It all started around October of 2011. I decided that I wanted to watch all 82, now 84, Oscar Best Picture winners. Well, after a little over a year and a half, I have done it. I am really proud of my accomplishment. The only thing is that now I do not know what to watch now.
In this post I have compiled my absolute favorites from the list, the movies that most surprised me, and the movies that I really struggled to watch.
The following seven movies are the ones that I was thinking were going to really be a struggle to watch. Either I had heard something bad about them, or the description on the back really did not sound that interesting. But in the end, I found myself really enjoying them. Some of them even almost made the cut for the favorites list. The following are in order from the least surprising to the most surprising.
My mother is a big musical fan and she does not really like Chicago, and I was not allowed to watch it when I was little, so I think I had a bad idea of it going into it, but I really ended up enjoying the story and the music.
I knew nothing about this movie when I popped it into the DVD player. All I knew was that it was a Clint Eastwood western. I figured it would be a lot of gun fighting. What I found was that it was actually a very deep story that I did not expect.
3-On the Waterfront (1954)
This movie was one of the first older ones that I watched, and I just thought it sounded boring. This is an old Marlon Brando film and it actually ended up being a really good movie. I enjoyed the story and it actually got pretty exciting in the end.
4-Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
This is a really great story about a man who pretends to be a Jew in order to write an article about how they are treated and I found this movie to be very powerful when I foolishly thought it would be boring.
5-The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
When a movie is over two hours long, it can be hard to start in the first place. When I finally put this DVD in, I was expecting to really hate it, I did not think a story about the circus could be all that exciting, but I was wrong. The story involved several characters and even had a twist at the end. I really enjoyed this movie, the full 2-ish hours of it.
6-Tom Jones (1963)
This movie was really funny. There have not been very many funny best picture winners. They hardly ever get nominated, let alone win, so I was surprised to find this movie as funny as it was. It was the story of a ladies man and what happened when he actually fell in love.
7-The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
This movie was awesome and the most surprising for me. I sat down to watch this movie one night while I worked on the budget. After only a few minutes into the movie I had to put my work away because I was so intrigued. I highly recommend this movie.
Moral of the story—do not judge a movie based on the description on the back—when in doubt, give it a try. It may surprise you, like it did me.
Now, this next list is of the movies I really struggled to watch. There are only 6 of them, which is pretty good from a pot of 84. I got lucky that I enjoyed 93% of the movies and only suffered through 7%. These movies either just plain bored me, put me to sleep, or I just thought the story was not very good. So here are the 6 movies that I did not like, in order from “okay” to “meh” to “I will never watch again.”
1-How Green Was My Valley (1941)
2-The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
4-Dances With Wolves (1990)
5-A Man for All Seasons (1966)
6-The Deer Hunter (1978)
And finally, the list of my top twelve (I just could not stop at 10) movies that were my favorites from the 84 I watched. These are the ones that I would watch again, several times, and that I would not hesitate to recommend to you. The following are in order of favorite to most favorite.
1-Grand Hotel (1931/32)
2-Out of Africa (1985)
3-It Happened One Night (1934)
4-Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
5- Wings (1927/28)
6- No Country for Old Men (2007)
7- The Godfather (1972)
8- The Apartment (1960)
9- Argo (2012)
10-Shakespeare in Love (1998)
11-The Bridge over the River Kwai (1957)
12-In the Heat of the night (1967)
So there you have it. I am so glad that I watched these movies. On average I watched 4 best picture movies a month, on top of all the other movies that I watched. And I will make sure I keep seeing the best picture movies in the years to come. Now I just need to find a new list…