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The Best Movies That Won the Palme d'Or at Cannes 

Ranker Film
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Updated November 11, 2019 2k votes 225 voters 7.3k views 61 items

List Rules Greatest movies to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival

Every year, the prestigious Cannes Film Festival lures in the greatest filmmaking talent in the entire world to show off their latest masterpieces. At the festival, critics have the chance to take the first peek at movies that may be seen as classics in decades to come. List of the best Palme d’Or Award winners from 1964 to 2014, as ranked by film critics and movie lovers. The greatest honor Cannes has to offer is the Palme d’Or, the award given to the director of the best feature film in the festival. Almost all Palme d’Or winning movies have gone on to be a critical and financial success. Previous winners, such as Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, and Apocalypse Now, have gone on to win other prestigious awards like Oscars and Golden Globes.

This list answers the question, “What are the best Palme d’Or winners?” The films on this list are emotionally honest, beautifully constructed, and brilliantly acted. The truest film buffs are sure to enjoy most of the movies on this list.

Whether you’re a fan of strange abstract films like Tree of Life or foreign language films which open you up to a whole new world, like Farewell My Concubine, there’s sure to be a movie or two on this list for you.

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1
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies That Won the Palme d'Or at Cannes
1976

Actors: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, + more

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film ...more

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2
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1979

Actors: Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, + more

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall. ...more

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3
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies That Won the Palme d'Or at Cannes
1994

Actors: John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, + more

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The lives of two mob hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster's wife (Uma ...more

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4
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1974

Actors: Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Teri Garr, Billy Dee Williams, + more

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Conversation is a 1974 American psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman with supporting roles by John Cazale, Allen ...more

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5
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1984

Actors: Nastassja Kinski, Sam Shepard, Dean Stockwell, Harry Dean Stanton, Bernhard Wicki, + more

Directed by: Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas is a 1984 drama film directed by Wim Wenders and starring Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, and Hunter Carson. The screenplay was written by L.M. Kit Carson and ...more

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#417 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #55 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel #366 of 395 The Greatest Movie Themes

6
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1966

Actors: Jimmy Page, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeff Beck, Jane Birkin, Sarah Miles, + more

Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni

Blowup, or Blow-Up, is a 1966 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he has unwittingly captured an incident on film. It was ...more

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7
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2002

Actors: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox, Maureen Lipman, Frank Finlay, + more

Directed by: Roman Polanski

The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more

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8
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1989

Actors: Andie MacDowell, James Spader, Laura San Giacomo, Peter Gallagher, Steven Brill, + more

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

This film is a 1989 American independent drama film that brought director Steven Soderbergh to prominence. It tells the story of a man who films women discussing their impact on the ...more

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#382 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #83 of 111 The Best Movies That Pass the Bechdel Test

9
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1970

Actors: Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Rene Auberjonois, + more

Directed by: Robert Altman

MASH is a 1970 American satirical black comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The ...more

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10
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2007

Actors: Anamaria Marinca, Teodor Corban, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Luminița Gheorghiu, + more

Directed by: Cristian Mungiu

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a 2007 Romanian film written and directed by Cristian Mungiu. It won the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The film is set in ...more
11
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1991

Actors: John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, + more

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Barton Fink is a 1991 American period film written, produced, directed and edited by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright ...more

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12
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2012

Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Alexandre Tharaud, Dinara Drukarova, + more

Directed by: Michael Haneke

Amour is a 2012 French-language drama film directed by Michael Haneke. The narrative focuses on an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives ...more

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#506 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #22 of 80 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces

13
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1979

Actors: Jessica Lange, John Lithgow, Roy Scheider, Wallace Shawn, Ben Vereen, + more

Directed by: Bob Fosse

All That Jazz is a 1979 American musical film directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on aspects of Fosse's life and ...more

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#148 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #115 of 212 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
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1968

Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Arthur Lowe, Richard Warwick, Mona Washbourne, David Wood, + more

Directed by: Lindsay Anderson

if.... is a 1968 British drama film produced and directed by Lindsay Anderson satirising English public school life. Famous for its depiction of a savage insurrection at a fictitious boys ...more

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#135 of 194 The Best Movies of the '60s #55 of 139 The Best Surrealism Movies

15
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1993

Actors: Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Cliff Curtis, + more

Directed by: Jane Campion

The Piano is a 1993 romantic drama film about a mute female piano player and her daughter. Set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater on the west coast of New Zealand, ...more

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16
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1964

Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Marc Michel, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Jean Champion, + more

Directed by: Jacques Demy

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a 1964 French musical film directed by Jacques Demy, starring Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo. The music was written by Michel Legrand. The film dialogue is ...more

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17
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1990

Actors: Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, Crispin Glover, + more

Directed by: David Lynch

Wild at Heart is a 1990 American thriller film written and directed by David Lynch, and based on Barry Gifford's 1989 novel of the same name. Both the book and the film revolve around Sailor ...more
18
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2011

Actors: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Fiona Shaw, Tye Sheridan, + more

Directed by: Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is a 2011 American experimental drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. The film chronicles the origins and ...more

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#556 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #6 of 16 Complicated Movie Storylines No One Truly Understands #3 of 70 The Most Pretentious Movies Ever Made

19
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2000

Actors: Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Stellan Skarsgård, Peter Stormare, + more

Directed by: Lars von Trier

Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan ...more

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20
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2013

Actors: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alma Jodorowsky, Aurélien Recoing, Salim Kechiouche, + more

Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche

Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a 2013 French romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh. French teenager Adèle ...more

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21
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2003

Actors: Timothy Bottoms, Matt Malloy, Alex Frost, John Robinson, Carrie Finklea, + more

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Elephant is a 2003 drama film edited, written and directed by Gus Van Sant. It takes place in the fictional Watt High School, in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, and chronicles the events ...more

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#118 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #16 of 18 Great Movies That Have Almost No Dialogue

22
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1980

Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kaori Momoi, Jinpachi Nezu, Tsutomu Yamazaki, + more

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirō Honda

Kagemusha is a 1980 film by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese, kagemusha is a term used to denote a political decoy. It is set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and tells the story of who is ...more
23
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1995

Actors: Emir Kusturica, Miki Manojlović, Lazar Ristovski, Srđan Todorović, Mirjana Karanović, + more

Directed by: Emir Kusturica

Underground, is a 1995 Palme d'or-winning film directed by Emir Kusturica with a screenplay by Dušan Kovačević. It is also known by the subtitle Once Upon a Time There Was One Country, which was ...more
24
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1982

Actors: Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, Jerry Hardin, Richard Bradford, + more

Directed by: Costa-Gavras

Missing is a 1982 American drama film directed by Costa-Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, and Charles Cioffi. It is based on the true story of American ...more

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25
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2009

Actors: Rainer Bock, Birgit Minichmayr, Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Tukur, Detlev Buck, + more

Directed by: Michael Haneke

The White Ribbon is a 2009 black-and-white German-language drama film written and directed by Michael Haneke. Das weiße Band, Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte darkly depicts society and ...more