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As the weather cools and the faces become ever more haggard, it’s clear that we’re past the midpoint of the Cannes Film Festival. The reviews are in for about half of the selected ‘In Competition’ films and speculation is rife about who will win the coveted Palme d’Or.  

To mark this moment, I have looked back at what film audiences and critics made of past nominees and winners. In summary;

  • Pulp Fiction is the highest scoring film with audiences to ever have played in Cannes
  • Pan’s Labyrinth is the best reviewed Cannes-nominated film ever.
  • The worst Cannes nominated film, according to audiences, was Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me received an average Metascore of just 28 out of 100
  • The film with the lowest critics’ rating to win a Palme d’Or was Wild At Heart (dir. David Lynch)
  • Mr Turner has to biggest difference between the views of film critics and audiences

The audience favourites

I have used the IMDb user scores as a proxy for audience opinion (see here for a breakdown of IMDb voters). Pulp Fiction is the highest scoring film to ever have played ‘In competition’ in Cannes.

Six of the top 20 Cannes-nominated films won a Palme d’Or.  As some films on this list were shortlisted in the same year, the maximum number that could have won is 16.

Cannes nominated films with the highest IMDb user ratings (out of 10)

 FilmCannes resultIMDb rating
1Pulp Fiction1994 Won Palme d'Or8.9
2Flashback1969 Nominated8.7
3Harakiri1963 Nominated8.6
4The Man Who Planted Trees1987 Nominated8.6
5Life Is Beautiful1998 Nominated8.6
6Le Trou1960 Nominated8.5
7Forest of the Hanged1965 Nominated8.5
8Apocalypse Now1979 Won Palme d'Or8.5
9Cinema Paradiso1989 Nominated8.5
10The Pianist2002 Won Palme d'Or8.5
11All About Eve1951 Nominated8.4
12Macario1960 Nominated8.4
13Pour la suite du monde1963 Nominated8.4
14To Kill a Mockingbird1963 Nominated8.4
15Woman in the Dunes1964 Nominated8.4
16Taxi Driver1976 Won Palme d'Or8.4
17Repentance1987 Nominated8.4
18Oldboy2004 Nominated8.4
19Winter Sleep2014 Won Palme d'Or8.4
20The Third Man1949 Won Palme d'Or8.3
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Jack Malven at The Times asked me last week if English language films are becoming more common in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival.  He quoted the festival’s head, Thierry Fremaux, admitting that English is now the international language of film and “comparing it to Esperanto, the artificial language designed to unite nations”.  

So I took a look at the data on all 1,660 films which have been selected to screen ‘In Competition’ at the Cannes Film Festival from when it started in 1939 to this year.  In summary…

  • Since 1939, the shortlisted films in Cannes have been in 91 languages
  • English is the most frequently used language, featuring in 38% of Cannes shortlisted films (1939-2015)
  • In the past five years, English has been used in 57% of Cannes films
  • French is the second most common, then Italian, Spanish, German and Japanese.
  • 72% of films have just one language. 16% have two, 8% three and 4% four or more.
  • 2010-15, 44% of shortlisted films from France were not in French 
  • During 1940s 100% of German films were in German, whereas by 2010s that has dropped to 24%

Which languages are used?

I found 91 different languages used across all Cannes films (96 if you include sign languages).  72% of films have just one language. 16% have two, 8% three and 4% four or more.

Is English taking over?

English is the most frequently used language, featuring in 38% of Cannes shortlisted films. French is the second most common (24% of films), then Italian (12%), Spanish (11%), German (6%) and Japanese (5%).

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I don’t know if it’s limited to just the British tent, but the conversations in Cannes seem very weather-orientated at the moment.  I have been asked a number of times if I know whether it will rain.  So, once and for all, no I don’t know.  But I can tell you what the weather has been like at Cannes Film Festival in previous years.

Rain reigns rarely

For the most part, the weather in Cannes has been hot and dry since the dawn of time.  However, every so often the eleven days of the Cannes Film Festival are hit by bad weather.  In 2012, the Hollywood Reporter described the weather as having a “London feel” due to the “rain, thunder and howling winds”.

Over the past ten years, it has rained on 29% of days during the festival.

The tan in Cannes stays mainly on the fans

The average temperatures during the festival over the past decade range from 16.1℃ (in 2012) to 20.5℃ (in 2007).


The data came from the Weather Underground and the Cannes official site.


I normally blog every Monday but this blog-ette was a quick bit of fun to answer this crucial question.  Normal service will be resumed on Monday.