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Best Motion Pictures
The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture is one of the “Academy Awards of Merit” presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is bestowed on producers working in the motion picture industry.
“Best Picture” is considered the most important of the Academy Awards, as it represents all the directing, acting, music composing, writing, editing and other efforts put forth into a film. Consequently, it is the final award to be presented and, therefore, the conclusion of the annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Each film that has won the award—along with a brief synopsis and more—is included in the listings below, back to the very first “Best Picture.” Click on a tab to see the winning films in that decade.
2012 – Argo
2011 – The Artist
2010—The King’s Speech: Four Academy Awards (including Director, Actor, and Original Screenplay) went to this biopic of 1930s Britain’s King George VI. Colin Firth shines as the monarch whose stuttering is seen as a liability in an age when leaders must be appealing on the radio and in newsreels. George (then Prince Albert) turns to Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) for help before ascending to the throne in the wake of his father’s death and his older brother’s unexpected abdication. With Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Claire Bloom. 118 minutes.
2009—The Hurt Locker: Set in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War, director Kathryn Bigelow‘s white-knuckle action/drama earned six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. A reckless staff sergeant (Jeremy Renner) takes command of a highly trained bomb disposal unit. While the new noncom’s shocked subordinates question the dangers surrounding his impulsive leadership, Baghdad becomes ever more chaotic and treacherous. With Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, and Evangeline Lilly. 130 minutes.
2008—Slumdog Millionaire: On the verge of winning the grand prize on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Jamal, a Mumbai office boy with little formal education, is arrested as a cheater. Relating the story of his and his brother’s difficult lives in the city’s slums to the police, the keys to Jamal’s knowledge and the reason he went on TV are revealed. Director Danny Boyle‘s Dickens-meets-Bollywood drama won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor star. 121 minutes.
2007—No Country for Old Men: Four Academy Awards—including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor–went to the Coen Brothers’ riveting adaptation of Cormac McCarthy‘s novel. When a hunter (Josh Brolin) happens upon a drug deal gone bad, he winds up with a suitcase containing $2 million in cash. Now, Brolin must engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless hired killer (Javier Bardem) out to retrieve the money, while the local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) tries to stop them both. With Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson. 122 minutes.
2006—The Departed: Martin Scorsese‘s superb remake of the Hong Kong crime thriller “Infernal Affairs” tracks the deadly cat-and-mouse game between rookie state cop Leonardo DiCaprio, assigned to infiltrate South Boston mob boss Jack Nicholson‘s operation, and corrupt Internal Investigations officer Matt Damon, trying to learn the informant’s identity. Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin co-star. 151 minutes.
2005—Crash: Explosive ensemble drama that won a Best Picture Academy Award examines racism among a group of L.A. residents over two days. As the lives of detective Don Cheadle, D.A. Brendan Fraser and wife Sandra Bullock, bigoted cop Matt Damon, privileged Hollywood couple Thandie Newton and Terrence Howard, and others collide, each discovers the often tragic effects of intolerance. With Jennifer Esposito, Ludacris, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate; co-written and directed by Paul Haggis. 122 minutes.
2004—Million Dollar Baby: Producer/director Clint Eastwood delivers a tour-de-force performance as a gruff boxing coach in this drama that earned Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actor. Urged by gym caretaker Morgan Freeman to help upstart fighter Hilary Swank develop her skills, a reluctant Eastwood eventually takes her under his wing, and together the pair learns about the strength of dreams—and the devastating consequences of fate. With Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter. 132 minutes.
2003—The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, went to director Peter Jackson‘s triumphant finale to fantasy cinema’s most acclaimed series. As Frodo, Sam and the treacherous Gollum attempt to destroy the One Ring of Power in the fires of Mt. Doom, Aragorn the ranger faces his destiny as the rightful ruler of Gondor, leading the armies of mankind into ultimate battle against Sauron’s minions. Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood star. 200 minutes.
2002—Chicago: All the “razzle dazzle” of the Kander and Ebb/Bob Fosse stage musical is captured in this electrifying film that garnered six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress. Renee Zellweger is ’20s Windy City housewife Roxie Hart who meets fellow accused murderess Catherine Zeta-Jones in the slammer, with both of them being represented by slick lawyer Richard Gere. Songs include “All That Jazz,” “Funny Honey,” and “Nowadays.” With John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah. 113 minutes.
