The Top 10 Best Picture Winners

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The Top 10 Best Picture Winners

Griffin Snyder, Writer

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For over 90 years, the award of best picture of the year has been one of the most if not the most, prestigious award in the entire film industry. Any film that wins the award automatically becomes ingrained in the eyes of the masses and the industry as a film of the highest quality. Not all best picture winners were created equally however, and while some may be forgotten, these 10 will not.

10 Platoon (1987)

Oliver Stone’s 1987 Vietnam war epic is a deeply affecting film about how war changes men. Although many movies have done the same thing, no movie better demonstrates the things that people will do in the the worst of situations better than platoon. With an excellent dichotomy between Willem Dafoe’s Elias and Tom Berenger’s Barnes, platoon shows the duality of man in war. Charlie Sheen is also excellent, and the action scenes are perfectly intense and visceral.
9 Patton (1971)
Francis Ford Coppola’s WWII classic about the controversial but extremely effective American General George Patton follows his campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Germany as he makes a name for himself in the Allied forces. George C Scott was given Best Actor (rightfully so) for his performance, which is one of he most convincing and memorable of all time. An excellent character study, Patton is an unforgettable film.
8 Braveheart (1996)
Mel Gibson directs and stars as William Wallace, the Scottish Leader who (temporarily) claimed independence from England. One of the greatest historical epics of all time, Braveheart perfectly mixes outstanding battle scenes with great character moments to create a very emotional and overall outstanding film.
7 A Beautiful Mind (2002)
Ron Howard’s biopic of economist John Nash starts off as the standard awkward genius film, but following an excellent plot twist that I won’t spoil here, the film shifts to explore much more interesting themes and evolves into an extremely unique character and time period study. Russell Crowe delivers the performance of his life as Nash, whose transformation is thrilling to watch. Jennifer Connolly, Paul Bettany, and Ed Harris also give phenomenal supporting performances.
6  Gladiator (2001)
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is one of the best historical epics of all time, following Roman general Maximus as he is forced to fight his way through gladiator arenas to get revenge. An emotional roller coaster as well as one of the best action films of all time, Gladiator is the best of both worlds, and Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix make one of the greatest hero-villain combos of all time.
5  The Deer Hunter (1979)
Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken give definitive performances as best friends separated in Vietnam who go on vastly different journeys. An excellent deconstruction of American life during the Vietnam war, and how death affects us, The Deer Hunter is an outstanding character study of two men who change significantly as a result of their experiences.
4 Forrest Gump (1995)
Although it should not have won best picture when The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction were released the same year, Forrest Gump is still an excellent film about a mentally challenged man who sees the world through the most basic lens. With some of the best lines in all of cinema and numerous extremely powerful moments, Forrest Gump is a journey that all should see.
3 Godfather Pt 2 (1975)

The greatest sequel of all time, The Godfather Part 2 shows the rise to power of both Michael Corleone and his father Vito Corleone through the New York mafia, as they juggle the family of the mafia and their own families. Two excellent performances by Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro give the story lines an emotional weight rarely seen in other films.

2 Schindler’s List (1994)
Stephen Spielberg’s holocaust classic defined the modern historical biopic, with an outstanding story of a Nazi who saved over a thousand Jews from extermination by letting them work in his factories. Liam Neeson gives a stirring performance, supported by Ben Kingsley, while Ralph Fiennes plays an excellent villain, creating a near perfect character based drama.
1 Godfather (1973)
Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece about the transfer of power from Vito to Michael Corleone in a Mafia family creates some of the most memorable quotes, story lines, characters, and moments of all time. Nearly every scene, performance, and shot is perfect, the dialogue is unforgettable, and the acting is impeccable. The Godfather is near perfect.