In the world of international cinema, few accolades shine brighter than the Golden Lion, the highest award of the Venice Film Festival.
Winning it isn't just about the fame, recognition, or even the beautiful golden statue itself. It's about entering a prestigious circle, a veritable pantheon of cinematic greats.
It's a confirmation that your film has touched the hearts and minds of the audience, the jury, and the world in a way that few others can.
In this article, we are going to discover all the winners of the Venice Film Festival that has been organized every year since 1932.
Venice Film Festival Winners list: the Golden Lion and more
The Festival, dating back to 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world.
Over the years, the festival has distinguished itself as a platform for innovative and daring films, often propelling winners to global recognition and success.
So, let's discover all the winners of the great Venice Film festival!
Winners of the Golden Lion for best film
The Golden Lion, the festival's top prize, is awarded to the best film screened in competition at the festival.
This award has been the stepping stone for many films and directors, catapulting them to international stardom.
Let's take a look at the winners.
| 1949 | Manon | Henri-Georges Clouzot |
| 1950 | Justice is done | André Cayatte |
| 1951 | Rashomon | Akira Kurosawa |
| 1952 | Forbidden Games | René Clément |
| 1953 | No prize given.
| 1954 | Romeo and Juliet | Renato Castellani |
| 1955 | Ordet | Carl Theodor Dreyer |
| 1956 | No prize given.
| 1957 | Aparajito | Satyajit Ray |
| 1958 | Rickshaw Man | Hiroshi Inagaki |
| 1959 | General Della Rovere | Roberto Rossellini |
| 1960 | Tomorrow is my turn | André Cayatte |
| 1961 | Last Year at Marienbad | Alain Resnais |
| 1962 | Family Diary | Valerio Zurlini |
| 1963 | Hands Over the City | Francesco Rosi |
| 1964 | Red Desert | Michelangelo Antonioni |
| 1965 | Sandra | Luchino Visconti |
| 1966 | The Battle of Algiers | Gillo Pontecorvo |
| 1967 | Belle de Jour | Luis Buñuel |
| 1968 | Artist's under the Big Top: Perplexed | Alexander Kluge |
| 1969 | No prize given.
| 1970 | No prize given.
| 1971 | No prize given.
| 1972 | No prize given.
| 1973 | The festival was not organized.
| 1974 | No prize given.
| 1975 | No prize given.
| 1976 | No prize given.
| 1977 | No prize given.
| 1978 | The festival was not organized.
| 1979 | No prize given.
| 1980 | Atlantic City | Louis Malle |
| 1981 | Marianne and Juliette | Margarethe von Trotta |
| 1982 | The State of Things | Wim Wenders |
| 1983 | Prénom Carmen | Jean-Luc Godard |
| 1984 | A Year of the Quiet Sun | Krzysztof Zanussi |
| 1985 | Vagabond | Agnès Varda |
| 1986 | The Green Ray | Éric Rohmer |
| 1987 | Au revoir les enfants | Louis Malle |
| 1988 | La leggenda del santo bevitore | Ermanno Olmi |
| 1989 | A city of sadness | Hou Hsiao-hsien |
| 1990 | Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead | Tom Stoppard |
| 1991 | Close to eden | Nikita Mikhalkov |
| 1992 | The Story of Qiu Ju | Zhang Yimou |
| 1993 | Short Cuts | Robert Altman |
| 1994 | Before the Rain | Milcho Manchevski |
| 1995 | Cyclo | Tran Anh Hung |
| 1996 | Michael Collins | Neil Jordan |
| 1997 | Fireworks | Takeshi Kitano |
| 1998 | The Way We Laughed | Gianni Amelio |
| 1999 | Not One Less | Zhang Yimou |
| 2000 | The Circle | Jafar Panahi |
| 2001 | Monsoon Wedding | Mira Nair |
| 2002 | The Magdalene Sisters | Peter Mullan |
| 2003 | The Return | Andrey Zvyagintsev |
| 2004 | Vera Drake | Mike Leigh |
| 2005 | Brokeback Mountain | Ang Lee |
| 2006 | Still Life | Jia Zhangke |
| 2007 | Lust, Caution | Ang Lee |
| 2008 | The Wrestler | Darren Aronofsky |
| 2009 | Lebanon | Samuel Maoz |
| 2010 | Somewhere | Sofia Coppola |
| 2011 | Faust | Alexander Sokurov |
| 2012 | Pieta | Kim Ki-duk |
| 2013 | Sacro GRA | Gianfranco Rosi |
| 2014 | A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence | Roy Andersson |
| 2015 | From Afar | Lorenzo Vigas |
| 2016 | The Woman Who Left | Lav Diaz |
| 2017 | The Shape of Water | Guillermo del Toro |
| 2018 | Roma | Alfonso Cuarón |
| 2019 | Joker | Todd Phillips |
| 2020 | Nomadland | Chloé Zhao |
| 2021 | L'Événement | Audrey Diwan |
| 2021 | All the beauty and the bloodshed | Laura Poitras |
Winners of the Grand jury prize (also called Special jury prize)
Next in line to the Golden Lion is the Grand Jury Prize, awarded to one of the competing films.