2001—A Beautiful Mind: Winner of four Academy Awards–including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress–Ron Howard’s compelling real-life drama stars Russell Crowe as mathmatical genius John Forbes Nash, whose decades-long fight with schizophrenia threatened his marriage and academic career, until redemption came in the form of a Nobel Prize in 1994. Jennifer Connelly co-stars as Crowe’s understanding wife; with Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer. 136 minutes.
2000—Gladiator: Winner of Best Picture and Best Actor Academy Awards, director Ridley Scott’s stirring spectacle stars Russell Crowe as heroic Roman general Maximus. Crowe is chosen to succeed ailing emperor Richard Harris, but scheming imperial son Joaquin Phoenix orders Crowe and his family killed. Left for dead and sold into slavery, Crowe emerges as the empire’s greatest gladiator and seeks vengeance in a showdown at the Colosseum. With Oliver Reed, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou. 155 minutes.
1999—American Beauty: Five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Actor, went to this lacerating, darkly funny look at family decay in contemporary suburbia. Magazine editor Kevin Spacey’s midlife frustrations threaten his troubled marriage to real estate agent Annette Bening and lead him to an infatuation with teenage daughter Thora Birch’s friend, cheerleader Mena Suvari. Director Sam Mendes and scripter Alan Ball’s debut film work also stars Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper. 122 minutes.
1998—Shakespeare in Love: Witty, romantic, sexy–and fictional–account of the Bard’s early days stars Joseph Fiennes as the young playwright, struggling with his latest work, “Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter.” Inspiration and love come in the form of nobleman’s daughter Gwyneth Paltrow, who, unknown to Shakespeare, is also appearing in male drag in his upcoming drama. Geoffrey Rush and Judi Dench also star in this winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. 122 minutes.
1997—Titanic: The highest grossing film of all time won of a record-tying 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. As an undersea expedition explores the remains of the RMS Titanic, a survivor of the doomed ship relates her account of the 1912 voyage, when, as a young socialite, she had a life-changing romance with a handsome steerage passenger. Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart star. 194 minutes.
1996—The English Patient: In a ruined Italian monastery-turned-Allied hospital in World War II, an amnesiac, severely burned plane crash victim is cared for by a devoted young nurse. Through flashbacks of the man’s past, a tale of wartime intrigue and forbidden love in the sands of North Africa unfolds. Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Willem Dafoe star in director/scripter Anthony Minghella’s lush drama; winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress. 162 minutes.
1995—Braveheart: Director/star Mel Gibson took home Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards for this historical epic about 13th-century Scottish hero William Wallace, a farmer forced into fighting the forces of England’s King Edward I after they kill his father and new wife. Highlighted by amazing battle scenes, the passionate saga also stars Patrick McGoohan, Sophie Marceau, and Catherine McCormick. 177 minutes.
1994—Forrest Gump: Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor, Robert Zemeckis’ modern-day “Candide” stars Tom Hanks as the simple-minded but good-hearted Forrest, whose life is a series of accidental encounters with the memorable people and pivotal events of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Endearing mix of comedy and drama also stars Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field as Mama Gump. 141 minutes.
1993—Schindler’s List: Seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Screenplay and Director, went to Steven Spielberg’s compelling, harrowing real-life Holocaust drama. Liam Neeson portrays Oskar Schindler, a businessman in Germany who uses his connections to staff his factory in occupied Poland with Jewish refugees, at first as unpaid slave labor, but later in an attempt to save them from extermination. Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes co-star. 196 minutes.
1992—Unforgiven: Four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor, went to director/star Clint Eastwood’s superb revisionist western about a gunslinger-turned-rancher who joins his old partner and a young sharpshooter to capture a pair of cowhands responsible for mutilating a prostitute. With Gene Hackman as a cruel sheriff, Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Frances Fisher. 127 minutes.
1991—Silence of the Lambs: The third film in Oscar history to win all five top awards, director Jonathan Demme’s harrowing cinematic thriller stars Jodie Foster as an FBI trainee who engages in a mental duel with jailed serial killer Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter (the understatedly sinister Anthony Hopkins) to gain information needed to track down another murderer. With Scott Glenn, Ted Levine. 118 minutes.
