Top 10 Greatest Best Picture Oscar-Winning Movies

Script written by Richard Bush. They’re the best of the best. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 best Best Picture Oscar-winning movies. Due to the huge number of excellent Academy Award-winning movies, we narrowed our list by focusing on those that offered more than just a few laughs and gasps. Our list includes the cinematic landmarks that nabbed the Oscar, and ultimately made Hollywood what it is today. Special thanks to our users Krystal Banogon, Timothy Swan, Owen Paul Sloane, Bishopofchess, jwiking62, Christopher ManU, Andrew A. Dennison, yolanda baez and Shawn Frary for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Richard Bush.

Top 10 Best Best Picture Oscar-Winning Movies


They’re the best of the best. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best Best Picture Oscar-winning movies.

Due to the huge number of excellent Academy Award-winning movies, we narrowed our list by focusing on those that offered more than just a few laughs and gasps. Our list includes the cinematic landmarks that nabbed the Oscar, and ultimately made Hollywood what it is today.

#10: “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957)

Set in an Indochinese POW camp, this multiple-Oscar winner follows British prisoners as they rally to construct a bridge for their Japanese captors. With Sir Alec Guinness’ Lt. Col. Nicholson leading the charge, each captive debates whether he should jeopardize the construction, or finish it as a testament to British character. A great representation of leadership, obsession and the madness of war, fans of the genre won’t be disappointed.

#9: “Gladiator” (2000)

Director Ridley Scott teamed up with Russell Crowe for a film that rejuvenated the public’s love of Army epics and gladiatorial tales of victory. Maximus has been betrayed and enslaved, and he must fight for his freedom at the tip of a sword. We stand side-by-side with the gladiators and experience their journey to regain their humanity in this beautifully directed Best Picture winner.

#8: “No Country For Old Men” (2007)

Although the majority of this film’s plot plays out as a cat-and-mouse chase, it’s also a masterfully executed neo-western thriller put the Coen brothers back in the limelight and made the Academy flip the coin in their favor. With psychotic characters and eerie monologues, each scene delivers unexpected results, as Javier Bardem’s bad guy is dead-set on getting some drug money back. It also proves the Coens’ trademark of intertwining plotlines is still a winning formula.

#7: “Casablanca” (1943)

Considered by many as one of history’s most perfect films, “Casablanca” combines enduring romance, conspiracy, bravery and patriotism with beautiful cinematography and breathtaking performances – and places it all in a wartime setting. The Academy was powerless to resist this movie’s strength, as cynical American ex-pat Rick Blaine chooses between an old flame and what’s right. If you never watch this film, you’ll regret it.

#6: “The Departed” (2006)

This is the film that scored Martin Scorsese his long-awaited first Oscar. A 21st century take on gangster hierarchy and police corruption in Boston, it trails Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon as they infiltrate each other’s groups. But the prize for most terrifying undoubtedly goes to Jack Nicholson’s mob boss Frank Costello. Lathered in “Goodfellas”-style grittiness, this film’s intricate plot, excellent acting and fantastic direction make it pure genius and definite Oscar bait.

#5: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

It’s difficult to watch this Ken Kesey adaptation, as its numbing backdrop, spooky soundtrack and freakishly convincing characters create a disturbing atmosphere. We travel down the rabbit hole with jokester Murphy, as he serves an easy disciplinary sentence in a mental institution, but winds up rebelling and making the lives of other patients a little more, well, lifelike. On the strength of an electric Jack Nicholson performance, this Oscar-winner makes us question the viability of extravagant blockbusters.

#4: “Schindler’s List” (1993)

Winning seven Oscars, this realistic retelling of German businessman Oskar Schindler’s efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust brought the cinematic world to a standstill. Steven Spielberg offers a critique on man’s naïve and inhuman tendencies in this mostly black-and-white film, as he traces the transformation Schindler endures. Though the film will bring you to tears, it still manages to set forth an optimistic story that leaves you feeling hopeful.

#3: “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

This flick literally wrote the book on thrillers. Based on a classic Thomas Harris novel, it was the first horror movie to be named Best Picture, and it swept the Big Five categories. Psychopathic screen legend Hannibal Lecter team up with green FBI agent Clarice Starling to catch a serial killer, and the resulting transvestite fantasies, skinned humans, mind games and face eating still makes us question our own sanity.

#2: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)


Anyone who says fantasy epics can’t deliver great storytelling has never seen this Peter Jackson film. Tracing both the hobbits’ journey to Mount Doom, as well as Aragorn’s ferocious battles, the movie lets us experience everything from lost limbs to finding out who your true friends are. As the ever-present threat of the One Ring’s power is finally dispatched, the Academy honored the entire trilogy by naming its final film Best Picture.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “American Beauty” (1999)
- “Forrest Gump” (1994)
- “Rocky” (1976)
- “The Deer Hunter” (1978)
- “Gone with the Wind” (1939)

#1: “The Godfather Part II” (1974)

This is everything we love about gangster flicks rolled into one. Francis Ford Coppola presents us with the rise within the mafia of both Vito Corleone and his son Michael. With strong violence, an intelligent screenplay, quotable phrases and realistic confrontations that remind us of fly-on-the-wall documentaries; it’s one of the most significant films of all time – not to mention a cutthroat and merciless take on the American dream that the Academy couldn’t refuse.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Best Picture Oscar winner? For more top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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