15 Best Picture Winners Of The All Time, Ranked According To IMDb

15 Best Picture Winners Of The All Time, Ranked According To IMDb

Though the 2022 Oscars will be a very different ceremony this year, in the end, one movie will be named as the Best Picture of the year. That movie will be added to the exclusive list of prestigious movies that have received the coveted top prize at the Oscars.

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Of course, just because a movie is named Best Picture doesn’t mean the audience will always agree with those choices. Some past winners have aged quite poorly while others were unpopular to begin with. But then there are those select few Best Picture winners that rank as highly with the public as they do with the Academy.

Updated on February 26th, 2022 by Colin McCormick: As the Academy Awards draw closer, fans have been speculating about which of the nominated movies will join the iconic list of Best Picture winners. Throughout the history of the Oscars, not all of the movies that have won the big prize are popular with everyone, but the list of IMDb’s top-rated Oscar-winning movies shows just how many great titles have been awarded Best Picture in the past. Fans can look back at some more of these acclaimed movies and see where they can stream them before Oscar’s big night.

15 The Sting (1973) – 8.3

Robert Redford holding a paper as Paul Newman looks at him in The Sting

Available to rent on Apple TV.

After sharing the screen as the iconic duo in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford and Paul Newman joined their star-power together again for the hugely entertaining caper, The Sting.

The two stars play con men who partner together to bring down a gangster who killed their friend. While the movie might not have as much substance as some other Best Picture winners, it is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with likable heroes, a compelling plot, and some wonderful twists.

14 Amadeus (1984) – 8.3

Antoni Salieri looks angry in Amadeus

Available to rent on Apple TV.

It’s strange that even a movie that wins Best Picture can sometimes get lost over the years and become forgotten by many. Though Amadeus is not talked about much now, it remains an engrossing period story with a grand vision.

The movie tells the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as he became a celebrated composer much to the annoyance of his contemporary, Antonio Salieri. F. Murray Abraham won an Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of Salieri and the elegant scope of the movie was an engrossing setting for the tale of ambition and treachery.


13 Braveheart (1995) – 8.3

Mel Gibson on the promo poster for Braveheart.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Mel Gibson established himself as a talent behind the camera with his own historical epic, Braveheart. The movie follows Scottish hero William Wallace as he leads a rebellion against the English lords oppressing the people.

RELATED: The 10 Best Historical Films Of The 1990s, According To IMDb

Historical accuracy is not one of the strengths of Braveheart, but once audiences can look past the liberties taken, it remains a fun adventure after all these years. The massive battle scenes are the biggest draw as they are bloody, brutal, and make for some of the most thrilling cinematic battles of all time.

12 American Beauty (1999) – 8.3

Kevin Spacey in American Beauty

Available to stream on Fubo TV, Hoopla, Showtime, DIRECTV, Pluto TV, and Spectrum on Demand.

Sam Mendes broke into the movies in a big way with his poignant domestic drama American Beauty. Kevin Space won an Oscar for his portrayal of Lester Burnham, a man going through a mid-life crisis but finds an escape with a more carefree approach to life.

Some of the subject matter and Spacey’s tarnished reputation might have made American Beauty a Best Picture winner that is uncomfortable to revisit. However, it has a lot of impressive elements that still hold up, from performances from the other cast members to Mendes’s brilliant directing.

11 Gladiator (2000) – 8.5

Russell Crowe in Gladiator

Available to stream on Fubo TV, Showtime, DIRECTV, Pluto TV, and Spectrum on Demand.

The trend of historical epics had somewhat fallen out of favor in Hollywood by the beginning of the 21st century began. However, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator breathed new life into the genre with this exciting, violent, and enthralling story of a Roman general who was betrayed and seeks revenge on the new emperor after becoming a famed gladiator.

Russell Crowe’s Oscar-winning performance as the heroic Maximus helped to ground the movie while Scott continued to prove himself one of the greatest filmmakers with intense battle scenes and a grand scale.

10 Casablanca (1942) – 8.5

The ending of Casablanca

Available to stream on HBO Max, DIRECTV, TCM, AND Spectrum on Demand.

As the oldest movie on this list, the legacy of Casablanca is quite evident. Set in Morocco during World War II, the movie follows a world-weary American club owner who is pulled into a dangerous gambit when his former lover arrives looking for help.

Even modern audiences will be entertained by the suave charm of the movie as well as its pitch-perfect script. Casablanca is a classic love story that also manages to include a lot of other interesting elements that make it a rich and wonderful experience.

9 The Departed (2006) – 8.5

Jack Nicholson in The Departed

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Martin Scorsese finally won his Oscar for Best Director with this dark and violent gangster tale. Based on the Chinese thriller Infernal Affairs, The Departed tells the story of two moles, one who has infiltrated the mob and the other implanted in the police force, who race against time to uncover the other’s identity.