1990—Dances with Wolves: Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this stirring, visually enthralling Western epic is set on the Dakota plains of the 1860s. Director/star Kevin Costner is an Army officer who is assigned to a remote post where he befriends a tribe of Sioux Indians, whom he discovers are more civilized than his own people. Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant also star. 181 minutes.
1989—Driving Miss Daisy: The winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, tells the poignant story of the decades-long relationship between an elderly stubborn Jewish woman living in the ’40s South and her benevolent black chauffeur. Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd star in this touching comedy-drama, adapted from Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer-winning play. 99 minutes.
1988—Rain Man: Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman made a box-office splash in this “road” drama about a crass hustler who forms a bond with the autistic-savant brother he never knew he had during a cross-country car trip. Hoffman won a Best Actor Academy Award for his uncanny portrayal of the behaviorally disordered human abacus, as did the film, screenplay and Barry Levinson’s sensitive direction. 134 minutes.
1987—The Last Emperor: Bernardo Bertolucci’s stunning historical drama, winner of nine Oscars including Best Picture and Director, follows the tragic life of Pu Yi: child ruler of Imperial China, dissolute playboy in exile, Japanese puppet leader, and prisoner of the Communists. Filmed throughout China and in Beijing’s Forbidden City, this exquisite film stars John Lone as the adult monarch, Joan Chen, Lisa Lu, and Peter O’Toole. Includes both the original theatrical version (165 minutes) and the restored version (218 minutes).
1986—Platoon: Winner of Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, this harrowing drama chronicles Vietnam frontline combat as seen through the eyes of young grunt Charlie Sheen (and drawn from the real-life experiences of creator Oliver Stone). Fine support from Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe as the unit’s bitterly competitive topkicks; with Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker. 120 minutes.
1985—Out of Africa: Spectacular, beautiful filming of author Isak Dinesen’s accounts of her life in 1910s Africa won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. Meryl Streep stars as the Danish woman who reluctantly goes to Africa with husband Klaus Maria Brandauer to run a coffee plantation, but slowly comes to fall in love with the untamed land and with hunter Robert Redford; directed by Sydney Pollack. 161 minutes.
1984—Amadeus: Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Actor and Director, playwright Peter Shaffer’s engrossing story of genius, jealousy, and passion stars Tom Hulce as the gifted but childish prodigy Mozart and F. Murray Abraham as bitter rival Salieri. Brilliant musical sequences are set against the opulence of 18th-century Vienna; Milos Forman directs. 160 minutes.
1983—Terms of Endearment: Follow the lives and loves of a mother and daughter over the years, and the special bond they share, in this poignant comedy-drama that garnered five Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actor. Shirley MacLaine is the feisty mom; Debra Winger, her independent daughter; Jack Nicholson, a womanizing ex-astronaut who lives next door. With John Lithgow, Jeff Daniels, Danny DeVito; directed by James L. Brooks. 131 minutes.
1982—Gandhi: Winner of nine Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Actor and Director), this epic masterpiece stars Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi, spiritual leader of the people of India. Teaching tolerance and non-violence in a frenzied time, he spearheaded his people’s revolt against British rule—changing the world in the process. With Candice Bergen, John Gielgud, Edward Fox, and Martin Sheen; directed by Richard Attenborough. 191 minutes.
1981—Chariots of Fire: Based on a true story, the winner of 1981’s Best Picture Oscar is an exciting human study of two British runners—one a devout Christian missionary, the other a nouveau-riche Jewish Cambridge student–who compete in the 1924 Olympic Games. Stellar performances from Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, and Ian Holm and a spectacular score by Vangelis highlight this exhilarating drama. 124 minutes.
1980—Ordinary People: Robert Redford’s directorial debut, the moving story of a seemingly perfect family torn apart by tension, lack of communication and guilt, won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Supporting Actor. Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton, Judd Hirsch, and Elizabeth McGovern star. 124 minutes.
1979—Kramer vs. Kramer: A moving, sensitive story about contemporary relationships and values. Dustin Hoffman is a man who finds himself starting anew when his wife walks out on him and their young son. Winner of Best Picture, Best Actor and three other Oscars. Meryl Streep, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander also star. 105 minutes.
