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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph's BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Gone With the Wind (1939)


For quite some time, my readers have asked to see one big list of what I consider my all-time favorite films. They have wanted to know the full range of my tastes, what year I consider the best in movie history, if I like any modern movies or do I ever see movies today at the cinema. Although many movie buffs declare 1939 as the best year in movie history, My favorite year is 1941. I do like many modern films, but I do not go to the cinema very often. I probably see only three or four films on the big screen per year. The rest I watch at home. So, how I would go about making such a comprehensive list frankly had me stumped. It was because of my great love for so many classic films that I created this blog. I could make as many favorite lists as I want, each with a much narrower scope, but I decided to accept this challenge.

One day, it came to me. Why not name one film for every year, sort of my version of Best Picture of the Year. And so, it began. At first, there were years that I feared I wouldn't find anything from which to choose. Then, there were years like 1939 that I felt guilty choosing one film over another. The Wizard of Oz; Gone With the Wind; The Wizard of Oz; Gone With the Wind; The Wizard of Oz; Gone With the Wind...The Debate Continues.

As flawed and not so flawed as my all-time favorites list is, these are my personal choices for Best Picture of the Year. The films asterisked are those that are currently part of my movie library. The others are those I hope to own. My “other nominees” listed were added later from sheer guilt. It bothered me to list only one film per year, especially for 1941. Many nominees are sheer guilty pleasures. I do not consider my sheer fluff nominees worthy of Best Picture of the Year. These films are simply those that I watch over and over. I hope you enjoy my list. It should spark a few comments. Hopefully, it will inspire you to watch something new to you.


