Film Critics Pick the Best Movies of the Decade

  • Publish Date: January 3, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 19 user comments

There will be lists

ImageBloody good

Now that the decade is officially over -- give or take a year -- we are declaring an end to our Best of the Decade coverage with a quick look at the films selected by critics as representing the best of the past ten years.

While the critics' selections were understandably all over the map (after all, they had literally thousands of titles to choose from), a handful of films appeared with some frequency on these lists. Paul Thomas Anderson's period drama There Will Be Blood topped our chart by appearing on 46% of the critic lists we tallied. Only three other films appeared on more than a quarter of the lists: the Michel Gondry-Charlie Kaufman collaboration Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, David Lynch's cryptic and surreal Mulholland Drive, and the Coen Brothers' dark thriller No Country For Old Men.

Below, we list the movies that appeared most frequently on the critics' decade-end lists. Our summary list is not weighted or scored in any way; films are simply ranked by the frequency with which they appear in critic Best of the Decade lists, in any position on those lists. (The number of times they appear in the #1 position is indicated as a convenience.) A full list of publications used -- with links to many of the individual lists -- appears beneath the table. You may notice that we have expanded our usual group of publications slightly to include additional sources.

Movies with Most Mentions in Critic Best of the Decade Lists (2000-09)
  Movie Year # 1's Top Ten Lists Metascore
1 There Will Be Blood 2007 5 17 92
2 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 3 11 89
2 Mulholland Drive 2001 4 11 81
4 No Country For Old Men 2007 0 10 91
5 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King * 2003 2 9 94
5 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers * 2002 2 9 88
7 Spirited Away 2002 0 8 94
8 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 2008 0 7 97
8 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring * 2001 2 7 92
8 The Dark Knight 2008 1 7 82
11 Amélie 2001 0 6 69
11 Children of Men 2006 0 6 84
11 Memento 2001 0 6 80
11 Pan's Labyrinth 2006 1 6 98
11 United 93 2006 0 6 90
11 WALL-E 2008 1 6 94
17 Almost Famous 2000 0 5 90
17 Brokeback Mountain 2005 0 5 87
17 Far From Heaven 2002 1 5 84
17 Lost in Translation 2003 0 5 89
17 Sideways 2004 0 5 94
17 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 2007 1 5 92
17 The Lives of Others 2006 0 5 89
17 The New World 2005 0 5 69
17 Yi Yi (A One and a Two) 2000 0 5 92
26 25th Hour 2002 0 4 67
26 Cache (Hidden) 2005 1 4 83
26 In the Mood for Love 2001 1 4 85
26 Ratatouille 2007 0 4 96
26 The Departed 2006 0 4 86
26 The Hurt Locker 2009 0 4 94
26 The Incredibles 2004 0 4 90
26 Y Tu Mamá También 2002 0 4 88
26 Zodiac 2007 0 4 78
Other films receiving at least one #1 ranking:
  A.I. Artificial Intelligence 2001 1 3 65
  The Royal Tenenbaums 2001 1 3 75
  City of God 2003 1 2 79
  Kings and Queen 2005 1 2 84
  The Pianist 2002 1 2 85
  You Can Count on Me 2000 1 2 85
  Finding Nemo 2003 1 1 89
  Synecdoche, New York 2008 1 1 67

* Votes for the "Lord of the Rings Trilogy" were tallied as individual votes for each of the three films.

The 37 individual Best of the Decade lists used to compile the above data were from (with their #1 picks indicated):

What are your favorites?

What are your picks for the best or worst movies of the past ten years? Let us know in the comments section below, or join the discussion in our forums.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (19)

  • Troels S  

    I agree to some extent. I think Spirited Away, Memento and Dark Knight should've been ranked higher and LotR, Amélie and Mulholland drive (although incredible) much lower.
    What's up with A.I. getting a no. 1? That's just silly.

  • will  

    . Children of Men
    2. There Will Be Blood
    3. The Departed
    4. Inglourious Basterds 5. The Triplets of Belleville
    6. Kill Bill 1
    7. Pan's Labyrinth
    8. Howl's Moving Castle
    9. The Pianist 10. District 9
    11. Step Brothers

  • Ian  

    I'm glad Eternal Sunshine is right up there, it's one of my favourite films, but other Pixar films (Up, Monsters Inc.) deserve to be higher than The Incredibles, which is kind of overrated. Zodiac and the Departed deserve to be higher, and so does Pan's Labyrinth, it was at least better than The Dark Knight.

  • Dan  

    The best of the decade in my opinion:
    Amores perros, city of God, mulhollanddrive, memento, traffic, almost famous, lotr

  • irin  

    I totally agree that LOTR, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and The Dark Knight are the best movies of the decade!

    I'm SO happy that City of God is on the list. FINALLY someone knows that the movie exists, but Let The Right One (2008, Swedish original version) In is not there! It's the best vampire movie of its genre, and it's just too beautiful. It should be on the list despite the fact that Hollywood decides to be a **** who remakes it and now everyone likes the bloody remake and forgetsa bout the original movie coz it has subtitles and it's not in English.

    Amelie is amazing, awesome French movie!

    I don't think that Ratatouille deserves to be on the list, though. It was somewhat cliched and not as original as Wall-E and Finding Nemo.

  • Comeback Johnny  

    I thought Sideways was overrated. I preferred the Tim Burton "Batman" films over The Dark Knight, sorry. There were some foreign films I wish made it on the list: Battle Royale and Oldboy.

  • Alex  

    Eternal sunshine didn't really hold up to repeat viewing I found. Awesome first time, so-so second

  • Neil  

    1. City of God
    2. Dead man's shoes
    3. District 9
    4. No country for old men
    5. Oldboy (Korean movie)
    6. There will be blood
    7. Downfall (German movie)
    8.The Departed
    9. Memento
    10. The Road/Saw/Faranhiet 9/11

    Movies I hated?

    Star Wars Episode II Attack of the clones. Worst film EVER.
    The curious case of Benjamin Button (the lead character was DULL)
    Lord of the Rings movies (sorry, just don't get what all the fuss is about)
    23

  • massey  

    the list is incomplete without the bourne supremacy and the bourne ultimatum, the prestige, x-men, star wars anyway, taste is not universal

  • Jason  

    "The New World", if anything, is underrated. Keep trying though.

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