find a more constructive way to channel their anger. Good work Playlist, thanks.

  • Heather | February 25, 2014 6:21 AMReply

    I agree with this list a lot more than I've agreed with other ones like this. While I would never put Rocky so high, I also wouldn't put Driving Miss Daisy so low (especially below Crash). I'm happy with the placing of Forrest Gump. A film I never liked, so happy to see it wasn't ranked so high. I feel like the Sting, Ben-Hur and Titanic could've been a lot higher (a few of my personal favourites) but it's not bad placements overall. Same with Argo and the Artist

  • Mark | February 25, 2014 4:58 AMReply

    Chariots of Fire, Return of the King, The King's Speech, Titanic, Gandhi, Slumdog Millionaire, Shakespeare in Love and Argo are all better than Braveheart?


  • Josh | February 28, 2014 4:28 PM

    Braveheart is awful. But... it is better than Titanic and Shakespeare in Love

  • Murphy | February 25, 2014 3:56 PM

    Aside from Chariots of Fire and Titanic, yes

  • Roman | February 25, 2014 2:23 AMReply

    People have already expressed their disagreement about The Return of the King, but I'm curious as to how you find less emotional and focused than its predecessors. There are dozens of scenes that are deeply moving.

  • shark | February 25, 2014 5:11 PM

    IT IS SO LONG. I don't think I could bear to sit through the film again due to its length and how many times it ends. I'm surprised and pleased to see it placed so relatively low. Also happy to see The Departed in the middle and American Beauty near the bottom. Some excellent correct opinions here. :)

  • M. | February 25, 2014 11:36 AM

    The first felt more concise, tight, and developed. It was it's own micro-chasm of Tolkien-esque brilliance, a new live-action rendition being introduced for the first time.

  • Josh Labron | February 24, 2014 11:52 PMReply

    EXTREMELY disagree about A Beautiful Mind, LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that film!

  • Ray H | February 24, 2014 10:07 PMReply

    The Artist is way too high. Belongs in the bottom ten. I watched Mrs. Miniver for the first time recently and thought it was very bland and generic work - a dumbed down look at how Americans viewed British life complete with some inexplicable American accents. Also watched Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives again just yesterday and I'm happy to report it holds up very well.

  • Brian | February 25, 2014 5:49 PM

    Glad someone else noticed the inexplicable placement of The Artist. Granted, I haven't seen them all, but of all the many that I have seen, only Crash is worse.

  • Jamal | February 24, 2014 9:05 PMReply

    so crash ain't #1? obvisly yall don't get that movie cuz its prolly one of the best i ever seen.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | February 24, 2014 9:57 PM

    I must disagree. "Brokeback Mountain" is a *much* better film than "Crash" and should've won that year. I've re-watched "Brokeback" dozens of times over the years and it never loses its power. I left the theater satisfied after watching "Crash," but I couldn't even finish re-watching it a second time -- on basic cable. I kept thinking, "Why did I love this movie?"

  • Jimbo | February 24, 2014 6:29 PMReply

    Slumdog Millionaire better than American Beauty? Serious LOLs.

  • YES! | February 28, 2014 4:30 PM


  • CineFile | February 24, 2014 6:14 PMReply

    Why do y'all read lists if you hate them? Do I agree with all the choices here? Of course not. Is it fun to read and have a think about? Yes. That's why I clicked on it. Everyone needs to calm down. Nice work Indiewire, I found this entertaining.

  • bohmer | February 24, 2014 7:18 PM

    And to be honest, who really cares about the Oscars, they stopped meaning something to me before I really got to cinephilia in my late teens. It's just a glamour party where we remember the most consensual "good" films we saw that year...The winners certainly mean nothing at all, the nominations is still a bit fun.

  • The Human Formula | February 24, 2014 6:14 PMReply

    Luckily these picks are personal opinions selected by the author of this post. My selection would be very different from this list. Liking or disliking any film will always be based on one's personal preference and opinions.


  • Kate | February 24, 2014 4:23 PMReply

    You rate Rain Man above The Sting? C'mon!!!!

  • Tyler | February 24, 2014 4:03 PMReply

    This is good. nice job indiewire (Though I'd argue The Departed is one of Scorsese's finest). looking forward to part 2

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