1978—The Deer Hunter: Winner of five Oscars, this harrowing indictment of war from director Michael Cimino stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage as three Pennsylvania steeltown friends whose lives are forever changed by their experiences together in Vietnam. Co-stars Meryl Streep, John Cazale. 183 minutes.
1977—Annie Hall: After breaking up with his girlfriend Annie Hall, neurotic comedian Alvy Singer goes on a stream of conciousness journey through his memories of their relationship, trying to find out what caused them to part ways. He often breaks the fourth wall, speaking to the camera, entering peoples’ stories, and even using animation. 93 minutes.
1976—Rocky: The first and the best! Writer/star Sylvester Stallone is the Philadelphia pug boxer who gets a dream shot at fighting the heavyweight champion in this rousing drama that struck a chord with audiences around the world, made Sly a superstar, and won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. With Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers. 120 minutes.
1975—One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: The first film in over 40 years to win five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay), Milos Forman’s emotional adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel stars Jack Nicholson as a rebellious mental ward inmate whose anti-authority ways inspire his fellow patients and pit him against dictatorial nurse Louise Fletcher. With Will Sampson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd. 138 minutes.
1974—The Godfather, Part II: The story of the Corleone clan continues, as new boss Al Pacino launches a violent campaign to extend his family’s power, while flashbacks with Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone show his rise to Mafia prominence, in the superb second “Godfather” film that earned six Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor. With Robert Duvall, Michael V. Gazzo, Diane Keaton, Lee Strasberg; directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 200 minutes.
1973—The Sting: Paul Newman is a con artist in ’30s Chicago who teams with young swindler Robert Redford to dupe big-time crook Robert Shaw in an elaborate fake betting parlor scheme. Charismatic star turns, Scott Joplin’s ragtime music, and a twist ending make this winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, a classic! 130 minutes.
1972—The Godfather: Director Francis Ford Coppola redefined the gangster film genre with this landmark filming of Mario Puzo’s brutal novel of Mafia life that earned Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor Marlon Brando (though unaccepted) as aging mob boss Don Vito Corleone. James Caan, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino co-star as Corleone’s sons, trying to save the family “business” in the midst of a mob war; with Diane Keaton, Talia Shire. 177 minutes.
1971—The French Connection: Five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Actor, were copped by William Friedkin’s fast-moving, fact-based cop drama. Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider are the New York detectives who reluctantly work with federal agents to crack a multi-million-dollar heroin ring. The harrowing car chase scene is a film classic. With Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco. 104 minutes.
1970—Patton: George C. Scott won (and turned down) a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the brilliant, no-nonsense WWII general in director Franklin Schaffner’s epic screen biodrama. Winner of six other Oscars, including Best Picture, the film also stars Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Tim Considine; scripted by Francis Ford Coppola. 171 minutes.
1969—Midnight Cowboy: Rated “X” when first released (making it the only such film to win the Best Picture Academy Award), director John Schlesinger’s gritty drama stars Jon Voight as a Texas-born stud who heads to New York with dreams of life as a high-paid hustler and Dustin Hoffman as his friend, sleazy street bum “Ratzo” Rizzo. With Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro. 113 minutes.
1968—Oliver!: Consider yourself right in when you watch this lively musical adaptation of the Dickens classic that garnered six Oscars, including Best Picture. Mark Lester stars as the plucky orphan lad, Jack Wild is his pal, the Artful Dodger, and Ron Moody is the rapscallious Fagin. Delightful score from composer Lionel Bart includes “Food, Glorious Food,” “Where Is Love?” and more. With Oliver Reed, Hugh Griffith and Shani Wallis. 153 minutes.
1967—In the Heat of the Night: Five Oscars, including Best Picture, went to Norman Jewison’s compelling adaptation of John Ball’s novel. Sidney Poitier stars as a black homicide detective from Philadelphia, Pa., who’s falsely accused of murder in a rural Mississippi town, then reluctantly teams with the racist local sheriff (Best Actor Oscar-winner Rod Steiger) to find the real killer. Warren Oates, Lee Grant co-star. 110 minutes.
