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

Updated November 11, 2019 3.1k votes 235 voters 7.5k views61 items

List RulesGreatest 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

    ActorsMarlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne

    Directed byFrancis 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. The...  more

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  • 2
    51
    62

    ActorsRobert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel

    Directed byMartin 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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    34

    ActorsNastassja Kinski, Sam Shepard, Dean Stockwell, Harry Dean Stanton, Bernhard Wicki

    Directed byWim 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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    75

    ActorsJohn Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken

    Directed byQuentin 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 Thurman),...  more

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  • 5

    ActorsCatherine Deneuve, Marc Michel, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Jean Champion

    Directed byJacques 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 all...  more

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  • 6

    ActorsAndie MacDowell, James Spader, Laura San Giacomo, Peter Gallagher, Steven Brill

    Directed bySteven 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 relationships of...  more

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    ActorsJack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, Jerry Hardin, Richard Bradford

    Directed byCosta-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 journalist...  more
  • 8

    ActorsHarrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Teri Garr, Billy Dee Williams

    Directed byFrancis 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 Garfield,...  more

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    38

    Amour

    2012

    ActorsIsabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Alexandre Tharaud, Dinara Drukarova

    Directed byMichael 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 abroad...  more

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  • 10
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    2

    ActorsSong Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam

    Directed byBong Joon-ho

    Parasite is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. An unemployed driver (Song Kang-ho) and his out-of-work family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous...  more

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  • 11

    ActorsAnamaria Marinca, Teodor Corban, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Luminița Gheorghiu

    Directed byCristian 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
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    38

    ActorsAnna Paquin, Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Cliff Curtis

    Directed byJane 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, it...  more

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  • 13

    ActorsJessica Lange, John Lithgow, Roy Scheider, Wallace Shawn, Ben Vereen

    Directed byBob 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 career as...  more

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  • 14
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    59

    ActorsAdrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox, Maureen Lipman, Frank Finlay

    Directed byRoman 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 Pianist, a...  more

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  • 15

    ActorsLily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Kairi Jō, Miyu Sasaki

    Directed byHirokazu Kore-eda

    Shoplifters is a 2018 Japanese drama film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. A poor, shoplifting family adopts a homeless girl after noticing signs of abuse, integrating her into the family by teaching...  more
  • 16
    11
    25

    ActorsHaluk Bilginer, Nejat İşler, Demet Akbağ, Tamer Levent, Melisa Sözen

    Directed byNuri Bilge Ceylan

    Winter Sleep is a 2014 Turkish drama film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, adapted from the short story, "The Wife", by Anton Chekhov. The story is set in Anatolia and examines the significant divide...  more
  • 17
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    ActorsClaes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary

    Directed byRuben Östlund

    The Square is a 2017 Swedish satirical drama film directed by Ruben Östlund. Art museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) prepares to show a new installation piece, but ends up creating chaos....  more
  • 18
    25
    54

    Blowup

    1966

    ActorsJimmy Page, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeff Beck, Jane Birkin, Sarah Miles

    Directed byMichelangelo 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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  • 19

    ActorsGian Maria Volonté, Peter Baldwin, Franco Graziosi, Vittorio Fanfoni, Luigi Squarzina

    Directed byFrancesco Rosi

    The Mattei Affair is a 1972 film directed by Francesco Rosi. It depicts the life and mysterious death of Enrico Mattei, an Italian businessman who in the aftermath of World War II managed to avoid...  more
  • 20
    18
    42

    if....

    1968

    ActorsMalcolm McDowell, Arthur Lowe, Richard Warwick, Mona Washbourne, David Wood

    Directed byLindsay 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 boarding...  more
  • 21

    ActorsCillian Murphy, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald, Pádraic Delaney, William Ruane

    Directed byKen Loach

    The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul...  more
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    ActorsTatsuya Nakadai, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kaori Momoi, Jinpachi Nezu, Tsutomu Yamazaki

    Directed byAkira 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 taught...  more

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  • 23

    ActorsMax von Sydow, Pernilla August, Samuel Fröler, Ghita Nørby, Björn Kjellman

    Directed byBille August

    The Best Intentions is a 1992 Swedish drama film directed by Bille August and written by Ingmar Bergman. It is semi-autobiographical and tells the story of the complex courtship of Bergman's parents,...  more
  • 24
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    ActorsCharles Aznavour, Mario Adorf, Daniel Olbrychski, David Bennent, Katharina Thalbach

    Directed byVolker Schlöndorff

    The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass. It was directed and co-written by Volker Schlöndorff. Stylistically, it is a surrealistic black comedy. The film...  more
  • 25

    ActorsTimothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Phyllis Logan, Ron Cook

    Directed byMike Leigh

    Secrets & Lies is a 1996 British drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh. Led by an ensemble cast consisting of many Leigh regulars, it stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Hortense, a well-educated...  more

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