The New York Times’ Top 25 Films of the 21st Century So Far


Last week The New York Times’ two chief film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott took it upon themselves to put together a list of the best films released since the year 2000. Unlike last year’s top 100 list put together by the BBC, this is not a consensus among a whole panel of contributors but rather a consensus between the two of them (along with some help from “cinema savants on Facebook”, as they put it). As you might expect, the resulting list is a little more unique than you usually get from these kinds of things and not only does it include quite a few movies I haven’t seen, it also includes several I’ve never even heard of. So if you’re looking for recommendations, this is worth checking out even though it shuns plenty of mainstream favourites. They also have write-ups for the movies from some well-known directors (you can see another list of favourites from six other directors here). Do you agree with their picks? Check out the full list after the jump and let us know what you think.

1. There Will Be Blood (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. Spirited Away (Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)
3. Million Dollar Baby (Dir. Clint Eastwood, 2004)
4. A Touch of Sin (Dir. Jia Zhangke, 2013)
5. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Dir. Cristi Puiu, 2006)
6. Yi Yi (Dir. Edward Yang, 2000)
7. Inside Out (Dir. Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, 2015)
8. Boyhood (Dir. Richard Linklater, 2014)
9. Summer Hours (Dir. Olivier Assayas, 2009)
10. The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)
12. Timbuktu (Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako, 2015)
13. In Jackson Heights (Dir. Frederick Wiseman, 2015)
14. L’Enfant (Dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2006)
15. White Material (Dir. Claire Denis, 2010)
16. Munich (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2005)
17. Three Times (Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2006)
18. The Gleaners and I (Dir. by Agn├Ęs Varda, 2000)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. by George Miller, 2015)
20. Moonlight (Dir. Barry Jenkins, 2016)
21. Wendy and Lucy (Dir. Kelly Reichardt, 2008)
22. I’m Not There (Dir. Todd Haynes, 2007)
23. Silent Light (Dir. Carlos Reygadas, 2008)
24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Dir. Michel Gondry, 2004)
25. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Dir. Judd Apatow, 2005)

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  • Ken

    I don’t disagree with a lot of this list, but Million Dollar Baby at 3???? Good god, that shouldn’t be anywhere near a list like this.

  • Newtman98

    Surprised No Country isn’t on there. Also, I think Knocked Up is way better than The 40 Year Old Virgin. Cool to see a comedy on there though.

  • Jameson

    I’m amazed there’s no Mulholland Drive or Children of Men. I feel like those two are always in the conversation. My personal numero uno is Under The Skin.

  • Q

    Yi Yi should be #1. Why is Apatow on the list hahaha . . .

  • Colin

    This Is The End, Pineapple Express, or Superbad (or any of the Coronetto Trilogy) should have bested The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but I love that it’s there

  • Nobody

    Any list that shows some love for Yi Yi is okay with me. I’d also place it at #1.

  • Nick

    Maybe I am exposing myself by saying this (don’t watch much movies, just love the podcast), but I thought the first Lord of the Rings movie was amazing. It hit the nail on all points IMO. The sequels weren’t quite up to par. It’d definitely be on this list for me.

  • Prestyr John

    Million Dollar Baby…are you f*cking kidding me? Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok, but if anyone is unsure if this is either a fluke or a work from an accomplished director, please see Gran Torino. Definitely won’t see that one on any lists. I don’t think a director’s personal opinions (except so much as they are demonstrated on screen) or his other films should weigh in on the status of a single film, but this movie was compelling neither in genre mastery, acting (ok, Swank was dank), script, cinematography, set pieces, or imagery. It offered nothing new to the language of cinema in the 21st century; it’s not demonstrative of social and or political moments and their anxieties, nor is it an imaginative diversion. I expect a few crowd pleasers from the NYT on this list (40 Y/O Virgin, etc.) but a top three slot for this movie is, like, crazy.

  • Prestyr John

    GREAT point. Mulholland Drive got a lot of recognition last year, so maybe they’re trying to spread their accolades around a little more. Children of Men, however, I completely agree.

  • Prestyr John

    Dude, it blew my mind they put it this high. I could chalk it up to crowd pleasing if it had been 15 or higher, but a number three spot is unambiguous in it’s position according to the editors of this list.

  • Lark


    The New York Times is so completely FUCKED.