Top 100 movies of the past decade (2000-2009)

These are my favorite films of the past decade (2000-2009). I love all of these movies. It’s hard to rank films sometimes. Take my number 42 Far From Heaven for example. Scenes from that film come to my mind often. It’s stuck with me and could have been as high as my top 10. Each one of these movies are worth a watch. Let me know what you think I’ve missed and what you like!

100. Big Fish (dir. Tim Burton 2003) – A glorious told tall tale. A love story told in the way the father felt about it. This is also a great story of father-son reconciliation and understanding.

99. Shaun of the Dead (dir. Edgar Wright 2004) – This is what a zombie movie should be: a hilarious fun ride.

98. Hot Fuzz (dir. Edgar Wright 2007) – The second movie in a row from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. A hilarious send up of the cop genre.

97. Borat (dir. Larry Charles 2006) – It plays on the prejudices of Americans and the fear they have of different. The sequences are incredibly funny.

96. Catch Me if You Can (dir. Steven Spielberg 2002) – A great con movie. Spielberg makes this a fun one. Excellent turns by DiCaprio and Hanks.

95. Rachel Getting Married (dir. Jonathan Demme 2008) – The performances really shine in this tale of an addict coming home for her sister’s wedding. The music is phenomenal.

94. Bend it Like Beckham (dir. Gurinder Chadha 2003) – Excellent story of an Indian family in Britain. Young Jess is trying to find herself while dealing with her arranged marriage and strict household.

93. Capote (dir. Bennett Miller 2005) – Philip Seymour Hoffman gives the best performance in his stellar career in this biopic of Truman Capote.

92. American Psycho (dir. Mary Harron 2000) – Are these violent acts all a dream or does Christian Bale commit all this brutality? A great satire of 80’s greed.

91. Elizabethtown (dir. Cameron Crowe 2005) – Critics tore this film apart after it premiered in Toronto. After a second viewing a few months ago, I’m disappointed more people didn’t give this a shot. Great dialogue as always and Crowe’s use of music is fantastic.

90. Monsoon Wedding (dir. Mira Nair 2002) – Set in India, this is a jubilant ride through arranged marriage.

89. Ghost World (dir. Terry Zwigoff 2001) – A couple of social outsiders are trying to figure out life after high school. Thora Birch and Scarlett Johannson both do great jobs.

88. Half Nelson (dir. Ryan Fleck 2006) – Ryan Gosling gives a great performance as a middle school teacher in crises.

87. The Good Shepherd (dir. Robert DeNiro 2006) – What an incredibly complex and layered movie this is. Great direction, acting and script.

86. The Last King of Scotland (dir. Kevin MacDonald 2006) – Forest Whitaker shines in his portrayal of Idi Amin.

85. Ocean’s Eleven (dir. Steven Soderbergh 2001) – The best of the Ocean’s series. It’s old school movie star caper fun.

84. Milk (dir. Gus Van Sant 2008) – Brilliant direction and script. Fantastic performance by Sean Penn as Harvey Milk.

83. Syriana (dir. Stephen Gaghan 2005) – A big interwoven story about oil and the middle east, but it’s so much more than that.

82. Thank You for Smoking (dir. Jason Reitman 2006) – A great satire of big tobacco.

81. Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro 2003) – The Maori tribe off the coast of New Zealand is seeking a new leader. Eleven year old Keisha Castle-Hughes gives an incredible performance.

80. Little Miss Sunshine (dir. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris 2006) – The story of a dysfunctional family trying to make their way to a children’s beauty pageant.

79. Star Trek (dir. JJ Abrams 2009) – Fantastic reboot of a stale franchise.

78. Garden State (dir. Zach Braff 2004) – The story about trying to feel once again.

77. Up (dir. Pete Doctor 2009) – The ultimate adventure story and love story.

76. Minority Report (dir. Steven Spielberg 2002) – Sci-fi action that deals with our reliance and fears of technology.

75. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (dir. Woody Allen 2008) – Relationships get messy in this drama set in Spain.

74. Australia (dir. Baz Luhrmann 2008) – One of the few epics of the decade. It’s much better than critics gave it credit for.

73. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (dir. Alfonso Cauron 2004) – The best movie of the franchise.

72. 28 Days Later (dir. Danny Boyle 2003) – A frenzied zombie pic.

71. The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan 2008) – The movie felt a bit disjointed toward the end, but the psychological haunting of the Joker propels this to one of the best comic book movies ever made.

70. Punch-Drunk Love (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson 2002) – A man down on his luck embarks on a mysterious journey of love and awakening.

