The 140 Essential 2000s Movies

#35

The Hurt Locker (2009)
97%

#35
Adjusted Score: 106.641%
Critics Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.
Synopsis: Based on the personal wartime experiences of journalist Mark Boal (who adapted his experiences with a bomb squad into a... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#34

Minority Report (2002)
90%

#34
Adjusted Score: 97.49%
Critics Consensus: Thought-provoking and visceral, Steven Spielberg successfully combines high concept ideas and high octane action in this fast and febrile sci-fi thriller.
Synopsis: Based on a short story by the late Philip K. Dick, this science fiction-thriller reflects the writer's familiar preoccupation with... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#33
Adjusted Score: 100.519%
Critics Consensus: Featuring gut-wrenching performances from Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu, 4 Months is a gripping portrayal of life in Communist Romania.
Synopsis: Director Cristian Mungiu's drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days unfolds in Romania in the late '80s, during the... [More]
Directed By: Cristian Mungiu

#32

The Departed (2006)
90%

#32
Adjusted Score: 100.019%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: Legendary director Martin Scorsese takes the helm for this tale of questionable loyalties and blurring identities set in the South... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#31

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
93%

#31
Adjusted Score: 101.054%
Critics Consensus: Boasting an entertaining villain and deeper emotional focus, this is a nimble sequel that improves upon the original.
Synopsis: Stan Lee's all-too-human superhero returns to the screen in this highly anticipated sequel to 2002's blockbuster hit Spider-Man. Peter Parker... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#30

Juno (2007)
94%

#30
Adjusted Score: 101.278%
Critics Consensus: One of the brightest, funniest comedies of the year, Juno's smart script and direction are matched by assured performances in a coming of age story with a 21st century twist.
Synopsis: When a teenage girl is faced with an unexpected pregnancy, she enlists the aid of her best friend in finding... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 101.309%
Critics Consensus: The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) races to solve the mystery of his past while being hunted by members of the very... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#28

Persepolis (2007)
96%

#28
Adjusted Score: 101.17%
Critics Consensus: Persepolis is an emotionally powerful, dramatically enthralling autobiographical gem, and the film's simple black-and-white images are effective and bold.
Synopsis: Marjane is precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl who was nine years old during the Islamic Revolution when the fundamentalists... [More]

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 100.603%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an impressive star turn by newcomer Tahar Rahim, A Prophet is a French gangster film filled with arresting, immediate details.
Synopsis: Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena, part Arab, part Corsican, cannot read or write. Arriving at the... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Audiard

#26

Once (2007)
97%

#26
Adjusted Score: 102.055%
Critics Consensus: A charming, captivating tale of love and music, Once sets the standard for the modern musical. And with Dublin as its backdrop, Once is fun and fresh.
Synopsis: "Once" is a modern-day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard and his Irish band The Frames,... [More]
Directed By: John Carney

#25
Adjusted Score: 102.087%
Critics Consensus: The movie that catapulted Ang Lee into the ranks of upper echelon Hollywood filmmakers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon features a deft mix of amazing martial arts battles, beautiful scenery, and tasteful drama.
Synopsis: Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee took a break from making Western period dramas to fashion this wild and woolly martial arts... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#24

Sideways (2004)
97%

#24
Adjusted Score: 103.699%
Critics Consensus: Charming, thoughtful, and often funny, Sideways is a decidedly mature road trip comedy full of excellent performances.
Synopsis: A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack's final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#23
Adjusted Score: 87.705%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: The best-selling novel by J.K. Rowling (titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in England, as was this film adaptation)... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#22

Casino Royale (2006)
94%

#22
Adjusted Score: 103.121%
Critics Consensus: Casino Royale disposes of the silliness and gadgetry that plagued recent James Bond outings, and Daniel Craig delivers what fans and critics have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of 007.
Synopsis: James Bond's first 007 mission takes him to Madagascar, where he is to spy on a terrorist Mollaka. Not everything... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 102.342%
Critics Consensus: Visually dazzling and emotionally resonant, Slumdog Millionaire is a film that's both entertaining and powerful.
Synopsis: Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#20

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#20
Adjusted Score: 103.122%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: A comedy drama set on a Yorkshire chicken farm in 1950s England, the story follows the turbulent romance between Rocky... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#19

