Can You Name All These Movies That Won Best Picture?
Image: Argyle Enterprises, Inc.
About This Quiz
There are lots of ways we recognize the "best" of something. Each year, in February, the "best" team in the National Football League is crowned Super Bowl champion. In college football each year, voters narrow down the "best" athlete and present him with the Heisman Trophy. The reward for a successful music career might come in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award for being one of the "best." Even household objects, cars and restaurants make "Best of" lists and are given commendations for their effectiveness, gas mileage or award-winning hamburger.
So, it stands to reason that movies boast their own grading system for determining which movie was the "best" for a particular calendar year. The process of choosing an Oscar-winning Best Picture involves a complicated scoring system in which roughly 6,200 eligible voters rank movies based on what they call the "preferential system." Instead of choosing one favorite, for example, eight movies are ranked from most preferred to least.
Luckily for us, we didn't have to select any winners or favorites here. These are all straight-up "Best Picture" winners dating back to 1928. But we did leave you with a job to do. See how many of these top Hollywood hits you can guess from the clues given. Maybe we'll name you "best" at mastering movie trivia!
Warner Bros. Pictures
Which of these movies features the linguistic lesson that used the phrase, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain?"
A "Best Picture" winner in 1965, "My Fair Lady" recounts the attempted transformation of a regular girl, played by Audrey Hepburn, into a cultured, high-society woman. Although we're not sure Audrey Hepburn ever needed any help in this category.
Argyle Enterprises, Inc.
"The hills are alive ..." with one of these. Which movie is it?
One of the most classic songs from the time-tested movie, "The Sound of Music" is both a song from and the title of this 1965 "Best Picture" winner. Julie Andrews played the role of Maria Rainer, the governess of the large von Trapp clan.
This movie is based on the real-life effort to save more than 1,000 people from concentration camps. Which film is it?
"Schindler's List," which earned a "Best Picture" nod in 1994, tells the story of Oskar Schindler's efforts to save the lives of thousands by giving them jobs during World War II. It's made even more remarkable by the fact that Schindler was a German businessman.
Wendy Finerman Productions
In this movie, you'll find the story of a University of Alabama football player turned Vietnam soldier turned shrimp boat captain. What's the movie called?
Winner of "Best Picture" in 1995, "Forrest Gump" is something of a time capsule of major events during the 20th century. Tom Hanks played Gump, who recounts his experience of these events while sitting on a park bench awaiting a bus.
Producer Circle Co. / Zadan/Meron Productions
A "Best Picture" about two murderous women? Sign us up. What movie are we watching?
"Chicago," adapted from the Broadway show of the same name, received the "Best Picture" award in 2003. It starred Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger as scorned women awaiting trial on Murderess' Row. A fair amount of singing makes this an atypical film.
Guber-Peters Company / Star Partners II, Ltd
An inheritance and a kidnapping, with an autistic savant at the center. Which movie are we referencing?
"Rain Man," starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, was 1989's "Best Picture," a year after being Hollywood's highest-grossing film. In the movie, Cruise's character kidnaps the older brother he never knew (played by Hoffman), in an attempt to hijack a family inheritance.
Paramount Pictures / 20th Century Fox / Lightstorm Entertainment
You could say there's an iceberg behind this film's "Best Picture" nod. What is it?
Awarded "Best Picture" in 1998, "Titanic" is a fictionalized movie about the real-life sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play star-crossed lovers aboard the Titanic's doomed excursion.
Paramount Pictures / Alfran Productions
Which of these movie franchises won not one, but two "Best Picture" awards in the span of three years?
Garnering two "Best Picture" nods in 1973 and 1975, "The Godfather" franchise had a lock on Hollywood's highest awards in the early 1970s. "The Godfather" took home the trophy in 1973, with "The Godfather II" earning it in 1975.
Selznick International Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
This film gives us the ultimate love/hate relationship between Scarlett and Rhett. What's the title?
A sweeping saga set against the background of the Civil War, "Gone With the Wind" has something for everyone ... if you can make it through the film's more than 220 minutes. It earned "Best Picture" in 1940.
Warner Bros. / First National Pictures
"Here's looking at you, kid," is a famous quote from this iconic "Best Picture" winner. Which film are we referencing?
The winner of the "Best Picture" award in 1944, "Casablanca" is an iconic romance that starred big-time Hollywood names of the era — Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Bogart delivers this famous line to Bergman in the film, and it frequently makes "Best of" lists for favorite movie quotes.
Goldcrest Films / International Film Investors / National Film Development Corporation of India / Indo-British Films
You could call this 1983 winner a celebration of nonviolent resistance. What movie is it?