1966—A Man for All Seasons: Splendid film account of the conflict between England’s King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More over the monarch’s divorcing of his first wife and break with the Catholic Church. Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw, Wendy Hiller and Orson Welles head an impressive cast; Fred Zinnemann directs. Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture. 120 minutes.
1965—The Sound of Music: One of the most popular film musicals of all time, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic stars Julie Andrews as a novitiate who becomes governess to a large family in 1930s Austria and charms both her charges and their father (Christopher Plummer). Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture; with Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn. Songs include “Do Re Mi,” “My Favorite Things” and the title tune. 173 minutes.
1964—My Fair Lady: George Bernard Shaw’s timeless play “Pygmalion,” about the wondrous transformation of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) into a refined woman of society by linguist Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), was combined with such unforgettable Lerner and Loewe songs as “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and the result was this winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Co-stars Wilfrid Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway; directed by George Cukor. 173 minutes.
1963—Tom Jones: Directed by Tony Richardson and scripter John Osborne’s sprawling, this film is a bawdy romp through 18th-century England that earned four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Albert Finney stars as the titular country boy hero, whose beguiling manner gets him into one romantic misadventure after another. Based on Henry Fielding’s novel; with Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, David Warner, and Edith Evans. 128 minutes.
1962—Lawrence of Arabia: David Lean’s epic biography of British army officer T.E. Lawrence, who helped unite and lead Arab rebels in their fight against Ottoman Turks during World War I, won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Director. Peter O’Toole made a lasting impression as the enigmatic Lawrence in his starring debut. Co-stars Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Claude Rains. Includes original overture, entr’acte and exit music. 210 minutes.
1961—West Side Story: Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical updating of “Romeo and Juliet” stars Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood as Tony and Maria, the doomed lovers caught up in the violence of rival New York street gangs. Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Russ Tamblyn also star. Winner of 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture; co-directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. 155 minutes.
1960—The Apartment: Billy Wilder’s acerbic look at corporate life stars Jack Lemmon as an ambitious insurance clerk who lets his married bosses use his bachelor pad for their trysts. Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Jack Kruschen also star. Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay. 125 minutes.
1959—Ben-Hur: Eleven Oscars, including Best Picture, went to this classic adaptation of the Lew Wallace story of Palestine in the time of Christ. Charlton Heston stars as a Jewish prince sent to the galleys after being falsely accused of trying to murder a Roman governor. His road to vengeance against Roman nobleman Stephen Boyd, the childhood friend who betrayed him, leads Heston to compete in a dangerous chariot race, depicted in one of cinema’s most breathtaking action sequences. With Martha Scott, Hugh Griffith; William Wyler directs. 212 minutes.
1958—Gigi: Winner of nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, this charming musical stars Leslie Caron as a young woman in early 1900s Paris whose grandmother and aunt groom her for the family tradition of being a well-cared-for courtesan. Caron upsets their plans when she and intended paramour Louis Jourdan fall in love. Memorable Lerner and Loewe score includes “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “I Remember It Well,” and more. Maurice Chevalier, Hermione Gingold co-star. 116 minutes.
1957—The Bridge on River Kwai: David Lean’s Oscar-winning wartime adventure epic stars Alec Guinness as a British officer in a Japanese POW camp, charged by his captors with overseeing the prisoners’ construction of a railroad bridge, but escaped soldier William Holden returns to blow it up. With Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and “The Colonel Bogey March.” 162 minutes.
1956—Around The World in 80 Days: Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Michael Todd’s lavish production of the Jules Verne adventure classic stars David Niven as globe-trotting Phileas Fogg, with Cantinflas and Shirley MacLaine as his companions. Dozens of cameos, including Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Ronald Colman, Buster Keaton, and more. 182 minutes.
1955—Marty: Four Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay, went to this classic adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s teleplay about a lonely, middle-aged Bronx butcher, brilliantly portrayed by Ernest Borgnine, who receives a chance to escape his tedious lifestyle and domineering mother after he meets the girl of his dreams at a dance. Co-stars Betsy Blair, Joe Mantell, Esther Minciotti. Directed by Delbert Mann. 90 minutes.
1954—On the Waterfront: Winner of eight Academy Awards, this powerful, brilliantly performed saga focuses on the dreams, despair and corruption of New York City longshoremen. Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint star under Elia Kazan’s potent direction. 108 minutes.
