Though the 2021 Oscars will be a very different ceremony this year, in the end, one movie will be named as the Best Picture of the year. That movie will be added to the exclusive list of prestigious movies that have received the coveted top prize at the Oscars.
Of course, just because a movie is named Best Picture doesn't mean the audience will always agree with those choices. Some past winners have aged quite poorly while others were unpopular to begin with. But then there are those select few Best Picture winners that rank as highly with the public as they do with the Academy.
10 Casablanca (1942) - 8.5
As the oldest movie on this list, the legacy of Casablanca is quite evident. Set in Morocco during World War II, the movie follows a world-weary American club owner who is pulled into a dangerous gambit when his former lover arrives looking for help.
Even modern audiences will be entertained by the suave charm of the movie as well as its pitch-perfect script. Casablanca is a classic love story that also manages to include a lot of other interesting elements that make it a rich and wonderful experience.
9 The Departed (2006) - 8.5
Martin Scorsese finally won his Oscar for Best Director with this dark and violent gangster tale. Based on the Chinese thriller Infernal Affairs, The Departed tells the story of two moles, one who has infiltrated the mob and the other implanted in the police force, who race against time to uncover the other's identity.
Scorsese continues to prove no one tells a gangster story as well as he does. The movie is also helped by its all-star cast as well as a stellar script that mixes violence and humor. It is an intense, bloody, and entertaining ride.
8 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) - 8.6
Based on the best-selling novel, The Silence of the Lambs delivered one of the most iconic movie villains of all time with Hannibal Lecter. This gruesome thriller finds a young FBI agent seeking the help of Lecter, a notorious serial killer, to track down another killer still at large.
Such grim and violent movies are rarely embraced by the Academy, but The Silence of the Lambs stands as one of the best thrillers ever made. From the acting to the directing to the atmosphere of the movie, it is a gripping tale from start to finish.
7 Parasite (2019) - 8.6
The most recent Best Picture also ranks among the best to have ever won the award. Bong Joon-ho's Parasite is a brilliant thriller that follows a destitute South Korean family who sees an opportunity for a better life by sneaking their way into the employment of an affluent family.
Parasite made Oscar history as the first foreign-language movie to win Best Picture. Joon-ho constructs a funny and clever story that gradually unfolds into something very unexpected and even more captivating.
6 One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - 8.7
Jack Nicholson delivered one of his most famous performances as the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Nicholson plays a convicted felon who convinces the judge to send him to a mental institution rather than prison. There, he tries to help the patients push back against their oppressive overseers.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is another movie that effectively balances a lot of different tones. It is a funny madcap comedy at times then switches to a thought-provoking drama and even approaches a thriller at times. In the end, it is an unforgettable piece of storytelling.
5 Forrest Gump (1994) - 8.8
The crowd-pleasing Forrest Gump stars Tom Hanks as the titular character. Forrest is a simple-minded man who treats everyone he meets as if they are a new friend. The movie follows this charming character as he accidentally inserts himself into some of the biggest moments in American history.
Hanks' lovable performance really helps to sell this character and the whole tone of the movie. While it can feel a little corny at times, it is still a moving, funny, and entertaining movie.
4 Schindler's List (1993) - 8.9
The same year that Steven Spielberg released one of the most entertaining movies of all time with Jurassic Park, he also delivered one of the most harrowing with Schindler's List. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German factory owner who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews during World War II.
The beautiful black-and-white look of the movie only adds to the tragic feel of the story. Despite Schindler's heroic acts, the movie does not shy away from the horrors of the war and leaves a lasting impact on anyone who sees it.
3 The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) - 8.9
One of the biggest trilogies of all time came to an end in epic fashion in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The final chapter in Peter Jackson's first Middle-earth story finds the forces of good facing off with Sauron's army as Frodo seeks to destroy the One Rings once and for all.
Jackson's vision for this trilogy is part of the reason this movie is so well received, but it is a stunning adventure on its own as well. Aside from the spectacular battle sequences, the movie gives fans a fitting end to this wondrous story.
2 The Godfather: Part II (1974) - 9.0
Francis Ford Coppola did the impossible, following up one masterpiece with another and created one of the greatest sequels of all time. The follow-up brilliantly tells the simultaneous story of Michael Corleone's new position as Don and how his father Vito rose to that same position years earlier.
Not only did Coppola manage to make lightning strike twice with the movie, but there are still some who think this movie surpasses the original. Though it came just short of doing so in the eyes of the IMDb users, it is still a masterpiece.
1 The Godfather (1972) - 9.2
The story of Michael Corleone began with the breathtaking The Godfather. Marlon Brando stars as Vito Corleone, the head of an Italian crime family who is nearly killed which forces his youngest son Michael to step up and join the family business.
From the acting to the lighting to the music to the screenplay, there is no denying that this is one of the most impressive movies of all time. And despite the runtime of nearly three hours, it is a movie worth revisiting again and again.