The Incredibles (2004)
97%

#19
Adjusted Score: 104.195%
Critics Consensus: Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name.
Synopsis: Once one of the world's top masked crime fighters, Bob Parr--known to all as "Mr. Incredible"--fought evil and saved lives... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#18
Adjusted Score: 95.448%
Critics Consensus: City of God offers a shocking and disturbing -- but always compelling -- look at life in the slums of Rio de Janiero.
Synopsis: Fernando Meirelles' City of God is a sweeping tale of how crime affects the poor population of Rio de Janeiro.... [More]

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 105.157%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: A 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young girl whose appearance in town suspiciously coincides with a horrifying series of murders... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

#16

Before Sunset (2004)
94%

#16
Adjusted Score: 98.849%
Critics Consensus: Filled with engaging dialogue, Before Sunset is a witty, poignant romance, with natural chemistry between Hawke and Delpy.
Synopsis: Nine years ago, two strangers met by chance, spent a night together in Vienna, and parted before sunrise. Now, they're... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#15

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#15
Adjusted Score: 105.104%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class)... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 95.488%
Critics Consensus: A beautiful, epic Western, Brokeback Mountain's love story is imbued with heartbreaking universality thanks to moving performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Synopsis: Set against the sweeping landscapes of Wyoming and Texas, this epic love story tells of two young men -- a... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#13

Mean Girls (2004)
84%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89.279%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Synopsis: Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live wrote and appears in this comedy about the alternately funny and terrifying pecking order... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters (VIII)

#12

The Wrestler (2008)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 106.951%
Critics Consensus: Mickey Rourke gives a performance for the ages in The Wrestler, a richly affecting, heart-wrenching yet ultimately rewarding drama.
Synopsis: Back in the late '80s, Randy "The Ram" Robinson was a headlining professional wrestler. Now, 20 years later, he ekes... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#11

Up (2009)
98%

#11
Adjusted Score: 107.972%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, funny, and poignant adventure, Up offers an impeccably crafted story told with wit and arranged with depth, as well as yet another visual Pixar treat.
Synopsis: A feisty septuagenarian teams with a fearless wilderness ranger to do battle with a vicious band of beasts and villains... [More]

#10

Iron Man (2008)
94%

#10
Adjusted Score: 104.915%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: Billionaire industrialist and genius inventor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence... [More]
Directed By:

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 98.006%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: It's often said that the true character of a man is only revealed in times of dire crisis, and for... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 103.038%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by powerful lead performances from Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men finds the Coen brothers spinning cinematic gold out of Cormac McCarthy's grim, darkly funny novel.
Synopsis: When a Vietnam veteran discovers two million dollars while wandering through the aftermath of a Texas drug deal gone horribly... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#7

Children of Men (2006)
92%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100.886%
Critics Consensus: Children of Men works on every level: as a violent chase thriller, a fantastical cautionary tale, and a sophisticated human drama about societies struggling to live.
Synopsis: A futuristic society faces extinction when the human race loses the ability to reproduce. England has descended into chaos, until... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#6
Adjusted Score: 99.228%
Critics Consensus: Propelled by Charlie Kaufman's smart, imaginative script and Michel Gondry's equally daring directorial touch, Eternal Sunshine is a twisty yet heartfelt look at relationships and heartache.
Synopsis: The second feature from director Michel Gondry (Human Nature) finds the filmmaker reteaming with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman for this off-the-wall... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#5

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103.3%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the phantasmagorical cinema that defined such early fare as Cronos and The Devil's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#4

Spirited Away (2002)
97%

#4
Adjusted Score: 102.284%
Critics Consensus: Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.
Synopsis: Master animation director Hayao Miyazaki follows up on his record-breaking 1997 opus Princess Mononoke with this surreal Alice in Wonderland-like... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101.802%
Critics Consensus: Effectively balancing humor and subtle pathos, Sofia Coppola crafts a moving, melancholy story that serves as a showcase for both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
Synopsis: After making a striking directorial debut with her screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola offers a story of... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#2
Adjusted Score: 99.015%
Critics Consensus: Full of eye-popping special effects, and featuring a pitch-perfect cast, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring brings J.R.R. Tolkien's classic to vivid life.
Synopsis: Assisted by a Fellowship of heroes, Frodo Baggins plunges into a perilous trek to take the mystical One Ring to... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107.691%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
Synopsis: Christopher Nolan steps back into the director's chair for this sequel to Batman Begins, which finds the titular superhero coming... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

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