Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a golden statue to the film representing cinema's best.
And every year, Rotten Tomatoes revisits every Best Picture winner of Oscars past -- from the classics (Casablanca) to the dubious selections (The Greatest Show on Earth) -- sorting them by the strict and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science. How does this year's winner, 12 Years a Slave, stack up against the competition? How many of the Best Picture winners have you seen? Where do your favorites rank?
Adjusted Score: 45.856% ?
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Show on Earth is melodramatic, short on plot, excessively lengthy and bogged down with clichés, but not without a certain innocent charm.
Synopsis: Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth is a lavish tribute to circuses, featuring three intertwining plotlines concerning romance and rivalry... [More]
Directed By: Cecil B. DeMille
Adjusted Score: 51.276% ?
Critics Consensus: Cimarron is supported by a strong performance from Irene Dunne, but uneven in basically every other regard, and riddled with potentially offensive stereotypes.
Synopsis: Cimarron was the first Western to win the Oscar for Best Picture--and, until Dances with Wolves in 1990, the only one. The film begins on April 22,... [More]
Directed By: Wesley Ruggles
Adjusted Score: 55.103% ?
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that the film's events occured was known by her... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack
Adjusted Score: 58.708% ?
Critics Consensus: Though solidly acted and pleasant to look at, Cavalcade lacks cohesion, and sacrifices true emotion for mawkishness.
Synopsis: The only Academy Award winning picture for Fox Studios (in its pre-20th Century-Fox era), Cavalcade is a stately film adaptation of the pageant-like... [More]
Directed By: Frank Lloyd
Adjusted Score: 66.841% ?
Critics Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.
Synopsis: In MGM's three-hour-plus The Great Ziegfeld, William Powell stars as the titular theatrical impresario, whose show business empire begins when he... [More]
Directed By: Robert Z. Leonard
Adjusted Score: 73.5% ?
Critics Consensus: Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald are eminently likable, and film is pleasantly sentimental, but it suffers from a surplus of sweetness.
Synopsis: It took some doing to persuade the staunchly Catholic Bing Crosby to play a happy-go-lucky priest in Going My Way; luckily he acquiesced, winning an... [More]
Directed By: Leo McCarey
Adjusted Score: 75.062% ?
Critics Consensus: Well-written, well-meaning and solidly acted, the film may ultimately be more earnest than interesting.
Synopsis: The second of Paul Muni's biographical films for Warner Bros., the Oscar-winning The Life of Emile Zola is by far the best, even allowing for the... [More]
Directed By: William Dieterle
Adjusted Score: 76.639% ?
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably shallow, but its cheerful lack of pretense -- as well as its grand scale and star-stuffed cast -- help make Around the World in 80 Days charmingly light-hearted entertainment.
Synopsis: Razzle-dazzle showman Michael Todd hocked everything he had to make this spectacular presentation of Jules Verne's 1872 novel Around the World in 80... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.936% ?
Critics Consensus: An overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are occasionally enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: "Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance) as he discusses his relative level of intelligence... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Adjusted Score: 78.36% ?
Critics Consensus: It may not be one of Minnelli's best, but the charming and flawlessly acted Gigi still offers enough visual and musical treats to satisfy.
Synopsis: Leslie Caron plays Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be the mistress of wealthy... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.268% ?
Critics Consensus: A raw and unsettling morality piece on modern angst and urban disconnect, Crash examines the dangers of bigotry and xenophobia in the lives of interconnected Angelenos.
Synopsis: Issues of race and gender cause a group of strangers in Los Angeles to physically and emotionally collide in this drama from director and screenwriter... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis
Adjusted Score: 81.878% ?
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Synopsis: A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his people, in this epic historical drama from director... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Adjusted Score: 82.159% ?
Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.
Synopsis: From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experiences it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard
Adjusted Score: 82.118% ?
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Synopsis: Mel Gibson, long-time heartthrob of the silver screen, came into his own as a director with Braveheart, an account of the life and times of medieval... [More]
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Adjusted Score: 83.502% ?
Critics Consensus: Solid cinematography and enjoyable performances from Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw add a spark to this deliberately paced adaptation of the Robert Bolt play.
Synopsis: Adapted by Robert Bolt and Constance Willis from Bolt's hit stage play, A Man for All Seasons stars Paul Scofield, triumphantly repeating his stage... [More]
Directed By: Fred Zinnemann
Adjusted Score: 81.642% ?
Critics Consensus: It occasionally fails to live up to its subject matter -- and is perhaps an 'important' film more than a 'great' one -- but the performances from Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire are superb.