69. The Others (dir. Alejandro Amenebar 2001) – The best haunted house film you’ll see.

68. Burn After Reading (dir. Joel and Ethan Cohen 2008) – An intelligent and quirky comedy.

67. Munich (dir. Steven Spielberg 2005) – The story of what happened after the ’72 Munich Olympics massacre. The consequences of revenge are explored in depth. A deep and moving picture.

66. 25th Hour (dir. Spike Lee 2002) – Edward Norton says goodbye to friends and family the day before he is to serve a 7 year jail sentence.

65. The Brothers Bloom (dir. Rian Johnson 2009) – A fun con movie that is filled with joy.

64. Ratatouille (dir. Brad Bird 2007) – The best Pixar movie tells the story of one rat that follows his dreams no matter what.

63. Casino Royale (dir. Martin Campbell 2006) – A dark gritty reboot of the Bond franchise. This is what James Bond should have been like from the beginning.

62. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy (dir. Adam McKay 2004) – Will Ferrell’s funniest movie. Quotable from start to finish.

61. The Constant Gardener (dir. Fernando Meirelles 2005) – corporate corruption, big business, murder, mystery, love all rolled into one.

60. Match Point (dir. Woody Allen 2005) – A movie about passion and temptation and the consequences of it all.

59. Adaptation (dir. Spike Jonze 2002) – One of the most unique scripts of the decade.

58. Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir. Wes Anderson 2009) – Simply fantastic.

57. About Schmidt (dir. Alexander Payne 2002) – Jack Nicholson is learning to live.

56. Sideways (dir. Alexander Payne 2004) – a Bachelor party trip to wine country reveals all.

55. The Man Who Wasn’t There (dir. Joel Cohen 2001) – This is a great noir film.

54. Billy Elliot (dir. Stephen Daldry 2000) – Can Billy dance his way out of his squalor life?

53. The 40 Year Old Virgin (dir. Judd Apatow 2005) – Apatow proved that a raunchy comedy for men can have a heart too.

52. Zodiac (dir. David Fincher 2007) – A great mystery that unfolds at a perfect pace.

51. Cinderella Man (dir. Ron Howard 2005) – Depression era boxing movie that’s not depressing.

50. Avatar (dir. James Cameron 2009) – The most impressive movie of the decade technologically.

49. In Bruges (dir. Martin McDonagh 2008) – A brilliant fun script makes this a joyful ride.

48. Good Night, and Good Luck (dir. George Clooney 2005) – Edward R. Murrow/Joseph McCarthy drama in black and white. Fantastically realized.

47. Y Tu Mama Tambien (dir. Alfonso Cauron 2001) – A relationship between two best friends gets put to the test on this road trip movie when a woman comes between them.

46. Slumdog Millionaire (dir. Danny Boyle 2008) – My favorite film of 2008. A brilliantly told story about two brothers from the slums of Mumbai.

45. X2: X Men United (dir. Bryan Singer 2003) – The best comic book movie ever made.

44. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (dir. Joel Cohen 2000) – The Odyssey set in the south in the 30s. This is a madcap romp. The soundtrack is fantastic.

43. Finding Neverland (dir. Marc Forster 2004) – The story of J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, and the people who helped inspire it.

42. Far From Heaven (dir. Todd Haynes 2002) – This movie has stuck with me almost more than any other movie this past decade. Brilliant drama about a housewife, her closeted husband and her African American male friend set in the 1950s.

41. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee 2000) – More impressive for its story than its high wire acts – which are impressive indeed.

40. Once (dir. John Carney 2007) – Is there a movie with better music this decade? Probably not.

39. V for Vendetta (dir. James McTeigue 2006) – A fully realized terrorist drama.

38. In America (dir. Jim Sheridan 2003) – A heartwrenching immigrant story set in New York.

37. (500) Days of Summer (dir. Marc Webb 2009) – The best romantic comedy ever told about a break up.

36. Brick (dir. Rian Johnson 2006) – A noirish high school drama that has a brilliant script.

35. Love Actually (dir. Richard Curtis 2003) – I am a sucker for this flick about love. Love actually is all around.

34. Gosford Park (dir. Robert Altman 2001) – Upstairs and Downstairs has never been so intriguing.

33. Wonder Boys (dir. Curtis Hanson 2000) – An English professor’s life all comes to a head.

32. Juno (dir. Jason Reitman 2007) – The great script could have been just that, but Reitman’s solid direction and Ellen Page’s humanity give this snarky drama incredible heart.