1927 Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans*
(other nominees: Wings; The King of Kings)
1928 Steamboat Bill, Jr.
1929 The Broadway Melody
1930 Raffles
(other nominees: Animal Crackers*)
1931 City Lights*
1932 Red Dust
(other nominees: Emma; Mr. Robinson Crusoe*; Hot Saturday)
1933 Calvacade
(other nominees: Duck Soup*; Little Women*; Baby FaceLady for a Day)
1934 It Happened One Night*
(other nominees: The Thin Man*; Imitation of Life; The Gay Divorcee*; Manhattan Melodrama)
1935 The Whole Town's Talking*
(other nominees: Captain Blood; A Tale of Two Cities; Top Hat; Les misérables; A Night at the Opera*)
1936 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town*
(other nominees: My Man Godfrey*; After the Thin Man*; Show Boat*; San Francisco*; Libeled Lady; Rose Marie; Theodora Goes Wild*; More than a Secretary*)
1937 Captains Courageous*
(other nominees: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs*; Lost Horizon; The Awful Truth*; A Day at the Races*; Stage Door; Shall We Dance*; Easy Living*)
1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood*
(other nominees: Bringing Up Baby*; Holiday*; Boys Town*; A Christmas Carol*; Alexander's Ragtime Band*; Vivacious Lady)
1939 Gone With the Wind*
(other nominees: The Wizard of Oz*; Ninotchka*; Midnight*; Stagecoach*; Goodbye, Mr. Chips*; Another Thin Man*; Bachelor Mother*; In Name Only*; On Borrowed Time; Wuthering Heights)
1940 My Favorite Wife*
(other nominees: Fantasia*; Pinocchio*; Rebecca; Pride and Prejudice; The Thief of Bagdad; The Mark of Zorro*; The Westerner*; His Girl Friday; Beyond Tomorrow*)
1941 Sullivan's Travels*
(other nominees: Dumbo*; Citizen Kane; The Maltese Falcon; Sergeant York*; Moon Over Miami*; Meet John Doe*; Shadow of the Thin Man*; How Green Was My Valley*; Ball of Fire*; Penny Serenade*; Blossoms in the Dust*; Keep 'Em Flying*)
1942 The Pride of the Yankees*
(other nominees: Casablanca; Bambi*; To Be or Not to Be; Mrs. Miniver*; Yankee Doodle Dandy; Random Harvest; The Talk of the Town*; Holiday Inn; This Gun for Hire*)
1943 The Song of Bernadette*
(other nominees: Shadow of a Doubt; The More the Merrier*; Lassie Come Home; Madame Curie; Mr. Lucky; Above Suspicion)
1944 Meet Me in St. Louis
(other nominees: Double Indemnity*; Arsenic and Old Lace*; To Have and Have Not; Laura*; National Velvet*; Murder, My Sweet*)
1945 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
(other nominees: The Sprial Staircase; State Fair*; The Thin Man Goes Home*; Christmas in Connecticut*; Without Love; The Corn is Green; Our Vines Have Tender Grapes; Brewster's Millions)
1946 It's a Wonderful Life*
(other nominees: The Big Sleep; The Best Years of Our Lives*; The Killers; Anna and the King of Siam*)
1947 Miracle on 34th Street*
(other nominees: Life With Father*; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir*; Gentleman's Agreement*; The Bishop's Wife*; The Bachelor and the Bobby-soxer*; Song of the Thin Man*; Lady in the Lake; The Egg and I*; It Happened on Fifth Avenue)
1948 Call Northside 777*
(other nominees: Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein*; I Remember Mama*; The Snake Pit*; Easter Parade*; Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House*; Portrait of Jennie; Johnny Belinda*; Romance on the High Seas*; All My Sons; Apartment for Peggy; The Fuller Brush Man; Fort Apache; Red River; Every Girl Should Be Married; 3 Godfathers; Words and Music)
1949 Holiday Affair*
(other nominees: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Adam's Rib*; Little Women; I Was a Male War Bride*; In the Good Old Summertime; The Further Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle*; The Stratton Story; Father Was a Fullback; Samson and Delilah; On the Town; The Inspector General; Come to the Stable)
1950 All About Eve*
(other nominees: Mister 880; Cinderella*; Winchester '73*; Rio Grande; Cheaper by the Dozen*; Broken Arrow*; Born Yesterday; Halls of Montezuma; The Fuller Brush Girl; The Miniver Story; Treasure Island; Three Little Words; Tea for Two; Fancy Pants)
1951 A Christmas Carol/Scrooge*
(other nominees: On Moonlight Bay*; Alice in Wonderland*; The Day the Earth Stood Still*; An American in Paris; Show Boat; People Will Talk*; Angels in the Outfield*; The Mating Season)
1952 The Quiet Man*
(other nominees: Singin' in the Rain*; High Noon; Ikiru; Monkey Business*; Hans Christian Andersen; Pat and Mike*; Room For One More; The Stooge; Belles On Their Toes*; The Winning Team*; It Grows On Trees)
1953 The Band Wagon
(other nominees: Roman Holiday*; Peter Pan*; From Here to Eternity; Calamity Jane*; Titanic*; The Long, Long Trailer*; By the Light of the Silvery Moon*; Houdini)
1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers*
(other nominees: Rear Window*; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea*; White Christmas*; Brigadoon*; The Glenn Miller Story*)
1955 To Catch a Thief*
(other nominees: Mister Roberts; Lady and the Tramp*; Oklahoma!*; The Court Jester*; Marty; We're No Angels*; The Tender Trap*)
1956 Friendly Persuasion*
(other nominees: The Ten Commandments; The Searchers*; The King and I*; Forbidden Planet; Carousel; Anastasia; The Girl Can't Help It; The Solid Gold Cadillac; The Benny Goodman Story)
1957 Desk Set*
(other nominees: 12 Angry Men*; The Bridge on the River Kwai; Funny Face*; An Affair to Remember*; Love in the Afternoon*; Old Yeller*; Sayonara; Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; Silk Stockings)
1958 Gigi*
(other nominees: South Pacific*; No Time for Sergeants; The Defiant Ones; Bell, Book and Candle*; The Inn of Sixth Happiness*; Indiscreet; Teacher's Pet*; Rock-a-bye Baby)
1959 North by Northwest*
(other nominees: Some Like It Hot*; Sleeping Beauty*; Rio Bravo*; The Diary of Anne Frank*; Journey to the Center of the Earth*; Imitation of Life; Pillow Talk*; Darby O'Gill and the Little People*; Operation Petticoat; It Happened to Jane*)
1960 Pollyanna*
(other nominees: The Apartment*; North to Alaska*; Swiss Family Robinson*; Please Don't Eat the Daisies*; It Started in Naples*; Bells are Ringing*)
1961 West Side Story*
(other nominees: One Hundred and One Dalmatians*; Breakfast at Tiffany's*; The Parent Trap*; Flower Drum Song*; The Absent-Minded Professor*; Pocketful of Miracles; Come September*; Lover Come Back*; The Great Impostor)
1962 The Music Man*
(other nominees: Lawrence of Arabia; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Miracle Worker; Light in the Piazza; Gay Purr-ee; That Touch of Mink*)
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World*
(other nominees: Donovan's Reef*; The Sword and the Stone*; Charade*; The Pink Panther*; Move Over, Darling*; The Courtship of Eddie's Father)
1964 Mary Poppins*
(other nominees: My Fair Lady*; Father Goose*; The Moon-Spinners*; The Incredible Mr. Limpet*; The Unsinkable Molly Brown*; The Chalk Garden; Man's Favorite Sport*)
1965 The Sound of Music*
(other nominees: A Thousand Clowns; Doctor Zhivago; A Patch of Blue; That Darn Cat!*; Strange Bedfellows*)
1966 Follow Me, Boys!*
(other nominees: Born Free*; Batman; This Property is Condemned; The Trouble With Angels*; The Glass Bottom Boat*; The Ugly Dachshund*; The Man Called Flintstone; The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming)
