Top 10 Best Picture Oscar Winners That Could’ve Been


In the 80 or so years of its existence, the Academy Awards has made some poor choices. Dances With the Wolves over Goodfellas? Bleh. And try finding someone who could justify The Greatest Show On Earth or Around the World In 80 Days winning- let alone getting nominated. The list goes on. We know what their mistakes were. We know all the worst choices for Best Picture, the best choices for Best Picture, and all the notable snubs that have accumulated over the years. To give the Academy a break from all the harsh criticisms and accusations, I’ve decided to create a list of Best Picture and Best Director nominees that, if they won, would have been excellent choices. Not to say that they were snubbed: because the movie that won might have been a better choice. This list is simply me reminiscing of the best Best Picture winners that could’ve been.

TopTenz Master Note: I realize this list is similar to Friday’s Top 10 Great Movies That Didn’t Win An Oscar, but this was a very late submission that TopTenz felt should be included even at the risk of addressing a similar topic.

10. The Shawshank Redemption

Why Should It Have Won?: The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that’s jam packed with classic and powerful scenes, and the result is something that should not be missed. With career defining performances from the two leads, impressive direction, and an astonishingly original plot; it gets nearly everything right. Over the past decade, since it’s aged much better than Forrest Gump, Shawshank has amassed a generally large cult following who’ll back me in saying that it’s a modern classic and an obscure but moving masterpiece about prison life.

Why Didn’t It Win?: Robert Zemeckis had already directed the popular Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and so maybe the Academy was just glad to see him make a blockbuster that was both entertaining, emotionally resonate, and applicable for a few awards (such as Best Actor for Tom Hanks), even if it was incredibly melodramatic.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing
Oscar wins: Zero.

9. Reds

Why Should It Have Won?: Warren Beatty’s cinematic portrayal of Communist journalist Jack Reed rivals Lawrence of Arabia, Amadeus, and Doctor Zhivago with its lush visual immensity and masterful ensemble performances. Beatty and Keaton both give tour de forces, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro proves his optical genius yet again, and the tale of the rise and fall of a little known historical figure is spectacularly executed and an insurmountable feat in biographic filmmaking.

Why Didn’t It Win?: Putting both movies side to side, it seems as if Reds would have been a surefire win for Best Picture. Other than cross country fanatics, who would’ve voted for Chariots of Fire? Reds even had everything that would ensure qualifying for the prestigious award; it’s epic, it’s a biopic, and it’s directed by an actor. But then again, if you put it into context with the fall of the Iron Curtain and Ronald Reagan single-handedly ending the Cold War, it makes some sense that a movie about the author of “Ten Days That Shook the World” wouldn’t win Best Picture.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Warren Beatty), Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound
Oscar wins: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton)

8. The Third Man

Why Should It Have Won?: Carol Reed’s visually dazzling noir mystery about espionage and betrayal in post-war Vienna showcases Graham Greene’s sharp, witty dialogue and Orson Welles, who gives a magnificent performance with screen-time of only 7 minutes and perfectly validates the phrase “There are no small parts, just small actors”. British Film Institute ranked The Third Man #1 on their Top 100 list, American Film Institute ranked it #57 on theirs, and Roger Ebert frequently includes it on his “Top 10 Great Films” list. If there was ever a film that’s greatness meets the expectations set by critics, this would be it.

Why Didn’t It Win?: Sadly, The Third Man met its match with the classic Bette Davis flick; All About Eve. Since Mankiewicz got the homefield advantage, the Oscar was given to All About Eve. Reed would be later honored in 1969 with Best Director and Best Picture for his musical-film Oliver! (which notoriously beat out Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork 2001: A Space Odyssey from winning any major awards).
Oscar noms: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing.
Oscar wins: Best Cinematography.

7. Taxi Driver/ Network/ All The President’s Men

Why Should They Have Won?:
Taxi Driver- Dark, moody, and disturbing study of one of the most memorable characters in film; Travis Bickle. Exemplary work from Robert De Niro and a whole bunch of other 1970s character actors, as well as arguably being Martin Scorsese’s best- or most tone driven- masterpiece to date.
Network- Perhaps more resonate now than ever, legendary screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky wrote a hard hitting, laugh-out-loud, corrosive satire on an industry that we’ve come to know and love: the media. Network delivers on every level- the cast is tremendous (Robert Duvall, William Holden, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, and Ned Beatty are all amazing), Sidney Lumet directs with style and social conscious, and each audacious monologue is more unforgettable than the next.
All The President’s Men- Easily the one of the greatest movies about journalism and political scandals. Redford’s and Hoffman’s star-driven charisma turn William Goldman’s witty script into riveting storytelling. The zenith of smart filmmaking.