1953—From Here to Eternity: Classic drama of the men and women at a Pearl Harbor Army base shortly before the Japanese attack won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and both supporting roles. Montgomery Clift is the rebellious officer, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr the surf-swept lovers. With Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, and Ernest Borgnine; directed by Fred Zinnemann. 118 minutes.
1952—Greatest Show on Earth: Ladies and gentlemen…Welcome to Cecil B. DeMille’s Oscar-winning look at life under the big top. See lion-tamers and acrobats! Be amazed at death-defying stunts and incredible train wrecks! Witness superb acting by Charlton Heston, James Stewart, Cornel Wilde, Betty Hutton, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, Lawrence Tierney! 152 minutes.
1951—An American in Paris: The dancing of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, a classic score by George Gershwin, and the romantic settings of the City of Lights make for a timeless musical delight that garnered six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Songs include “Embraceable You,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” 114 minutes.
1950—All About Eve: The 1950 Oscar for Best Picture went to Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ sardonic look at show business glamour and the empty lives behind it. Bette Davis is veteran actress Margo Channing; Anne Baxter is Eve, her understudy desperate for stardom. With Hugh Marlowe, George Sanders, Thelma Ritter and a brief appearance by a young Marilyn Monroe. 138 minutes.
1949—All the King’s Men: Three Oscars (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress) went to this drama of a backwoods Southern lawyer who deals his way into the governor’s mansion, but cannot control his lust for power. Broderick Crawford stars as the Huey Long-inspired kingpin. With Mercedes McCambridge, John Ireland, Joanne Dru; based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren. 109 minutes.
1948—Hamlet: Five Oscars, including Best Actor and Picture, went to Laurence Olivier’s turn as the Melancholy Dane. Stunning locations and black-and-white photography add to the timeless drama. Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons, Felix Aylmer, Norman Wooland head the impressive supporting cast; look quickly for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. 153 minutes.
1947—Gentleman’s Agreement: The Oscar-winning Best Film of 1947 stars Gregory Peck as a magazine writer who researches an article on anti-Semitism and learns first-hand about prejudice when he poses as a Jew. Elia Kazan directed this controversial story; with Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Celeste Holm, Dean Stockwell, and Jane Wyatt. 118 minutes.
1946—The Best Years of Our Lives: Seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, went to William Wyler’s drama about three World War II veterans who return home and must fight their own personal battles for acceptance and adjustment. Dana Andrews stars as an Air Force officer dealing with a loveless marriage; Fredric March is a sergeant trying to reconnect with his wife and children; and real-life amputee Harold Russell is a young sailor coping with the loss of his hands. With Myrna Loy, Hoagy Carmichael, Teresa Wright. 168 minutes.
1945—The Lost Weekend: Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning social drama stars Ray Milland as an alcoholic writer who falls into a maelstrom of delusion and dementia and winds up in a psychiatric ward during a three-day bender. Groundbreaking look into the dangers of alcoholism that was almost not released co-stars Jane Wyman, Howard Da Silva, and Frank Faylen. 101 minutes.
1944—Going My Way: Bing Crosby stars as an Irish Catholic priest whose progressive views are challenged within his new parish. With a smile on his face and a song in his heart, can Der Bingle win over a crusty elder father and the rest of his congregation? Charming multi-Oscar-winner (including Best Picture and Actor) co-stars Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh. 126 minutes.
1943—Casablanca: As time goes by, one of the best-loved films ever made. Humphrey Bogart is cafe owner Rick, Ingrid Bergman lost love Ilsa, and Paul Henreid resistance leader Victor. Their lives and destinies come together in the exotic Moroccan city. Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. With Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Dooley Wilson, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet; Michael Curtiz directs. 103 minutes.
1942—Mrs. Miniver: A grand wartime soap opera that garnered six Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actress. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon are the heads of an average British family who must keep their brood together during the German Blitz. With Teresa Wright, Richard Ney, Helmut Dantine; William Wyler directed. 133 minutes.
1941—How Green was My Valley: John Ford’s powerful winner of the Best Picture Academy Award is set in Wales at the turn of the century, and tells the story of a family of miners, looked over by a loving but stern patriarch, whose lives are filled with danger and repression. Director Ford and actor Donald Crisp also won Oscars; with Maureen O’Hara, Walter Pidgeon, Sara Allgood, and Roddy McDowall. 118 minutes.