1967 To Sir With Love*
(other nominees: The Jungle Book*; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; In the Heat of the Night; Wait Until Dark; Barefoot in the Park*; The Happiest Millionaire; Doctor Doolittle; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; The Reluctant Astronaut*; Half a Sixpence*)
1968 Oliver!*
(other nominees: 2001: A Space Odyssey*; Yours, Mine and Ours*; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang*; Funny Girl*; Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows*; The Love Bug*)
1969 True Grit*
(other nominees: Cactus Flower; Support Your Local Sheriff!; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever*
(other nominees: The AristoCats*; The Railway Children; Airport; Rio Lobo; Colossus: The Forbin Project)
1971 Fiddler on the Roof*
(other nominees: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory*; Bedknobs and Broomsticks*; And Now for Something Completely Different)
1972 The Poseidon Adventure*
(other nominees: Jeremiah Johnson*; What's Up Doc?*; The Cowboys*; Butterflies Are Free; Snoopy Come Home*)
1973 The Sting
(other nominees: The Way We Were; Paper Moon; Westworld; Charlotte's Web*; The Paper Chase)
1974 That's Entertainment!
(other nominees: Young Frankenstein; The Great Gatsby)
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest*
(other nominees: Return of the Pink Panther*; Jaws)
1976 Rocky
(other nominees: Network; Murder by Death; The Pink Panther Strikes Again*; Freaky Friday*)
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(other nominees: Star Wars; Annie Hall; Saturday Night Fever; The Rescuers; The Goodbye Girl*; The Turning Point; Candleshoe; Oh God!)
1978 Heaven Can Wait
(other nominees: Foul Play; Same Time, Next Year*)
1979 Breaking Away*
(other nominees: A Little Romance*; Norma Rae; The Black Stallion*; Life of Brian)
1980 From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China*
(other nominees: The Competition; The Gods Must Be Crazy; Nine to Five*; Coal Miner's Daughter; Private Benjamin; My Bodyguard; Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back)
1981 Chariots of Fire
(other nominees: Raiders of the Lost Ark; On Golden Pond; Arthur; The Chosen; Condorman)
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman
(other nominees: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; Tootsie; The Man from Snowy River; Savannah Smiles)
1983 Yentl
(other nominees: Trading Places*; Flashdance; War Games*; A Christmas Story*; The Dead Zone; Silkwood; Terms of Endearment; Max Dugan Returns)
1984 The Dollmaker
(other nominees: Sixteen Candles; This is Spinal Tap; Amadeus; The Karate Kid; Romancing the Stone; The Natural; Splash; Purple Rain)
1985 Anne of Green Gables*
(other nominees: Back to the Future*; The Breakfast Club; The Color Purple; Desperately Seeking Susan)
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(other nominees: Ruthless People; The Mission; Top Gun)
1987 Good Morning Vietnam
(other nominees: Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel/Anne of Avonlea*; Moonstruck*; Baby Boom; Roxanne*; The Brave Little Toaster*; La Bamba)
1988 Stand and Deliver*
(other nominees: Big*; Rain Man; Working Girl)
1989 Field of Dreams*
(other nominees: A Little Mermaid*; Steel Magnolias)
1990 Awakenings
(other nominees: Home Alone; Ghost; Pretty Woman; Kindergarten Cop)
1991 Beauty and the Beast*
(other nominees: White Fang; Doc Hollywood*; City Slickers; Hook*)
1992 A League of Their Own*
(other nominees: Aladdin*; Newsies*; Chaplin; Sister Act; Far and Away*)
1993 The Fugitive*
(other nominees: Mrs. Doubtfire; Groundhog Day*; Sleepless in Seattle*; In Search of Bobby Fischer)
1994 Forrest Gump
(other nominees: Il postino; Little Women*; The Lion King*; Only You*; Quiz Show; The Santa Clause*)
1995 Pride and Prejudice*
(other nominees: Babe*; Sense and Sensibility*; Toy Story; Mr. Holland's Opus; French Kiss*; A Goofy Movie*)
1996 Jerry Maguire*
(other nominees: Emma; Independence Day*; Matilda*)
1997 Good Will Hunting
(other nominees: La vita è bella/Life is Beautiful; Titanic*; My Best Friend's Wedding*; Liar, Liar*; The Saint*; Hercules; Anastasia)
1998 Meet Joe Black*
(other nominees: Pleasantville*; Mulan*; The Mask of Zorro*; You've Got Mail*; City of Angels*; Les misérables; Ever After*; Patch Adams; Smoke Signals*; Horatio Hornblower: The Duel*; Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship*)
1999 The Cider House Rules
(other nominees: Horatio Hornblower: The Wrong War*; Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil*; Runaway Bride*; October Sky*; 10 Things I Hate About You*; Blast from the Past*)
2000 Almost Famous*
(other nominees: Lorna Doone*; Finding Forrester*; Remember the Titans*; Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?; Wo hu cang long/Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon*; Return to Me)
2001 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India*
(other nominees: Dil Chahta Hai*; Horatio Hornblower: Mutiny*; Horatio Hornblower: Retribution*; I am Sam*; A Beautiful Mind; Monsters, Inc.*; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone*)
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(other nominees: Catch Me If You Can*; A Walk to Remember*; Spider-Man*; Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones; The Count of Monte Cristo)
2003 Seabiscuit*
(other nominees: Horatio Hornblower: Loyalty*; Horatio Hornblower: Duty*; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl*; Bagbhan*; Under the Tuscan Sun*; What a Girl Wants*; Johnny English*)
2004 Dear Frankie
(other nominees: Les choristes*; Spider-Man 2*; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban*; Hotel Rwanda)
2005 The Corpse Bride*
(other nominees: Howl's Moving Castle; Batman Begins; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants*; In Her Shoes; Just Like Heaven*; Hitch*; Elizabethtown*)
2006 The Pursuit of Happyness*
(other nominees: The Devil Wears Prada*; The Holiday*; A Good Year*; The Lake House*; Dreamgirls*; Penelope*)
2007 Ratatouille*
(other nominees: Freedom Writers*; Sicko; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*; Juno*)
2008 Wall-E*
(other nominees: Kung Fu Panda*; The Ramen Girl*; Bolt; Get Smart*; Iron Man; Mamma Mia!)
2009 Up*
(other nominees: Sherlock Holmes; Star Trek; The Blind Side*; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince*)
2010 Toy Story 3*
(other nominees: The Social Network; Inception*; Megamind*; Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World; The King's Speech*; Knight and Day*; Flipped*; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1*)
2011 Hugo
(other nominees: The HelpMoneyball; My Week With Marilyn*; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2*; Crazy, Stupid Love.; Super 8)
2012 Life of PI*
(other nominees: Wreck-It Ralph; Silver Linings PlaybookMen in Black 3; Les Misérables)
2013 42
(other nominees: Philomena; Enough Said; Frozen; About Time)
2014 Divergent
(other nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel; Chef; Jersey Boys; The Monuments Men)

