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From cinematic masterpieces to groundbreaking narratives, the Academy Awards have honoured numerous outstanding films over the years. Selecting the top 10 among them is a challenging task, given the subjective nature of film critique. Still, here are ten films that garnered universal acclaim and were rewarded with the prestigious Best Picture Oscar. Each film has left a unique mark on the cinematic landscape and continues to be remembered for its exceptional storytelling, performances, and filmmaking.

1. The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather
The Godfather

Francis Ford Coppola’s epic crime drama, “The Godfather,” is more than just a film – it’s an indelible part of cinema history. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel, the film offers an intricate narrative about the Corleone mafia family. A cornerstone of its success is the ensemble cast, with standout performances by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. Brando’s portrayal of the patriarch, Vito Corleone, became a symbol of power and family loyalty that echoes throughout film history.

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2. Schindler’s List (1993)

"Schindler's List" (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” is a heart-wrenching, cinematic masterpiece that starkly illuminates the horrors of the Holocaust. The film is a tribute to Oskar Schindler, an unlikely hero who saved the lives of over a thousand Jews during World War II. Its haunting black-and-white imagery, powerful performances by Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Kingsley, and John Williams’ poignant score serve as an enduring reminder of humanity’s capacity for both evil and extraordinary courage.

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3. Casablanca (1942)

"Casablanca" (1942)

“Casablanca,” a film that encapsulates the golden age of Hollywood, is an unforgettable romantic drama. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s extraordinary chemistry, backed by a stellar supporting cast, engrosses audiences from start to finish. The film’s iconic dialogue (“Here’s looking at you, kid”) and unforgettable score make it a timeless classic. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the narrative explores love, sacrifice, and the quest for freedom, themes that resonate even today.

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4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

"The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)

While not a Best Picture winner, “The Shawshank Redemption” remains one of the most beloved films globally. It is an uplifting tale of hope, resilience, and redemption, set within the bleak walls of a maximum-security prison. Exceptional performances by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman breathe life into this powerful narrative. The film’s universal themes and unforgettable moments – like the iconic opera scene – ensure its lasting appeal.

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

"The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)

This potent adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel won all five major Oscars, a feat rarely achieved. Jack Nicholson’s powerful performance as Randle McMurphy, a rebellious patient in a mental institution, stands as one of his most memorable roles. Opposite him, Louise Fletcher’s portrayal of the oppressive Nurse Ratched provides an iconic antagonist. The film offers a moving commentary on individuality, conformity, and the societal perception of mental health.

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6. Parasite (2019)

"Parasite" (2019)

Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” made history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. It’s a genre-defying masterpiece that artfully uses elements of dark comedy, suspense, and drama to dissect societal class divisions and inequality. Its surprising plot twists, exceptional acting, and meticulous direction have made it a modern classic. “Parasite’s” win signalled a significant shift for the Oscars, recognising the global impact of non-English language films.

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7. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

"The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)

One of the few horror-thriller films to win the Best Picture Oscar, “The Silence of the Lambs,” is an undeniably gripping film. Anthony Hopkins delivers a chilling performance as the infamous Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist turned serial killer, while Jodie Foster shines as the determined FBI trainee, Clarice Starling. Their tense, unsettling dynamic forms the heart of the film. “The Silence of the Lambs” seamlessly combines elements of horror, suspense, and psychological drama, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

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

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

The epic conclusion to Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy stands as a milestone in fantasy cinema. Winning a record-tying 11 Oscars, the film is a grand spectacle that beautifully wraps up the monumental journey of its characters. Its meticulous world-building, breathtaking visuals, and stirring performances ensure its place in cinematic history. The film’s emotional climax provides a satisfying conclusion to an unparalleled cinematic journey.

9. Moonlight (2016)

"Moonlight" (2016)

“Moonlight,” a tender exploration of identity and sexuality, broke new ground with its intimate portrayal of a young black man coming to terms with his homosexuality. Told in three acts, the film beautifully captures the protagonist’s journey, with each actor playing Chiron at different ages delivering a moving performance. Its Best Picture win is a testament to the power of diverse storytelling and the increasing inclusivity of the Oscars.

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10. Forrest Gump (1994)

"Forrest Gump" (1994)

“Forrest Gump” (1994) – 100 words: A heartwarming tale of hope and perseverance, “Forrest Gump,” is a universally loved film. Tom Hanks’ charming performance as Forrest, a man with a low IQ who unintentionally influences several historical events, is both touching and inspirational. The film’s unique narrative structure offers an alternative perspective on several decades of American history, making it both a personal journey and a sweeping epic.

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These ten films, each with its unique narrative, unforgettable performances, and impactful themes, are pillars of cinematic history. They serve as a testament to the power of storytelling and the emotional depth that cinema can offer. If you don’t agree please tell us your in the comments 🙂

“We’ve reached the end of our Top 10 countdown, and we’d love to hear from you! Do you agree with our choices, or is there something we missed that you feel deserves a spot on this list? Let’s start a conversation – comment below with your thoughts and ideas. Your input might just influence our next Top 10!”

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