It's considered a significant honor, second only to the Golden Lion.
Let's have a look at the last winners of the Special jury prize.
| 2016 | Nocturnal animals | Tom Ford |
| 2017 | Foxtrot | Samuel Maoz |
| 2018 | The favourite| Yorgos Lanthimos |
| 2019 | An officer and a spy | Roman Polanski |
| 2020 | New Order | Michel Franco |
| 2021 | The hand of God | Paolo Sorrentino |
| 2022 | Saint Omer | Alice Diop |
The Silver lion for best director
The Silver Lion was created to celebrate the best directors, the best first works, screenplays, revelations and short films.
Let's have a look at the last winners.
| 1990 | Martin Scorsese | Goodfellas |
| 1998 | Emir Kusturica | Black Cat, White Cat (Црна мачка, бели мачор) |
| 1999 | Zhang Yuan | Seventeen Years (過年回家) |
| 2000 | Buddhadeb Dasgupta | Uttara (উত্তরা) |
| 2001 | Babak Payami | Secret Ballot (رأی مخفی) |
| 2002 | Lee Chang-dong | Oasis (오아시스) |
| 2003 | Takeshi Kitano | Zatōichi (座頭市) |
| 2004 | Kim Ki-duk | 3-Iron (빈집) |
| 2005 | Philippe Garrel | Regular Lovers (Les Amants réguliers) |
| 2006 | Alain Resnais | Private Fears in Public Places (Cœurs) |
| 2007 | Brian De Palma | Redacted |
| 2008 | Aleksei Alekseivich German | Paper Soldier (Бумажный солдат) |
| 2009 | Shirin Neshat | Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan) |
| 2010 | Álex de la Iglesia | The Last Circus (Balada triste de trompeta) |
| 2011 | Cai Shangjun | People Mountain People Sea (人山人海) |
| 2012 | Paul Thomas Anderson | The Master |
| 2013 | Alexandros Avranas | Miss Violence |
| 2014 | Andrei Konchalovsky | The Postman's White Nights (Белые ночи почтальона Алексея Тряпицына) |
| 2015 | Pablo Trapero | The Clan (El Clan) |
| 2016 | Amat Escalante | The Untamed (La región salvaje) <br>Andrei Konchalovsky | Paradise (Рай) |
| 2017 | Xavier Legrand | Custody (Jusqu'à la garde) |
| 2018 | Jacques Audiard | The Sisters Brothers |
| 2019 | Roy Andersson | About Endlessness (Om det oändliga) |
| 2020 | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Wife of a Spy (スパイの妻) |
| 2021 | Jane Campion | The Power of the Dog |
| 2022 | Luca Guadagnino | Bones and All |
Passion, creativity and artistic brilliance are the hallmarks of Venice Film Festival winners.
Each year, the festival showcases the best of international cinema, and the Golden Lion cements a film's place in the annals of cinematic history.
Intrigued to know more about the Festival?
Don't miss our comprehensive guide to get the inside scoop on this prestigious event.
From the glitz and glam of the red carpet to behind-the-scenes stories, we've got you covered.
After all, there's always more to Venice than meets the eye!