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The Golden Lion (Italian: Leone d'Oro) is the highest prize given to a film at the 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.

Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro)
Golden Lion size.jpg
Location Venice
Country Italy
Presented by Venice Film Festival
First awarded 1949

The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of Saint Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Republic of Venice).[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 VeniceEdit

Golden LionEdit

14 French films have been awarded the Golden Lion, more than that of any other nation. However, there is considerable geographical diversity in the winners. Five American filmmakers have won the Golden Lion, with awards for John Cassavetes and Robert Altman (both times the awards were shared with other winners who tied), as well as Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain was the first winning US film not to tie), Darren Aronofsky and Sofia Coppola.

Although prior to 1980, only 3 of 21 winners were of non-European origins, since the 1980s, the Golden Lion has been presented to a number of Asian filmmakers, particularly in comparison to the Cannes Film Festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, which has only been awarded to five Asian filmmakers since 1980. The Golden Lion, by contrast, has been awarded to ten Asians during the same time period, with two of these filmmakers winning it twice. Ang Lee won the Golden Lion twice within three years during the 2000s, once for an American film and once for a Chinese-language film. Zhang Yimou has also won twice. Other Asians to win the Golden Lion since 1980 include Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, Trần Anh Hùng, Takeshi Kitano, Kim Ki-duk, Jafar Panahi, Mira Nair, and Lav Diaz. Russian filmmakers have also won the Golden Lion several times, including since the end of the USSR.

Still, to date 33 of the 54 winners were European men (including Soviet/Russian winners). Since 1949 only four women have ever won the Golden Lion for directing: Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, German Margarethe von Trotta and Belgium's Agnès Varda. In comparison to the other major Western European festivals, the Berlinale's Golden Bear has also been awarded to four women. In the history of Cannes, only one woman filmmaker has been awarded the Palme d'Or.


Year English title Original Title Director Country
1949 Manon Henri-Georges Clouzot *  France


Year English title Original Title Director Country
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 (tie)
The Great War (tie)
Il generale della Rovere

La grande guerra

Roberto Rossellini
Mario Monicelli


Year English title Original Title Director Country
1960 The Crossing of the Rhine Le passage du Rhin André Cayatte   France
1961 Last Year in Marienbad L'année dernière à Marienbad Alain Resnais   France
1962 Family Diary (tie)
Ivan's Childhood (tie)
Cronaca familiare

Ivanovo detstvo

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 / *  Algeria
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


Year English title Original Title Director Country
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 A Year of the Quiet Sun Rok spokojnego słońca 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


Year English title Original Title Director Country
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 (tie)

Trois couleurs: Bleu

Robert Altman
Krzysztof Kieślowski
  United States
  France /   Poland
1994 Vive L'Amour (tie)
Before the Rain (tie)
Ai qing wan sui
Пред дождот
Tsai Ming-liang
Milčo Mančevski
*  Republic of Macedonia
1995 Cyclo Xich lo Anh Hung Tran   France / *  Vietnam
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


Year English title Original Title Director Country
2000 The Circle Dayereh Jafar Panahi *  Iran
2001 Monsoon Wedding Mira Nair   United States /   India
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


Year English title Original Title Director Country
2010 Somewhere Sofia Coppola   United States
2011 Faust Alexander Sokurov   Russia
2012 Pietà 피에타 Kim Ki-duk *  South Korea
2013 Sacro GRA Gianfranco Rosi   Italy
2014 A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron Roy Andersson *  Sweden
2015 From Afar Desde allá Lorenzo Vigas *  Venezuela
2016 The Woman Who Left Lav Diaz *  Philippines
2017 The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro *  Mexico

*denotes first win

Golden Lion Honorary AwardEdit

Year Winner(s)
1969 Luis Buñuel[4]
1970 Orson Welles
1971 Ingmar Bergman, Marcel Carné, and John Ford
1972 Charlie Chaplin, Anatoli 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 Miklós Jancsó
1991 Mario Monicelli and Gian Maria Volontè
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 Gérard Depardieu, Stanley Kubrick, and Alida Valli
1998 Warren Beatty, Sophia Loren, and Andrzej Wajda
1999 Jerry Lewis
2000 Clint Eastwood
2001 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 and Bernardo Bertolucci (for the last 75 years of the history of cinema)
2008 Ermanno Olmi
2009 John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich
2010 John Woo
2011 Marco Bellocchio
2012 Francesco Rosi
2013 William Friedkin
2014 Thelma Schoonmaker and Frederick Wiseman
2015 Bertrand Tavernier
2016 Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jerzy Skolimowski
2017 Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

Multiple winnersEdit

See alsoEdit


  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.
  4. ^ "The awards of the Venice Film Festival". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 2017-01-01. 

External linksEdit