Synopsis: Adapted by Moss Hart from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson, this film stars Gregory Peck as recently widowed journalist Phil Green. With a growing son... [More]
Directed By: Elia Kazan
Adjusted Score: 84.902% ?
Critics Consensus: Warm and smartly paced, and boasting impeccable performances from Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy.
Synopsis: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry, Driving Miss Daisy affectionately covers the 25-year relationship between a wealthy,... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford
Adjusted Score: 85.39% ?
Critics Consensus: A grand, sweeping epic with inarguably noble intentions and arresting cinematography, but one whose center, arguably, is not as weighty as it should be.
Synopsis: A historical drama about the relationship between a Civil War soldier and a band of Sioux Indians, Kevin Costner's directorial debut was also a... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Costner
Adjusted Score: 85.301% ?
Critics Consensus: It has aged somewhat awkwardly, but the performances are inspired, the songs are memorable, and the film is undeniably influential.
Synopsis: Inspired by Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, Lionel Bart's 1961 London and Broadway musical hit glossed over some of Dickens' more graphic... [More]
Directed By: Carol Reed
Adjusted Score: 85.88% ?
Critics Consensus: A frantic, irreverent adaptation of the novel, bolstered by Albert Finney's courageous performance and arresting visuals.
Synopsis: Tony Richardson's adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular comedies of its time, winning four... [More]
Directed By: Tony Richardson
Adjusted Score: 87.042% ?
Critics Consensus: Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving.
Synopsis: Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this award-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel about a doomed and tragic romance set against the... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella
Adjusted Score: 88.838% ?
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, Chariots of Fire is the internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning drama of two very different men who compete as runners in the... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson
Adjusted Score: 91.314% ?
Critics Consensus: Director Richard Attenborough is typically sympathetic and sure-handed, but it's Ben Kingsley's magnetic performance that acts as the linchpin for this sprawling, lengthy biopic.
Synopsis: It was Richard Attenborough's lifelong dream to bring the life story of Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi to the screen. When it... [More]
Directed By: Richard Attenborough
Adjusted Score: 91.411% ?
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Synopsis: Robert Benton's Oscar-winning adaptation of Avery Corman's bestseller takes on contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles, as a jilted... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton
Adjusted Score: 91.57% ?
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Synopsis: An account of the complex and difficult relationship between a mother and daughter as they face life's challenges over three decades. [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks
Adjusted Score: 91.741% ?
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less a true film than a series of star-studded vignettes, Grand Hotel still remains an entertaining look back at a bygone Hollywood era.
Synopsis: Based on Vicki Baum's novel and produced by Irving Thalberg, this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin, a place where "nothing ever... [More]
Directed By: Edmund Goulding
Adjusted Score: 91.707% ?
Critics Consensus: Uneven, but in terms of epic scope and grand spectacle, Ben-Hur still ranks among Hollywood's finest examples of pure entertainment.
Synopsis: Record-breaking winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Score, this epic masterpiece stars Charlton Heston... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.717% ?
Critics Consensus: Unapologetically sweet and maybe even a little corny, The Sound of Music will win over all but the most cynical filmgoers with its classic songs and irresistible warmth.
Synopsis: One of the most popular movie musicals of all time, The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the Trapp Family Singers. Julie Andrews stars as... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise
Adjusted Score: 93.347% ?
Critics Consensus: Informed by director Oliver Stone's personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: Oliver Stone's breakthrough as a director, Platoon is a brutally realistic look at a young soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam. Chris Taylor (Charlie... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Adjusted Score: 93.188% ?
Critics Consensus: A rousing and energetic adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago succeeds on the level pure spectacle, but provides a surprising level of depth and humor as well.
Synopsis: A starry-eyed would-be star discovers just how far the notion that "there's no such thing as bad publicity" can go in this screen adaptation of the... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall
Adjusted Score: 94.091% ?
Critics Consensus: A well-executed labor of love from star and director Laurence Olivier, Hamlet not only proved that Shakespeare could be successfully adapted to the big screen, it paved the way for further cinematic interpretations.
Synopsis: Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large... [More]
Directed By: Laurence Olivier
Adjusted Score: 94.498% ?
Critics Consensus: An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.
Synopsis: As Academy Award-winning films go, Mrs. Miniver has not weathered the years all that well. This prettified, idealized view of the upper-class British... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.521% ?
Critics Consensus: Though it perhaps strays into overly maudlin territory, this working-class drama is saved by a solid cast and director John Ford's unmistakeable style.
