10 Best Movies That Won Oscars, According To Ranker

David Lean’s war epic won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Alec Guinness. Set in 1943 during World War II, the film follows a group of British prisoners of war who are forced by their Japanese captors to build a bridge in Burma for the war effort.

The film was praised for its cohesive direction, memorable production design and cinematography, and nuanced performances. WWII historical fiction has had a consistent presence at the Oscars. What sets this film apart, however, is the psychological complexity of its main characters and its resounding message about the futility of war.

9 Rocky (1976)

John G. Avildsen’s timeless story about a Philadelphia boxer who takes on heavyweight champion Apollo Creed was the highest-grossing film of 1976. Writer and star Sylvester Stallone wrote the low-budget film in three days and demanded to be cast as Rocky Balboa.

Rocky beat out other critically acclaimed films that year, such as Network and All the President’s Men for the Best Picture win. Its success launched both Stallone’s career and a franchise that continues to this day with the Creed movies. Besides, Rocky will revolutionize sports film and become the gold standard of the genre for years to come.

8 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The third installment of Peter Jackson’s sprawling adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy is currently linked to Titanic (1997) and Ben Hur (1959) as the most awarded film in Oscar history.

With The king’s return, Jackson employs expert attention to detail. If Tolkien created his own language for the novels, Jackson built his own world for the movies, using New Zealand landscapes, thousands of extras and state-of-the-art motion capture technology. Moreover, it never sacrifices character development for battle scenes and special effects; they both go hand-in-hand in this adaptation, which in itself is an impressive high-flying act.

7 Casablanca (1942)

Michael Curtiz’s World War II romantic drama deservedly won Oscars for its direction and screenplay, as well as Best Picture. This Hollywood classic follows the ill-fated romance between nightclub owner Rick Blaine and his former love, Ilsa, as Rick helps her and her husband get out of the country.

casablanca contains some of the most memorable lines (“I’m looking at you, kid;” “We’ll always have Paris;” “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship”). Critics and audiences always agree that casablanca is a timeless classic and the ultimate Hollywood romance, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman sharing some of the greatest on-screen chemistry captured on film.

6 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

An unlikely thing happened at the 64th Academy Awards: a horror movie won Best Picture. Thesilenceofthelambs became one of three films to date to win the “Big Five” (Image, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay). Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI intern who forms a psychologically dangerous relationship with incarcerated Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) while hunting a new serial killer.

Jonathan Demme’s dark, focused direction and Ted Tally’s tightly constructed script provided the template for Foster and Hopkins to deliver career-best performances. Their on-screen tension is unforgettable, as are some of those infamous line-readings (“I ate his liver with beans and a good Chianti”).

5 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Milos Forman’s psychological drama set in a mental institution was the second of three films to win the “Big Five” at the Oscars. These victories included the recognition of the work of its two leaders: Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.

Flight over a cuckoo’s nest was noted for its disturbing subject matter, its balance of humor and drama, and its eerie score. Nurse Ratched is often considered one of the greatest movie villains of all time and was even the subject of Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series. Pawlproving that the imprint of this film on popular culture still endures today.

4 Schindler’s List (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust drama became the prolific filmmaker’s first film to win Best Picture and Best Director awards. Spielberg will later be awarded again as Best Director for Saving Private Ryan (1998).

The story of Oskar Schindler’s quest to save Jewish refugees in Poland has captivated critics and audiences alike. Schindler’s list was praised for its use of black-and-white cinematography and notable performances by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Besides, Schindler’s list has been praised for its historical accuracy and is often considered one of the most brutal portrayals of Holocaust atrocities in cinema. Spielberg’s recreation of sequences in Auschwitz and the Krakow ghetto is emblematic of craftsmanship married to daring and determined filmmaking.

3 Gone with the Wind (1939)

Victor Fleming’s adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel became the highest-grossing film of all time upon release and held the record for two decades. Set in the American South, the film follows Scarlett O’Hara’s love affair with Rhett Butler in the midst of the American Civil War. carried away by the wind swept the 1939 Academy Awards with ten wins.

Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland all deliver powerful performances in a film with a controversial legacy regarding its depiction of the Old South and slavery. Upon release, however, Gone with the wind was a cinematic event, with critics praising its ambitious production design and technical prowess. The scale of the film set a new standard for future historical war epics.

2 The Godfather Part II (1974)

by Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather Part II is one of those rare sequels to have achieved equal, if not greater, critical acclaim than the first installment in the series. In fact, it became the first sequel to win Best Picture.

With memorable performances from some of cinema’s greatest actors (Pacino, De Niro, Duvall, Keaton, etc.), The Godfather Part II embodies the movement of 1970s cinema towards dark realism, ushering in a wave of anti-hero and gangster films that would influence countless projects to come (The Sopranos and Freedmento only cite a few). In fact, the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the movies is currently getting its own narrative treatment in The offer, now streaming on Paramount+. That alone is solid proof that this trilogy had a major impact on cinema.

1 Forrest Gump (1994)

Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 drama, which won 6 Oscars, follows the title character, a mentally ill man whose life experiences influence various historical events from the 1950s to the 1980s. Tom Hanks won his second Academy Award from best actor in a row, after winning the previous year for philadelphia cream.

It has been almost thirty years since Forrest Gump was first published. Since then, it has become a classic, mainly due to its lead performance, empathetic direction, and quotable storyline. Forrest Gump ticks almost every box associated with a Best Picture Oscar winner: historical epic, great performances, universal crowd pleaser, box office success and cutting-edge visual effects. Given these elements and its enduring place in popular culture, it’s no wonder that Forrest Gump is the highest-rated film by Ranker voters.


