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Every Best Picture Oscar Winner Ranked Best To Worst

Features
by The Playlist Staff
February 25, 2014 3:48 PM
110 Comments
  • |

55. "A Man For All Seasons" (1966)
A sincere and prestigious mounting of the Robert Bolt play about the staunchly Catholic Sir Thomas More’s refusal to recognize King Henry VIII’s divorce, it’s every bit as stately as that description sounds, and every bit as dull. Paul Scofield reprises his theatrical role as Moore, and Orson Welles and John Hurt lift things in supporting roles, but Fred Zinnemann’s game direction can’t overcome the verbosity and heaviness of the film’s stage origins.

54. "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)
The Academy’s love for Clint Eastwood knows few limits, as evidenced by the 4-major-Oscar sweep for this extremely familiar-feeling underdog boxing story. That the boxer was a woman (Hilary Swank, getting her second Best Actress Oscar) was really the only unusual element to an admittedly solid, well-made drama, barring the sucker punch ending.

53. "Shakespeare In Love" (1998)
Much-denigrated after the fact when it beat "Saving Private Ryan" to the gold (especially after a bitter and bad-tempered Oscar campaign), "Shakespeare In Love" has aged reasonably well. It's hardly an all-time classic, but it's an enjoyable and moving upmarket rom-com, with a cast having a ball, and a sparkling script from Tom Stoppard.

52. "Ben Hur" (1959)
The most epic of all the epics (it's the longest Best Picture winner ever, beating 'Return Of The King' by ten minutes, and ties that film and "Titanic" for most ever Oscar-wins), "Ben Hur" remains a real wow on the big screen even now. It's overlong and preachy, and Charlton Heston is a bit ropey as the title character, but remains a staggering achievement, with some of the finest action sequences in the history of the medium.

51. "Mrs. Miniver" (1942)
Overshadowed a bit these days by some of its contemporaries, William Wyler's WWII melodrama, about the life of a well-to-do British woman in the early years of the war, is old-fashioned and unabashed in its role as propaganda. But it's well-executed, stirring, and has a great lead performance from Greer Garson (whose own six-minute acceptance speech remains the longest in Oscar history).

50. "The Sting" (1973)
A slick, thoroughly enjoyable, totally empty period con-caper re-teaming "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as grifters taking on Robert Shaw's hoodlum. Breezy and fun, with great chemistry between the stars, but so lightweight you fear a gust of wind might blow it off the screen.

49. "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)
Danny Boyle
's unexpected smash has its problems, we'll acknowledge, mainly in its scripting and the very occasional whiff of poverty porn. But it's hard to think of a recent Best Picture winner that's as bright and vibrant as this one, so full of energy and invention. We'd seen crowd-pleasers win Best Picture before, but never one that looked or sounded like "Slumdog Millionaire."  

48. "Ordinary People" (1980)
Robert Redford
, proving early how much time the Academy has for actors-turned-directors, won Best Director as well as Best Picture for this unassuming but very well-performed drama detailing the slow disintegration of a family in the wake of the death of a son. Among several notable elements is Timothy Hutton’s performance that should have launched him to much greater heights of stardom than he subsequently achieved.

47. "Gandhi" (1982)
Richard Attenborough
's ambitious three-hour epic telling of the legendary Indian political figure makes a decent run at chronicling the story of Gandhi's life, but doesn't do much beyond that. It's a rather shallow and personality-free take, afraid to ever take much of a viewpoint on anything. Still, it's impressive in the broad strokes, and in the occasional effective little scene too.

46. "Argo" (2012)
Facing the inevitable Best Picture backlash even before it won, we still stand beside the grown-up entertainment of Ben Affleck's "Argo." Sure, it tinkers with the truth a bit, and the director isn't the strongest choice in the lead, but it's genuinely, knuckle-gnawingly tense, and has a deep bench of supporting players, with fine work from everyone from Bryan Cranston to Scoot McNairy.

45. "The Departed" (2006)
A bit of a comic-book trifle when compared to Martin Scorsese's best work, with a couple of whopping misjudgements (god, that final shot...), but when "The Departed" works, it really works. Most notably in William Monahan's hilariously profane script, a couple of cracking suspense sequences, and a fantastic, perplexingly undervalued Matt Damon performance at the center.

44. "The Artist" (2011)
While the Michel Hazanavicius film seems on the surface to have been a challenge for the Academy, being in black and white and silent, it’s still a very escapist film with not a huge amount of substance there once you take away the gimmicks of its presentation. Affectionate and perkily performed (Jean Dujardin got the Oscar, but we fell most for Bérénice Bejo), it still doesn’t feel like one for the ages.

43. "Rain Man" (1988)
Two and a half decades later, what really stands out about this solid Barry Levinson film is not the much-parodied Best Actor-winning Dustin Hoffman performance, that became an early byword for goosing a character’s disability or an affliction to an Oscar, but just how good Tom Cruise is, in the less obvious role as the conflicted brother.

42. "Titanic" (1997)
A phenomenon the likes of which hadn't been seen for decades, "Titanic" understandably attracts a lot of backlash today. But if you can separate yourself from the hype, the fact remains that it works, dammit. Sure, it's broad-strokes storytelling, but compare it to copycats like "Pearl Harbor" and "Australia" and you can see that James Cameron is someone who actually knows how to do this kind of old-fashioned melodrama and make it click with audiences. And he's got eleven Oscars and two billion dollars to prove it.

41. "Rocky" (1976)
We’re fans of Sylvester Stallone’s essential boxing flick, but the familiarity of the format which it helped define has gotten to the point now where some of its lustre has faded. The sequels became broader and more, well “Eye of the Tiger”-y, but the original still feels heartfelt: it’s not subtle, but it is energetic, emotive filmmaking.


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110 Comments

  • 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 doctor...twice...is 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:

    PLEASE BE REAL, PLEASE BE REAL, PLEASE BE REAL...

    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 picked...so 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

    HORRIFIC!

  • 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?

    Nope.

  • 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

    SLUMDOG IS F U C K I N G AWFUL!!! AMERICAN BEAUTY IS A GREAT MOVIE. I'D PUT IT IN THE TOP 20 ON THIS LIST

  • 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.

    /THF

  • 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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