Synopsis: Spanning 50 years, director John Ford's How Green Was My Valley revolves around the life of the Morgans, a Welsh mining family, as told through the... [More]
Directed By: John Ford
Adjusted Score: 95.483% ?
Critics Consensus: It has perhaps aged poorly, but this languidly paced WWII romance remains an iconic, well-acted film, featuring particularly strong performances from Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift.
Synopsis: The scene is Schofield Army Barracks in Honolulu, in the languid days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, where James Jones' acclaimed war novel From... [More]
Directed By: Fred Zinnemann
Adjusted Score: 95.648% ?
Critics Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.
Synopsis: A biting, penetrating and often humorous take on contemporary life in suburban America, Lester Burnham becomes intrigued by a young girl named Angela,... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Adjusted Score: 95.263% ?
Critics Consensus: Though shot through with bitterness and sorrow, Robert Redford's directorial debut is absorbing and well-acted.
Synopsis: Robert Redford's directorial debut ended up the 1980 Oscar winner for Best Picture. It is a simple but painfully emotional story of the disintegration... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford
Adjusted Score: 95.456% ?
Critics Consensus: This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson's direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.
Synopsis: Self-centered, avaricious Californian Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is informed that his long-estranged father has died. Expecting at least a portion... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson
Adjusted Score: 96.218% ?
Critics Consensus: John Schlesinger's gritty, unrelentingly bleak look at the seedy underbelly of urban American life is undeniably disturbing, but Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's performances make it difficult to turn away.
Synopsis: A con man and a Texas hustler try to survive on the tough streets of New York. [More]
Directed By: John Schlesinger
Adjusted Score: 95.604% ?
Critics Consensus: While decidedly imperfect, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic is still a feast for the eyes.
Synopsis: The Last Emperor is the true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the last ruler of the Chinese Ching Dynasty. Told in flashback, the film covers the years... [More]
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci
Adjusted Score: 99.41% ?
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: One of several 1978 films dealing with the Vietnam War (including Hal Ashby's Oscar-winning Coming Home), Michael Cimino's epic second feature The... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino
Adjusted Score: 97.37% ?
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.
Synopsis: Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran boxing trainer who has devoted his life to the ring and has precious little to show for it; his daughter... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Adjusted Score: 97.662% ?
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: A slightly dimwitted amateur boxer from Philadelphia's tough neighborhood gets a surprise shot at fighting for the heavyweight championship, while at... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen
Adjusted Score: 97.489% ?
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill prove that charm, humor, and a few slick twists can add up to a great film.
Synopsis: Four years after setting box offices ablaze in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill re-teamed... [More]
Directed By: George Roy Hill
Adjusted Score: 97.541% ?
Critics Consensus: Tense, funny, and thought-provoking all at once, and lifted by strong performances from Sydney Poitier and Rod Steiger, director Norman Jewison's look at murder and racism in small-town America continues to resonate today.
Synopsis: The winner of the 1967 Oscar for Best Picture (as well as four other Oscars), In the Heat of the Night is set in a small Mississippi town where an... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison
Adjusted Score: 98.924% ?
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of "The Rose," a theatre... [More]
Directed By: John Madden
Adjusted Score: 98.996% ?
Critics Consensus: Fans of the play may miss Julie Andrews in the starring role -- particularly when Marni Nixon's singing comes out of Audrey Hepburn's mouth -- but the film's charm is undeniable.
Synopsis: At one time the longest-running Broadway musical, My Fair Lady was adapted by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from the George Bernard Shaw comedy... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99.405% ?
Critics Consensus: Subsequent war epics may have borrowed heavily from the original Best Picture winner, but they've all lacked Clara Bow's luminous screen presence and William Wellman's deft direction.
Synopsis: Wings, the first feature film to win an Academy Award, tends to disappoint a little when seen today. Too much time is afforded the wheezy old plotline... [More]
Directed By: William A. Wellman
Adjusted Score: 100.316% ?
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Widely regarded as a comedy in 1960, The Apartment seems more melancholy with each passing year. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a go-getting office... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Adjusted Score: 99.464% ?
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: In this multiple Oscar-winning thriller, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose shrewd analyses of... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme
Adjusted Score: 99.739% ?
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality that has infused director Martin Scorsese's past triumphs.
Synopsis: Legendary director Martin Scorsese takes the helm for this tale of questionable loyalties and blurring identities set in the South Boston organized... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Adjusted Score: 99.08% ?
Critics Consensus: The historical inaccuracies in this high-seas adventure are more then offset by its timeless themes, larger-than-life performances from Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, and Frank Lloyd's superb direction.
