17 Highest-Rated Best Picture Winners On Rotten Tomatoes

17 Highest-Rated Best Picture Winners On Rotten Tomatoes

The Academy Awards are known as the most prestigious awards ceremony for the film industry. The Oscars started way back in 1929, and the 92nd show premiered this year in 2020. With 95 winners for Best Picture, there are a ton of different flicks that have stolen the hearts of the Academy.

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Of course, this grand prize isn’t based on critics’ reviews, and some might be surprised when the lowest-rated film of the nominees actually takes home the win. However, there are tons of winners that blew every critic out of the water.

Updated on March 29th, 2022, by Rhys McGinley: Rotten Tomatoes has long been used by filmgoers, both casual and hardcore, as a way of not only reviewing movies but seeing how others view the movie. While the Academy does not always choose the best film to win Best Picture, there have been a bunch of classics, truly brilliant pieces of cinema, to win the award. A lot of the time this is reflected in their Rotten Tomatoes scores which reflect as such, with 18 of the 95 winners have scored 97% or above on the site – even if not all of them are as timeless as those scores may suggest.

17 All The King’s Men (1949) – 97%

Available on Crackle and fuboTV

Mercedes McCambridge in All The King's Men

Based on a novel by Robert Penn Warren of the same name, Broderick Crawford’s All The King’s Men is a noir film that follows the journey of a corrupt southern Governor.

The movie won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is another film currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. With over 2,500 reviews, though, the film falls a bit short of most other high-rated Best Picture winners on the audience score, with only 79%.

16 The Hurt Locker (2008) – 97%

Available on Peacock

Soldier runs away from explosion

Kathryn Bigelow made history in 2010 by becoming the first woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards for her work on The Hurt Locker, which went on to win Best Picture too.

It follows Sgt. William James and his bomb disposal team in the Iraq War, and sits pretty as one of six Best Picture winners to be sitting at 97%. The film also has a pretty good audience score of 84% and has been deemed one of the best dramatizations of the horrific Iraq War.

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15 The French Connection (1971) – 97%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle at the end of The French Connection

The French Connection is a crime thriller that follows Gene Hackman’s Detective ‘Popeye’ Doyle and his partner as they hunt down a heroin smuggler. The famous 70s film beat the likes of the iconic A Clockwork Orange to its Best Picture statue.

Regarded as one of the best crime films of the 70s, The French Connection is a seriously entertaining caper, earning an 87% audience score alongside its 97% Tomatometer rating.

14 The Lost Weekend (1945) – 97%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

Some of the best winners in the Best Picture category are classics from the 40s and 50s. This drama is directed by Billy Wilder and tells the story of a chronic alcoholic who struggles through a four-day drinking bout.

With 4 Oscar wins, this honest tale hit the big screen in 1945 and marked history by winning Best Picture and currently sits at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

13 Spotlight (2015) – 97%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

Spotlight is a movie that faced tough competition from box office smash hit nominees The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road in the Best Picture race but won out as a wonderful drama that pleases critics and audiences alike.

That is backed up by Rotten Tomatoes, which has the film at 97% on the Tomatometer, and 93% of the audience scores. It may have only won two Oscars, but both were thoroughly deserved, even if Mad Max: Fury Road will stand the test of time as one of the 21st century’s greatest action movies.

12 The Godfather (1972) – 97%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

This iconic film has an audience score of 98% and continues to be a cinematic masterpiece in Hollywood. Directed and written by Francis Ford Coppola, this movie continues to be one of his best projects.

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An aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty must transfer his control to his son. All movie lovers know this infamous story, and this crime drama took home 3 Oscars at the awards ceremony. In fact, the second part of this franchise won Best Picture only two years later.

11 All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) – 98%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Then known as the Academy Award For Best Production, All Quiet On The Western Front was the third ever film to win the coveted award that would become Best Picture.

Based on the novel by Maria Remarque, the film takes a horrifying look at World War 1 through the eyes of young German recruits. By those that have seen the historic film, it is revered, sitting at 98% on the Tomatometer with 89% on the audience score.

10 The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946) – 98%

Available on Pluto TV and Prime Video

The Best Years Of Our Lives follows three World War veterans as they try to re-enter civilization and won seven Academy Awards for telling that story in such a resonant, terrifically crafted way.

It beat out the likes of It’s A Wonderful Life for its Best Picture accolade, and today it is one of five Best Picture winners sitting at 98%  on the Tomatometer. It has proven popular with audiences too, earning 93% from its 10,000+ reviews.

