Oscar Best Picture Winners Made on the Cheap

by urbanemovies | created - 11 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

At first glance, $25 million may seem like a lot money. Certainly, it is enough to keep the lights on at home, but it wouldn't cover the expenses of many major motion pictures. While Hollywood is generally secretive about its accounting, it is not a secret that it is common for major movies to have budgets that exceed $100 million. Since 2000, no fewer than 75 movies had budgets that even soared past $200 million (inflation-adjusted).

Officially, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) holds the record for the most expensive film ever with a production budget of $378.5 million or $412 million inflation-adjusted, while The Hobbit trilogy is the most expensive back-to-back film production with combined costs of $623 million or $675.6 million inflation-adjusted (after tax credits).

When compared to the cost of some of Hollywood's bigger budget productions, these Oscar winners were made for pennies on the dollar, relatively speaking. Sources: Wikipedia, Box Office Mojo, The Numbers and Business Insider

Which of these select Oscar-winning Best Picture movies produced on a relatively inexpensive budget* is your favorite? *maximum $25m inflation adjusted budget in 2018 U.S. Dollars and a 7.0+ IMDb rating

Cast your vote here or discuss the topic here.

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1. Moonlight (I) (2016)

R | 111 min | Drama

99 Metascore

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.

Director: Barry Jenkins | Stars: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Alex R. Hibbert

Votes: 236,817 | Gross: $27.85M

Initial budget: $1.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $1.55 million

2. Marty (1955)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love meet at a dance and fall for each other.

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli

Votes: 19,644

Initial budget: $0.35 million

Adjusted for inflation: $3.26 million

3. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

70 Metascore

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 482,503 | Gross: $117.24M

Initial budget: $960,000

Adjusted for inflation: $4.18 million

4. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

87 Metascore

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 86,421 | Gross: $4.36M

Initial budget: $ 0.325 million

Adjusted for inflation: $ 6.085 million

5. Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated | 154 min | Drama

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie, Esmond Knight

Votes: 14,132

Initial budget: $ 678,783 (£527,530)

Adjusted for inflation: $7.072 million (£5.496 million)

6. Crash (I) (2004)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Karina Arroyave

Votes: 404,162 | Gross: $54.58M

Initial budget: $6.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $8.2 million

7. On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger

Votes: 131,191 | Gross: $9.60M

Initial budget: $0.91 million

Adjusted for inflation: $8.42 million

8. Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

78 Metascore

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers

Votes: 50,212 | Gross: $58.97M

Initial budget: $5.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $10.999 million

9. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 485,963 | Gross: $1.02M

Initial budget: $0.878 million

Adjusted for inflation: $12.94 million

10. How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Family

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.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp

Votes: 19,535

Initial budget: $0.8 million

Adjusted for inflation: $13.02 million

11. The French Connection (1971)

R | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Votes: 101,348

Initial budget: $2.2 million

Adjusted for inflation: $13.39 million

12. Grand Hotel (I) (1932)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Romance

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery

Votes: 16,000 | Gross: $2.69M

Initial budget: $ 0.75 million

Adjusted for inflation: $ 13.45 million

13. Platoon (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, War

92 Metascore

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David

Votes: 357,642 | Gross: $138.53M

Initial budget: $6 million

Adjusted for inflation: $13.5 million

14. All About Eve (1950)

Passed | 138 min | Drama

98 Metascore

An ingénue insinuates herself into the lives of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm

Votes: 111,727 | Gross: $0.01M

Initial budget: $1.4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $14.17 million

15. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

Votes: 61,768 | Gross: $24.38M

Initial budget: $2.2 million

Adjusted for inflation: $14.87 million

16. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

PG | 99 min | Drama

81 Metascore

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone

Votes: 90,934 | Gross: $106.59M

Initial budget: $7.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $14.991 million

17. A Man for All Seasons (1966)

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

The story of Sir Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Leo McKern

Votes: 28,710 | Gross: $28.35M

Initial budget: $2.2 million

Adjusted for inflation: $15.14 million

18. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Passed | 118 min | Drama, Romance, War

85 Metascore

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed

Votes: 40,046 | Gross: $30.50M

Initial budget: $1.65 million

Adjusted for inflation: $15.27 million

19. Annie Hall (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

92 Metascore

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane

Votes: 239,488 | Gross: $39.20M

Initial budget: $4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $16.36 million

20. The Artist (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

89 Metascore

An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood's silent era.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius | Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell

Votes: 219,405 | Gross: $44.67M

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $16.5 million

21. The King's Speech (2010)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Votes: 602,760 | Gross: $138.80M

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.05 million

22. The Lost Weekend (1945)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Film-Noir

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard Da Silva

Votes: 31,121 | Gross: $9.46M

Initial budget: $1.25 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.2 million

23. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

R | 120 min | Drama, Romance

86 Metascore

A Mumbai teenager reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan | Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor

Votes: 757,308 | Gross: $141.32M

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.26 million

24. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller, War

95 Metascore

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.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce

Votes: 398,274 | Gross: $17.02M

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.3 million

25. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 54,142 | Gross: $3.27M

Initial budget: $ 1.2 million

Adjusted for inflation: $ 17.58 million

26. Ordinary People (1980)

R | 124 min | Drama

87 Metascore

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.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton

Votes: 43,041 | Gross: $54.80M

Initial budget: $6 million

Adjusted for inflation: $18.04 million

27. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

87 Metascore

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 531,988 | Gross: $42.34M

Initial budget: $18 million

Adjusted for inflation: $18.84 million

28. Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Votes: 50,463 | Gross: $108.42M

Initial budget: $8 million

Adjusted for inflation: $19.9 million

29. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

R | 133 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Michael Berryman

Votes: 849,237 | Gross: $112.00M

Initial budget: $4.4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $20.27 million

30. Spotlight (I) (2015)

R | 129 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 376,238 | Gross: $45.06M

Initial budget: $20 million

Adjusted for inflation: $20.91 million

31. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 589,403 | Gross: $56.67M

Initial budget: $20 million

Adjusted for inflation: $21.28 million

32. American Beauty (1999)

R | 122 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley

Votes: 1,006,136 | Gross: $130.10M

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $22.3 million

33. Green Book (2018)

PG-13 | 130 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

Director: Peter Farrelly | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco

Votes: 251,808 | Gross: $85.08M

Initial budget: $23 million

Adjusted for inflation: $23.0 million

34. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 189,366 | Gross: $44.91M

Initial budget: $2.8 million

Adjusted for inflation: $24.55 million

35. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and a young man, The "Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett).

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 348,342 | Gross: $101.16M

Initial budget: $14 million

Adjusted for inflation: $24.73 million



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