Synopsis: The 1932 publication of Charles Nordhoff and James Norton Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty sparked a revival of interest in the titular 1789 ship mutiny,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Lloyd
Adjusted Score: 100.071% ?
Critics Consensus: A mostly unqualified triumph for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama.
Synopsis: This spectacular epic re-creates the ill-fated maiden voyage of the White Star Line's $7.5 million R.M.S Titanic and the tragic sea disaster of April... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron
Adjusted Score: 100.615% ?
Critics Consensus: This complex war epic asks hard questions, resists easy answers, and boasts career-defining work from star Alec Guinness and director David Lean.
Synopsis: The Bridge on the River Kwai opens in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Burma in 1943, where a battle of wills rages between camp commander Colonel... [More]
Directed By: David Lean
Adjusted Score: 100.631% ?
Critics Consensus: Colin Firth gives a masterful performance in The King's Speech, a predictable but stylishly produced and rousing period drama.
Synopsis: After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper
Adjusted Score: 101.062% ?
Critics Consensus: Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.
Synopsis: The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Adjusted Score: 100.491% ?
Critics Consensus: As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Synopsis: Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Adjusted Score: 101.46% ?
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by powerful lead performances from Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men finds the Coen brothers spinning cinematic gold out of Cormac McCarthy's grim, darkly funny novel.
Synopsis: When a Vietnam veteran discovers two million dollars while wandering through the aftermath of a Texas drug deal gone horribly awry, his decision to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.759% ?
Critics Consensus: Broderick Crawford is spellbinding as politician Willie Stark in director Robert Rossen's adaptation of the Robert Penn Warren novel about the corrosive effects of power on the human soul.
Synopsis: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men is a roman à clef inspired by the career of Louisiana governor... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rossen
Adjusted Score: 101.953% ?
Critics Consensus: Boasting masterful cinematography to match its well-acted, wonderfully romantic storyline, Sunrise is perhaps the final -- and arguably definitive -- statement of the silent era.
Synopsis: Considered by many to be the finest silent film ever made by a Hollywood studio, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise represents the art of the wordless cinema at... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Adjusted Score: 101.27% ?
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by Robert Wise's dazzling direction, Leonard Bernstein's score, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, West Side Story remains perhaps the most iconic of all the Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen.
Synopsis: This romantic musical update of 'Romeo and Juliet' won ten Oscars. The tale of a turf war between rival teenage gangs in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102.561% ?
Critics Consensus: Visually dazzling and emotionally resonant, Slumdog Millionaire is a film that's both entertaining and powerful.
Synopsis: Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Adjusted Score: 101.905% ?
Critics Consensus: A lavish, entertaining, powerful film about the life and influence, both positive and negative, of one of Western culture's great artists.
Synopsis: For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he'd left behind during the Czech... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman
Adjusted Score: 102.185% ?
Critics Consensus: It's predictably uplifting fare from Frank Capra, perhaps the most consciously uplifting of all great American directors -- but thanks to immensely appealing performances and a nimble script, You Can't Take It With You is hard not to love.
Synopsis: Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play You Can't Take It With You was transformed into a paean to populism... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra
Adjusted Score: 102.002% ?
Critics Consensus: The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s -- and testament to the director's vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later.
Synopsis: With an insane asylum standing in for everyday society, Milos Forman's 1975 film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel is a comically sharp indictment of... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman
Adjusted Score: 102.386% ?
Critics Consensus: Schindler's List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg's signature tender humanism to create the director's dramatic masterpiece.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List stars Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, a German businessman in Poland who sees an... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Adjusted Score: 103.154% ?
Critics Consensus: Director Lewis Milestone's brilliant anti-war polemic, headlined by an unforgettable performance from Lew Ayres, lays bare the tragic foolishness at the heart of war.
Synopsis: One of the most powerful anti-war statements ever put on film, this gut-wrenching story concerns a group of friends who join the Army during World War... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Milestone
Adjusted Score: 104.142% ?
Critics Consensus: An engrossing look at the triumphs and travails of war veterans, The Best Years of Our Lives is concerned specifically with the aftermath of World War II, but its messages speak to the overall American experience.
Synopsis: The postwar classic The Best Years of Our Lives, based on a novel in verse by MacKinlay Kantor about the difficult readjustments of returning World... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102.755% ?
Critics Consensus: George C. Scott's sympathetic, unflinching portrayal of the titular general in this sprawling epic is as definitive as any performance in the history of American biopics.
Synopsis: In 1943 North Africa, George Patton (George C. Scott) assumes command of (and instills some much-needed discipline in) the American forces. Engaged in... [More]
Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner
Adjusted Score: 103.477% ?
