The 25 Best Films Of The 21st Century

The 25 Best Films Of The 21st Century

There have been a lot of great films released since the year 2000, but some of them stood above the rest and elevated the medium to a whole new level of storytelling. These are the 25 best films of the 21st century according to film critics around the globe, and where you can buy them for your collection.

BBC Culture reached out to 177 of the world’s most prominent film critics and asked them each for their top 10 picks for films released between the beginning of 2000 and the present day. When it was all said and done, BBC looked over the votes and came up with a list of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century. If you want to skip to the extra good stuff, and give yourself a quick education in great film, here are the top 25 with links to where you can buy.

25. Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)

A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife’s murderer.

Buy it on Amazon!

24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by the Cause and its charismatic leader.

Buy it on Fishpond!

23. Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)

A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.

Buy it on Amazon!

22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Buy it on Amazon!

21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Buy it from Amazon!

20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

Buy it from Amazon!

19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.

Buy it from Amazon!

18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Buy it from Amazon!

17. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Buy it from Amazon!

16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.

Buy it from Amazon!

15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania.

Buy it on Amazon!.

14. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Buy it on Amazon!.

13. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)

In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

Buy it on Amazon!.

12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Buy it on Amazon!.

11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Buy it on Amazon!

10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Buy it on Amazon!

9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Buy it on Amazon!

8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)

Each member of a middle class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives.

Buy it on Amazon!

7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents’ conflicting teachings.

Buy it on Amazon!

6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.

Buy it from Amazon!

5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.

Buy it from Amazon!

4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Buy it from Amazon!

3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Buy it from Amazon!

2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Buy it from eBay!

1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

Buy it from Amazon!


  • The year 2000 isn’t in the 21st century, so 3, 8, and 25 should’t be in that list 🙂

  • Mulholland Drive? As number ONE? From Mr “Deep and Meaningless” David Lynch?
    That’s… controversial.

    Sure, it’s not his worst film: that would be Wild At Heart [about Elvis impersonators, the Wizard of Oz, matches being lit in slow motion, and the ceiling of a dance hall]. But is a little gratuitous nudity and Naomi Watts masturbating REALLY what it takes to be number one?

    Thank goodness we’ve still got plenty of years, and upcoming movies, to knock this off it’s perch.

      • What’s to understand?

        “And then I realised it was all a dream” [a story ending unsuitable for anyone above third grade] is rounded off with a few scenes of “reality” followed by “…and reality sucked, so I killed myself”

        Maybe you can find more in the movie: there are people who find pictures of Jesus in their toast, so anything is possible.

  • This is basically a random list of good movies subjectively picked by the author.

    It would be great if there was an opinion why they made the list and a short synopsis

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