*Contributed by "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Thurs, Dec 7, 2006 15:35 PST

Asterisked titles are those films that the contributor owns on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Note: Web page is updated annually. Other nominees listed are in no particular order.


  • Wow, Elizabeth. That is quite the list! I can't imagine how long it took you to do that.

    By Blogger Melissa Marsh, at Fri Jan 13, 07:53:00 AM PST  

  • Remarkable list, Ms. Liz! I like most of the pictures that you listed, especially Mad Mad World and Almost Famous (which means that either you or I have EXCELLENT taste!)

    By Blogger Arlen Crawford, at Fri Jan 13, 09:54:00 AM PST  

  • Hi. I just came accross your blog. I definitely agree with a lot of your film choices - very cool list. I like to try and review movies on my page too, if you'd like to check it out?

    By Blogger James Lees, at Fri Jan 13, 09:59:00 AM PST  

  • Very impressive. All your picks are excellent movies. Each one has it's own special flavor. :) It takes me forever to pick my all-time favorite as well.

    By Blogger cinefille, at Sat Jan 14, 03:44:00 PM PST  

  • Hi Liz,
    I enjoyed reading your list of classic films. I would have to give this some serious time and energy to pick my favorites, but agree with many of your picks.
    Glad you let me know about your Blogs! I will contribute more often.

    By Blogger SylviaK, at Sun Jan 15, 11:06:00 AM PST  

  • Very nice choices!

    By Blogger Tom, at Wed May 12, 11:20:00 PM PDT