By: Movie Snurb –
Now for the second part of the Top 20 greatest Best Picture winners from 10 to 1 (don’t miss 11-20!). Let’s get started.
- On The Waterfront (1954)
A film that stood out because it was filmed on location in Hoboken, New Jersey and mostly used real people from the area instead of actors. The film showed the deplorable conditions that people in America were living in, and brought this issue to the forefront. We’ve also got to talk about Marlon Brando’s performance as Terry Malloy. Possibly one of the greatest performances of all time by arguably the greatest actor of all time; Malloy could’ve been a contender, but Brando definitely was somebody.
- The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
The film that capped off the amazing film series based on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s rare to have a film stand up to the books, especially where the books are revered as such classics, but these films do. Yes, the ending seems to go on for an hour, but this film is a true epic in every sense. Return of the King is the perfect film to end this trilogy and was rewarded rightfully so with 11 Oscar wins. Of course this was rewarding the entire trilogy, but the film can stand on its own as one of the greatest films ever made.
- The Deer Hunter (1978)
This film really stuck with me after the first time I saw it. It has some of the best acting performances of all time with Christopher Walken taking home the gold for Best Supporting Actor. It’s a bleak and honest look at the effects of war on a person. The two scenes of Russian roulette are two of the greatest scenes in the history of film. With the range of emotion the actors have and the pure rage in Robert De Niro’s face, it’s no wonder the film is remembered as not only one of the greatest war films of all time but also one of the greatest films of all time in general.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
This was just the second film to win Oscars in all 5 major categories (Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Adapted Screenplay), which has helped cement its place in film history. One reason this film has stood the test of time is because Jack Nicholson’s Character and Louise Fletcher’s infamous nurse Ratched are a symbol of the culture wars of the 1960’s and 70’s, however it can represent any culture war throughout history. In 1993 the Library of Congress deemed the film “Culturally, Historically, or Aesthetically Significant” and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry, marking its significance in American history.
- No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Coen Brothers have been making great films in Hollywood for a very long time, but I don’t think anyone expected this film when we heard they were adapting the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. The writing is exceptional, along with the directing, earning both the Coen Brothers Oscars for directing and adapted screenplay, along with Best Picture of course. This film also was the breakout for Javier Bardem as a heavy-hitting actor. His Anton Chigurh is one of the greatest villans in film history. His scene with the gas station owner is one of the tensest moments in any film. The combination of writing, acting, directing, and subtle camera work come together to form, in my opinion, the perfect scene.
- Schindler’s List (1993)
Steven Spielberg has made many, many great and important films throughout history, none so important as this one. It’s amazing how a film that is about an era in history so horrific words cannot express it is able to take the subject and make one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Winner of 7 Oscars and nominated for a total of 12, the film’s impact was massive. The film ranks at #8 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Films of All Time and it’s not hard to see why. I’d say this was Spielberg’s crowning achievement.
- Casablanca (1943)
An unsuspected classic, but how did they not see it coming? It’s got everything you could ask for in a classic film. It’s partly a war film so you’ve got the men covered. It’s partly a love story, so you’ve got something for the women. However, it’s a marvelously told story and wonderfully acted on top of all that. This film really shows what the Golden Age of Hollywood was all about. An interesting fact to prove its lasting effect: The Brattle Theater in 1957 showed the film as a part of a season of old movies. This became so popular that it started a tradition of screening the film during finals week at Harvard University. Now, if that doesn’t show a lasting impact I don’t know what you want.
- The Godfather (1972)
What more can I say about this film that hasn’t been said over the years? It’s such a fantastic story, and it’s told with such perfection. Every detail of this film seems to have been combed over with such meticulous detail by Francis Ford Coppola that you can’t help but watch it over and over to simply appreciate the hard work that went into the making of this film; and yet it only takes one watch to realize why this film is consistently considered one of the greatest of all time. However, in my opinion it’s not the best Godfather film.
- The Godfather; Part II (1975)
The first film is fantastic but this is by far the superior film. It’s great because Coppola used that same attention to detail he used on the first film, but this is the superior story. We get to see Vito Corleone’s rise to power, as played by Robert De Niro, giving one of his finest performances right up there with his performance in Raging Bull. We also get to see Michael Corleone played by Al Pacino finally take hold of his father’s empire and expand it from Las Vegas all the way to Florida. Michael in the first film is reluctant to take over his father’s empire, but now we get to see him in full control and Pacino plays it very well. It really was a crime that he didn’t win the Oscar, losing to Art Carney in Harry and Tonto. Just let that sink in for a bit.
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
To me Lawrence of Arabia is the greatest film of all time. It’s absolutely perfect in every sense. It’s an EPIC in every way. First, it has a runtime of 227 minutes, and it doesn’t waste a minute of it. Every single scene is very key to the building of the story and it plays so well you don’t even notice the runtime. Also, it’s a true story so you get a historical aspect. It’s a great adventure story, so adding the fact that it’s historical only makes it better. It’s absolutely gorgeous! The 70 mm Super Panavision is the ultimate cinephile’s dream. The score is even epic; whenever I hear that score I still get goose bumps. It’s one of the most iconic scores ever. The film won a total of 7 Academy Awards and was nominated for 10. It’s unfortunate that Peter O’Toole had to go up against Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird because no one was going to beat Peck, but O’Toole’s Lawrence will always be iconic.
So what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my top 20? Let me know what your pick for number one would be.