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More information about 10 Best Movies That Won Oscars, According To Ranker

David Lean’s war epic garnered seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Alec Guinness. Set in 1943 during World War II, the film follows a group of British prisoners of war who are forced by their Japanese captors to build a bridge in Burma for the war effort.
The film was lauded for its cohesive direction, memorable production design and cinematography, and nuanced performances. WWII historical fiction has had a consistent presence at the Academy Awards. What sets this film apart, however, is the psychological complexity of its lead characters and its resounding message about the pointlessness of war.

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9 Rocky (1976)

John G. Avildsen’s timeless underdog story about a Philadelphia boxer who takes on heavyweight champion Apollo Creed was the highest-grossing film of 1976. Writer and star Sylvester Stallone famously wrote the low-budget film in three days and demanded to be cast as Rocky Balboa.
Rocky beat out other critically acclaimed films that year such as Network and All the President’s Men for the Best Picture win. Its success launched both Stallone’s career and a franchise that continues to this day with the Creed films. Additionally, Rocky revolutionized the sports film and would become the genre’s gold standard for years to come.
8 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

The third installment of Peter Jackson’s sprawling adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy is currently tied with Titanic (1997) and Ben-Hur (1959) as the most awarded film in Oscar history.
With The Return of the King, Jackson employs an expert attention to detail. If Tolkien created his own language for the novels, Jackson built his own world for the films, using New Zealand landscapes, thousands of extras, and cutting-edge motion capture technology. Furthermore, he never sacrifices character development for battle scenes and special effects; they both go hand in hand in this adaptation, which in and of itself is an impressive high-wire act.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1528733612385-eer-REPEAT2’); });

7 Casablanca (1942)

Michael Curtiz’s romantic WWII drama rightly won Academy Awards for its direction and screenplay, along with Best Picture. This Hollywood classic follows the ill-fated romance between nightclub owner Rick Blaine and his former love, Ilsa, as Rick helps her and her husband out of the country.
Casablanca contains some of the most memorable lines (“Here’s looking at you, kid;” “We’ll always have Paris;” “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,”). Both critics and audiences still agree that Casablanca is a timeless classic and the ultimate Hollywood romance, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman sharing some of the greatest on-screen chemistry captured on film.
6 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

An unlikely thing happened at the 64th Academy Awards: a horror film won Best Picture. The Silence of the Lambs became one of three films to date to win the “Big Five” (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who forms a psychologically dangerous relationship with the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) while hunting a new serial killer.
Jonathan Demme’s bleak, focused direction and Ted Tally’s tightly constructed script provided the blueprint for Foster and Hopkins to deliver career best performances. Their on-screen tension is unforgettable, as are some of those infamous line readings (“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”).

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1528733612385-eer-REPEAT3’); });

5 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Milos Forman’s psychological drama set in a mental institution was the second of three films to win the “Big Five” at the Academy Awards. These wins included recognition for the work of its two leads: Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was noted for its disturbing subject matter, its balance of humor and drama, and its eerie score. Nurse Ratched is often considered to be one of the greatest movie villains of all time and was even the subject of Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Ratched, proving that this movie’s imprint on popular culture endures to this day.
4 Schindler’s List (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust drama became the prolific filmmaker’s first film to win the Best Picture and Director awards. Spielberg would later be rewarded again as Best Director for Saving Private Ryan (1998).
The story of Oskar Schindler’s quest to save Jewish refugees in Poland captivated critics and audiences alike. Schindler’s List was praised for its use of black-and-white cinematography and notable performances by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Furthermore, Schindler’s List was lauded for its historical accuracy and is often considered one of the most brutal depictions of Holocaust atrocities in film. Spielberg’s recreation of sequences at Auschwitz and the Krakow ghetto are emblematic of craftsmanship married to bold and purposeful filmmaking.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1528733612385-eer-REPEAT4’); });

3 Gone With The Wind (1939)

Victor Fleming’s adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel became the highest-grossing film of all time upon its release and held the record for two decades. Set in the American South, the film follows Scarlett O’Hara’s love affair with Rhett Butler amidst the American Civil War. Gone with the Wind swept the 1939 Oscars ceremony with ten wins.
Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel, and Olivia de Havilland all deliver powerful performances in a film with a controversial legacy regarding its depiction of the Old South and of slavery. Upon its release, however, Gone with the Wind was a cinematic event, with critics praising its ambitious production design and technical prowess. The sheer scale of the film set a new standard for future historical war epics.
2 The Godfather Part II (1974)

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II is one of those rare sequels to have achieved equal if not greater critical acclaim than the first installment of the series. In fact, it became the first sequel to win Best Picture.
Featuring memorable performances by some of the greatest screen actors (Pacino, De Niro, Duvall, Keaton, etc.), The Godfather Part II embodies the movement of cinema in the 1970s towards dark realism, ushering in a wave of films about antiheroes and gangsters that would influence countless projects to come (The Sopranos and Goodfellas, to name a few). In fact, the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the films is currently getting its own narrative treatment in The Offer, now streaming on Paramount+. That alone is strong evidence that this trilogy has had a major impact on cinema.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1528733612385-eer-REPEAT5’); });

1 Forrest Gump (1994)

Robert Zemeckis’s 1994 drama, which earned 6 Academy Awards, follows the title character, a man with mental illness, whose life experiences influence various historical events from the 1950s to the 1980s. Tom Hanks won his second Best Actor Oscar in a row, having previously won the year before for Philadelphia.
It’s been nearly thirty years since Forrest Gump was first released. Since then, it has become a classic, primarily as a result of its lead performance, empathetic direction, and quotable screenplay. Forrest Gump checks off nearly every box associated with a Best Picture Oscar winner: historical epic, great performances, a universal crowd-pleaser, box office success, and cutting-edge visual effects. Given these elements and its enduring place in popular culture, it is no wonder why Forrest Gump is the top-rated film by Ranker voters.
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