RELATED: 10 Ways The Departed Is Martin Scorsese’s Best Gangster Movie

Scorsese continues to prove no one tells a gangster story as well as he does. The movie is also helped by its all-star cast as well as a stellar script that mixes violence and humor. It is an intense, bloody, and entertaining ride.

8 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – 8.6

Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

Available to stream on Prime Video, Roku, Tubi, Kanopy, and Pluto TV.

Based on the best-selling novel, The Silence of the Lambs delivered one of the most iconic movie villains of all time with Hannibal Lecter. This gruesome thriller finds a young FBI agent seeking the help of Lecter, a notorious serial killer, to track down another killer still at large.

Such grim and violent movies are rarely embraced by the Academy, but The Silence of the Lambs stands as one of the best thrillers ever made. From the acting to the directing to the atmosphere of the movie, it is a gripping tale from start to finish.

7 Parasite (2019) – 8.6

Parasite Song Kang Ho in Car

Available to stream on Hulu and Kanopy.

The most recent Best Picture also ranks among the best to have ever won the award. Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is a brilliant thriller that follows a destitute South Korean family who sees an opportunity for a better life by sneaking their way into the employment of an affluent family.

Parasite made Oscar history as the first foreign-language movie to win Best Picture. Joon-ho constructs a funny and clever story that gradually unfolds into something very unexpected and even more captivating.

6 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – 8.7

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Available to stream on Tubi.

Jack Nicholson delivered one of his most famous performances as the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nicholson plays a convicted felon who convinces the judge to send him to a mental institution rather than prison. There, he tries to help the patients push back against their oppressive overseers.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is another movie that effectively balances a lot of different tones. It is a funny madcap comedy at times then switches to a thought-provoking drama and even approaches a thriller at times. In the end, it is an unforgettable piece of storytelling.

5 Forrest Gump (1994) – 8.8

Available to stream on Prime Video.

The crowd-pleasing Forrest Gump stars Tom Hanks as the titular character. Forrest is a simple-minded man who treats everyone he meets as if they are a new friend. The movie follows this charming character as he accidentally inserts himself into some of the biggest moments in American history.

Hanks’ lovable performance really helps to sell this character and the whole tone of the movie. While it can feel a little corny at times, it is still a moving, funny, and entertaining movie.

4 Schindler’s List (1993) – 8.9

Schindler's List

Available to rent on Apple TV.

The same year that Steven Spielberg released one of the most entertaining movies of all time with Jurassic Park, he also delivered one of the most harrowing with Schindler’s List. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German factory owner who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews during World War II.

The beautiful black-and-white look of the movie only adds to the tragic feel of the story. Despite Schindler’s heroic acts, the movie does not shy away from the horrors of the war and leaves a lasting impact on anyone who sees it.

3 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) – 8.9

Available to stream on HBO Max.

One of the biggest trilogies of all time came to an end in epic fashion in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The final chapter in Peter Jackson’s first Middle-earth story finds the forces of good facing off with Sauron’s army as Frodo seeks to destroy the One Rings once and for all.

RELATED: 10 Characters With The Most Screentime In The Lord Of The Rings Movies

Jackson’s vision for this trilogy is part of the reason this movie is so well received, but it is a stunning adventure on its own as well. Aside from the spectacular battle sequences, the movie gives fans a fitting end to this wondrous story.

2 The Godfather: Part II (1974) – 9.0

Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II

Available to stream on Apple TV.

Francis Ford Coppola did the impossible, following up one masterpiece with another and creating one of the greatest sequels of all time. The follow-up brilliantly tells the simultaneous story of Michael Corleone’s new position as Don and how his father Vito rose to that same position years earlier.

Not only did Coppola manage to make lightning strike twice with the movie, but there are still some who think this movie surpasses the original. Though it came just short of doing so in the eyes of the IMDb users, it is still a masterpiece.

1 The Godfather (1972) – 9.2

Available to stream on Apple TV.

The story of Michael Corleone began with the breathtaking The Godfather. Marlon Brando stars as Vito Corleone, the head of an Italian crime family who is nearly killed which forces his youngest son Michael to step up and join the family business.

From the acting to the lighting to the music to the screenplay, there is no denying that this is one of the most impressive movies of all time. And despite the runtime of nearly three hours, it is a movie worth revisiting again and again.

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About The Author

Colin McCormick
(1951 Articles Published)

Colin McCormick is a Senior Writer with Screen Rant and has been a proud member of the team since 2019. In addition to his work as Screen Rant, Colin is also a writer of News, Feature and Review pieces at Game Rant. Colin has had a long passion and obsession with movies going back to the first time he saw The Lion King in theaters. Along with movies, Colin stays up-to-date on the latest must-see TV shows. While he loves to find interesting projects in any kind of genre, he has a special movie of crime stories that are infused with a little dark humor much like the work of his favorite author, Elmore Leonard.

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