Why Didn’t They Win?: Contrary to popular belief, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does have a heart, and when Rocky was released many viewed it as the underdog; it had a low budget, but ended up being a sleeper-hit and transformed Sylvester Stallone into a star overnight. To dumbfound spectators, the Academy overlooked critically acclaimed satires, character studies, and period pieces so that they could give Best Picture to the predictably sympathetic sports movie. Nobody had any idea what sort of overblown franchise and Razzie ridden legacy this award would enable Stallone to pursue.

Oscar noms:
Taxi Driver- Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Original Score.
Network- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actor (William Holden), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actor (Ned Beatty), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.
All The President’s Men- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards), Best Supporting Actress (Jane Alexander), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Editing, and Best Art Direction.

Oscar wins:
Taxi Driver- Zero, but it won the Palme d’Or.
Network- Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight), and Best Original Screenplay.
All The President’s Men- Best Art Direction, Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Sound.

6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

Why Should It Have Won?: Sure, 2001: A Space Odyssey was more of a visual exercise than a narrative, A Clockwork Orange was way too risqué, Spartacus was too much of a Ben-Hur rip off, Paths of Glory had tough competition, and Full Metal Jacket lacked humanism, but why Why WHY couldn’t Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb have won Best Picture? It was Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus; Kubrick’s only work in which his photographic genius, satirical philosophical screen-writing, and over-the-top actors met at equilibrium! Since its release, there has ceased to be comedy as sharp as Kubrick’s biting political satire, an ending as memorable as Slim Pickens plummeting towards the earth backwards on a nuclear bomb, nor performances as classic as Peter Seller’s Dr. Strangelove, George C. Scott’s General Turgidson, and Sterling Hayden’s Jack D. Ripper.

Why Didn’t It Win?: I don’t want to rip on My Fair Lady, but when they awarded it Best Picture the Academy was still stuck in the heydays of historical epics and lavish musicals, and it would take them another decade until they finally woke up and smelled the roses of contemporary controversial masterpieces. And for some reason Rex Harrison got Best Actor over Peter Sellers… WHY?!
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor (Peter Sellers).
Oscar wins: Nada! but the 2002 Sight and Sound poll taken by famous movie directors ranked Dr. Strangelove #5 on their top 10 list.

5. A Streetcar Named Desire

Why Should It Have Won?: A lyrical and acting landmark in cinema. Vivien Leigh’s soft-spoken derangement as Blanche DuBois and Marlon Brando’s animalistic hostility as Stanley Kowalski (“Stella!!!”) easily rank as two of the greatest performances ever recorded on film. Not far behind are Karl Malden and Kim Hunter, who both won Oscars for their roles and spectacularly portrayed troubled and edgy characters. The script is as legendary as the cast: every line of dialogue is ingeniously crafted and fits each character’s inner turmoil perfectly, mainly because the playwright who wrote this raw, explosive New Orleans drama was also the American Shakespeare: Tennessee Williams. Infamous for it’s controversial themes, Williams stealthily snuck in several risqué lines of dialogue under the Hollywood Production Code’s noses- which would later be considered a monumental step in the fight against censorship.

Why Didn’t It Win?: I’ve seen An American In Paris put on both “Top 10 Best” and “Top 10 Worst” Choices for Best Picture lists. The former praises the sumptuous direction and colorful dance sequences and the latter condemns the gaping plotholes, aching sentimentality, and overproduced (though catchy) musical numbers. The Academy used to be a sucker for those kinds of things. And apparently A Streetcar Named Desire lost credibility for giving the bird to the Hollywood Production Code.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter), Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music, and Best Sound.
Oscar wins: Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter), Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), and Best Art Direction.

4. The Grapes of Wrath

bDirector John Ford made some pretty good movies. There were the Westerns, the war propaganda, and the cultural dramas- all of them validating his signature sympathetic, earthy, beautifully rendered style. Ford was famous for producing an immense amount of high quality classics throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s; and the most heartwarming, hard-hitting, timely, and relevant of them all is undeniably The Grapes of Wrath, based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Its timeless themes and morals have become a bedrock for the American ideal in cinema as we know it, and Henry Fonda flawlessly defines himself as the common man, Tom Joad, with an iconic performance. Overall, The Grapes of Wrath is one of the great American masterpieces and it’s a shame that it was overlooked by the Academy (even though Ford won a well deserved Best Director).