1940—Rebecca: For his first American film (which later went on to win the Best Picture Oscar), Alfred Hitchcock was hired by producer David O. Selznick to adapt Daphne du Maurier’s haunting novel. Joan Fontaine stars as the new wife of brooding Laurence Olivier who moves into his mansion and is forced to live in the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca. With Judith Anderson, George Sanders. 131 minutes.
1939—Gone with the Wind: One of the best-loved films of all time, producer David O. Selznick’s grand-scale adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. Rural Georgia during the Civil War and the Reconstruction provides the backdrop for the epic love triangle between coquettish Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), gambler-rogue Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), and gentleman farmer Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel co-star. 225 minutes.
1938—You Can’t Take It with You: Winner of the 1938 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, Frank Capra’s adaptation of the Kaufman/Hart play stars Lionel Barrymore as the head of an eccentric family preparing for a visit by granddaughter Jean Arthur’s beau (James Stewart) and his strait-laced parents. Delightfully daffy comedy also stars Edward Arnold, Spring Byington, Ann Miller. 126 minutes.
1937—The Life of Emile Zola: Winner of three Oscars, including Best Picture, this moving biographical drama stars Paul Muni as the famed 19th-century French author. Joseph Schildkraut co-stars as Captain Louis Dreyfus, whose sensational trial brought Zola to prominence and served as a stirring tribute to the fight for justice. 116 minutes.
1936—The Great Ziegfeld: William Powell stars as Broadway’s Glorifier of the American Girl in this lavish, song-filled biodrama that won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Stars like Fanny Brice and Ray Bolger play themselves, Luise Rainer and Myrna Loy are the impresario’s lady loves, and the score includes “Rhapsody in Blue,” “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” and “If You Knew Susie.” Look quickly for former First Lady Pat Nixon as an extra. 185 minutes.
1935—Mutiny on the Bounty: First mate Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) leads a revolt against his sadistic commander, Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton), in this classic seafaring adventure, based on Nordoff and Hall’s novelization of the real-life 1788 mutiny. Winner of the 1935 Best Picture Academy Award; with Franchot Tone, Donald Crisp. 132 minutes.
1934—It Happened One Night: The classic screwball comedy from Frank Capra was the first film to win the five major Academy Awards, with Clark Gable as a news-hungry reporter chasing runaway rich girl Claudette Colbert from Miami to New York, falling in love in between their hilarious bickering. Co-stars Roscoe Karns, Walter Connolly. 105 minutes.
1933—Cavalcade: Well-to-do London residents Jane and Robert Marryot in several historical events that serve as background for this film, including the Second Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War I. 110 minutes.
1932—Grand Hotel: Welcome to Grand Hotel, a beautiful Berlin hotel filled with palatial splendor and occupied by a galaxy of MGM’s greatest stars. Comedy and drama are mixed in 1932’s Best Picture Oscar-winner. John and Lionel Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, and Jean Hersholt head the stellar cast. 113 minutes.
1931—Cimarron: A landmark in the Western genre, this Oscar-winning adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel traces 40 years in the settlement and development of the Oklahoma Territory, beginning with the 1889 Land Rush. Richard Dix and Irene Dunne are the pioneer family who help tame the frontier; with Estelle Taylor, Roscoe Ates, George E. Stone. 123 minutes.
1930—All Quiet on the Western Front: One of the first and most powerful war films ever made, director Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of the Erich Maria Remarque novel follows a group of idealistic young German soldiers in the final days of the Great War. Winner of Best Picture and Director Academy Awards. Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray star. 132 minutes.
1929—The Broadway Melody: A seminal entry in the movie musical genre, this backstage drama of two sisters whose dreams of stage stardom are threatened when they both fall for the same man stars Anita Page, Bessie Love, Charles King. Winner of the second Best Picture Oscar; songs include “You Were Meant for Me,” “Love Boat,” “Give My Regards to Broadway.” AKA: “The Broadway Melody of 1929.” 100 minutes.
1928—Wings: Initially awarded Most Outstanding Production. A silent movie about World War I fighter pilots. 141 minutes.