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Il Leone d’Oro (English: The Golden Lion) is the highest prize given to a film at the Biennale Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most distinguished prizes. In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced; this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema.

The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of St. Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Venetian Republic).[1] Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. Before that, from 1934 until 1942, the highest awards were the Coppa Mussolini (Mussolini Cups) for Best Italian Film and Best Foreign Film.

No Golden Lions were awarded between 1969 and 1979. According to the Biennale's official website, this hiatus was a result of the 1968 Lion being awarded to the radically experimental Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos; the website says that the awards "still had a statute dating back to the fascist era and could not side-step the general political climate. Sixty-eight produced a dramatic fracture with the past."[2]


Grand International Prize of Venice

Year Title Director
1947 Siréna Karel Stekly
1948 Hamlet Laurence Olivier

Golden Lion

Of note is that Golden Lion awards tend to be presented to European men. Since 1949 only a few women have ever won the Golden Lion for directing, Indian-born Mira Nair, German Margarethe von Trotta and Belgium's Agnès Varda, who both won more than two decades ago. Although numerous Americans have won honorary awards at the festival, Americans have only won the Golden Lion three times, with awards for John Cassavetes and Robert Altman (both times the awards were shared with other winners who tied), and Darren Aronofsky (the first sole American to win the award).

Year Title Director Country of origin
1949 Manon Henri-Georges Clouzot  France
1950 Justice Is Done (Justice est faite) André Cayatte  France
1951 Rashōmon Akira Kurosawa  Japan
1952 Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits) René Clément  France
1953 No award
1954 Romeo and Juliet Renato Castellani  Italy
1955 The Word (Ordet) Carl Theodor Dreyer  Denmark
1956 No award[3]
1957 The Unvanquished (Aparajito) Satyajit Ray  India
1958 Rickshaw Man (Muhomatsu no issho) Hiroshi Inagaki  Japan
1959 General della Rovere (Il generale della Rovere)

The Great War (La grande guerra)
Roberto Rosselini

Mario Monicelli

1960 The Crossing of the Rhine (Le passage du Rhin) André Cayatte  France
1961 Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad) Alain Resnais  France
1962 Family Diary (Cronaca familiare) (tie)
Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo) (tie)
Valerio Zurlini
Andrei Tarkovsky
 Soviet Union
1963 Hands Over the City (Le mani sulla città) Francesco Rosi  Italy
1964 Red Desert (Il deserto rosso) Michelangelo Antonioni  Italy
1965 Sandra of a Thousand Delights (Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa) Luchino Visconti  Italy
1966 The Battle of Algiers (La battaglia di Algeri) Gillo Pontecorvo  Italy
1967 Beauty of the Day (Belle de jour) Luis Buñuel  France
1968 Artists under the Big Top: Perplexed (Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos) Alexander Kluge  West Germany
1969-79 No award
1980 Atlantic City (tie)
Gloria (tie)
Louis Malle
John Cassavetes
 Canada/ France
 United States
1981 Marianne and Juliane (Die Bleierne Zeit) Margarethe von Trotta  West Germany
1982 The State of Things (Der Stand der Dinge) Wim Wenders  West Germany
1983 First Name: Carmen (Prénom Carmen) Jean-Luc Godard  France
1984 The Year of the Quiet Sun (Rok spokojnego slonca) Krzysztof Zanussi  Poland
1985 Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi) Agnès Varda  France
1986 The Green Ray (Le rayon vert) Éric Rohmer  France
1987 Au revoir, les enfants Louis Malle  France
1988 The Legend of the Holy Drinker (La leggenda del santo bevitore) Ermanno Olmi  Italy
1989 A City of Sadness (Bei qing cheng shi) Hou Hsiao-Hsien  Taiwan
1990 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Tom Stoppard  United Kingdom/ United States
1991 Urga Nikita Mikhalkov  Soviet Union
1992 The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si) Zhang Yimou  China
1993 Short Cuts (tie)
Three Colours: Blue (Trois couleurs: Bleu) (tie)
Robert Altman
Krzysztof Kieślowski
 United States
 France/ Poland
1994 Vive L'Amour (Ai qing wan sui) (tie)
Before the Rain (tie)
Tsai Ming-liang
Milčo Mančevski
 Republic of Macedonia
1995 Cyclo (Xich lo) Anh Hung Tran  France
1996 Michael Collins Neil Jordan  Ireland
1997 Fireworks (Hana-bi) Takeshi Kitano  Japan
1998 The Way We Laughed (Così ridevano) Gianni Amelio  Italy
1999 Not One Less (Yi ge dou bu neng shao) Zhang Yimou  China
2000 The Circle (Dayereh) Jafar Panahi  Iran
2001 Monsoon Wedding Mira Nair  India/ United States/ Italy/ France/ Germany
2002 The Magdalene Sisters Peter Mullan  Ireland
2003 The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) Andrey Zvyagintsev  Russia
2004 Vera Drake Mike Leigh  United Kingdom
2005 Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee  United States
2006 Still Life (Sanxia haoren) Jia Zhangke  China
2007 Lust, Caution (Se, jie) Ang Lee  United States/ China/ Taiwan
2008 The Wrestler Darren Aronofsky  United States
2009 Lebanon Samuel Maoz  Israel

Golden Lion – Honorary Award

Year Winner(s)
1970 Orson Welles
1971 Ingmar Bergman, Marcel Carné, Charles Aznavour and John Ford
1972 Charles Chaplin, Anatoly Golovnya and Billy Wilder
1982 Alessandro Blasetti, Luis Buñuel, Frank Capra, George Cukor,
Jean-Luc Godard, Sergei Yutkevich, Alexander Kluge, Akira Kurosawa,
Michael Powell, Satyajit Ray, King Vidor and Cesare Zavattini
1983 Michelangelo Antonioni
1985 Manoel de Oliveira, John Huston and Federico Fellini
1986 Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani
1987 Luigi Comencini and Joseph L. Mankiewicz
1988 Joris Ivens
1989 Robert Bresson
1990 Marcello Mastroianni and Miklos Jancso
1991 Mario Monicelli and Gian Maria Volonté
1992 Jeanne Moreau, Francis Ford Coppola and Paolo Villaggio
1993 Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro, Roman Polanski and Claudia Cardinale
1994 Al Pacino, Suso Cecchi d'Amico and Ken Loach
1995 Woody Allen, Monica Vitti, Martin Scorsese, Alberto Sordi,
Ennio Morricone, Giuseppe de Santis, Goffredo Lombardo and Alain Resnais
1996 Robert Altman, Vittorio Gassman, Dustin Hoffman and Michèle Morgan
1997 Gerard Depardieu, Stanley Kubrick and Alida Valli
1998 Warren Beatty, Sophia Loren and Andrzej Wajda
1999 Jerry Lewis
2000 Clint Eastwood and Éric Rohmer
2002 Dino Risi
2003 Dino De Laurentiis and Omar Sharif
2004 Stanley Donen and Manoel de Oliveira
2005 Hayao Miyazaki and Stefania Sandrelli
2006 David Lynch
2007 Tim Burton
2008 Ermanno Olmi
2009 John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich

See also


  1. ^ "Biennale Cinema History of the Venice Film Festival: The Forties and Fifties". La Biennale di Venezia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  2. ^ "Biennale Cinema History of the Venice Film Festival: The Sixties and Seventies". La Biennale di Venezia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  3. ^ Due to a tie between Harp of Burma by Kon Ichikawa and Calle Mayor by Juan Antonio Bardem. See Roos, Fred. "Venice Film Festival, 1956" in The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television, Vol. 11, No. 3. (Spring, 1957), p. 249.

External links



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