Why Didn’t It Win?: Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film, and obviously us Yankees fell head over heels for the cinematic mastermind and thought that he was the best thing to come out of England since the crumpet. As usual, we threw his film an Academy Award, and then even went so far as to nominate his second American endeavor- Foreign Correspondent. Chaplin’s The Great Dictator would’ve also been a great choice for Best Picture.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Henry Fonda), Best Supporting Actress (Jane Darwell), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.
Oscar wins: Best Director (John Ford’s second Best Director out of four- an achievement unmatched by any other director), and Best Supporting Actress (Jane Darwell). The Grapes of Wrath has also been included on American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Movies list, placing at #21, and was given an honorable mention on the first Sight and Sound Top Ten Poll in 1952 (and also ranks pretty high on my list as well).

3. Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion)

Why Should It Have Won?: Often cited as the greatest anti-war film ever made, named by Orson Welles as the one movie he would take with him “on the ark”, and given the #5 slot on the definite Top 10 poll taken at the 1958 Brussels World Fair: La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion) is nothing short of a masterpiece. Directed by Jean Renoir not as a movie about the brutality of war, but rather the absurdity of two rational men with a common background fighting one another- calling WWI a “war of gentlemen”. Within it’s running time, La Grande Illusion fires very few pistols and launches many eye-opening accusations against war with a fresh script, classic contrasting performances from foreign screen-legends Jean Gabin and Eric von Stroheim, and Jean Renoir’s ever-relevant morals.
• La Grande Illusion was the first foreign language (French) film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Why Didn’t It Win?: You might have heard of a director from the 1930s-1940s by the name of Frank Capra. He was famous from cranking out a string of upbeat classics that consecutively every other year won him 3 Academy Awards for Best Director- the first being It Happened One Night, the second being Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, and third being You Can’t Take It With You. The latter is a star studded farce based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play with a message revolving around following the American Dream and the pursuit of happiness: something that would be very appealing in a time when the economic state of the country was at an all time low.
Oscar noms: Best Picture.
Oscar wins: Seeing as the “Best Foreign Language Film” category wouldn’t be around for another decade, La Grande Illusion didn’t win anything. But if you ask any film historian about what they think are the 10 Great Movies, chances are this’ll be somewhere on their list.

2. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Why Should It Have Won?: John Huston was an American American. His signature gruff, endearing directorial manner won him the title of “cinema’s Ernest Hemingway”- noted for his memorable collaborations with Humphrey Bogart and adaptations of the great American novels. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a tale of comradery, greed, and betrayal in the deserts of Mexico that allowed Huston to utilize all of his talents; creating an extraordinary Hollywood spectacle and earning him worthy Best Director and Screenplay Oscars. Humphrey Bogart gives one of the definite performances of American cinema that only reinforces how fantastic of an actor he is, but was criminally overlooked for a nomination by the Academy. Luckily, Huston’s father Walter Huston won a much deserved Oscar for being a grizzled, wise, rambling old guy. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre isn’t the great American film, but it’s pretty damn close.

Why Didn’t It Win?: Actually, the fact that Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet won Best Picture comes across as a surprise to most people. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre must’ve won: it got Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, it was a commercial success, it had one of the greatest performances of all time courtesy of Humphrey Bogart, and it has that quote about not needing no stinkin’ badges. Contrary to popular belief, Hamlet did win Best Picture, as well as Best Actor (Olivier’s first and only Oscar), and became the first foreign (British counts as foreign) Best Picture winner. So why did exactly did Hamlet win? To paraphrase: Olivier’s edit of Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece introduces Freudian overtones and performs with a noir and Orson-Wellesian heart, refreshing the classic tale into something more stylish and consumable for moviegoers while still allowing room for Olivier to flex his thespian ego.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Walter Huston), and Best Screenplay.
Oscar wins: Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Walter Huston), and Best Screenplay.

1. Citizen Kane

Why Should It Have Won?: Citizen Kane has become the obligatory choice for greatest film of all time, and with good reason. Stunningly original storytelling and brilliantly innovative cinematography, direction, screen-writing, and acting render it as a masterpiece, while topping countless respectable Greatest Ever Lists and numerous citations by other great directors validate Welles as one of the masters of cinema and Citizen Kane as the sparkling jewel of filmmaking history. Orson Welles’ crowning achievement is easily the #1 Best Picture Winner That Could’ve Been.