31. Into the Wild (dir. Sean Penn 2007) – Truth in film. Connections. Life needs to have connections.

30. Best in Show (dir. Christopher Guest 2000) – This mostly improvised comedy has some of the funniest scenes in a movie this decade.

29. The Squid and the Whale (dir. Noah Bambauch 2005) – This autobiographical film is brilliantly written.

28. Inglorious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino 2009) – A re-imagining of WW2

27. Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2001) – Backwards or forwards, a brilliant mystery.

26. In the Bedroom (dir. Todd Field 2001) – Incredibly acted, heartbreaking drama.

25. Spirited Away (dir. Hayao Miyazaki 2002) – The best animated movie of the decade.

24. Gladiator (dir. Ridley Scott 2000) – An incredible story of revenge.

23. Gangs of New York (dir. Martin Scorsese 2002) – Epic story set in 1863 New York.

22. Up in the Air (dir. Jason Reitman 2009) – The story of one man trying to connect.

21. The Departed (dir. Martin Scorsese 2006) – The best cop drama of the decade.

20. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (dir. Peter Jackson 2001, 2002, 2003) – Incredibly and beautifully shot. This is one epic story.

19. The Bourne Trilogy (dir. Doug Liman, Paul Greengrass 2002, 2004, 2007) – The last two films directed by Greengrass are the best. These are populist spy movies done incredibly well.

18. Atonement (dir. Joe Wright  2007) – The first act of this drama unfolds perfectly realized in the deft hand of director Joe Wright. Beautiful love story.

17. Stranger Than Fiction (dir. Marc Forster 2006) – Brilliant script about connection and living your life to the fullest.

16. Traffic (dir. Steven Soderbergh 2000) – The business of drugs is never more fascinating than this.

15. High Fidelity (dir. Stephen Frears 2000) – John Cusack shines in the story of an obsessive list maker and his inability to commit.

14. Lost in Translation (dir. Sophia Coppola 2003) – Two people feeling lost find each other.

13. The Royal Tenenbaums (dir. Wes Anderson 2001) – A dysfunctional family comedy.

12. Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cauron 2006) – An incredibly directed dystopian film.

11. A History of Violence (dir. David Cronenberg 2005) – One decision will tear a family apart.

10. No Country for Old Men (dir. Joel and Ethan Cohen 2007) – The most chilling villain this decade.

9. Amelie (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet 2001) – A brilliant story of innocence and love.

8. Moulin Rouge! (dir. Baz Luhrmann 2001) – The first 45 minutes can be a bit jarring, but get through that and you are in for an incredible treat.

7. Pride & Prejudice (dir. Joe Wright 2005) – The 1995 miniseries is one of my top 5 of all time, but this adaptation is beautifully realized and isn’t afraid to get muddy. The greatest love story ever? Maybe.

6. Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro 2006) – A story about a child escaping into a fantasy world.

5. Mulholland Dr. (dir. David Lynch  2001) – I still don’t know what happens. This may be the greatest mystery ever put to screen. The movie still haunts me.

4. Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 (dir. Quentin Tarantino 2003 and 2004) – I am a bigger fan of volume 2, but this really is one long story. One of the greatest heroines put on screen. The scenes between Bill and The Bride are incredible.

3. There Will Be Blood (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson 2007) – This movie has so many levels. Every viewing will bring something new. Daniel Day-Lewis is unbelievable.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (dir. Michel Gondry 2004) – You don’t realize what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

1. Almost Famous (dir. Cameron Crowe 2000) – This autobiographical film gets better and better with each viewing. Incredible script.

The number of movies in the top 100 that came out in: (I included all the Bourne movies, the LOTR movies, and Kill Bill 1 and 2, so it adds up to more than 100)
2000 – 10
2001 – 13
2002 – 12
2003 – 10
2004 – 8
2005 – 12
2006 – 13
2007 – 10
2008 – 8
2009 – 8


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6 Responses to Top 100 movies of the past decade (2000-2009)

  1. Angela R. says:

    WOW Josh…this is amazing. I see I have a few to catch up on. Thanks for providing a great list when I’m wondering what to watch. You obviously put a lot of time and work into developing this.

  2. Pingback: Top 50 Films of the 2000s » Top10Films

  3. Pingback: The Guard | The Joshua Centre

  4. Simon Brand says:

    Pretty decent, if rather standard list. I respect that you said “My favourite films of the past decade” rather than saying they were the best; there’s far too much of that going on.

  5. vena says:

    i think lotr should be higher but thanks put LOTR over nolan’s films

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