Critics Consensus: Scriptwriter Paddy Chayefsky's solid dialogue is bolstered by strong performances from Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair in this appealingly low-key character study.
Synopsis: Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-winning slice-of-life drama originated as a live 1953 broadcast directed by Delbert Mann on The Philco-Goodyear Television... [More]
Directed By: Delbert Mann
Adjusted Score: 103.585% ?
Critics Consensus: Realistic, fast-paced and uncommonly smart, The French Connection is bolstered by stellar performances by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, not to mention William Friedkin's thrilling production.
Synopsis: This gritty, fast-paced, and innovative police drama earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (written by Ernest... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin
Adjusted Score: 104.351% ?
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's unflinchingly honest look at the effects of alcoholism may have had some of its impact blunted by time, but it remains a powerful and remarkably prescient film.
Synopsis: Billy Wilder's searing portrait of an alcoholic features an Oscar-winning performance by Ray Milland as Don Birnam, a writer whose lust for booze... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Adjusted Score: 104.805% ?
Critics Consensus: Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
Synopsis: "Annie Hall" is a comical look at the up and down relationship between a New York City TV writer and his aspiring actress/singer girlfriend who's... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen
Adjusted Score: 104.431% ?
Critics Consensus: A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.
Synopsis: Hollywood 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and... [More]
Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius
Adjusted Score: 103.719% ?
Critics Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.
Synopsis: Based on the personal wartime experiences of journalist Mark Boal (who adapted his experiences with a bomb squad into a fact-based, yet fictional... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Adjusted Score: 104.369% ?
Critics Consensus: The plot may be problematic, but such concerns are rendered superfluous by Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron's star power, the Gershwins' classic songs, and Vincente Minnelli's colorful, sympathetic direction.
Synopsis: Gene Kelly does his patented Pal Joey bit as Jerry Mulligan, an opportunistic American painter living in Paris' "starving artists" colony. He is... [More]
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli
Adjusted Score: 105.422% ?
Critics Consensus: Tense, exciting, and often darkly comic, Argo recreates a historical event with vivid attention to detail and finely wrought characters.
Synopsis: Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Adjusted Score: 106.122% ?
Critics Consensus: Filmed and presented on a scale not seen in modern productions, Gone with the Wind is, if not the definitive Hollywood film, then certainly near the top of the list.
Synopsis: Gone With the Wind boils down to a story about a spoiled Southern girl's hopeless love for a married man. Producer David O. Selznick managed to expand... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106.672% ?
Critics Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.
Synopsis: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, the New York State citizen who was kidnapped and made to work on a plantation in New Orleans in the 1800s.... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen (III)
Adjusted Score: 105.913% ?
Critics Consensus: Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.
Synopsis: The second Mrs. de Winter is a shy and naive young woman, besotted with charming and urbane Maxim de Winter. They meet and fall in love while... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Adjusted Score: 107.049% ?
Critics Consensus: Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of Mario Puzo's Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.
Synopsis: Francis Ford Coppola's legendary continuation and sequel to his landmark 1972 film, The Godfather, parallels the young Vito Corleone's rise with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Adjusted Score: 107.028% ?
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: Frank Capra's seminal screwball comedy, which won all five major Academy Awards for 1934, is still as breezy and beguiling today. Claudette Colbert... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra
Adjusted Score: 106.539% ?
Critics Consensus: The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean's status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.
Synopsis: This sweeping, highly literate historical epic covers the Allies' mideastern campaign during World War I as seen through the eyes of the enigmatic T.... [More]
Directed By: David Lean
Adjusted Score: 106.776% ?
Critics Consensus: With his electrifying performance in Elia Kazan's thought-provoking, expertly constructed melodrama, Marlon Brando redefined the possibilities of acting for film and helped permanently alter the cinematic landscape.
Synopsis: This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New Jersey.... [More]
Directed By: Elia Kazan
Adjusted Score: 110.656% ?
Critics Consensus: An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Synopsis: One of the most beloved American films, this captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue from director Michael Curtiz defies standard... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz
Adjusted Score: 109.883% ?
Critics Consensus: Smart, sophisticated, and devastatingly funny, All About Eve is a Hollywood classic that only improves with age.
Synopsis: Based on the story The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr, All About Eve is an elegantly bitchy backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve... [More]
Directed By: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Adjusted Score: 110.463% ?
Critics Consensus: One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema.
Synopsis: Popularly viewed as one of the best American films ever made, the multi-generational crime saga The Godfather is a touchstone of cinema: one of the... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola