Hindsight Is Always 20-20 List

A look back at Best Movie Oscar winners that, in hindsight, should have lost to a different movie that was nominated that year.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Cavalcade (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot... (112 mins.)
Director: Frank Lloyd
“ Slow at times and maudlin. ” - chud-13
 
2.
The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. (97 mins.)
Director: Alexander Korda
“ The performance of Charles Laughton carries this to the top of '33 ” - chud-13
 
3.
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues, are portrayed. (176 mins.)
“ Seems cliched by todays stands ” - chud-13
 
4.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers. (115 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ The humor and sweetness still holds up today ” - chud-13
 
5.
Rebecca (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife. (130 mins.)
“ As good as this film is... ” - chud-13
 
6.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ ...this one seems the most relevant and real ” - chud-13
 
7.
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life. (118 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ This was the easiest one to pick out ” - chud-13
 
8.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ Considered by many to the best film ever. Also that year, "The Maltese Falcon" and "Sergeant York" are better today then "How Green Was My Valley" ” - chud-13
 
9.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. (170 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ This is a truly great film, well told story about returning GI's in WWII. Powerful for it's time. But... ” - chud-13
 
10.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ Will still make you laugh and cry even after you have seen it 100 times. ” - chud-13
 
11.
All About Eve (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends. (138 mins.)
“ Another great movie, but... ” - chud-13
 
12.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ This movie went outside the box and came up with a new formula for story telling that influences writers and directors to this day. ” - chud-13
 
13.
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle. (152 mins.)
“ Arguably the worst Best Picture in the history of the Acadamy Awards. A star studded cast was all this had going for it. Betty Hutton chewed alot of scenery in this film. And it beat... ” - chud-13
 
14.
High Noon (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A town marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train. (85 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
“ Great story telling and suspense. ” - chud-13
 
15.
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A Victorian Englishman bets that with the new steamships and railways he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. (175 mins.)
“ Not a bad movie, but seems predictable and hoaky compared to... ” - chud-13
 
16.
Giant (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates. (201 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
“ Epic with James Dean ” - chud-13
 
17.
Gigi (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. (115 mins.)
“ It's a nice musical but the writing and acting doesn't match... ” - chud-13
 
18.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son. (108 mins.)
Director: Richard Brooks
“ Newman & Taylor and Burl Ives as Big Daddy ” - chud-13
 
19.
My Fair Lady (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society. (170 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
“ Another good musical, but... ” - chud-13
 
20.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Satire was never this good ” - chud-13
 
21.
The French Connection (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. (104 mins.)
“ A very good movie, but appears dated now and, in my opinion, over rated. It moves fast and not much thinking is needed. And when you compare it too... ” - chud-13
 
22.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned. (136 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ A masterpiece ” - chud-13
 
23.
Ordinary People (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
“ Great performances lift this soap opera ” - chud-13
 
24.
Raging Bull (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it. (129 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ This is the one people talk about today ” - chud-13
 
25.
Rain Man (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country. (133 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
“ Tom Cruise is under rated in this. It still holds up today. But I feel that... ” - chud-13
 
26.
Mississippi Burning (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists. (128 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
“ Is the better film. It captures the time period and events and tells a better story ” - chud-13
 
27.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years. (99 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
“ Again, a nice film with great performances. But if you match it against... ” - chud-13
 
28.
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for. (145 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
“ A well told Biopic, or even 2 others form that year, "My Left Foot" or "Field of Dreams". "Miss Daisy" doesnt match these 3 films. ” - chud-13
 
29.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military. (181 mins.)
Director: Kevin Costner
“ Another good movie, but 20 years later, which would you rather watch. This, or... ” - chud-13
 
30.
Goodfellas (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
The story of Henry Hill and his life through the teen years into the years of mafia, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his Mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate. (146 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Another Scorsese classic that still holds up today. From the montages to the continuous shots, a how to in film making. ” - chud-13
 
31.
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
JFK, LBJ, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ When this came out, I too felt it was the best film of the year. But 20 years later... ” - chud-13
 
32.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
“ This is not only the best film of 1994, but ranks as one of the greatest films of all time. "Pulp Fiction" also gives "Forrest" a run for their money. Great year for movies. ” - chud-13
 
33.
The English Patient (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. (162 mins.)
“ Another good film, but who remembers this? Now... ” - chud-13
 
34.
Fargo (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson. (98 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ This is the film we remember from 1996 ” - chud-13
 
35.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays. (123 mins.)
Director: John Madden
“ A fun movie no doubt, and good to see light-hearted comedies getting their due from the academy. But it came at the expense of... ” - chud-13
 
36.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. (169 mins.)
“ Perhaps the greatest war film of all time. Spielberg made you feel you hit the beachs on D-Day ” - chud-13
 
37.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
“ I love the Coen brothers, but this seemed slow moving and hard to follow at times. On the other hand... ” - chud-13
 
38.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (158 mins.)
“ This is the one that holds up and Daniel Day-Lewis is at the top of his game. Epic storytelling ” - chud-13
 
39.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work. (131 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
“ Another good movie, but for pure fun at the movies, give me... ” - chud-13
 
40.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same. (153 mins.)
“ Tarantino plays loose and fast with facts and crafts a fun, and bloody story that moves quickly. The tongue is planted so far in the cheek, you can't help but have fun here. I would also say "Up" was a better film. ” - chud-13
 
41.
The King's Speech (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. (118 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
“ Nice job of telling a story not many people were aware of, but I personally liked... ” - chud-13
 
42.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home. (103 mins.)
Director: Lee Unkrich
“ In my opinion, this maybe the best animated film of all time. I don't have small children anymore, but I would still watch this if it comes on. The furnace scene is one of the most heart rendering scenes in any move I have ever watched. ” - chud-13