Best Movies The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Complete list of movies that won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film.

List of the best Sundance Grand Jury Prize winners, as ranked by movie critics and film lovers everywhere. Once every January, the best filmmakers in the United States put on their warm clothing and head towards Salt Lake City, Utah, where one of the biggest American film festivals is held annually. There they show the films they’ve put their blood, sweat, and tears into making the finest films in the country. The best of the best films will even earn the Sundance Grand Prize, the highest honor a film can receive in the festival circuit. The movies that have premiered at Sundance have gone on to be the most successful indie movies in the business.

This list answers the question, “What are the best Sundance Grand Prize winning films?” The movies featured on this list are emotional, brilliantly written, filled with talented actors, and directed beautifully, which is why they are often considered the film world’s finest.

Whether you enjoy quirky coming of age films like Welcome to the Dollhouse and Beasts of the Southern Wild or gritty tales of people often forgotten like Winter’s Bone or Precious, this list has the best Sundance films that anybody will be sure to enjoy. 

list ordered by

1
29 6
Whiplash is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2014 This film is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle based on his experiences in the Princeton High School Studio Band. Starring Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons, the ...more

2
23 10
Winter’s Bone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2010 "Deep in the Ozark Mountains, clans live by a code of conduct that no one dares defy—until an intrepid teenage girl has no other choice. When Ree Dolly's father skips bail and goes missing, ...more

3
15 4
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2015 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a 2015 American comedy-drama film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Jesse Andrews, based on Andrews's 2012 debut novel of the same name. It is the ...more

4
16 6
Blood Simple is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1984 Blood Simple is a 1984 neo-noir film written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was the directorial debut of the Coens and the first major film of cinematographer Barry ...more

5
17 7
American Splendor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2003 American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series. The film is also in part an adaptation of the ...more

6
18 8
Welcome to the Dollhouse is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1995 Welcome to the Dollhouse is a 1995 American independent coming of age comedy film. An independent film, it launched the careers of Todd Solondz and Heather Matarazzo.

7
17 9
Fruitvale Station is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2013 Fruitvale Station is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Ryan Coogler, based on true events. The story of Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, ...more

8
18 11
Precious: Based on the Novel P... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2009 Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey ...more

9
10 4
You Can Count on Me is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2000 You Can Count on Me is a 2000 American drama film starring Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Rory Culkin, and Matthew Broderick. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, it tells the story of Sammy, ...more

10
11 5
The Believer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2001 The Believer is a 2001 American drama film co-written and directed by Henry Bean. The film stars Ryan Gosling as Daniel Balint, a Jew who becomes a Neo-Nazi. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the ...more

11
12 7
Girlfight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2000 Girlfight is a 2000 American sports drama film written and directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Michelle Rodriguez in both of their film debuts. It follows Diana Guzman, a troubled teenager ...more

12
13 9
Primer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2004 Primer is a 2004 American science fiction drama film about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel. The film was written, directed, produced, edited and scored by Shane Carruth, who ...more

13
8 5
Frozen River is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2008 Frozen River is a 2008 American crime drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The screenplay focuses on two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada to the United ...more

14
14 12
Beasts of the Southern Wild is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2012 Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious. After playing at ...more

15
8 6
In the Soup is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1992 In the Soup is a 1992 independent film comedy directed by Alexandre Rockwell. It stars Steve Buscemi as a self-conscious screenwriter who has written an unfilmable 500-page screenplay and is ...more

16
7 6
Quinceañera is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2006 Quinceañera is a 2006 American independent drama film written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Set in Echo Park, Los Angeles, the film follows the lives of two young ...more

17
3 2
I Don't Feel at Home in This W... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (often stylized i don't feel at home in this world anymore.) is a 2017 comedy crime thriller film written and directed by Macon Blair. A nurse, Ruth ...more

18
1 0
The Miseducation of Cameron Po... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2018 The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a 2018 American-British drama film directed by Desiree Akhavan, based on the 2012 novel by Emily M. Danforth. In 1993, a teenage girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) is ...more

19
7 7
Like Crazy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2011 "Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance—they’re ...more

