Top 10 Best Pictures in the last 55 years

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Photo by Jerry Vizcarra

As a filmmaker it’s been a long-term goal of mine to watch as many Academy Award-winning films, and analyze them to figure out what elements make them worthy of an academy. I decided to rank my favorite top 10 Academy Award-winning Best Pictures from the past 55 years. These films convey cinematic elements and cultural significance that make them my top ten.

10.One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

The message to live free or die is ultimately not lost on one inmate, revealing that escape is still possible even from the most oppressive conditions. This film won best adaptation, best actor, best actress and best director.

9. No Country for Old Men (2007)

A hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong near the Rio Grande. He finds more than two million dollars in cash. His decision to abscond with the cash sets off a violent chain reaction in a stripped-down crime drama.Without the big Hollywood score the film may feel boring or long for some, but the absence of score turns the film into a near perfect adaptation of No Country.

8.American Beauty (1999)

This film captures the dark side of an American family and the price of beauty in a culture obsessed with outward appearances. American Beauty twist and turns leaving it’s audience with an unexpected ending. The closing narration describes meaningful experiences during his life; he says that despite his death he is happy, as there’s so much beauty in the world.

7.The Departed (2006)

This crime classic starting Leonardo DiCaprio as a cop pretending to be a hood and Matt Damon doing the opposite, Director Martin Scorsese hit us with harsh glimpses of how corruption starts in childhood. The ending is reminds us that even among the corruption every rat has its day.

6.Crash (2005)

The film’s representations of racism, anger, and fearfulness, embodied and acted on by nearly every character. This picture allows us to think about the way current urban and mass-mediated experiences create alienation and cultural divisions. Being that I grew up 10 miles away from Los Angeles I can say this is a real problem. “Crash” is a film that may not sit well with everyone but thats only because they see this film as over the top in the attempt to address social and bureaucratic injustice by pulling at the audiences emotional strings.

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

With no stars, no women, no love story, and not much action either, “Lawrence of Arabia” is widely regarded as David Lean’s masterpiece and one of the most critically acclaimed of Hollywood films. This is an epic adventure film, telling the story of a heroic individual, the British intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence and his struggles against enormous natural and political odds to win the freedom of the Arabs against the Ottoman Turks in World War I.

4. Rocky (1976)

Rocky doesn’t need to win, he to show that he is in the same league as the champion.  Rocky begins as someone afraid to give his best in case it is not good enough, and becomes someone who suspects that his best is enough to achieve his goals, and is willing to test himself to find out. The same could be said about the filmmakers who shot this as an independent film. This film was made to win an Oscar but rather to tell an unforgettable story that is worthy of being best picture.

3.The Godfather (1972)

This film is considered slow and boring by some, true filmmakers can appreciate Directors Francis Ford Coppola’s work. Here is a story about Don Vito Corleone who emerges as a character we can sympathize with and admirable. This film tells the story from the inside of the family which becomes the hook that leads people to change their perception of the mob.

2.The Sting (1973)

The fun in watching this film comes from knowing that someone is being taken for a ride, but not knowing exactly who has the upper hand or exactly how things will play out. The structure of this film makes a must-see film by graduate film students.  Watching the character development between Paul Newman and Robert Redford takes this movie to the next level. A thriller that keeps it all tense and suspenseful until the very end with a dramatic conclusion.

1.The Artist (2011)

Motion pictures are meant to be visual and “The Artist” does a great job telling a story that can be universally understood. This silent film is about a silent film movie start that meets a dancer and pictures in the newspaper sends their careers in different directions.