To date, ninety movies have won the prestigious Best Picture Oscar at the annual Academy Awards. Along the way there have been stone cold classics such as Gone with the Wind, On the Waterfront, The Godfather and Schindler’s List which have been completely deserving of the top prize. However, there are other movies that should never have been given the honour. The reasons why not vary. Some won Best Picture because of Academy bias; others were perfectly good movies that won against much better competition; others were just dross that shouldn’t have been nominated, let alone winning. Here are twenty one Best Picture winners that did not deserve to win an Oscar.

The Greatest Show On Earth

Cecil B. DeMille’s gaudy circus story starring Charlton Heston and James Stewart may have packed in the audiences when it was released back in 1952, but its win at the 25th Academy Awards over movies such as High Noon and Ivanhoe was seen more as a political decision than a recognition of the film’s quality. The USA was in the grip of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch-hunts at the time, and the staunchly Republican DeMille’s movie was seen as a safer and less controversial winner than High Noon, produced by the soon-to-be-blacklisted Carl Foreman.

Chariots Of Fire

Undoubtedly a great sports movie, Chariots of Fire was also a rather dreary and over-long melodrama. Many people have questioned why the story of the British athletics team’s success at the 1924 Olympic Games managed to win the Best Picture gong over some of its rivals. Especially seeing as those rivals in 1981 included Raiders of the Lost Ark and Reds.