The Best Best Pictures
5) Gladiator 2000
Gladiator not only established Ridley Scott as a marketable mainstream director, but also inspired a sequel about Maximus being revived by the ancient Roman gods to fight in wars for all eternity that was never made for some reason.
4) Schindler's List 1993
Schindler's List showed us that sometimes it takes unimaginable evil to inspire unimaginable good, and that if you want to make a flawless WWII movie or two, call Steven Spielberg.
3) Forrest Gump 1994
"Best of" lists are like a box of chocolates, you'll never agree with the exact placement of each and every thing. Sorry. Forrest Gump didn't inspire the critical acclaim awarded to most Best Picture winners, but it did strike a chord with just about any human being who's ever had a heart, which explains why critics didn't like it much.
2) The Godfather 1972
There's nothing to say about The Godfather that hasn't already been said. There's not a single element of the film that isn't at the very least incredible, if not perfect. There's never going to be a "best film ever", but chances are this is the closest we're going to get. Until whatever Batman film is next.
1) The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 2003
Peter Jackson's Return of the King is not only remarkable as a piece of filmmaking, but it's a fantasy film that made stuffy old people vote for it as the best film they saw in 12 months. It won every Oscar it was nominated for in 2003, totaling 11 wins and tying with Ben Hur and Titanic for the record of most wins for a single film. Yes, it's a monumental achievement in terms of scale and visual effects and acting and pacing and just about anything else, but it's also insanely awesome. "Ghost-kings riding dragons" awesome.