Best movie of the decade?

posted by HowardBHaas on December 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

Here’s a list that totals the other lists. What’s your favorite?

Which movie is the best of the decade? The Onion’s A.V. Club has anointed Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Time Out New York liked Spotless Mind, too, ranking it third, but gave its No. 1 spot to David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody didn’t put either of these movies on his heady list. He gives the brass ring to Jean-Luc Godard’s Eloge de l'amour (In Praise of Love). Long live the Nouvelle Vague!

So the question remains: Which movie is the best of the decade? Is there any consensus among the accumulating lists? To find out, we collected all of the rankings we could find and synthesized the results using a simple scoring system: Movies got 50 points for being the No. 1 pick on a list, 49 points for a No. 2 nod, and so on, down to one point for a No. 50 slot. (Brody, who only chose 26 movies, still received 50 points for his top pick.)

Comments (26)

markp on December 30, 2009 at 10:27 am

Well, for me personally, 2 that were on the list, “United 93” because it happened not far from some family of ours, and “Finding Nemo.” One that was not on the list, but I found to be very good was “Cars.”

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

I’d also vote for “Mulholland Drive”.

e1337n00b on December 30, 2009 at 11:42 am

I happen to think Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Dark Knight are the best of this decade.

HowardBHaas on December 30, 2009 at 11:56 am

A movies that is missing from the list is perhaps my favorite: “Ray”
For “trilogy” I’d vote for “Bourne"
My favorite animated is "The Incredibles”
My favorite foreign language movie would be “The Lives of Others”

efriedmann on December 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm

My choice for the single best movie of the past decade is, without question, SIDEWAYS.

…and in case you’re interested…

1960s – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
1950s – BEN-HUR

McGinty on December 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Taste is purely subjective, of course, but some of the selections on this list were downright ridiculous. I don’t consider The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Kill Bill & Eternal Sunshine to be among the best films of the decade, sorry.

For me, The Pianist is hands-down the masterpiece of the decade.
Happy-Go-Lucky, United 93, The Queen, The Departed, Doubt, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Milk, & The Counterfeiters are some of my honorable mentions.
Man on Wire, The Kid Stays in the Picture & Los Angeles Plays Itself were great documentaries.

moviebuff82 on December 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I think The Dark Knight is the best film of the decade based on a property. Best original film? Avatar.

chitchatjf on December 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm

My top 20 films of the decade:
1 Star Wars Episode 3
2 Star Trek (2009)
3 Across the Universe
4 Untitled (Almost Famous)
5 Spiderman 3
6 Adventureland
7 Spiderman 2
8 Star Wars Episode 2
9 The Dark Knight
10 Spiderman
11 Bend it like Beckham
12 The Boat that Rocked! (Pirate Radio)
13 Thirteen
14 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
15 Juno
16 Saved
17 Sex and the City the movie
18 Crazy/beautiful
19 Fanboys
20 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

HM Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
HM Clerks 2
HM Levity
HM Mamma Mia
HM Polar Express
HM School of Rock

John Fink
John Fink on December 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I have a list of 50 on my blog at But here’s my top 10:

1.-Syndromes and a Century (2006)
2.-The Piano Teacher (2001)
3.-Wendy & Lucy (2008)
4.-Touch The Sound (2004)
5.-Vera Drake (2004)
6.-Talk to Her (2002)
7.-Three Times (2005)
8.-Sommers Town (2009)
9.-Untitled/Almost Famous (2000)
10.-Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003)

As for the decade – I saw an average of 4.6 movies a week, 2428 movies in total, in theaters from Jan 1, 2000 to tomorrow night when I plan to see yet another movie named Nine.

Dublinboyo on December 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

John J. Impressive stats. Cheers. Well done. Always dreamed of doing that. Respect and agree with your top 10 of the decade as well.

Mark_L on December 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Best film of decade was Pan’s Labyrinth.

McGinty on December 30, 2009 at 6:00 pm

John J, your blog is insightful, well-informed, and an interesting read.
You also reminded me of some very good movies I had already forgotten about, like Vera Drake, Wendy & Lucy, Chop Shop & Ghost World.
Great work!

raysson on December 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Best movie of the decade? THE DARK KNIGHT

Others mention:
“Superman Lives"
"Star Wars-Episode III:Revenge of the Sith"
"Star Trek” (2009)
“The Departed"
"Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull"
"The entire Spider-Man trilogy"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Dreamgirls”-Beyonce made have been the star,but it was Jennifer Hudson that stole the show and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

“The Last King of Scotland"
"There Will Be Blood"
"No Country For Old Men"
"Pan’s Labyrinth"
"Gone Baby Gone"
"United 93"
"The Queen"
"Mulholland Drive"
"The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
“King Kong” (2005)
“Munich” (Steven Spielburg)
“Letter from my Fathers” (Clint Eastwood)
“The Hurt Locker"
"The Polar Express"
"Disney’s A Christmas Carol"
"The Incredibles"
"Finding Nemo”
"The Princess and the Frog"
"Chicago”-the musical

raysson on December 30, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot “Monster’s Ball” that came out in 2002. The movie to gave Halle Berry the Oscar that year for Best Actress. Halle Berry made history that year becoming the first African-American female to win the Oscar for Best Actress.

“Training Day”, “The Hurricane”-Denzel Washington

“The Pursuit of Happiness”-Will Smith

“Kill Bill:Chapters I and II” from Quentin Tarantino
“Inglorious Basterds"
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith”

shoeshoe14 on December 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm

why do we need to create a best of anything. sure there’s a list, i have mine, but there’s not one single movie that is THE ONE. different technologies evolve over time so why keep quantifying for the sake of quantifying.

JSA on December 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm

We have one more year left in the decade.

My favorite films, so far:

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Hero (2002)
Minority Report (2002)
Master & Commander (2002)
Good Night & Good Luck (2005)
Thank You for Smoking (2006)
Diving Bell & the Butterfly (2007)
Dark Knight (2008)
Up (2009)

Others may come to mind later…


KingBiscuits on December 30, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Wall-E was my favorite of the decade.

vclamp on December 31, 2009 at 12:19 am

Requiem For A Dream
Banchick Wang (The Foul King 2000 Korea)
Yi Yi (A One and a Two 2000 Taiwan)
We Were Soldiers (2002)
Russian Ark (Russkiy Kovcheg) (2002)
Nine Queens (Nueve reinas) (2000)
Donnie Darko (2001)
American Chai

MPol on January 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm

None of these are my favorite films by a long shot, but the ones that came out this past decade that I considered worth seeing are as follows, in no particular order:

Shrek III

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill



Dark Knight


Mystic River

Gone, Baby Gone

The Departed

Million-Dollar Baby

Gran Torino

There Will Be Blood

No Country for Old Men

Pan’s Labyrinth

MPol on January 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

Oh, and I also might add the following:

The Bader-Meinholf Complex

One Day in September.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

March of the Penguins

The Greening of Southie

The Good Shephard

Monument Avenue


Fantasia 2000 (not quite as good as the original “Fantasia”, but it was OK)


McGinty on January 4, 2010 at 11:42 am

Nice work naming The Good Shepherd, One Day in September and Monument Ave. I thought those were 3 excellent underrated films.

some more gems of the 2000s I thought deserved mentioning…

In the Loop
Steve Buscemi’s Interview
Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Whale Rider
About Schmidt
The Royal Tenenbaums
George Washington
In the Bedroom
Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
Hot Fuzz
Shaun of the Dead
Monsoon Wedding

Best Male Performances of the 2000s – –

Adrien Brody, The Pianist
Daniel Day-Lewis, There May Be Blood
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Bruno Ganz, Downfall
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Best Female Performances of the 2000s – –

Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Charlize Theron, Monster
Catherine O'Hara, For Your Consideration

MPol on January 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Kudos to you for naming “The Pianist” and “There Will Be Blood”, McGinty.

I will also add “The Pianist”, “Defiance”, and “The Counterfeiters” to my list.

JohnnyCool on January 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

Boy oh boy these lists certainly are subjective, aren’t they? No offense to anyone, but some decidedly pedestrian films made some people’s lists…and once again we see how films elicit different responses.
It’s interesting that so many print reviewers seem to have forgotten about the Lord of the Rings trilogy; I could never get through Tolkien’s books but the films taken as a whole are a spellbinding epic, the defining one of the decade, that demands to be seen in a cinema.
It was a very good decade for both mainstream and independent film.

JohnnyCool on January 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

And interesting how many people rate The Departed so highly, which just seemed overwrought and sloppy to me. Check out the HK film it was adapted from, Infernal Affairs, for some sequences of true brilliance that were not translated in anywhere near as rivetting a fashion.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm

1960 “2001” hands down.
1970 “NETWORK” and “ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN” a very close second.
1980 “THE VERDICT” nothing can touch Newman in this effort.
1990 and beyond movies basically stink with remakes and Great actors,Gone.

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