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Best movies of the century so far: My top 10, with trailers

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What are the top films of the 21st century? We’re asking our readers for their picks - you can vote for your top five here or via the form below.

We’ll compile our readers’ votes, and reveal the ultimate list of the best movies of the century so far.

To give you some inspiration, here is my top 10.

It certainly wasn’t an easy task to select them. I couldn’t find room for many great films - No Country for Old Men, Gravity, The Dark Knight, The Bourn Ultimatum, There Will Be Blood... but in the end I whittled it down to these 10.

10. Ocean’s Eleven (2002)

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia in a Vegas heist movie? Yes, please. Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the original Rat Pack movie features a fantastic cast at the top of their game, a super-sharp script and a great soundtrack. It’s about as much fun as you can have at the movies. No wonder it’s so rewatchable.

9. The Hurt Locker (2009)

The only woman - shockingly - ever to win an Oscar for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow’s tense Iraq War thriller is based on the experiences of journalist Mark Boal and follows an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) crew. Tense, visceral and compelling, it’s a must-see.

8. Gladiator (2000)

Ridley’s Scott’s epic made a huge impact when it was released, reviving a swords and sandals tradition that had looked as dead as the Roman empire on which it was built. With vast battle scenes, married to a CGI Colosseum, it’s stirring stuff, with a brilliant Hans Zimmer score and powerhouse performance from Russell Crowe.

7. The Big Short

On the face of it, a movie on shorting the housing market and collateralised debt obligations doesn’t sound like a hoot. But in Adam McKay’s hands it becomes a brilliant, hilarious, insightful and astonishing expose of the greed that led to the 2008-9 financial crash.

6. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Quentin Tarantino can divide opinion, but there’s no doubt he’s one of the most distinctive directors of all time. Inglorious Basterds is as audacious as ever, showcasing his love of verbose dialogue and wild action in equal measure. Compelling, bold and - at its finale - shocking.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese tells the true story of Jordan Belfort - the super-rich stockbroker living a life of grotesque excess - with customary panache, helped by Leonardo DiCaprio on top form. It’s a ludicrously entertaining take on the corruption of the American dream.

4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

You could make a case for any one of the LOTR trilogy, but The Two Towers is the heart of this fantastic story, full of darkness and foreboding. It’s hard to underestimate the impact of Peter Jackson’s vision.

3. Get Out

Has there ever been a better directorial debut? Jordan Peele’s devastating social critique is increasingly unsettling as it heads towards its horrifying final act. Exploring endemic racism, it’s smart, highly inventive but also funny, and is guaranteed to stay with you.

2. Inception

A tour-de-force of film-making from arguably the century’s top director, Christopher Nolan weaves dreamscape upon dreamscape in this mind-bending thriller. With themes of grief, guilt and love, it’s an astonishing achievement that deserves multiple viewings.

1. Spotlight

An editor picking a movie set in a newsroom as top pick? Predictable, perhaps, but this Best Picture winner is both captivating and crucial as it tells the story of how a relentless long-term Boston Globe investigation exposed the horrifying global scandal of child abuse by Catholic priests, and the systemic cover-up surrouding it.

Vote for your top five

Now it’s over to you. Tell us your top five through the form below.

Need more inspiration? Scroll down for the nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars every year this century, and the top box office hits, or check out our movie critic Mark Liversidge’s top 10.

Fill out my online form.

Box office blockbusters

Here are the movies that did best each year in the box office:

  • 2000: Mission: Impossible 2
  • 2001: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • 2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • 2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • 2004: Shrek 2
  • 2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • 2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • 2007: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • 2008: The Dark Knight
  • 2009: Avatar
  • 2010: Toy Story 3
  • 2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  • 2012: Avengers Assemble
  • 2013: Frozen
  • 2014: Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • 2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • 2016: Captain America: Civil War
  • 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • 2018: Avengers: Infinity War
  • 2019: Avengers: Endgame

Nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars

Need some help remembering what came out? Here are the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars every year from 2000. The winners are the first named in each year.


  • Gladiator
  • Chocolat
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Traffic


  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Gosford Park
  • In the Bedroom
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge!


  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Pianist


  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Mystic River
  • Seabiscuit


  • Million Dollar Baby
  • The Aviator
  • Finding Neverland
  • Ray
  • Sideways


  • Crash
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Munich


  • The Departed
  • Babel
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Queen


  • No Country for Old Men
  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • There Will Be Blood


  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader


  • The Hurt Locker
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air


  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone


  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse


  • Argo
  • Amour
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty


  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street


  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash


  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room


  • Moonlight
  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea


  • The Shape of Water
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


  • Green Book
  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice


  • Parasite
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Vote for the best movies of the century so far

Best movies of the century so far: Mark Liversidge’s top 10

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