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The Top 7 Most Memorable Palme d'Or Winners from The Cannes Film Festival
April 24, 2022
They don't call Cannes the 'world capital of cinema' for nothing! While Hollywood remains the most powerful and influential city in show business, this warm and sunny destination along the French Riviera remains ever relevant. Of course, this is thanks in large part to their iconic annual event, the Cannes Film Festival. For many decades now, many of the finest films ever made were introduced here. A good number of them, including La Dolce Vita (1960), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Parasite (2019), even won the event's coveted prize, the Palme d'Or. Among the many amazing movies that have won that award, here are seven of the most memorable!
La Dolce Vita (1960)
If there's one film that encapsulated the jet-set lifestyle of the 1960s, it was 'La Dolce Vita.' Regarded as Fellini's most memorable film, the film put both the Italian director and the city of Rome on the map! Who could ever forget that iconic scene where Sylvia Rank (played by Anita Ekberg) goes for a dip into the Trevi Fountain, followed by a fascinated Marcello Rubini (played by Marcello Mastroianni). Though both were fully dressed, it became one of the most erotic scenes in the movie, as well as one of the most iconic moments in movie history!
Source: BFI YouTube Channel
Taxi Driver (1976)
“You talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me?” This incredible line uttered by Robert De Niro in the 1976 Palme d'Or-winning film, 'Taxi Driver,' became one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history. To this day, it's referenced in other movies, TV series, and pop culture in general. 'Taxi Driver' was a game-changer of sorts, and it's not just because De Niro and Jodie Foster gave excellent performances. The Martin Scorcese-directed film was also one of the first of its kind that dared to show the nitty-gritty side of New York City.
Source: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment YouTube Channel
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Just how amazing was the 1979 film, 'Apocalypse Now,' directed by Francis Ford Coppola? It didn't just win the coveted Palme d'Or at the 32nd Cannes Film Festival, but it was also nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. You can't get any more prestigious than that! Starring such movie legends as Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Laurence Fishburn, among many others, it was one of the best anti-war films of its time. So much so that Francis Ford Coppola even expected to win the Nobel Peace Prize for making the film!
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quentin Tarantino's 1994 flick, 'Pulp Fiction,' remains one of the most memorable films to ever come out in the Cannes Film Festival. And it's not just because it won the Palme d'Or that year! Though its win was a huge honor, 'Pulp Fiction' really introduced the world to Tarantino's exceptional skills as a filmmaker and storyteller. It wasn't just that the black comedy film was full of memorable lines, hilarious gags, and even iconic dance scenes, but its risque nature was a sort of cinematic revolution! And thanks to that, Tarantino went on to make even more groundbreaking movies.
Source: Movieclips YouTube Channel
The Pianist (2002)
The 2002 Palme d'Or winner, 'The Pianist,' has got to be one of the saddest films ever made. The film is a biographical drama about Polish-Jewish composer, Władysław Szpilman, a famous survivor of the Holocaust. From the time the Nazis invaded Poland to when Europe was liberated by British and American troops, what Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) went through was nothing short of breathtaking! It's no surprise that Brody won the Academy Award for Best Actor afterward. His performance remains one of the best of any actor on-screen.
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel
Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)
The 2013 Palme d'Or winner, 'Blue Is the Warmest Colour,' also changed the game when it comes to highlighting LGBTQ+ relationships onscreen. Though it didn't win the coveted Queer Palm during that year's Cannes Film Festival, the fact that it received the event's highest award instead was still groundbreaking. The sexy French film stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos as a lesbian couple who can't help but clash against one another. Adèle (played by Exarchopoulos) is a young conservative high school student who's struggling with her sexual identity while Emma (played by Seydoux) is a free-spirited art student who's pretty open about being gay.
Source: Sundance Now YouTube Channel
There's probably no other movie in recent years that has made quite as big an impact as Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite.' The South Korean film didn't just win the Palme d'Or during the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, but it was also the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Not to mention the fact that the film also won Joon Ho the Best Director award, becoming the first director of Asian descent to win the award. Famously, it's said that 'Parasite' unanimously won the Palme d'Or, making it the first movie to win all of the jury's votes since 'Blue Is the Warmest Colour' in 2013.
Source: Madman Films YouTube Channel
As one of the most coveted awards in film, the Palme d'Or is only given to those movies that have made quite the impact during the Cannes Film Festival. A good many of them have even gone on to become cult classics and pop culture phenomenons!