"Gandhi" recounts the life story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, earning "Best Picture" credentials in 1983. Gandhi used nonviolent resistance to help lead India to its independence, earning worldwide respect and acclaim.
Celador Films / Film4
A movie plot that incorporates a game show? Why not? Which "Best Picture" did it?
The "Best Picture" winner in 2009, "Slumdog Millionaire," involves a main character who appears on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" "Slumdog Millionaire" achieved extraordinary success despite very little marketing and promotional efforts.
Strong Heart/Demme Production
The main character in this film admitted eating a human liver with "some fava beans and a nice Chianti." Which movie is this attributed to?
The "Best Picture" of 1992, "The Silence of the Lambs" starred the super-creepy Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It's not often a film about a cannibal earns Hollywood's top prize ... thankfully.
Allied Stars Ltd / Goldcrest Films / Enigma Productions / The Ladd Company
Who would've thought a movie about a race would be a "Best Picture" winner?! This one did it; which film are we talking about?
"Chariots of Fire" earned 1982's "Best Picture" award, telling the story of two runners in the 1924 Olympic games. The theme song from this film, an instrumental version by the same name, is still used in sports marketing and storytelling today.
The Mirisch Company / Seven Arts Productions
This movie was inspired by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Which film is it?
The "Best Picture" winner in 1962, "West Side Story" was adapted from the Broadway musical. Both versions were inspired by the star-crossed love story penned by William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet."
The lead actor in this movie wasn't the producers' first, second or even third choice, but the film was successful regardless. What's its name?
The 1960 winner of "Best Picture, "Ben-Hur" first turned to Marlon Brando then Burt Lancaster then Rock Hudson before employing Charlton Heston in the movie's lead role. Heston is probably best-known for playing Moses in "The Ten Commandments."
"Yo, Adrian!" do you know the name of this 1977 "Best Picture" winner?
"Rocky" has spawned no fewer than eight movies since the initial "Best Picture" winner — "Rocky" — was awarded in 1977. Sylvester Stallone played Rocky Balboa in several of the films in the series that has spanned four decades.
The Zanuck Company
A film that tackles delicate subjects like racism and antisemitism won "Best Picture" in 1990. Which movie was it?
"Driving Miss Daisy" won "Best Picture" in 1990. Starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman who forge an unlikely friendship, the film tackles issues of racism and anti-semitism in the South.
Regency Enterprises / River Road Entertainment / Plan B Entertainment / New Regency Productions / Film4 Productions
This movie was based on a book written in 1853. What film is it?
The "Best Picture" of 2014 was "12 Years a Slave," based on a memoir written more than 161 years prior. The book and the movie tell the story of Solomon Northup, who was born free but kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Hemdale Film Corporation
It took more than 10 years to get this movie from screenplay to silver screen. Which film is it?
Winning "Best Picture" in 1987 took "Platoon" more than a decade to accomplish ... seriously. Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay for this movie in 1969, but it would be 1986 before it was finalized into a film.
This movie was only the second ever to win all of the "Big Five" Academy Awards. Do you know which one did it?
"One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" not only won "Best Picture" in 1976 but also "Actor in Lead Role," "Actress in Lead Role," "Best Director" and "Best Adapted Screenplay." It is one of the few movies ever made to accomplish this feat.
Lakeshore Entertainment / Malpaso Productions
Which of these movies tells the inspiring story of a waitress turned boxer?
The 2005 winner of "Best Picture," "Million Dollar Baby" follows the story of a waitress, played by Hilary Swank, who begins training as a boxer. The movie also starred Clint Eastwood, who lent his producing and directing chops to the film as well.
Participant Media / DreamWorks Pictures / Innisfree Pictures / Cinetic Media / Alibaba Pictures
Named after a guidebook for African-Americans traveling a segregated United States, this movie earned 2019's "Best Picture" nod. What is it?
The most recent "Best Picture" winner from 2019, "Green Book" was named for a guide called "Negro Motorist Green Book," a travel companion for African-Americans traveling the United States during the days of segregation.
The Bedford Falls Company
This film boasted a star-studded line-up including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck and Judi Dench. What movie is it?
In 1999, "Shakespeare in Love" earned seven Academy Awards in total, including "Best Picture," "Best Actress," "Best Supporting Actress" and "Best Original Screenplay." The movie is about a fictional relationship between playwright William Shakespeare and Paltrow's character, Viola de Lesseps.
It was a circus ... literally! Which movie included all of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's real-life troupe?