Why Didn’t It Win?: Mr. Welles and the Academy weren’t very fond of one another and upon it’s release, Citizen Kane wasn’t all that popular. Citizen Kane was met with rave reviews earning some Oscar nominations, but nobody really wanted it to win. Instead, John Ford- who had been on a masterpiece streak with Young Mr. Lincoln, Stagecoach, and The Grapes of Wrath- took home Best Director and Best Picture for his Welsh mining epic How Green Was My Valley: subtly ironic seeing as while preparing to filming Citizen Kane, Orson Welles claimed to have watched Stagecoach 41 times. How Green Was My Valley, even though it’s a very good movie, notably snubbed several other classics such as The Maltese Falcon, Suspicion, and Sergeant York.
Oscar noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Orson Welles), Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score, and Best Sound.
Oscar wins: Only Best Original Screenplay 🙁

List written by Sam Dot.
Sam Dot is an Oscar buff, resident movie critic at Rotten Tomatoes, and co-writes for a blog called The Great Review where he and his friend attempt to review everything ever made. Check it out:

Other Articles you Might Like
Liked it? Take a second to support on Patreon!


  1. [“Sadly, The Third Man met its match with the classic Bette Davis flick; All About Eve. Since Mankiewicz got the homefield advantage, the Oscar was given to All About Eve. Reed would be later honored in 1969 with Best Director and Best Picture for his musical-film Oliver!”]

    I would have given the Oscar to “SUNSET BOULEVARD”. And “THE THIRD MAN” wasn’t nominated for Best Picture.

    I’ve seen both “CITIZEN KANE” and “HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY”. Both movies were downbeat in their own ways, but I have no problems with Ford’s movie winning the big prize.

  2. “Dr. Strangelove” didn’t win an Oscar for the same reason prog rock bands aren’t in the hall of fame, and why cartoons weren’t seen as “adult” entertainment until Ralph Bakshi. There was a “ghettoization” of cartoons and comics as literature until the 1980s, utter hate for prog rock by Rolling Stone, and an intolerance for comedy by the “academy”.

    Only one comedy has ever made a major dent at the academy awards: “A Fish Called Wanda”. Before and since, the “academy” views comedy movies as second rate entertainment.

  3. Citizen Kane was based on Hearst and so great was Hearst’s influence very few newspapers would give Citizen Kane a good review. It was also Hearst who played up the dangers of marijuana to get it banned (he had heavily invested in paper pulp industry and hemp which was closely related to marijuana was a competitor).

  4. – The Third Man was not nominated for Best Picture so it’s unfair to inlcude it in this list, because if youre gonna make a list of the movies that should have won certain Oscars, you should pick the ones that were nominated. If anything, it should be in a list of the movies that should have been nominated.

    – It came out in 1949, and All about Eve in 1950, so had it been nominated, it would have lost to All the kings men, not All about Eve

    Other than that, I pretty much agree with you in almost every pick. Good list.

    • I also decided to include Best Director nominees. And it lost to All About Eve.

  5. “Up” was a masterpiece…not just of animation, but moviemaking. There is a reason that the Academy believed it deserved a nomination, and I think it should have won. Bravo Pixar.

  6. I’ve seen both Taxi Driver and Rocky. They were both great movies. It would’ve been a tough decision to decide the Best Picture that year.

  7. hotandbothered on

    “Shakespeare In Love” won OVER “Elizabeth’?!? Paltrow beat out Cate Blanchett for the Oscar? Many favors were pulled for those wins. Bunch of B.S.

  8. I could not agree more about Raiders. It fired my imagination as a kid. It is exuberant fun and one of the greatest action-adventure films ever made. But “fun” is not enough for the Academy, which demands films of great emotional or sociopolitical import.

  9. great list…but no honorable mention of “do the right thing”? not only did it not get nominated, but the “hokey” b.s “Driving miss daisy” won

    • Driving Miss Daisy is certainly one of the worst choices for Best Picture, and Do the Right Thing was far superior, but as an idealistic Best Picture winner- even though it’s on the list- it’s pretty far down the list.

  10. Saving Private Ryan was a good movie but I believe “The Thin Red Line” with James Caviezel that came out the same year, without very much publicity, was head and shoulders above it.

    • Saving Private Ryan should definitely have won the best picture over ‘Shakespeare.’ Talk about influential, war movies have never been the same since ‘Ryan.’ I watched it in the theater and was blown away, and like many great movies, it never gets old watching it again and again.

      I was personally disappointed by ‘Thin Red Line.’ It definitely could have been one of the great ones, and had scenes of incredible power. But the movie IMO was undone by erratic pacing and unnecessary plot developments/scenes. Like the scene where the soldier gets a ‘dear john’ letter, or the over acted scene by Woody Harrelson. Speaking of which, the non stop parade of guest appearances by well known actors was distracting at moments. I remember watching this in the movie and some in the audience actually erupted in laughter when George Clooney showed up towards the end.

    • They’re in the honorable mentions. Behind Apocalypse Now, High Noon, and every Hitchcock movie.

      • 1977…Annie Hall wins best picture…and goes on to change cinema forever, begin an epic saga, inspire an entire generation, and have a massive impact on popular culture – oh wait, that was Star Wars. My bad.

  11. Rocky deserved that Oscar… is an offense to think that Taxi driver was better. Only the story behind the production, Stallone and the effort to make that movie describes all the emotions put on the film.

    Thousands of people (or “dumbfound spectators”) around the world have been influenced by those movies you call “Razzie ridden legacy” or “predictably sympathetic sports movie”.

    Taxi Driver/ Network/ All The President’s Men were good movies. But Rocky was a GREAT movie and WON the Oscar.

    Get over it.

    • Well Sly’s filmography is certainly uplifting but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they’re “good” (save Rambo). And Rocky was an emotionally charged underdog story with sincere intentions and Sly’s best performance to date- but Taxi Driver, Network, and All The President’s Men were sooooo much better.

      Thanks for reading!!

  12. Sam,
    I can’t believe how we sometimes think alike. “Chariots” was the most boring movie of all time, edging out “The Sound Of Music” and any movie with Tom Cruise in it.

  13. I’d also put My Man Godfrey on the list. It lost out to another William Powell movie, The Great Zeifeld, but time has show Ziegfeld to be just a standard biopic while Godfrey is one of the best screwball comedies ever made.

  14. Reds bored me to tears. Looking over the list of films up for Oscars that year, I’d have voted for Chariots. It’s a pretty good, heart-warming biopic about triumph over adversity which is the kind of film Oscars love.
    Raiders is a grand scale action adventure with awesome effects. The same could be said of Around the World in 80 Days when it came out. 80 Days didn’t hold up over time, and is always thrown up as an example of Oscar stupidity. Because of this I think Oscar voters are leery of voting for this kind of film.

    • Chariots bored me to tears. Reds was also a little slow, but I mean look at Stararo’s cinematography and the tour de force performances! That’s a quality film! And it certainly took balls to make something sympathetic for Communism during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Where as Chariots… I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of Chariots.

      As for 80 Days… man did that suck. They needed to vote for something more timeless like- lets say- Ten Commandments or The King and I or The Searchers.

      Thanks for reading!!!

  15. Sorry, I have posted in the other thread but I have to disagree with ‘Reds.’

    That same year ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ was also nominated, and IMO that movie should have won the Oscar.

    As for ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ everyone loves this feel good movie, and it is indeed a great movie. But perhaps at the time it was a somewhat ‘dark’ picture based on a Stephen King work and ‘Forest’ was more ‘accessible’

    Same with ‘Pulp Fiction,’ which I believe should have won the Oscar over ‘Forest.’

    • No need to apologize! I wrote this list and submitted it late, which is why the other post was here first. They’re kind of two completely different lists, in a sense. Same subject, but obviously our biases differ a lot….

      Personally I loved Reds. Sure, as with most historical epics it became a little tedious at times, but you should probably go and watch it again; it’s held up much better than you’d think. As for Raiders, it deserves a shout out for its technical achievements, but do you really think that it would stand as a Best Picture winner? I’m not against action movie or anything- I mean The French Connection was one of the Academy’s better moments- but Raiders just doesn’t have enough deep substance or themes that the Academy could hold on their conscious as a good choice for the top prize.

      As for Forrest: that was a weak move on the Academy’s part. Pulp and Shawshank are masterpieces, and Forrest is just an oddity.

      Thanks for reading!

      • That’s the thing, ‘Raiders’ was probably viewed by Academy members as more ‘light weight fun’ than the serious and somber movies that had won the award in that time period (“Ordinary People,” “Gandhi,” etc.).

        And I personally agree that it may not be the “deepest” movie around, but there has never been a movie before or since that so captured my imagination as that movie. I must have seen it like 5 or 6 times in the theater, not an astronomical amount, but for me that was a lot. I was so into the movie that I even went out and bought a whip to emulate Indy. It’s like I went into that theater and was in another world for 2 hours, an absolute escape and pure joy at the craft and thrill of it. I certainly enjoy movies with deep themes, but I also love movies that capture my imagination no matter what the subject matter.

        I do agree strongly with Taxi Driver on the list. That is another movie that I saw when I was younger, and I’ve seen it dozens of times since and it’s one of those rare movies that you never get tired of watching, and in fact gets better with each viewing. In a weird way, I think the Travis Bickle character strikes a chord in today’s society, where people are becoming ever more alienated from each other as we advance technologically.

        • How about Raging Bull? Ordinary People was okay but Raging Bull…De Niro’s performance was a game changer. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty (who was making her debut, I think) all turned in solid performances. And Scorsese was at the top of his game.