Highest-Grossing Palme d'Or Winnersby 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
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.
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
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.
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
A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.
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
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.
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
Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.
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
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.
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
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor.
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.