20
6 8
Ruby in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1993 Ruby in Paradise is a 1993 film written, directed, and edited by Victor Nuñez, and starring Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean, and Dorothy Lyman. It is a homage to ...more

21
4 7
The Brothers McMullen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1995 The Brothers McMullen is a 1995 American comedy-drama film written, directed, produced by, and starring Edward Burns. It deals with the lives of the three Irish Catholic McMullen brothers from ...more

22
3 6
Three Seasons is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1999 Three Seasons is an American Vietnamese language film filmed in Vietnam about the past, present, and future of Ho Chi Minh City in the early days of Doi Moi. It is a poetic film that tries to ...more

23
5 9
Waiting for the Moon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1987 Waiting for the Moon is a 1987 Twentieth Century Fox film about Gertrude Stein and her lover and assistant Alice B. Toklas, played by Linda Bassett and Linda Hunt. Set in the 1930s, it depicts ...more

24
3 7
Forty Shades of Blue is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
Forty Shades of Blue 2005 Forty Shades of Blue is a 2005 independent film directed by Ira Sachs. It tells the story of Alan James, an aging music producer who lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his much younger Russian ...more

25
4 9
Poison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1991 Todd Haynes' second feature deftly interweaves a trio of tales that build toward a devastating climax.

26
3 8
Smooth Talk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1985 Smooth Talk is a 1985 drama film, loosely based on Joyce Carol Oates' 1966 short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, which was in turn inspired by the Tucson murders committed by ...more

27
3 8
The Young Poisoner's Handbook is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1995 The Young Poisoner's Handbook is a 1995 British-German-French-produced black comedy film based on the life of Graham Young, more commonly known as "The Teacup Murderer". It was ...more

28
3 8
Chameleon Street is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1989 Chameleon Street is a 1989 independent film written by, directed by and starring Wendell B. Harris, Jr.. It tells the story of a social chameleon who impersonates reporters, doctors and lawyers ...more

29
3 8
Personal Velocity: Three Portr... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2002 Personal Velocity: Three Portraits is a 2002 American independent film written and directed by Rebecca Miller.

30
3 9
True Love is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1989 True Love is a 1989 American comedy film directed by Nancy Savoca. An unflinching look at the realities of love and marriage which offers no "happily ever after" ending, it won the ...more

31
2 8
Heat and Sunlight is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
Heat and Sunlight 1987 Heat and Sunlight is a 1987 independent film written, directed by and starring Rob Nilsson. It tells the story of a photojournalist who had worked in Biafra trying to patch up his relationship ...more

32
2 8
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The Birth of a Nation is a 2016 American period drama film based on the story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. The film is ...more

33
1 8
What Happened Was is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1994 What Happened Was... is a 1994 independent film written, directed by and starring Tom Noonan. It is an adaptation of Noonan's original play of the same name.

34
1 8
Slam is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1998 Slam is a 1998 independent film starring Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn. It tells the story of a young African-American man whose talent for poetry is hampered by his social background. It won the ...more

35
1 8
Old Enough is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1984 Old Enough is a 1984 American drama film written and directed by Marisa Silver, produced by Dina Silver, and is also Alyssa Milano's debut role. A low-budget production, the film won the Grand ...more

36
1 9
Our Father is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
2007 Padre Nuestro, also known as Sangre de Mi Sangre is a 2007 Argentinean-American thriller film written and directed by Christopher Zalla, produced by Benjamin Odell and Per Melita and starring ...more

37
1 9
Sunday is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1997 Sunday is a 1997 independent film. Set in Queens, a borough of New York City, it is a dark comedy about an unemployed, homeless IBM functionary mistaken by an aging actress for famous film ...more

38
0 8
The Trouble with Dick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1987 The Trouble with Dick is a 1987 comedy and science fiction film written and directed by Gary Walkow.

39
0 11
Public Access is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners
1993 Public Access is a 1993 American drama film directed by Bryan Singer in his feature film debut. Singer also wrote the screenplay with Christopher McQuarrie and Michael Feit Dougan. The film was ...more