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)

  • Jonathan  

    That's a great top five, but there's a lot of crap on there that has somehow replaced much more deserving films.

    the hurt locker, the departed, the new world, the dark knight, walle, AI,

    All vastly overrated or otherwise 'crap' films. The Hurt Locker and the Dark Knight especially.

    The list was also missing a lot of deserving films:

    The Queen, Atonement, Letters from Iwo Jima, Gladiator, Crouching Tiger Hidden dragon, Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto, Internal Affairs, The Aviator, Munich, Little Miss Sunshine etc....

  • oriane  

    59 movies WOW didn't know i watched that much movies

  • oriane  

    and 28 weeks later

  • oriane  

    i forgot ice age 1 2 and 3

  • oriane  

    im a little kid so bear with me.the films i love are

    homeward bound
    oliver and the company
    finding nemo
    spirit stallion of the cimarron
    SAW 12345and 6 (even though its a horror i still watch it)
    shrek 12 and 3
    racing strips
    the hole series of Dogs go to heaven
    the hole series of Jurassic park
    ghost ship
    the hole series of resident evil
    Mr.bean on holiday
    meet the fokers
    13 ghosts
    scary movie (lol its funny man)
    Friday the 13th
    the silence of the lambs
    jeepers creepers
    shining (heres johnny!)
    paranormal activate free willy
    freddy kruger
    monsters vs aliens (both the kiddy one and the kinda scary one well i find it scary!) Michael Meyers
    deep blue sea
    the sixth sense
    one missed call
    zombie land
    wizard of oz
    men in black
    the pink panther
    the dark knight
    aceventura when nature calls
    aceventura pet detective
    dawn of the dead sheaun of the dead
    the exorcist
    the hills have eyes
    the hitcher
    night of the living dead
    the orphan
    the poltergeist
    the born identity
    the ring 1 and 2(scary one)
    hole series of the grudge

  • gioval marreus  

    OK, I believe in you again, Metacritic, this is more true than 'The Best (and Worst) Movies of the Decade'... You scared me

  • JT  

    I pretty much like all these movies (except "No Country For Old Men" which I consider to be the Coen brothers worst film and probably my least favourite film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar). I'm glad to see "Mulholland Drive" on the list even though I thought Lynch's "Inland Empire" was the best movie of the decade. I'm also happy to see "Almost Famous", "There Will Be Blood" & "Zodiac" on the list. They all deserve to be there.

  • J Thibeau  

    'There Will Be Blood', without a doubt. PT Anderson minus Adam Sandler = sure thing, but when you add Daniel Day Lewis in one of the finest performance of all time, of ALL time.... Truly great movies linger with you long after the credits stop rolling, and 'Blood' is still haunting and unforgettable.

  • Marc Doyle  

    It's great to see that There Will Be Blood has been spotlighted here. It's just an incredible film, with a score that just heightens the tension from the first frames. (Rally a crime that it wasn't eligible for the Oscar). On the other hand, I thought Eternal Sunshine was (and is) grossly overrated. Perhaps I just didn't get it!

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