All About Eve (1950)
The Film: Joseph L Mankiewicz's acid-spewing glimpse behind the showbiz curtain.
Deserving Winner? Cannes biggest prize in 1951 was split between Swedish family drama Fröken Julie (1951) and Italian slice of magic realism Miracolo a Milano (1951) . Both are forgotten now, while All About Eve remains a stone-cold classic. At least it picked up the Jury Prize and Bette Davis justly stalked off with the Best Actress award...
Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)
The Film : John Sturges's brilliantly harsh modern western about a one-armed avenger (Spencer Tracy) uncovering bigotry and injustice in a post-WWII town.
Deserving Winner? Cannes clearly got swept up in the same hysteria as the Oscars in 1955. Both instead gave the gong to Marty (1955), the downbeat tale of Ernest Borgnine's ugly duckling butcher in love.
The Hill (1965)
The Film: Sydney Lumet's brilliantly brutal military flick The Hill (1965) sees Sean Connery on 007-defying form as the prisoner battling Harry Andrews brutal gaoler in an army prison.
Deserving Winner? You wouldn't expect Cannes to have a weakness for British sex comedies (well, comedy dramas at any rate...) but they must have. How else can you explain the fact that Richard Lester's The Knack ...And How to Get It beat not only The Hill but also trumped Michael Caine's first outing as spy Harry Palmer, The Ipcress File ?
The Film: David Gilbert's chirpily nasty drama about Michael Caine's amoral swinger.
Deserving Winner? Another split result saw the Festival's 20th anniversary prize going to Pietro Germi's Italian comedy Signore & Signori and Claude Lelouch's bittersweet romance Un Homme Et Une Femme . Nothing really wrong with that ... except it meant that Alfie (1966) got nudged out. The only consolation is that David Lean's sprawlingly disappointing epic Doctor Zhivago went home potless in 1966 too...
The Film: Nicolas Roeg's dreamstate outback drama of death, sexual awakening and mysticism starring a young Jenny Agutter.
Deserving Winner? Go on, admit it. Given the choice between Joseph Losey's The Go-Between (1971) and Walkabout (1971), which one would you pick. That's right – Walkabout trumps the tale of restrained English passion every time. Every time, that is, except at the Cannes judges' meetings apparently...
The Film: Andrei Tarkovsky's groundbreaking lump of visionary sci-fi.
Deserving winner? Damn these tied results! A brace of Italian films, biopic Il Caso Mattei (1971) and social drama La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso (1971) , combined to keep Russian helmer Tarkovsky from rocketing off with the Golden Palm in 1972.
The Film: Bob Fosse directs Dustin Hoffman's snarling turn in this biopic of iconoclastic comic Lenny Bruce.
Deserving Winner? Yes, part of Cannes' raison d'être is to highlight films that might otherwise have slipped through the net but giving Algerian peasant revolt drama Chronique Des Années De Braise (1975) the nod ahead of both Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) and Lenny (1974) is just mental.
The Film : Alan Parker's searing account of the horrors of a Turkish prison.
Deserving Winner? We've nothing against L'Albero Degli Zoccoli (1978). Honest – Italian dramas about life on rustic old-fashioned farms are just our thing, but we still think that Midnight Express (1978) should have pipped it to the top spot. Oh well, at least slush-fest Coming Home (1978) didn't win either...
Chariots Of Fire (1981)
The Film: Hugh Hudson's over-the-top celebration of stiff-upper lipped Brits striving for glory at the 1924 Olympics. That rarity, a great British sports movie.
Deserving Winner? The victory of Polish political drama Czlowiek z zelaza (1981) at the Festival did mean a few good things. First, we get to make the joke about it being less a movie title more a few bad hands at Scrabble. And second, that there was no chance for Chariot's writer Colin Welland to attempt a bad Gallic version of his famous Oscar winning speech. “Le Angleterre c'est... erm, coming!”
The King Of Comedy (1982)
The Film: Robert De Niro is on blisteringly creepy form as obsessive wannabe stand-up Rupert Pupkin. It's arguably Martin Scorsese's last great movie before Goodfellas (1990).
Deserving Winner? No two ways about it, 1983 was a very strong year at Cannes. Peter Weir's The Year Of Living Dangerously (1982), Monty Python's Meaning Of Life (1983), James Ivory's Heat And Dust (1983) and David Bowie-starrer Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983) were all jostling for votes alongside our TKOC . The only explanation we can come up with is that the battle between them must have split the vote, leaving all the heavy hitters gasping as far from spectacularly good Japanese period piece Narayama-bushi kô (1982) took the Palm.
The Player (1992)
The Film: Robert Altman's genius moviemaking satire boasts Tim Robbins' career best turn as grasping, gasping movie exec Griffin Mill.
Deserving Winner? The Player ( 1992) was so clearly the standout movie in the Cannes field this year that it's almost laughable that it didn't win. Who knows, maybe was just too 'Hollywood' for a jury headed by Gerald Depardieu? Whatever the reason, despite winning best director and best actor for Tim Robbins, The Player lost out on the main prize to Cannes favourite Billie August and Den Goda Viljan (1992).
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
The Film: Sharp and atmospheric B&W neo-noir from the Coen Brothers, with Billy Bob Thornton excelling as the barber turned blackmailer.
Deserving Winner? It's harsh to call Nanni Moretti's La Stanza Del Figlio (2001) an undeserved winner. After all, it's a gut-punch of a drama about death and the continuation of life that leaves you breathless at points, but... well, we still think that the 2001 award should have gone to the Coen brother's The Man Who Wasn't There . It deserved to edge it.
Mystic River (2003)
The Film: Clint Eastwood's drama about a girl's disappearance and the past horrors it dredges up is an icily effective chunk of cinema with an A-grade cast.
Deserving Winner? Don't get us wrong, Gus Van Sant's Elephant (2003) wasn't a bad choice for the Golden Palm. His art house slant on the Columbine high-school shooting is at worst thought provoking. Heck, at least the gong didn't go to Dogville (2003) or – shudder - The Brown Bunny (2003) . Still, it just seems a shame that Clint Eastward's best film since s Unforgiven (1992) didn't earn him one of the few top prizes missing from his trophy cabinet.
Sin City (2005)
The Film: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's excessive and exhilerating neo-noir comic book adaptation remains one of the most technically and visually stunning films of the last decade.
Deserving Winner? It feels a bit like kicking a helpless puppy to suggest that Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's low budget lowlife drama L'Enfant (2005) didn't deserve the Golden Palm, but who wouldn't have rather seen the gong go to Sin City (2005), eh? It's a mystery why a festival that's regularly showered love on Quentin Tarantino chose to give this the coldest of shoulders.
The Film: An innovative, brilliant and very funny animated flick about a young girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution.
Deserving Winner? It lost out to Cristian Mungiu's drama about illegal abortions in Romania, 4 Luni, 3 Saptamâni Si 2 Z ile (2007). A decent if predictable drama, but not one that really should have pipped Persepolis (2007). Or, for that matter, Zodiac (2007) or No Country For Old Men (2007) which were in the running in the same year. Both David Fincher and the Coen brothers have yet to claim the big Cannes prize...