Highest-Grossing Palme d'Or Winners

by IMDb-Editors | created - 17 Apr 2013 | updated - 15 Apr 2014 | Public

The top prize at the Cannes Film Festival is a very prestigious honor, though it doesn't necessarily translate to box office success in the U.S. Here's a list of the Top 10 highest-grossing Palme d'Or winners ever, with domestic box office gross included.

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1. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Drama, War

67 Metascore

Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Ben Affleck, Stevie Wonder

Votes: 122,100 | Gross: $119.19M

Box Office: $119.2 million

Michael Moore’s controversial movie remains the highest-grossing documentary ever – by a large margin.

2. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,624,188 | Gross: $107.93M

Box Office: $107.9 million

Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 sensation ranks fifth on IMDb’s Top 250 list. While it’s no longer Quentin Tarantino’s highest-grossing movie ever, it does rank higher than Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained when adjusting for ticket price inflation.

3. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, War

94 Metascore

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 543,364 | Gross: $83.47M

Box Office: $83.5 million

Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam movie had a notoriously challenging shoot. Ultimately, it paid off: the movie earned $78.8 million in its initial release, which is the equivalent of around $262 million today.

4. The Piano (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music, Romance

89 Metascore

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin

Votes: 72,744 | Gross: $40.16M

Box Office: $40.2 million

The Piano was nominated for Best Picture, and won three other Oscars. That included a trophy for newcomer Anna Paquin, who became the second-youngest winner of an Academy Award. All of that buzz drove strong, consistent arthouse sales: the movie grossed $40.2 million, but never earned more than $2.5 million on a single weekend.

5. All That Jazz (1979)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

72 Metascore

Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking

Votes: 23,926 | Gross: $37.82M

Box Office: $37.8 million

All That Jazz opened around Christmas in 1979, and won four Oscars at the Academy Awards in early 1980. It then played in competition at Cannes in May, where it tied for the Palme D’Or with Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha.

6. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 635,209 | Gross: $32.57M

Box Office: $32.6 million

The Pianist was a solid box office performer given its dire World War II setting. Still, it was the lowest-grossing Best Picture nominee in 2003 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Chicago (the winner), Gangs of New York and The Hours.

7. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks

Votes: 630,601 | Gross: $28.26M

Box Office: $28.3 million

Taxi Driver went on to become one of Martin Scorsese’s bigger early career hits: adjusted for inflation, it’s roughly on par with The Wolf of Wall Street.

8. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

R | 100 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo

Votes: 44,509 | Gross: $24.74M

Box Office: $24.7 million

With $24.7 million, this was a strong box office debut for director Steven Soderbergh. Instead of going commercial, though, Soderbergh opted to make more experimental fare: his next five movies combined for less than $3 million.

9. The Mission (1986)

PG | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, History

55 Metascore

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn

Votes: 51,387 | Gross: $17.22M

Box Office: $17.2 million

This movie received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and featured major movie star Robert DeNiro. Still, it couldn’t quite connect with audiences, and wound up earning a somewhat disappointing $17.2 million.

10. Wild at Heart (1990)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, J.E. Freeman

Votes: 74,413 | Gross: $14.56M

Box Office: $14.6 million

Director David Lynch’s work has never been particularly accessible. While Wild at Heart was no exception, it did open at the peak of Lynch’s popularity – it’s his Blue Velvet follow-up, and hit theaters right after the first season of Twin Peaks – and starred the ever-popular Nicolas Cage. That was enough to get it to a very modest $14.6 million.



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