Every year the Fortune 500 rankings serve as a snapshot of the state of American business. But looking at one year's rankings doesn't capture the full picture. What we wanted to know is not just who's number one (It's Wal-Mart, again), but what route the biggest companies took to make it to the to the top 10. Which is why we've compiled a visual treatment of this year's biggest winners, complete with their decade-long revenue history.
The findings? For starters, there's not much change at the peak of the mountain: 4 of the top 5 were in last year's top 10. Below that, things get interesting: All 10 companies saw their revenue rebound in 2010 after 2009's post-crash decline, though only three -- Wal-Mart (), Fannie Mae, and Berkshire Hathaway ( ) -- reached a decade high. Ford ( ), #10 on the list, continues to slip down the rankings, but did see a slight bounce this year.
The companies' revenues are stacked in descending order of this year's rank, with #1 at the bottom. Click on each to zoom in on their decade in revenue and Fortune 500 rankings.