The top four award-winning nations

The Festival de Cannes’ selection knows no borders or boundaries, with films from around the world pouring in to be platformed in Cannes year after year. This global reach has often allowed for the spotlight to be turned to shine on countries with less visibility, such as Thailand with the up-and-coming Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Palme d’Or in 2010), or more recently Sweden and the dizzying rise of Ruben Ostlünd (Palme d’Or in 2017 and 2022). Yet since the Festival’s beginnings, four big film-making countries stand out, having collectively won close to 60% of all Grands Prix and Palmes d’Or ever awarded*.

The United Kingdom
Roland Joffé - The Mission, 1986 © AFP
Mike Leigh - Secrets and Lies, 1996 © Patrick Hertzog / AFP
Ken Loach - The Wind That Shakes the Barley, 2006 © Pascal Guyot / AFP
Ken Loach - I, Daniel Blake, 2006 © Loïc Venance / AFP

10 awards: 6 Grands Prix, 4 Palmes d’Or

The United Kingdom walked away with a Grand Prix right from the very first edition of the Festival in 1946 thanks to David Lean’s Brief Encounter. Just like clockwork, the country has won a Palme d’Or once every ten years over the past forty years: in 1986 with The Mission by Roland Joffé, in 1996 for Secrets & Lies by Mike Leigh, and in 2006 and 2016 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley and I, Daniel Blake by two-time Palme d’Or-winner Ken Loach.

Melina Mercouri, Federico Fellini & Jeanne Moreau - La Dolce Vita, 1960 © UPI / AFP
Claudia Cardinale & Burt Lancaster - Il Gattopardo, 1963 © STAFF / AFP
Monica Vitti, Michelangelo Antonioni & Vanessa Redgrave - Blow Up, 1967 © AFP
Nanni Moretti - The Son's Room, 2001 © Anne-Christine Poujolat / AFP

12 awards: 7 Grands Prix, 5 Palmes d’Or

The sixties was the golden age of Italian cinema in Cannes, with the country’s films scooping no fewer than four Palmes d’Or thanks to iconic directors such as Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, 1960), Luchino Visconti (The Leopard, 1963) and Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow Up, 1967). In the 21st century, only Nanni Moretti has succeeded in following in their footsteps, winning the Palme d’Or for The Son’s Room in 2001.

Laurent Cantet - The Class, 2008 © François Guillot / AFP
Jacques Audiard - Dheepan, 2015 © Loïc Venance / AFP
Léa Seydoux, Abdellatif Kechiche & Adèle Exarchopoulos - Blue Is the Warmest Colour, 2013 © Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP

16 awards: 6 Grands Prix, 10 Palmes d’Or

Having dazzled at the Awards ceremonies right from the start of the Festival with Les Maudits (René Clément, 1947) and The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) to name but a few, France fell quiet in the post-May ‘68 period. The country has marked a return to Palme d’Or glory since the 2000s with a series of art house offerings: Laurent Cantet won the award in 2008 for The Class, as did Jacques Audiard in 2015 with Dheepan. In 2013, the Palme d’Or was awarded to Blue Is the Warmest Colour for both its director Abdellatif Kechiche and its two leads Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in a Festival first: three Palmes d’Or for a single film.

The United States
Francis Ford Coppola & Tony Curtis - The Conversation, 1974 © AFP
David Lynch - Wild at Heart, 1990 © Jacques Demarthon / AFP
Ethan & Joel Coen - Barton Fink, 1991 © Gérard Julien / AFP
Quentin Tarantino - Pulp Fiction, 1994 © Patrick Hertzog / AFP

22 awards: 9 Grands Prix, 13 Palmes d’Or

The United States won a Palme d’Or before the Festival de Cannes even existed: in 2002, the prize for 1939’s cancelled edition was awarded retroactively to Union Pacific by Cecil B. DeMille. American cinema’s biggest names have received accolades from the Cannes Jury: Francis Ford Coppola for The Conversation (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979), Martin Scorsese for Taxi Driver (1976), David Lynch for Wild At Heart (1990), the Coen brothers for Barton Fink (1991) and Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction (1994). The United States’ most recent Palme d’Or went to Terrence Malick in 2011 for The Tree of Life.

(*) The Grand Prix was awarded from 1946 to 1954, and from 1964 to 1974. The Palme d’Or was awarded from 1955 to 1963 and from 1975 on.