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The 100 best films of the 21st century, according to 177 film critics OLD

The Independent logo The Independent 03/12/2020 Christopher Hooton
a person with pink hair taking a selfie in front of a palm tree © Provided by The Independent

David Lynch’s narratively non-linear, néo-noir masterpiece Mulholland Drive has been named the best film of the 21st century to date by 177 film critics from 36 countries.

The 2001 movie came out on top in a BBC Culture poll, followed by Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007).

Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, depending on your level of cynicism over award ceremonies, none of the top three won the Best Picture Oscar in their respective years.

The top 10 also includes the critically-revered but audience-frustrating Terrence Malick movie The Tree of Life (2011) and Richard Linklater’s 12 years in the making Boyhood (2014).

Notable films you might have expected to be higher up the list include Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation at #23 and The Social Network at #27.

Inside Llewyn Davis and No Country for Old Men (joint 10th) were deemed the Coen brothers’ best film of the past 16 years, Zodiac was David Fincher’s, The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson's and The White Ribbon Michael Haneke’s.

The Act of Killing made the top 20 meanwhile, the highest ranked documentary.

Bizarrely, Birdman is completely absent.

Top 100 in full

1 Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

2 In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

3 There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

4 Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

5 Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

6 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

7 The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

8 Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)

9 A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

10 Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)

10 No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)

12 Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)

12 Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)

14 The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

15 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

16 Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

17 Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)

18 The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)

19 Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

20 Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will be Blood (#3) © Provided by The Independent Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will be Blood (#3)

21 The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

22 Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)

22 Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

24 The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

25 Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2001)

26 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)

27 The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

28 Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)

29. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)

30 Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003)

31 Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)

32 The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)

33 Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015)

33 The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

35 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)

36 Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)

37 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)

38 City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002)


Gallery: The best TV shows of all time (Espresso)

39 The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)

39 Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)

a person wearing a costume: Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (#17)Warner Bros. © Provided by The Independent Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (#17)Warner Bros.

41 Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)

42 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)

42 Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)

42 Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

45 Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)

45 Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)

45 Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)

48 Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015)

49 Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)

49. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

49 The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)

52 Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

53 Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)

53 Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)

53 Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)

56 Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2000)

56 Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)

58 A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)

58 Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth, 2009)

58 Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembene, 2004)

58 Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)

58 Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

Toni Servillo wearing a suit and tie: Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty (#63) © Provided by The Independent Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty (#63)

63 Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)

63 The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)

63 The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)

66 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003)

66 The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)

68 Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)

68 The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

70 Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)

70 Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)

72 Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)

72 Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)

74 Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012)

75 Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003)

75 Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)

75 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)

78 Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000)

78 The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003)

78 The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

a person sitting at a desk in front of a computer: Spize Jonze's Her (#81) © Provided by The Independent Spize Jonze's Her (#81)

81 A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009)

81 A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)

81 A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001)

81 Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

81 Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)

86 Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

86 Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)

88 Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)

89 The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)

90 Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003)

90 Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

90 Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)

90 Ratatouille (Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, 2007)

90 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)

90 The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002)

90 The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009)

97 Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)

97 The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)

97 White Material (Claire Denis, 2009)

100 Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010)

100 Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

100 Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

"We wanted to find out about the best films in recent memory," commented BBC Culture editor Matthew Anderson. "These are the films that most people feel strongly about.

“We hope that this list will spark discussion and debate, not just among critics and film aficionados, but among everyone who enjoys movies and has an opinion about what makes a good one.”

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