9 Schindler’s List (1993) – 98%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

The girl in the red coat walking in Schindler's List.

Schindler’s List is one of those Best Picture winners that most can agree was a deserving winner of the award, with Stephen Spielberg’s triumphant, emotional look at Oskar Schindler’s saving of Jewish people during World War II.

Schindler’s List won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It is known as one of the very best by Spielberg, one of the most nominated directors of all time, and one of the overall best films centered around World War II. It is so well known and adored by critics and audiences alike, sitting on 98% and 97% on the Tomatometer and audience score on Rotten Tomatoes respectively.

8 Moonlight (2016) – 98%

Available on Showtime

Unquestionably one of the best films of the 2010s, the Academy got it right when it awarded Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight with Best Picture – famously doing so ahead of La La Land.

It won three awards in eight nominations at the 2017 Oscars and is a critical darling. The look into the journey of manhood and identity of Chiron through three crucial chapters in his life has earned 98% on the Tomatometer and its reputation as a remarkable piece of craftsmanship.

7 Parasite (2019) – 98%

Available on Hulu

Making history as the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture, director Bong Joon Ho proved himself capable of storming Hollywood with Parasite.

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This movie tells the story of an impoverished family who infiltrates a rich family by deceiving them into becoming their servants. However, life only gets complicated, and even violent, when their deception is threatened to be exposed. With 4 Oscar wins, this film made history and deserved to do just that.

6 Marty (1955) – 99%

Available on Pluto TV and Tubi

This romance drama dates back to 1955 and stars Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. This film follows a middle-aged butcher and a school teacher, both of whom have given up on love until they meet each other at a dance.

Winning 4 Oscars at the Academy Awards, this romance drama has become an iconic flick for the genre and takes a spot on this list as one of the 3 Best Picture winners to score a whopping 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

5 Rebecca (1940) – 99%

This mystery drama romance is all the way back from 1940. The first Oscar-winning movie directed by the infamous Alfred Hitchcock, this flick follows a self-conscious woman who is struggling to adjust to her life as an aristocrat’s wife. She also must avoid being intimidated by his first wife’s spectral presence.

Starring Laurence Olivier and  Joan Fontaine, this movie took home 2 Oscar wins, but had 9 other nominations it was considered for. Of course, this classic film currently scores 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of 6 films out of all 94 Best Picture winners to do so.

4 It Happened One Night (1934) – 99%

Available to purchase on Prime Video

Few Best Picture winners have scored a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score is another indicator to pick out the top Best Picture winners, with this classic having an incredible audience score rating of 93%.

This classic romantic comedy follows a spoiled heiress, who after running away from her family, finds help from a reporter, who wants her to be his next story. With 5 Oscar wins, this 1934 classic certainly deserves the recognition it received, being one of the greatest Best Picture winners of all time.

3 All About Eve (1950) – 99%

Available on The Criterion Channel

This drama is another with 99% and stars Bette Davis, George Sanders, and Anne Baxter. A woman insinuates herself into the lives of an aging and successful stage actress and her theater friends.

This classic film is women-led and won 6 Oscars for its genuine and intriguing story. In 1950, this movie was a hit, and it certainly maintains its fame even today.

2 On the Waterfront (1954) – 99%

Available on fuboTV

This crime drama thriller stars the iconic Marlon Brando and follows his character, an ex-prize fighter, who has become a struggling longshoreman caught in the web of a corrupt union boss. Battling with his moral compass, Brando’s character is invigorating, misunderstood, and heroic.

With an audience score of 95%, this film has every aspect of a perfect watch – drama, stellar acting, a riveting tale, and romance. This 1954 classic took home 8 Oscars and even had another 4 nominations. This film definitely swept its year, and it was all well-deserved.

1 Casablanca (1943) – 99%

Available on HBO Max

This classic also received an audience score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. This Michael Curtiz directed war drama stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. A cynical American finds themselves struggling to choose to help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape Morocco.

With 3 Oscar wins at the Academy Awards, this war drama was honest and entertaining, and definitely become an instant classic. This 1943 film is almost 80 years old, and still holds incredible esteem in the film world as being one of the best flicks to ever win Best Picture.

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Meah Peers
(631 Articles Published)

I just graduated university with Criminology & Psychology, but have a burning side passion for film! I am an avid reader, writer, and film-goer, and I love learning about movies, actors, directors, and sharing my passion and knowledge with others.
I am a List Writer for ScreenRant, and love being a part of a film community where we all share the same passions.

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