"The Greatest Show on Earth" earned "Best Picture" accolades in 1953, and included 1,400 members of the real-life circus family of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's traveling show.
Icon Productions / The Ladd Company
In which of these films did William Wallace utter this quote, "They may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freedom?"
The 1996 "Best Picture" winner, "Braveheart" portrayed William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) leading the charge for Scottish independence against King Edward I of England. The film was based on a poem written by Henry the Minstrel.
New Line Cinema / WingNut Films
J.R.R. Tolkien would've been pleased. Which of these movies, based on his books, earned "Best Picture" accolades?
The third installation of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" took home "Best Picture" hardware in 2004. The series is based on the books written by "The Hobbit" author J.R.R. Tolkien.
This movie is based on a Pulitzer Prize-nominated book of the same name. Which film is it?
"A Beautiful Mind" was 2002's "Best Picture," a movie based on a book by Sylvia Nasar. The book, which featured the same name as the movie, tells the story of John Forbes Nash Jr. It also earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
This film was produced in the Lakota language with English subtitles. What was its name?
In 1991, "Dances With Wolves," which starred Kevin Costner, earned the "Best Picture" Academy Award. True to its real-life roots, much of the movie is filmed using the Lakota language and English subtitles.
A poem by Rudyard Kipling inspired this film's title. Which movie are we referencing?
Winning the Academy Award for "Best Picture" in 1954, "From Here to Eternity" earned its name from a Rudyard Kipling poem which says, in part, individuals were "damned from here to eternity."
Some movies spawn great music. Music actually spawned this film. Which "Best Picture" winner is it?
"An American in Paris" won "Best Picture" in 1952. It was born out of a piece of music written by George Gershwin, who helped pull together remaining music for the film along with his brother, Ira.
This 1936 "Best Picture" winner was parodied by none other than Bugs Bunny. What movie are we talking about?
"Mutiny on the Bounty" took home "Best Picture" honors in 1936. But, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, perhaps the biggest "award" was the parody staged in cartoon form with Bugs Bunny taking the lead.
An anti-war film, this movie made the American Film Institute's list of the best 100 movies ever made. Which film is it?
The "Best Picture" winner in 1931, the anti-war film, "All Quiet on the Western Front," has consistently made "Best Movie" lists since its release in 1930. The American Film Institute list, distributed in 1998, was voted on by 1,500 individuals in the movie industry from among 400 nominated films.
Regency Enterprises / New Regency / M Productions / Le Grisbi Productions / TSG Entertainment / Worldview Entertainment
Which of these films was less widely known by its name, "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance?"
The 2015 "Best Picture" winner, "Birdman," was given an alternative name, "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," although most people knew it simply as "Birdman." The film also took home other awards including "Best Director."
Bull Productions / Double Dare You (DDY) / Fox Searchlight Pictures / TSG Entertainment
If you've ever fallen in love with a half-human/half-fish, this is the film for you. What is it called?
The 2018 "Best Picture" winner, "The Shape of Water" tells the story of a woman who falls for a half-human, half-fish being held at a government laboratory. Surely that's something we can all identify with?
Michael Todd Company
This film featured a wealth of cameo appearances by some Hollywood greats. What movie was it?
The 1957 "Best Picture" winner, "Around the World in 80 Days" was the place to see and be seen, featuring cameos by some Hollywood A-listers such as Frank Sinatra, Edward R. Murrow, Red Skelton and Marlene Dietrich.
GK Films / Smokehouse Pictures
A film about the 1979 U.S. hostage situation in Iran took home "Best Picture" honors in 2013. What was the movie called?
"Argo" won the Academy Award for "Best Picture" in 2013, detailing the circumstances around the hostage crisis in Iran from 1979 to 1981. Despite the film's awards, some have called it somewhat inaccurate for embellishments made to the story.
Jerome Hellman Productions
One of these films was the only "X-rated" movie to ever win "Best Picture." Which film was it?
The only X-rated film to ever be given "Best Picture" accolades, "Midnight Cowboy" took home the honors in 1970. It's interesting to note that the category known as "X-rated" is now defunct.
Horizon Pictures (II)
In which of these movies was the film's director forced to add a love scene?
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" won the Academy Award for "Best Picture" in 1958. We're sure that's due to the love scene that directors were forced to add after the one-time head of Columbia Pictures insisted it is included.
The first-ever "Best Picture" winner was also the only silent film to earn that distinction. Which movie was it?
"Wings" has the distinction of receiving the first "Best Picture" award ever distributed, given at the Academy Awards celebration in 1929. It is also the only silent film to ever receive the honor.
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By
clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
years old or over.