By Joe McGovern
February 16, 2017 at 01:12 PM EST

Among movie fans and Oscar watchers, there’s no better question to bounce around in conversation: What is the best Best Picture winner of all time?

Eighty-eight movies have been awarded Hollywood’s highest honor. Most people have never seen all of them — and that’s probably for the best. The AFI list of the 100 Greatest American Films only includes 27 Best Picture winners. A movie like 1952’s winner The Greatest Show on Earth has rates 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, lower than Twilight. Even in the last 15 years there have been a couple of head-scratchers.

But your favorite Best Picture winner says a lot about you and your taste, whether you pick one of the Oscar roster’s most epic, stately dramas (1962’s Lawrence of Arabia, 1993’s Schindler’s List) or its only full-fledged comedy (1977’s Annie Hall). Or the only fantasy film (2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) or the only horror-thriller (1991’s The Silence of the Lambs).

None of those films are included in New York City’s 1-year-old Metrograph theater, which is kicking off a series (co-presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences) on Feb. 18 of its 10 favorite Best Picture winners. Well, actually nine. The programmers are reserving one spot to screen Federico Fellini’s La Strada, the inaugural winner — 60 years ago — of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The list was curated by Metrograph’s programmers Jacob Perlin and Aliza Ma. Says Perlin, “We picked films that have stood the test of time as great works of cinema, and more recent winners that we think will as well.”

Take a look at Metrograph’s list (below) and weigh in about your personal favorite Best Picture. The full schedule of Metrograph’s series can be found on its website.


It Happened One Night (1934)

Getty Images


Casablanca (1942)

Everett Collection


Rebecca (1940)

Everett Collection


La Strada (1954)


Gigi (1958)

Everett Collection


The Apartment (1960)


Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Everett Collection


Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven: Everett Collection


The Departed (2006)

Andrew Cooper


The Hurt Locker (2008)

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